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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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Product Description

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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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Humorous, honest, and fun June 3 2004
By A Customer
Simply, this is a story about a woman from a complex background who is trying to find resolution to the stark dichotomies that existed in her life. Her journey is told in a mixture of story filled prose and objective travel-log. In my opinion, this is a very fitting format for a memoir by a former Buddhist nun. I felt myself bouncing between an objective fascination with the culture and religion of Thailand and Ms. Adiele's subjective, and sometimes volatile, internal monolog. It is a treat to watch her grow as she moves through her journey. Ms. Adiele writes with a deep honesty and loving humor that I hadn't before experienced. This honesty left me feeling honored to having been introduced to her individual confrontation with fundamental life questions. I finished the book both in awe of life's beauty and amazed with the struggles that we can overcome.
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1.0 out of 5 stars All Fact? June 14 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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5.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening and engrossing! April 16 2004
By A Customer
Though I'm not a Buddhist, it's a topic that fascinates me, and Faith's memoir provided a riveting and highly accessible introduction to what it means to live as a Buddhist. I thought the book's format, which weaves in quotations from an amazing array of scholars and commentators, was fantastic -- very engaging and personal. The book was full of insights and surprises. Best of all, the author has a wry and appealing sense of humor about her odyssey in Thailand -- and, more broadly, about the universal quest to find spiritual fulfillment.
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