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The Monks and Me
How 40 Days in Thich Nhat Hanh's French Monastery Guided Me Home
Mary Paterson
ISBN: 9781571746856
Book (Paperback)
Hampton Roads Publishing Company
$16.95
5 1/2 x 8 1/2
256 pages
September 1, 2012


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"Alive with deep truths resounding loud and clear in the small, amazing moments of everyday life, Paterson reminds us of what's possible when we take the time to stop, look, and listen. An entertaining and juicy primer on the basic guidelines for a richer life." -Ragini Michaels, author of Unflappable

"A magnificent book that eloquently juxtaposes Thich Nhat Hanh's Buddhist philosophy against modern-day living - inspired, as seen through Paterson's eyes. This book is a revelation of spirituality in quotidian things, of balance and fragility in the midst of chaos, and most of all a testimony to mindfulness. It is a must read for anyone who wants simple recipes for ethical living." -Dr. Sema K. Sgaier, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

"There's nothing better than a Buddhist with a sense of humor. Mary Paterson shares her vision of a joyful, committed Buddhism that can help us live gracefully in this very strange world. I feel better already." -Brian Haycock, author of Dharma Road
"Death can be a destabilizing force. And when it touches you closely, you must somehow discover a way to find and rebuild your secure home," popular yoga instructor Mary Paterson writes. With the death of her father, she felt as if she had no place to stand. She had lost her home.

Paterson's response to this life crisis, was to embark on a pilgrimage to Plum Village, the retreat of Nobel Prize-nominated Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh. This wonderfully frank and funny chronicle of her 40-day sojourn offers readers the 40 Buddhist precepts that she learned. The primary theme is the necessity of discovering how to "take refuge" or find a permanent home within ourselves--without taking oneself too seriously.

With chapters such as The Lesson in a Bad Fish, The Man Who Nicked My Headphones, How a Monk Washes His Face, and How Not to Be Sneaky, this lyrical, wise, and witty personal journey book is inspirational and a joy to read. Paterson's sensibility is grounded, realistic, and engaging.

Mary Paterson is the founder and director of Toronto's Lotus Yoga Centre. Certified in Kundalini and Hatha yoga, Mary also holds a Bachelor of Arts and teaches internationally. She has been interviewed for numerous magazines and newspapers, including Elle Canada, the Toronto Star, and the Globe and Mail, and has regularly contributed celebrity health profiles to online journals. Mary is often invited by a wide variety of diverse companies to teach and speak about the transformational powers of yoga and meditation. Trained in classical ballet, Mary also performed professionally in theatre and film. She has traveled throughout India and now lives in Toronto, Canada. Photo credit: Cylla von Tiedemann
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