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Meeting Faith [Hardcover]

Faith Adiele
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 29 2004
Northern Thailand's first black Buddhist nun traces her journey from a Harvard scholarship student in the world of pop culture to her ordination into a world marked by natural violence and eastern philosophy, discussing her resistance to the Buddhist worldview and her struggles to overcome difficult

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From Publishers Weekly

Jan Willis meets Anne Lamott in this funny, observant memoir by Adiele, an English professor at the University of Pittsburgh. Burned out by the pressure of undergraduate studies at Harvard, Adiele took a year off to get her head together and do field research in Thailand, where she had once spent time as a Rotary exchange student. She became fascinated with Buddhist nuns and began soliciting their stories, a process that led to her rather impulsive decision to seek "temporary ordination" as a nun herself. The nominal-Unitarian-turned-Buddhist is humble about her spiritual insights: "Where I should be über-nun, I'm not even what is perceived as a practicing Buddhist. I don't meditate regularly; I nurse anger; I despise tofu. Dammit, I don't appear to have learned anything! So how can anyone learn from me?" But readers can and will learn from Adiele, who parses out her second stay in Thailand with a comic's timing, a novelist's keen observations about human idiosyncrasies and an anthropologist's sensitivity to issues of race and culture. Her main narrative is almost talmudically surrounded by commentary: all along the outer margins of the book, quotes from Buddhist luminaries mingle with excerpts from her own very raw journals from that year. As she admits her fear of the rats that infested her meditation cave or chronicles her pride in gradually increasing her meditation hours, we are privileged to see an unvarnished vulnerability.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

By her own reckoning, Adiele is an unlikely candidate for Buddhist spiritual enlightenment. Neither Asian nor disciplined, she doesn't fancy meditation; despises tofu; and, raised Unitarian, isn't particularly religious. Yet the Nigerian-Scandinavian ex-Harvard student from eastern Washington became the first black Buddhist nun in northern Thailand. She first went to Thailand at age 15, after winning a Rotary Club International Exchange Program scholarship at a time when most Americans could barely find Thailand on the map. Although used to being different--she wryly notes that, every day, she was an exchange student in her own country--she wasn't prepared for life in a tiny rural Thai community, in which she was the first black anyone had seen. But something about the country and Buddhism appealed to her and she chose to return, though she was as surprised as anyone else when she decided to become a Buddhist nun. A warm, witty account of an unusual woman's spiritual journey and search for identity between the vastly different cultures of East and West. June Sawyers
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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First Sentence
JANUARY 26. I arrive at Wat Phra Singh, the Royal Temple of Northern Thailand, slightly hungover, fighting a losing battle with my clothes. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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5.0 out of 5 stars A Remarkable Journey July 19 2004
As I also grew up in a small town in the Northwest, find Buddhism intriguing and challenging, and detest creepy crawlies, I was captivated by this memoir. Ms. Adiele is braver and more adventurous than I, both spiritually and gustatorily, but she communicates her humanness with such wit and style that I was delighted to be on this journey with her. I recommend her book most highly.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An Astonishing Book June 15 2004
By A Customer
I learned so much from this book--not only about the Buddhist traditions of Thailand and the forest temple where Ms. Adiele stayed, which was fascinating to me, but about how one young American approached the ideas of race, culture, self and spirituality in an unfamiliar setting.
The book's gorgeous design also lends to its power. A fantastic book.
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1.0 out of 5 stars All Fact? June 15 2004
By A Customer
Frankly, having skimmed through this book, I wonder whether all information written by the author is fact or fiction after reading about her childhood. For example, the author should ask individuals in her hometown in Washington State for their permission before slandering them in this book. Doesn't she realize she's not the only black person living in Sunnyside--there was another black family living in Sunnyside at the same time when she was there. They made great strides in school sports. Also, the reader has never heard of a certain individual trying to jockey with Ms. Adiele to be the number one Minority Smarty-pants individual and having designs on a Cheryl. Didn't realize there was a contest like that going on. It must be all in her head.
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