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Binding: Paperback
ISBN: 9781571312549
Pages: 344
Publish Date: January 2001
Genre: Nonfiction

The Barn at the End of the World

The Apprenticeship of a Quaker, Buddhist Shepherd


BY Mary Rose O'Reilley

Deciding that her life was insufficiently grounded in real-world experience, Mary Rose O’Reilley, a Quaker reared as a Catholic, embarked on a year of tending sheep. In this often hilarious book, O’Reilley describes her year in the barn as well as an extended visit to a Buddhist monastery in France. She seeks, in both barn and monastery, a spirituality based not in “climbing out of the body” but rather in existing fully in the world.

For O’Reilley, a smallish woman, that means learning how to “flip” very large sheep, inoculate them, and help them lamb (among other, earthier things). It means absorbing the teachings of Thich N’hat Hanh and the practice of Mayana Buddhism, which emphasizes social engagement, while also allowing herself to crave pastries, resent her roommate, and wish for more food.

"At the beginning of this year,” she writes, “I had no idea why I felt led to light out into the unfamiliar territory of sheep farming and Buddhist practice” By the end, she has found the “deep peace of animal creation” and a way to live consciously in the world.

OTHER BOOKS BY THIS AUTHOR:

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The Love of Impermanent Things

At midlife, Mary Rose O'Reilley writes, we are called to an “archaeology of memory”—turning over a potsherd here, a fragment there—to assemble something whole out of the messin
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The Love of Impermanent Things

At midlife, Mary Rose O'Reilley writes, we are called to an “archaeology of memory”—turning over a potsherd here, a fragment there—to assemble something whole out of the messin
Read more ›

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mary Rose O'Reilley

Professor, musician, and writer, Mary Rose O'Reilley has published many books of nonfiction informed by her own unique spirituality that explore the world we live in.

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