Bibliofemme Bookclub An Irish Bookclub

January 10, 2012

Pure Heart Enlightened Mind by Maura Soshin O’Halloran

Filed under: Bookclub Books,Biography — The Artist @ 3:07 pm
Pure Heart, Enlightened Mind Book Cover Pure Heart, Enlightened Mind
Maura O'Halloran
Biography & Autobiography
Riverhead Books (Hardcover)

Meeting: Saturday 8th June 2002

The diary entries and letters of a young Irish Woman Maura O’Halloran, written while she received Zen training and worked towards “enlightenment in Japanese Zen Monasteries. While not intentionally written to be read by an audience these personal accounts of one woman’s unusual and courageous life make a fascinating read. Maura begins her writings as a “normal” young Irish Woman with a wish to travel to Japan. Having been accepted to enter training her diaries chronicle her daily life as she travels down the path towards enlightenment – begging in the freezing cold, zazen (sitting meditation), sleep deprivation, cleaning, cooking, her evolving mantras, lessons for study and her relationships with her fellow monks. Smattered with Japanese words the book shows how Maura’s awareness of both herself and the world around her develops, without ever losing her sense of humour. This document is all the more markedly poignant for the fact that she met an untimely death at 27 in a bus accident in Thailand while on her way home to Ireland.

Part record of a interesting life, part meditation. In reading this linear journey the reader imparts on something of a journey themselves, as Maura ponders silence or lets grievances go one cannot help but think of the relevance of her lessons in one’s own life. This book may lead to fantasies about giving it all up, and will undoubtedly leave you feeling a renewed quiet reverence for your own life. 4/5

Score awarded by Bibliofemme: 3.7 out of 5

Impac Literary Prize

What the other femmes had to say
The Historian “This thought provoking book is probably the best biography I’ve ever read.” 5/5

The Writer “One book that really might change your life. I’d recommend it to anyone.” 4/5

The DJ “An inspirational tale of motivation, spirituality and a remarkable Irish woman’s journey. Uplifting.” 4/5

The Techie “A great book and our first biography as such, really enjoyed it.” 4/5

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