The Monks and Me
How 40 Days in Thich Nhat Hanh's French Monastery Guided Me Home
5.5 x 8.5
Hampton Roads Publishing
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“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.
"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
"When Paterson's mother died, she turned to yoga and meditation for solace. Years later, when her father died, she chose a forty-day retreat at Thich Nhat Hanh's monastery in France to help her heal. Her honest, and insightful account of her stay there makes for very enlightening reading. She takes us on her inner journey, sharing her thoughts as she strives to live as mindfully as the nuns she is living with. Her example is a powerful teacher, and the book is a perfect companion for Thich Nhat Hanh's writings." -Anna Jedrziewski, Retailing Insight(formerly New Age Retailer)
"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
" I enjoyed this book enormously. It reminded me in the most concrete terms what I already know but tend to forget: Take joy, have compassion, be patient, pay attention, let go, slow down. Wake up!Each little story - my favorite may be the one about the boy saving the ants - is a reminder to us all to be kind and be present." -Margaret Hawkins, author of After Schizophrenia: The Story of My Sister's Reawakening after 30 Years
"Through her engaging stories, Mary has brilliantly interwoven the teachings of the Buddha with real life experiences, giving this ancient Eastern wisdom present-day relevance. Full of courage, honesty and humor, this is a deeply moving account of a sacred pilgrimage that reveals insights on how to live joyfully. With open heartedness and grace, Mary brings us along on a fascinating journey of discovery." --Xiaolan Zhao, CMD, author of Inner Beauty and Reflections of the Moon on Water
"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