Episode 41 :: Faith Adiele :: Meeting Faith: The Forest Journals of a Black Buddhist Nun

| December 3, 2010 | 2 Comments

Faith Adiele

Faith Adiele

Faith Adiele joins us to speak about her experiences as your average Nigerian Nordic farm girl Buddhist nun in Thailand.

Picture this: you’re a complete outsider. You don’t fit in because of your ethnicity, your background, your religion, your gender, everything. And you take that a giant step further by going to another country, where you’re even more alien and don’t even speak the same language.

Many of us have been or felt at some point in our lives that we were isolated in the crowd. Perhaps only a few of us have taken that situation, and used it to deepen our meditation practice. Today’s guest is one of those unique individuals. Faith Adiele is the co-editor of Coming of Age Around the World: A Multicultural Anthology, which contains 24 international stories ideal for college and high school classrooms. Her travel memoir, Meeting Faith: The Forest Journals of a Black Buddhist Nun (W.W. Norton), won the 2005 PEN Beyond Margins Award for Best Memoir (of 2004). The PBS documentary “My Journey Home” is based on her life growing up in a Nordic-American family and then traveling to Nigeria to meet her father and siblings. Other projects include The Student Body: A Novel, a trashy thriller co-written with three Harvard pals, and two children’s readers on urban Africa.

A popular speaker and contributor to O and Essence magazines, Faith has appeared on NPR, in a television ad for TIAA-CREF, on the Tavis Smiley show, and at universities around the world. She currently serves as the Distinguished Visiting Writer at Mills College in Oakland, California and is at work on a social/cultural memoir about her Nigerian Nordic American heritage. Recently she was chosen as one of Marie Claire magazine’s “5 Women to Learn From.”

So, sit back, relax, and have a nice Cha Dum Yen. The recipe for this Thai drink is on the episode page.

:: Discuss this episode ::



“I knew what they were saying was wrong, but there was no vocabulary to challenge that.” — Faith Adiele




Web Links


Music for This Episode

Hon Shirabe

Rodrigo Rodriguez

The music heard in the middle of the podcast is from Rodrigo Rodriguez. The tracks used in this episode are:

  • Aki

Tags: ,

Category: Book Reviews, The Secular Buddhist Podcast

Ted Meissner

About the Author ()

Ted Meissner is the host of the podcast Present Moment: Mindfulness Practice and Science. He has been a meditator since the early 90’s, has been interviewed for Books and Ideas, Mindful Lives, and The Whole Leader podcasts, spoken about mindfulness with various groups including Harvard Humanist Hub, and has written for Elephant Journal and The International Journal of Whole Person Care. He is the Executive Director of the Secular Buddhist Association, host of the SBA’s official podcast The Secular Buddhist, and is on the Advisory Board for the Spiritual Naturalist Society. Ted’s background is in the Zen and Theravada traditions, he is a regular speaker on interfaith panel discussions, and is interested in examining the evolution of contemplative practice in contemporary culture. Ted teaches Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care & Society, where he is the Manager of Online Programming and Community Development.

Comments (2)

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  1. Jennifer Hawkins Jennifer Hawkins says:

    This was an amazing listen too! How do you even find cool people like this, lol?

    Anyways, I find myself awed by her strength. I was born in the ’80s and I cracked under a lot of the pressures that she thrived in (as a multi-racial person). Also, it sounds like she had a really positive experience as a nun. It makes me want to seek her out and study under her… a Secular Buddhist nunnery with an older multiracial woman who survived all of the pressure to lead the way and be a mentor. It’d be amazing!

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