9th Ave: Chenxing Han and Trent Walker

Wednesday, April 12, 2023 - 7:00pm

Cover of Chenxing Han's memoir, one long listening. The cover is black with gold wavy lines on the top and bottom. Cover of Trent Walker's book, Until Nirvana's Time. The cover had a golden sky, with tree-covered Cambodian hills beneath it.
Join us on Wednesday, April 12 at 7pm PT when Chenxing Han and Trent Walker celebrate their latest books one long listening and Until Nirvana's Time, at 9th Ave!

Masks Encouraged for In-Person Attendance
Or watch online/Livestream link available soon


Praise for one long listening
one long listening is a lyric wonder, a joyful wandering, an ode to unknowing, a love letter to a friend, a still pool of grief, a fuzzy sock, a dancing crane. That a memoir can be all of these things and more is a testament to its author’s boundless curiosity. Chenxing Han beautifully channels Simone Weil’s definition of prayer as ‘absolutely unmixed attention.’ She embraces misspellings, mishearings, and misunderstandings as pathways toward connection, while offering a fresh counterpoint to misrepresentations of hospital chaplaincy and American Buddhism. We need more books like this: a tender and patient act of care.”—Simon Han, author of Nights When Nothing Happened

“Chenxing Han’s luminous spiritual practice of friendship, as the Buddha said, is not ‘half of the holy life—it is the whole of it.’ Her journey as a Buddhist chaplain is grounded, unmade, regrounded by an immense understanding of her relations with other humans and nonhumans as instances of companionship, transient yet eternal in its recurring resonance. Each meeting unfurls with tenderness, intimacy, generosity. This sustained climate of sacred concordance—with friends, strangers, patients, teachers, winds, birds, trees—is a flower nourished by, as Han writes, one long listening. In a world deprived of listening and overfilled with pain and grief, Han’s habit of listening is a habit of love.
Han’s writing, like her presence, is a radiant stream of wakeful, loving life. She plays with multiple layers of language, translation, legibility, and karmic force as she listens to the poetry, calamity, comedy, and mystery of life unfolding. The dreamlike vignettes of her own and others’ moments of despair and delight, sickness and stability, flow like a vast river, with no beginning, no end, now terribly agitated, now exquisitely calm. Reader: Exhale deeply, empty yourself to listen to Han listening. Watch how bodily and psychic pains could turn into smiles in this magic river of long, long listening.”—Quyên Nguyễn-Hoàng, translator of Chronicles of a Village by Nguyễn Thanh Hiện

About one long listening
For readers of The Wild Edge of Sorrow and Crying in H-Mart--a profound and searching memoir of life, loss, grief, and renewal from one of American Buddhism’s most vital new voices.

How do we grieve our losses? How can we care for our spirits? one long listening offers enduring companionship to all who ask these searing, timeless questions.

Immigrant daughter, novice chaplain, bereaved friend: author Chenxing Han (Be the Refuge) takes us on a pilgrimage through the wilds of grief and laughter, pain and impermanence, reconnecting us to both the heartache and inexplicable brightness of being human.

Eddying around three autumns of Han’s life, one long listening journeys from a mountaintop monastery in Taiwan to West Coast oncology wards, from oceanside Ireland to riverfront Phnom Penh. Through letters to a dying friend, bedside chaplaincy visits, and memories of a migratory childhood, Han's startling, searching memoir cuts a singular portrait of a spiritual caregiver in training.

Just as we touch the depths, bracing for resolution, Han’s swift, multilingual prose sweeps us back to unknowingness: 不知最親切. Not knowing is most intimate. Chinese mothers, hillside graves. A dreamed olive tree, a lost Siberian crane. The music of scripts and silence. These shards--bright, broken, giddy, aching--are mirrors to our own lives in joy and sorrow.

A testament to enduring connection by a fresh and urgent new literary voice, one long listening asks fearlessly into the stories we inhabit, the hopes we relinquish, and what it means simply to be, to and for the ones we love.

About Chenxing Han
Chenxing Han is the author of the widely reviewed Be the Refuge: Raising the Voices of Asian American Buddhists (North Atlantic Books, 2021) and one long listening: a memoir of grief, friendship, and spiritual care (North Atlantic Books 2023). She is a regular contributor to Lion’s Roar, Tricycle, Buddhadharma, and other publications, and a frequent speaker and workshop leader at schools, universities, and Buddhist communities across the nation. She has received fellowships from Hedgebrook, Hemera Foundation, the Lenz Foundation, and the Institute of Buddhist Studies. 

Chenxing holds a BA from Stanford University and an MA in Buddhist Studies from the Graduate Theological Union. Her chaplaincy training began in Cambodia and continued in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she completed a yearlong residency on an oncology ward. She is a coteacher of Listening to the Buddhists in Our Backyard at Phillips Academy Andover and a co-organizer of May We Gather: A National Buddhist Memorial for Asian American Ancestors. 

Praise for Until Nirvana's Time
“In this heartfelt and brilliant series of beautiful translations, Trent Walker allows the creativity and profundity of pre-modern Cambodian poets to take center stage. He also provides readers with a detailed explanation of how these poems reveal fundamental qualities of Cambodian Buddhism—offering expert commentary on virtue, merit, and gratitude, as well as beliefs in the power of ghosts, deities, and protective ritual. It is erudite while remaining accessible. It is respectful of local ways of expression, while providing an astute outside perspective. It should become the model of discerning and ethical scholarship. There is simply no other book like this and it sparkles with insight gained over nearly twenty years of research. With this book, Walker emerges as the leader in a new generation of scholars of Southeast Asian Buddhism and literature.”—Justin McDaniel, author of Wayward Distractions: Ornament, Emotion, Zombies and the Study of Buddhism in Thailand

“Trent Walker’s hauntingly beautiful Cambodian Dharma songs bring ancient wisdom to today's troubled world hungering for spiritual truth and guidance. At once disturbing and tender, Until Nirvana’s Time maps the universal human experience of grief and loss along Buddhist themes of impermanence, gratitude, and transformation. With spiritual urgency, the songs stir us from complacency, invite us to settle relationships, and seek peace in our hearts before death strikes. We owe a debt of gratitude to Walker and his teachers for this magnificent collection, which merits a place alongside the Therigatha in its contribution to Buddhist and world literature.”—Wendy Garling, author of The Woman Who Raised the Buddha: The Extraordinary Life of Mahaprajapati

About Until Nirvana's Time
A unique Buddhist tradition, accessible in English for the first time—translations of forty-five Cambodian Dharma songs, with contextualizing essays and a link to audio of stunning vocal performances.

Until Nirvana’s Time is the first collection of traditional Cambodian Buddhist literature available in English, presenting original translations of forty-five poems. Introduced, translated, and contextualized by scholar and vocalist Trent Walker, the Dharma songs in this book reveal a distinctive Southeast Asian genre of devotion, mourning, and contemplation. Their soaring melodies have inspired Cambodians for generations, whether in daily prayers or all-night rituals.
Trained in oral and written lineages in Cambodia, Walker presents a carefully curated range of poems from the seventeenth to twentieth centuries that capture the transformative wisdom of the Khmer Buddhist tradition. Many of the poems, having been transcribed from old cassette tapes or fragile bark-paper manuscripts, are printed here for the first time. A link to recordings of selected songs in English and Khmer accompanies the book. These frank and compelling poems offer mirrors to our own lives—even as they challenge Buddhist conventions of how to die, how to grieve, and how to repay the ones we love.

About Trent Walker
Trent Walker is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Ho Center for Buddhist Studies and a Lecturer in Religious Studies at Stanford University. A scholar of Southeast Asian Buddhist chant, literature, and manuscripts, he has published widely on Khmer, Lao, Pali, Thai, and Vietnamese Buddhist texts and recitation practices. He has trained in Cambodian Buddhist chant since 2005 and is a regular speaker at temples, retreat centers, and universities.

Pre-Order Now Badge
one long listening: a memoir of grief, friendship, and spiritual care By Chenxing Han Cover Image
ISBN: 9781623177850
Availability: Coming Soon. Pre-Order Now!
Published: North Atlantic Books - April 11th, 2023

For readers of The Wild Edge of Sorrow and Crying in H-Mart--a profound and searching memoir of life, loss, grief, and renewal from one of American Buddhism’s most vital new voices.

How do we grieve our losses? How can we care for our spirits? one long listening offers enduring companionship to all who ask these searing, timeless questions.

Until Nirvana's Time: Buddhist Songs from Cambodia By Trent Walker, Kate Crosby (Foreword by), Kate Crosby (Foreword by) Cover Image
By Trent Walker, Kate Crosby (Foreword by), Kate Crosby (Foreword by)
ISBN: 9781645471349
Availability: Click the TITLE to view store availability
Published: Shambhala - December 27th, 2022

A unique Buddhist tradition, accessible in English for the first time—translations of forty-five Cambodian Dharma songs, with contextualizing essays and a link to audio of stunning vocal performances.

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