New Book, A Year of Silence, to Be Launched at Biblioteca
By Irineo Muñoz
Dh. Kiranada, artist, contemplative, and ordained Buddhist from New England, set out in New Zealand on a brave adventurous leap of faith at a remote retreat where she would remain for a year in self-imposed silence.
Looking for answers to questions she had carried since childhood, including—what would happen if she were alone and by herself for twelve months without the support of friends and everyday distractions. Would she survive, go mad—continue to create? What new things would she discover, and who would be her teachers? Would her long meditation history and studies ground her? Could she persevere?
Preparing to depart, Kiranada looked for encouragement from those who had lived the grind of isolation before—Robert Stroud, the “Birdman of Alcatraz,” who spent 43 years in solitary confinement. She looked to the stories of the Christian Desert Fathers and Mothers, hermits of third-century Egypt. She read about the Tibetan recluse Milarepa, the theologian Thomas Merton, and Admiral Richard Byrd’s explorations of Antarctica. She studied Jetsuma Tenzin Palmo’s three years in a Himalayan cave and PhD student Bob Kull’s isolation for a year in Patagonia.
Kiranada will share her recently published book A Year of Silence at a book launch on Thursday, March 7 at the Biblioteca. The book includes inner reflections on loneliness, isolation, fear, patience, positivity and self-discovery that filled the pages of the daily journal Kiranada kept.
During her retreat, Kiranada dealt with limited food, hurricane winds, the psychotic breakdown of another person on retreat there, night visits from local possums—all in silence. Following the Tibetan retreat dictum, “if you’re sick, you’re sick—if you die, you die,” she promised herself to not leave until the year had passed. In the end, she discovered a blossoming of deep open-heartedness that she carries still.
A Year of Silence has been called a, life-changing read—clear, insightful, and honest. It is the vastness, beauty, and suffering of solitary practice, as well as nature observed with the tender sensitivity of a visual artist.
“May this perceptive book of Anagarika Kiranada inspire others to likewise set aside some time for spiritual practice, away from the constant distraction of our daily lives,” says one of the people Kiranada studied to prepare for her journey, Jetsuma Tenzin Palmo.
Join us to explore these questions and ideas with the author. The event is free. Some books will be available. See www.kiranada.com for more information.
A Year of Silence
Thu, Mar 7, 3:15pm