For readers of The Wild Edge of Sorrow and Crying in H-Mart–a profound and searching memoir of life, loss, grief, and renewal from one of American Buddhism’s most vital new voices.
How do we grieve our losses? How can we care for our spirits? one long listening offers enduring companionship to all who ask these searing, timeless questions.
Immigrant daughter, novice chaplain, bereaved friend: author Chenxing Han (Be the Refuge) takes us on a pilgrimage through the wilds of grief and laughter, pain and impermanence, reconnecting us to both the heartache and inexplicable brightness of being human.
Eddying around three autumns of Han’s life, one long listening journeys from a mountaintop monastery in Taiwan to West Coast oncology wards, from oceanside Ireland to riverfront Phnom Penh. Through letters to a dying friend, bedside chaplaincy visits, and memories of a migratory childhood, Han’s startling, searching memoir cuts a singular portrait of a spiritual caregiver in training.
Just as we touch the depths, bracing for resolution, Han’s swift, multilingual prose sweeps us back to unknowingness: 不知最親切. Not knowing is most intimate. Chinese mothers, hillside graves. A dreamed olive tree, a lost Siberian crane. The music of scripts and silence. These shards–bright, broken, giddy, aching–are mirrors to our own lives in joy and sorrow.
A testament to enduring connection by a fresh and urgent new literary voice, one long listening asks fearlessly into the stories we inhabit, the hopes we relinquish, and what it means simply to be, to and for the ones we love.
Chenxing Han is the author of the widely reviewed Be the Refuge: Raising the Voices of Asian American Buddhists (North Atlantic Books, 2021). She is a regular contributor to Lion’s Roar, Tricycle, Buddhadharma, and other publications, and a frequent speaker and workshop leader at schools, universities, and Buddhist communities across the nation. She has received fellowships from Hedgebrook, Hemera Foundation, the Lenz Foundation, and the Institute of Buddhist Studies.
Chenxing holds a BA from Stanford University and an MA in Buddhist Studies from the Graduate Theological Union. Her chaplaincy training began in Cambodia and continued in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she completed a yearlong residency on an oncology ward. She is a coteacher of Listening to the Buddhists in Our Backyard at Phillips Academy Andover and a co-organizer of May We Gather: A National Buddhist Memorial for Asian American Ancestors.
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