In Vietnam, Practicing Lovingkindness

Around the World in Books

Moving right along!

This was a quick side trip on audio. I had downloaded this at some point when Audible had a sale. I love the Buddhist meditation guides of Thich Nhat Hanh, so I was interested in a work of fiction authored by him. He didn’t really write this story, rather he presents a traditional Vietnamese Buddhist tale. At least as interesting is the afterward, a non-fictional account of how the monks and nuns who follow Thich Nhat Hanh’s practices have been persecuted in Vietnam.

Here is where my goals stand after this one (Goodreads review follows):

Around the World: S. America: 1 2 3; Other: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
1001 Books List: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
Pulitzer: Oct Nov Dec
Nobel: Oct Nov Dec
Great African Reads: 1 2 3

The Novice: A Story of True LoveThe Novice: A Story of True Love by Thich Nhat Hanh
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a retelling of an old Vietnamese folk tale by Thich Nhat Hanh. It should definitely be read as a Buddhist lesson, rather than as literature. If you read it as literature, it will be disappointing, but as an example of what the principle of loving-kindness looks like, then it is a useful read.

There is an afterward, written by the a disciple of Thich Nhat Hanh, that tells of the ways in which the story of Hanh and his followers are parallel to the tale of The Novice: A Story of True Love. These are stories of false accusation met by patience and compassion, with non-violence and loving-kindness. These stories are both depressing, in their illustration of the ways in which human rights abuses can play out, and inspiring in the way that the monks and nuns maintain a peaceful stance.

View all my reviews


About Beth Parks Aronson

I am Associate Professor of Psychology at Lamar University. Previously, I was a psychologist in private practice in Jenkintown, PA where I specialized in anxiety disorders and working with people living with chronic and life-threatening illnesses. I am a little addicted to good literature. Ok, a lot addicted.
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One Response to In Vietnam, Practicing Lovingkindness

  1. Pragya says:

    The book sounds interesting. You’re doing great with your goals, Beth.

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