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Healing: A Woman's Journey from Doctor to Nun

4.47  ·  Rating details ·  159 ratings  ·  22 reviews
This extraordinary story takes the reader from Saigon to the California coast to a monastery in southwest France. Huong Huynh was born to a Vietnamese mother and a U.S. soldier in the midst of war. She dedicated her life to healing and transforming the suffering of other people, first as a medical doctor and then as a nun. Ordained by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, who gave h ...more
ebook, 120 pages
Published November 1st 2010 by Parallax Press
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Linda Walters
Jun 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: buddhism
I have had the distinct honor of meeting Sister Dang Nghiem when she was at Deer Park Monastery. She is such a delightful, happy, and peaceful person, one would never suspect the terrible suffering that she has encountered in her life. Now that I know, I wish she were near so I could practice hugging meditation with her and tell her that I will always be her for her.

All the myriad books that comment on and analyze the sutras are fine and they are a necessary part of the practice, but if you wan
Jan 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
excellent. made me want to pack my bags and go to plum village. you feel peaceful just reading her story and insights. she has had quite a journey from wartime viet nam to medical school to buddhist nun.
it shows you that anyone can heal for past experience if you allow yourself.
Nikki Myers
Jan 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I learned about Sister Dang Nghiem in a recent Prevention magazine article. Nghiem and her brother came to the United States from Vietnam. Enduring a painful childhood of abuse in Vietnam and rejection in the US, she graduated college, Medical school, and found a wonderful boyfriend. She was unable to escape the horrific memories that haunted her mind. When her boyfriend was unexpectedly killed in an accident, she found solace and healing in a monastery. She became a Buddhist nun with a healing ...more
Nov 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Sister Dang Nghiem's story really touched me. It taught me that we're all always improving and healing ourselves, and that there isn't a singular "point" we need to start from or achieve in order to be "okay." We can start from wherever we are, and as long as we keep working to improve ourselves, that's all that matters. There's so much more to this memoir than just that, but this is just what I've found as the most important lesson offered here. =) ...more
Jen (bookscoffeedogs)
Apr 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
Just finished this. It is a very simple book with a very heavy premise. I think I loved it for it's ability to make Buddhism and Buddhist study...accessible. Sister Dang Nghiem's tone in the book seems at first very childlike, simple, yet the more I contemplated it, the more I think I loved it. It reminded me that we, most of humanity, have strayed so far from simple ideas, simple clear speech, even in my own world I make things more complicated than they need to be...this was a lovely little qu ...more
Laura Pham
Sep 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book is an excellent book about a women's journey from a doctor to a nun. Sister Dang Nghiem's story is so inspiring. I even got the honor to meet her when I was at Blue Cliff Monastery. When I was at blue cliff, I always knew her as one of the brothers and sisters who ran the teens program and is always graceful, happy, and loving. Being so loving and graceful, I would never think that she had so much suffering in her. I absolutely love Sister D and her book. I felt a deep connection with ...more
Jan 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An insightful and inspiring book from sister Dang Nghiem. The letters and poetry she wrote and shared in the book were lovely. I happened to read this during a period of major change and anxiety in my life, and it served as a great reminder that nothing is permanent, and that coming back to the present moment is always a way in which you can help to calm and heal yourself and others around you. So grateful to my mom for giving me this book many years ago.
Denise Tarasuk
Nov 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spiritual
Reading sister Dang Nghiem’s Healing A Woman’s Journey from Doctor to Nun was such an honor! It filled my heart with love. I shall visit her words again and again. One time reading her touching words is not enough. I have cherished the story with in and feel so blessed to be able to read about her life. Thank you, for sharing Sister Dang!
Be Hương
Sep 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I kept shedding tears throughout the first half of the book when reading Su Co Dang Nghiem’s sad stories. Her stories, as commented by the college admission person, are similar to those of many Vietnamese people during the war time but I “heard” them differently when reading her book. It was probably because the stories are full of both honest and childlike feelings and unbelievable emotional suppressions that the younger Su Co went through. The writing is not full of emotion provoking words but ...more
This one was recommended to me by my father-in-law, and it was a short, inspiring read.
It always inspires me and excites me to see living proof of someone who has turned their life around, from suffering to peace, and who has found their path, and who openly and lovingly share of their journey and lessons.
More people should write books about their journeys and how they learned and struggled with the lessons and life, before they turned it into wisdom and found (more) peace.
I think that would he
Sep 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Oh my goodness. Even reading this book was healing for me!
Nov 02, 2014 rated it liked it
"Pain is inevitable but suffering is optional"

Taking care of the present moment is taking care of the past. A beautiful present moment becomes a beautiful past.

When we encounter a situation in which our mind is strongly stimulated - such as when we are experiencing fear, anger, provocation, or excitement - the brain will release a large quantity of neurotransmitters and hormones related to emotions. The sense organs become extremely sensitive; the skeletal muscles contract; the heart and lungs
Dec 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A lovely book by Sr. Dang, one of Thich Nhat Hanh's monastics. Her story is compelling as she survived conflict, cultural and familial, and abuse growing up. Coming to the US, she adjusted to life here, but carried with her the traumas. Her decision to enter monastic life provided her with the means to heal. She describes this process honestly and with clarity. I thought it was a wonderful reminder of the ways we need to be mindful and to be with ourselves and others compassionately, whether in ...more
May 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
"I don't want to grow into an old woman whose nightmares and losses are her sole companions."(81) A book for anyone who would like to claim this line as their own intention.

I interviewed Sister Dang Nghiem several years ago after hearing her recount part of her story. I asked her to use her story to help explain the concept of a "Hungry Ghost". What I feel is missing from the short video is the knowledge that her mother died while Sister Dang Nghiem was a child.
Aug 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I just loved this frank account of one woman's journey to becoming a nun. It inspires me to think that someone from such a rough background can find healing and peace. As with most auto-biographies, I find wisdom in being able to put myself in the shoes of another and understand their lives, their pain, and their healing. ...more
Jun 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Good addition to biographies (in this case, an autobiography) of contemporary Buddhist women. Born in Vietnam during the American war, Dang Nghiem is sent to the USA where she earns two medical degrees--only to leave medicine in order to become a Buddhist nun.
Nov 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have been so inspired by Sister Dang Nghiem's dedication and courage to her healing. A wonderful book. ...more
I met her at Blue Cliff Monastery in 2012. She is delightful, a joy to hear speak.
Christina Barbato
Aug 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
A great example of 1) how telling one's own story can help facilitate another's healing and 2) how to apply Buddhist practice to personal psychology and growth. ...more
Mark Bourdon
Feb 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A humble story of survival

Raw, honest, and hopeful. Opening to the pain of the past and learning to find open awareness. Many important lessons learned and shared. _/\_
Oct 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Time well-spent.
Mar 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
first read by Sister Dang Nghiem.
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Rachel C
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Jan 16, 2021
Elaine Fisher
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Amelia Sims
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Jun 13, 2017
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Feb 19, 2014
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Oct 22, 2015
Viet Nguyen
rated it it was ok
Apr 07, 2011
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