In Search of Buddha’s Daughters

book1Reviews and Comments

“With a rich and compelling narrative voice, it is a text with the power to inspire a new perspective on how to live, how to view those around us, and how to find deep and lasting happiness in what we already possess”—Financial Times

“[Toomey] travels around the world staying with nuns from Burma to California, drawing the reader inside their unexpectedly fascinating lives. . . . The women come from East and West and span a broad range of backgrounds, from princess to pilot, but all share a desire to shed worldly trappings and search within.”—Mara Hvistendahl, The Wall Street Journal

“Illuminating . . . As well as affording her interviewees ample room, Toomey admirably attempts to place herself in the footsteps of those she studies, adding depth to her reporting. In some ways, this story can be seen as the unraveling of Toomey’s idealized vision of Buddhist nuns. Instead of peaceful, woman-centered, enlightened people ready to offer healing to the world, Toomey finds the much more interesting story of Buddhist women throughout the world.”Times Literary Supplement

“Beguiling and moving” Literary Reviewbook2

“[An] ambitious and thoughtful book . . . Toomey paints vivid portraits of women who are emboldened in the face of gender discrimination.”—Tricycle

“Intelligent and informative, Toomey’s book reveals the hidden lives of women who have been neglected by Buddhist discourse. . . . Inspiring and necessary.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Toomey is at her best when bringing her journalist’s eyes to describe scenes and her investigative skills to portray the women she meets.”—Spirituality & Health

“The book’s perspective on Buddhism is rarely found in other sources, revealing room for invention and ingenuity within the tradition, as well as a great variety in women’s experiences as devotees. A worthwhile read for those seeking accounts on the intersection of feminism and Buddhism.”—Publishers Weekly

“Seamlessly narrated, this book reveals the varied paths available to women seeking to dedicate their lives to Buddhist practice.”Buddhadharma

“Toomey reveals the stories of women who personify strength, perseverance and peace in the face of discrimination, sexism, imprisonment, exile and war. A profound and moving portrait of Buddhism’s little-known spiritual sisters.”—BookTrib

“Toomey’s dedication to covering her subject thoroughly is a great gift to the reader: without having to go anywhere, we are able to intimately encounter a wide breadth of lives and traditions.”—Harvard Divinity Bulletin

In Search of Buddha’s Daughters is a gift for troubled times, a profoundly beautiful and inspiring spiritual odyssey that traces the lineages and present day lives of Buddhist nuns around the world. I am moved and heartened by these women, who dedicate their lives to the awakening of all beings, and deeply grateful, as well, to Christine Toomey, for bringing us their remarkable stories.”
Ruth Ozeki, Zen Buddhist priest and New York Times‒bestselling author of A Tale for the Time Being

In Search of Buddha’s Daughters beautifully depicts the quintessential personal journey to find freedom, as exemplified by Buddhist nuns. These stories of courage and inspiration may be contemporary–but they connect us to a timeless quest for a better life.”
Sharon Salzberg, author of Lovingkindness and Real Happiness

book3“Like all memorable nonfiction, In Search of Buddha’s Daughters is about storytelling—and Christine Toomey is a masterful storyteller. What emerges, Chaucer-like, is a cycle of stories within a story that irresistibly propels readers forward. The sum is even greater than the parts and a deeply moving experience.”
Mark Kurlansky, New York Times-bestselling author of over twenty books including Salt and Cod

“What a MARVELOUS JOURNEY shared with such sensitivity, eloquence, and heart! We meet extraordinary women through Christine’s kindness and courage—it is a privilege to read and travel with her. Everyone should try it—you will not be disappointed.”
Professor Robert Tenzin Thurman, author of Why the Dalai Lama Matters and Love Your Enemies

“In Search of Buddha’s Daughters takes us on a journey, both personal and historical, that explores the brave and challenging process of creating change, and equality, in Buddhist monastic life. A fabulous contribution to the growing literature exploring women in Buddhism.”

Lama Tsultrim Allione, founder and spiritual director of Tara Mandala


For reviews of UK Edition entitled The Saffron Road: A Journey with Buddha’s Daughters click here


“There are lessons for life on every step of The Saffron Road. Christine Toomey, long-time foreign correspondent and truth-teller to the powerful, travels in search of women from the Buddhist ways of dispassion, mindfulness and calm. She shows that philosophies are sometimes best understood from a suitcase, writing as she learns and learning as she writes.” Peter Stothard, author of Alexandria: The Last Nights of Cleopatra 


The Saffron Road is a mala – prayer beads as stories, theading together brave, pioneering and sometimes lost women. It has a wild cast, and Toomey dances elegantly between the nuns’ stories and her own journey in this graceful book of devotion and the devoted.” Justine Hardy, author of In the Valley of Mist