Education About Asia: Online Archives

Questions of Heaven: The Chinese Journeys of an American Buddhist

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I have never traveled in China but have taught its ancient history for over ten years. I have also journeyed to Shikoku, Japan in order to walk the eighty-eight Buddhist temples as a pilgrim; it changed my outlook on life. Therefore, I was curious to read Questions of Heaven because I wondered if Ehrlich’s Chinese experiences would be similar to mine. They were not. For the most part,Ehrlich is disappointed and frustrated that her idealized expectations of her journey through two provinces in China clashed head-on with the realities of 1995 China, a country Westernizing as fast as possible and destroying its ties to the past without much thought. What made this book rewarding to me was her candid and eye-opening views of China which certainly washed away my naive concepts.