Thursday Tea (May 20): Meeting Faith

Thursday Tea Thursday Tea is a weekly meme hosted by yours truly. To play along, all you need is some tea, a book, and the answers to these questions: what tea are you drinking (and do you like it)? What book are you reading (and do you like it)? Tell us a little about your tea and your book, and whether or not the two go together.

The book: I’m currently engrossed in Meeting Faith: The Forest Journals of a Black Buddhist Nun. It’s less self-help spiritual guide and more (really awesome) memoir, but I must admit that Faith’s experiences with Buddhism and how it ties into her life/personality/memories/etc really did touch something in me– spirituality-wise, I mean. But that’s almost beside the point; Meeting Faith is superbly written, extremely informative (about Buddhist nuns in Thailand, Buddhism, faith, etc), and really just fun to read. I’ve actually been reading slower than normally so I can hang onto it for a little bit more, but I’m about 50 pages from the end now and figure I might as well finish it today.

Here’s a summary, because my ramblings aren’t good enough to give you an idea of what Meeting Faith is actually about:

A wry account of the road from Harvard scholarship student to ordination as northern Thailand’s first black Buddhist nun.

Reluctantly leaving behind Pop Tarts and pop culture to battle flying rats, hissing cobras, forest fires, and decomposing corpses, Faith Adiele shows readers in this personal narrative, with accompanying journal entries, that the path to faith is full of conflicts for even the most devout. Residing in a forest temple, she endured nineteen-hour daily meditations, living on a single daily meal, and days without speaking. Internally Adiele battled against loneliness, fear, hunger, sexual desire, resistance to the Buddhist worldview, and her own rebellious Western ego.

Adiele demystifies Eastern philosophy and demonstrates the value of developing any practice—Buddhist or not. This “unlikely, bedraggled nun” moves grudgingly into faith, learning to meditate for seventy-two hours at a stretch. Her witty, defiant twist on the standard coming-of-age tale suggests that we each hold the key to overcoming anger, fear, and addiction; accepting family; redefining success; and re-creating community and quality of life in today’s world.

I’m completely in love with it (and the author!), so go out and get a copy for yourself STAT.

The tea: Honestly, I should probably just rename this meme into “Coffee Thursdays” because that’s all I seem to be drinking lately. I love coffee, but it’s almost useless for a tea meme.

Do they go together? Yes, coffee does go with Meeting Faith, because Faith still drinks (instant) coffee even when she gets into the.– I guess you’d call it a nunnery/monastery?– retaining her Western roots while trying to lay down Eastern ones. Eventually I think she throws even the coffee away, preferring to drink only water/juice. So, yeah!

What are you drinking/reading this Thursday?

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