Thich Nhat Hanh’s new book “The Novice: A Story of True Love” takes an ancient Vietnamese legend and transforms it into a parable filled with thought-provoking lessons. The book follows, Kinh Tam, who is born to an aristocratic family in rural Vietnam and who possesses uncommon beauty and intelligence. From an early age she is drawn to the teachings of Buddha and the rewards of a monastic life, but to please her family she agrees to walk the traditional path of marriage.
However, all Kinh Tam truly desires is to become a monk. Taking a path that will forever change her life, she leaves town disguised as a man – since temples only accept men for ordination – to join a monastery as a novice.
Despite the many challenges of living as a man, Kinh Tam thrives and becomes a beloved member of the community … until the day a local woman accuses the novice of fathering her unborn child. Should she keep her secret and endure brutal punishment, or reveal the truth that will prove her innocence, but put an end to her spiritual path?
Her choice forever changes her life, her country, and her faith.
This parable by Thich Nhat Hanh is meant to remind us that we all face injustices and suffering. However, by connecting with love as Kinh Tam does, we can discover a mind and heart that are peaceful, happy and free.