Petals from the Sky
From the acclaimed author of Peach Blossom Pavilion comes a lush and lyrical novel of East and West--and of one young woman's search for her heart's true calling. . .
When twenty-year-old Meng Ning declares that she wants to be a Buddhist nun, her mother is aghast. In her eyes, a nun's life means only deprivation--"no freedom, no love, no meat." But to Meng Ning, it means the chance to control her own destiny, and to live in an oasis of music, art, and poetry far from her parents' unhappy union.
With an enigmatic nun known as Yi Kong, "Depending on Emptiness," as her mentor, Meng Ning spends the next ten years studying abroad, disdaining men, and preparing to enter the nunnery. Then, a fire breaks out at her Buddhist retreat, and Meng Ning is carried to safety by Michael Fuller, a young American doctor. The unprecedented physical contact stirs her curiosity. And as their tentative friendship grows intimate, Meng Ning realizes she must choose between the sensual and the spiritual life.
From the austere beauty of China's Buddhist temples to the whirlwind of Manhattan's social elite, and the brilliant bustle of Paris and Hong Kong, here is a novel of joy and heartbreak--and of the surprising paths that lead us where we most need to be.
Praise for Peach Blossom Pavilion
"Lovely and poignant. . .a novel of heartache, but also one of hope as the strong heroine never gives in." --Curled Up With A Good Book
"Beautiful and evocative, real and heart-wrenching. . .insightful and memorable." --Romantic Times
"A rare peek into an exotic culture that is thrilling, captivating, and moving." –Shobhan Bantwal
hospital, he told us, “He left and we don’t know where he is. Anyway, even if you could find him it’s still no use, because I’m sure his license is already suspended because of the accident. Maybe they put him in jail.” PART FOUR 37 Bad Karma After a few more days’ rest in Hong Kong, Michael felt well enough to go back to the States. Before he left, we’d talked about our wedding plans. Now I wondered why I had ever thought of breaking the engagement and leaving him! Suddenly
behind her seemingly emotionless face. The attractiveness hidden under her plain, oversized clothes and thick glasses. The cold demeanor to seal in her mental turmoil. Burning off her fingers to show nonattachment. Forcing open her third eye to be able to see ghosts—perhaps her boyfriend’s ghost. Her black-painted room. Her awkward squatting poses. Even her suicide attempt was not because she’d broken her vow by eating the wrong cake, but because she was still suffering. Only at the moment she
one, heavier than the rest, was a panther biting its own tail. She turned to look at me. “I like the spontaneity, the splashing, and the wildness!” Then she threw back her head and laughed a rich alto laugh, like temple chimes in the wind. A ponytailed guy stared at us. She winked back. We both turned to look at the painting. But I couldn’t concentrate. Lisa’s presence seemed to fill the space around me; I could almost feel the air next to me move in curves and splashes. She smelled of wild
thousand-armed Guan Yin. This cave felt so cool that I gave out a sigh of comfort as I stepped in. I took out a handkerchief and wiped the sweat from my face, then I turned to smile at my young friend. “Shifu, wouldn’t it be nice if we could now have a Coke with ice?” “Hmmm…” She thought for a while. “But I’d rather have iced green bean soup—that’s what really dissipates the heat.” “Not a bad idea, Shifu!” Still laughing, our eyes caught the statue. My friend gasped. I let out a small cry.
businessman? And had this Sunny Au become the main sponsor, or hufa—great protector of the Dharma—only because he thought the Golden Body was his guardian goddess? Suddenly a thought hit me hard. Could the vulgar man I’d seen dragging his big bottom into Yi Kong’s office be Sunny Au? Maybe the nuns’ world was much more complicated than I’d thought, or would want to admit. I remembered during our quarrel, Michael had said about Yi Kong: You really believe she got all her donations to build a