That changes when a good friend is paralyzed in a cliff jumping accident. GT is further devastated, later the same night, when an old Navajo woman dies before his eyes in the hospital waiting room, shortly after telling him to figure out how to have a happy life.
For a while, GT’s senior year is a great success. On the inside, however, he is in turmoil. The pain that has suddenly torn through his life drives him to ask big questions: Who am I? What should I do with my life? Is it possible to be happy in spite of all the suffering in the world?
While never explicitly mentioning Buddhism, Leaving Dreamland is a current-day take on the early life of Gautama, the young man who woke up.