Please join us for a book club discussion on Thích Nhất Hạnh’s Hermitage Among the Clouds, which tells the story of the fourteenth century Princess Amazing Jewel, the daughter of one of Vietnam’s greatest historical Zen master kings.
This beautifully written story expresses the suffering caused by war and conflict, the transformative potential of a commitment to practicing peace and building reconciliation, and the simple beauty of a spiritual life.
Thích Nhất Hạnh gives us a window into Vietnam’s past and at the same time, offers compelling insights about contemporary Southeast Asia and the world.
These free, virtual, one-hour book club discussions are open to all. We have two sessions to accommodate our friends all over the world. Please register to attend. Our discussions will not be recorded.
February 22nd, 8:30 am PT
February 23rd, 8:30 am ICT (February 22nd, 5:30 pm PT)
Discount for book club
Use code FEB2024 to receive 20% off your copy of Hermitage Among the Clouds!
From the preface
Although this is a story about the life of Princess Amazing Jewel, she is not separate from her father, who abdicated his throne to become a monk and live in the little hermitage “Sleeping Clouds” on Mount Yen Tu. He was known as the “Noble Teacher of Bamboo Forest” and was the founder of the “Bamboo
Forest School of Zen Meditation.”
Before becoming a monk, the Noble Teacher was known as Tran Nhan Tong, and he ruled as king over the land of Viet. He repelled the invading Mongol army at the end of the thirteenth century. From the day he was ordained a monk, he lived an ascetic life—wearing coarse cloth, sleeping under a roof of leaves, and going everywhere barefoot. Even as a monk, he continued his work to establish justice and morality in the culture of his people. He travelled to the land of Cham* in hopes of establishing a foundation of lasting friendship and peace between the two countries. Princess Amazing Jewel laid the very foundation stone of this aspiration for peace between Cham and Viet.
As a monk myself, I have tried to recount the story from within the heart and mind of this illustrious monk, the Noble Teacher of Bamboo Forest.
*The country to the south of Viet roughly between present-day Hue in the north and Nha Trang in the south.