The Journey of One Buddhist Nun

Even Against the Wind

By Sid Brown

Subjects: Asian Studies
Paperback : 9780791450963, 192 pages, September 2001
Hardcover : 9780791450956, 192 pages, September 2001

Table of contents


1. A Young Buddhist Goes Forth

2. Who Gets to Drink in the Dhamma and How

3. A Friend in Need

4. The Beginning of a Crisis in Faith: Harsh Speech

5. Hellfire and Karma

6. Like a Corpse-Filled Bowl: Meditation and Maechi

7. A Heart Defeated in Faith: Crisis and Loss

8. Perseverance and Striving: Resolution of the Crisis

9. Confidence in a New Way of Living Dhamma

10. Possibilities and Resolution: Maechi Wabi and the Institute of Thai Maechi

11. Meditation and Social Work: The Institute and Maechi Leaders

12. Departure

13. Conclusion

Appendix Approach, Transliteration, Pronunciation, and Translation





Recounts the struggles of a young Thai woman to become a Buddhist nun and the challenges and rewards of that life.


The gripping story of Wabi,a young Thai woman who sought a religious life, The Journey of One Buddhist Nun recounts her struggle to overcome the numerous obstacles along her path. Wabi left her rural village at 17 to become a Buddhist nun in a land where religious men are honored and religious women are scorned. Despite these conditions, Wabi wanted to study Buddhism, to meditate, and to develop a profoundly religious life. She traveled to a monastery in Bangkok, where she heard she might be able to pursue her dream, but upon arrival found she needed money to become a nun--money she didn't have. Moving from difficulty to difficulty, Wabi finally found a home at a convent of Buddhist nuns, where she gained close friends, an education, and a vibrant meditation practice.

As Wabi's life unfolds on the pages of The Journey of One Buddhist Nun, readers are introduced to the background needed to understand Buddhism, Thai culture, the particular impediments women face in Southeast Asia, and the rewards of a deeply spiritual life. Buddhist philosophy, texts, and meditation techniques come alive as we learn the roles each played in Wabi's life. Western readers will be particularly interested in the description of Wabi's vivid, formative meditation experiences.

Sid Brown is Assistant Professor in the Department of Religion at the University of the South. She lived at a convent for Buddhist nuns in Thailand while researching this book.


"…the rich details that [Brown] provides in terms of Maechi Wabi's experiences is truly commendable." — H-Net Reviews (H-Buddhism)

"An absorbing and unique story. At the heart of it is Wabi's personal spiritual journey, especially as a Buddhist meditation practitioner. The reader also learns a considerable amount about women in Thai Buddhism." -- Donald K. Swearer, author of The Buddhist World of Southeast Asia

"This book will give readers some good insights into the actual practice of Buddhism today and the difficulties that some women have encountered in trying to live it." — George D. Bond, author of The Buddhist Revival in Sri Lanka: Religious Tradition, Reinterpretation, and Response