While this is a short book, make no mistake it is rich. This is a book lush in descriptions of locales and people as well as in meditation techniques, thus ensuring rapt interest throughout the novel. Ms. Jenkins succeeds in showing the reader each lesson by foretelling each one with a quote. Then, she tells each lesson and sums up each chapter, so the reader draws the appropriate conclusion.
Ms. Jenkins starts her journey just prior to meeting Seong Yoon Lee, a Buddhist monk. Each of the ten chapters reflects upon the ten lessons Ms. Jenkins learned by watching Seong Yoon Lee as they traveled through Asia during their “open courtship.” Many of the lessons reflect meditation techniques.
What amazes me is the unspoken attitude of “Let Go, Let God.” Many times Seong Yoon Lee expresses this attitude, but in Buddhist terms. Sometimes the terminology is simple, but with simplicity comes much strength. Each chapter is a trip which becomes a lesson. Some of the quotes are familiar (think Shel Silverstein) and provide a foreshadowing for each lesson. Tight quotes matched with descriptive chapters provide high interest in this novel. While this novel is short, there are moments where understanding is great.
Lessons from the Monk I Married offers up ten of the most powerful lessons about life, love, and spirituality that Katherine Jenkins has gathered during her marriage to former Buddhist monk Seong Yoon Lee.
A seeker in the truest sense of the word, Jenkins went to Korea on a whim, hoping to find the answers to her deepest, most pressing questions about how to find peace and her purpose in life. During her first months there, she sought out a remote temple, where she unknowingly crossed paths with an unassuming Buddhist monk. Months later, they met again by chance—and fell in love. Though their courtship was long, mostly secretive, and fraught with logistical and spiritual considerations, Jenkins and Lee were ultimately married in Korea in 2003. Through their relationship, Jenkins discovered the most important lesson of all: No one holds the keys to peace and happiness—you have walk your own path and find your own wisdom through your own experiences.
More than the improbable story of a girl from Seattle who found peace of mind (and love) with a Buddhist monk, Lessons from the Monk I Married is an approachable guide to the most elemental spiritual questions of our day.