Bestselling author and Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh transforms an ancient folktale into a timeless parable of a young woman who dares to risk her life for her faith.
Born to an aristocratic family in rural Vietnam, Kinh Tam's uncommon beauty and intelligence were obvious to all she encountered. From an early age she was drawn to the teachings of Buddha and the rewards of a monastic life, but to please her family she agreed to walk the traditional path of marriage.
Throughout her marriage, Kinh Tam's mind was devoted to her husband but her heart never waivered from her true calling. She wanted to be a monk. And yet Buddhism was still new to Vietnam and temples accepted only men for ordination. Making a decision that would forever change her life, Kinh Tam left town, disguised herself as a man, and joined a monastery as a novice.
Despite the many challenges of living as a man, Kinh Tam thrived and became a beloved member of the community. Years of profound joy and peace passed until a local woman accuses the novice of fathering her unborn child. Kinh Tam is torn between two impossible choices: keep her secret and endure brutal punishment or reveal the truth that would prove her innocence but put an end to her spiritual path.
Facing the unbearable with the boundless heart of Buddha, her choice forever changes her life, her country, and her faith.
In spare, elegant prose, Thich Nhat Hanh reminds us that we, too, face our own injustices and suffering, and by connecting with love, we can, like Kinh Tam, discover a mind and heart that are peaceful, happy, and free.
About the Author
Thich Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese Buddhist Zen Master, poet, scholar, and peace activist who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He is the author of many books, including the classics Peace Is Every Step and The Art of Power. Hanh lives in Plum Village, his meditation center in France, and leads retreats worldwide on the art of mindful living.
“Thich Nhat Hanh shows us the connection between personal, inner peace and peace on earth.”
-His Holiness the Dalai Lama
“Thich Nhat Hanh is a holy man, for he is humble and devout. He is a scholar of immense intellectual capacity. His ideas for peace, if applied, would build a monument to ecumenism, to world brotherhood, to humanity.”
-Martin Luther King, Jr., in nominating Thich Nhat Hanh for the Nobel Peace Prize
“Thich Nhat Hanh writes with the voice of the Buddha.”
-Sogyal Rinpoche, author of The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
“Thich Nhat Hanh is more my borther than many who are nearer to me in race and nationality, because he and I see the exact same way.”
“Among Buddhist leaders influential in the West, Thich Nhat Hanh ranks second only to the Dalai Lama.”
-New York Times
“Thich Nhat Hanh is a real poet.”
“One of our most treasured spiritual teachers tells a story that will touch your heart. So beautiful.”
-Marianne Williamson, author of A Return to Love
“Thich Nhat Hanh has given us a luminous book. The Novice is both instructive and haunting. Its heroine holds a lantern for all seekers.”
-Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way