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Learning True Love: How I Learned and Practiced Social Change in Vietnam
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Learning True Love: How I Learned and Practiced Social Change in Vietnam

4.26  ·  Rating Details ·  137 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
"Learning True Love is a unique autobiography that tells the gripping story of Sr. Chan Khong, who has for more than four decades worked closely with Thich Nhat Hanh. It reflects her spiritual growth against the backdrop of a war-torn Vietnam, and offers many examples of how to resolve difficulties and celebrate the joy of a life in service. Khong's single-minded dedicatio ...more
Paperback, 260 pages
Published October 1st 1993 by Parallax Press
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Sep 15, 2007 Mark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For years in my Social Justice course at Saint Louis University, I assigned the 1993 paperback by Cao Ngoc Phuong entitled, Learning True Love. One of my favorite books, it is the story of a young woman growing up in Vietnam during the 1950s and 1960s. From a young age, her passion is to be of assistance to poor people; she also wanted to be a Buddhist, but didn’t have very inspiring teachers. This changed when she met Thich Nhat Hanh, who became her teacher and mentor.

What made that book so com
Maughn Gregory
I met this remarkable woman in 2006 at a retreat in Colorado with Thich Nhat Hahn. Her life story - of humanitarian aid work and political struggle grounded in the self-work of Buddhist practice - is truly inspiring. Her bravery in risking her life to provide social service in war-torn Viet Nam is remarkable, and the peace work she did to try to end the war and to help the "boat people" is still thought-provoking. But I think what did me the most good was story after story of how she used contem ...more
Apr 21, 2008 k8beeZ rated it it was amazing
I am very fortunate that I have gotten a few chances to be on Retreat with Sister Chan Khong. She has the most amazing energy and her strength simply transmits through the air. Check this book'll most definitely be moved, it'll open your heart and OPEN YOUR eyes, if you're like me and didn't live through the war of Vietnam. MAY ALL BEINGS AWAKEN IN THIS LIFETIME!
Feb 17, 2017 Bryan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very inspiring story of a Buddhist nun who was originally born in Vietnam. While there she started working with Thich Nhat Hahn and along with him was later an exile. She helped establish Plum Village Monastery in France and Deer Park Monastery in California. Eventually, after 40 years in exile both she and Thich Nhat Hahn were able to enter Vietnam again and teach. Buddhists like her and Thich Nhat Hahn were strong proponents of nonviolent protests against the war in Vietnam.
Dec 28, 2007 Monique rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who want to learn about love and service.
I choose this book for personal reasons. (Don't we all?)

I wanted to learn about love and service from the Buddhist perspective. On the cover of this book is a sweet, peaceful, and woman who reminds my of my grandmother. I was interested into hearing what she had to say.

She talks about her life with honesty and a pure heart. She is humble and openly exposes all sides of her. This is one of those books where it seems as if you are sitting with her and drinking tea while she talks about her life. N
Sparrow Knight
Dec 08, 2014 Sparrow Knight rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dharma
I found this rather dry, full of dates, names, places, the prose rather wooden. I think I was expecting more of a spiritual autobiography, whereas this is mostly a history of Sister Chan Khong's part in the founding of Thich Nhat Hanh's order. Sister Khong is quite open & honest about her inner struggles to find a peaceful heart, but it seemed a more clinical description to me. An example...

"One night, we stopped in Son Khuong, a remote village where the fighting was especially fierce. As we
Joe Heffernan
May 29, 2016 Joe Heffernan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: zen-and-dao
The simplicity and directness of sister Chain Khong's perspective is sort of shocking. There is little to nothing of ego present in the story of her life in service. The portrait it paints of Buddhist practice, and of the war in Vietnam is so immediately available through her presentation. I was particularly moved by her description of self-immolation, the motives and live of those young people who gave their lives during the war, I had never stepped into their shoes before, or imagined the way ...more
Feb 17, 2016 Renee rated it it was amazing
Initially I was not impressed with this book. However the further I read the more I realized the deep and abiding personal truth of this simple woman's love for her homeland and for Thich Nhat Hanh which allowed her to steadfastly serve under his direction and slowly grow into her own wisdom and confidence. I read it slowly, pondering each small segment to see how it pertained to my life and what I could learn from it.
Nov 12, 2015 Claire rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was so fortunate to have attended a retreat with both Thay Nhat Hahn and Thay Khong and was even more fortunate to be in her small discussion group for daily dharma sharing. Her writing does not do her justice. She's extremely intelligent, incredibly brave, giving and joyful. No "putting on airs", completely humble despite her amazing and often perilous journey. Above all, her compassion is very genuine. I honestly think she's a bodhisattva.
Sherly Wang
May 14, 2009 Sherly Wang rated it it was amazing
kaya ngerasain jaman perang vietnam...
sister Chan khong benar2 hebat...
dgn melakukan hidup berkesadaran, bisa menyelesaikan berbagai macam masalah negara...
kapan ya, bisa ke plum village...i wish i could be there soon...
Linda Walters
Oct 31, 2013 Linda Walters rated it it was amazing
Set against the background of one of the most divisive wars in history, this is the amazing story of an amazing woman. All Su Co Chang Khong ever wanted to do to be faithful to her aspiration to serve all beings and end a war.
Sep 29, 2013 Mel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book years ago. This woman is a Bodhisattva and she provides insights for anyone who is fascinated by one of our greatest living religious teachers, Thich Nhat Hanh. The writing style leaves something to be desired, though.
Jan 05, 2009 Vanessa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The most amazing story of love, courage and compassion. It retaught me everything I thought I knew so well. The sort of book you'll always want to have on hand to borrow off to the world.

Aug 21, 2008 Krista rated it it was amazing
Shelves: political
One of those books that truly affected my perspective and ideals - and consequently has probably had profound influence on the choices I've made in my life.
Arif Santoso
Epic compassion
Jul 14, 2009 Ashley added it
will always be one of the most inspirational books for me
Apr 20, 2008 Elzaffa rated it it was amazing
My old minister's wife lent this one to me. I've been searching for it ever since. beautiful book.
Jan 11, 2009 Mamuska rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book before I met Sister Chan Khong in India in Oct. 2008 where we were traveling with Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. What a marvelous loving presence in this mad, mad world!
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“In Buddhism, the word “emptiness” is a translation of the Sanskrit sunyata. It means “empty of a separate self.” It is not a negative or despairing term. It is a celebration of interconnectedness, of interbeing. It means nothing can exist by itself alone, that everything is inextricably interconnected with everything else. I know that I must always work to remember that I am empty of a separate self and full of the many wonders of this universe, including the generosity of my grandparents and parents, the many friends and teachers who have helped and supported me along the path, and you dear readers, without whom this book could not exist. We inter-are, and therefore we are empty of an identity that is separate from our interconnectedness.” 2 likes
“I want to tell you a story. It is about a friend who lost his eyesight in a car accident. His world is entirely one of darkness, all the time. Do you know what he told me? He said that if he could see again, he would be in paradise. How I wish I could fulfill his wish. If I cannot help him, at least I can share his insight with you: Do not wait until you lose your eyesight before knowing how happy you can be just by opening your eyes. You have excellent eyes, and each time you open them a marvelous paradise of forms and colors appears.” 0 likes
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