Set Free: From Banking to Buddhism in Bhutan
By Emma Slade
I am delighted that my book ‘Set Free’ was recently published and is easily available on Amazon and in bookshops.
It describes my journey from being a Fine Art student at Goldsmiths (1993) into a high flying career in finance and my decision to leave that career and ask more profound questions of what it is to be a human being and how I wished to contribute to the world. Eventually, these questions led to me becoming a Buddhist and finally being ordained in the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan as a Buddhist nun.
I wrote the book with one specific purpose to raise awareness of and funds for the UK charity I founded in 2015 called Opening Your Heart to Bhutan. In fact the book culminates with the events and profound meeting with one girl in rural Bhutan called Nakum with cerebral palsy. This meeting focused my mind and gave me the courage to put my prayers for compassion into action and found a charity. We focus on helping children with special needs in achievable, practical ways and the book has done wonders in helping the charity.
I am hoping that through it we will complete the building of a school for special needs in East Bhutan this year; it is three quarters built so far and a hugely happy place offering friendship and vocational training for children who might otherwise have much sadder lives.
At the time of writing the book in 2015, I was midway through intense Buddhist practice – specifically the building of 110,000 mandalas which is a practice done to cure the person of the sickness of selfishness. I would spend maybe two or three hours on this and then, in my breaks, continue writing the book which functioned as a time of relaxation and enjoyment away from the highly disciplined practices I was doing at the time. I would often put on songs from the time I was referring to in the chapter I was writing as I found this helped me to bring back the feelings of those times; in the case of Goldsmiths Annie Lennox was still flying high.
People have told me they find the book inspiring, not because they want to be a Buddhist nun, but in its honest sharing of the challenges and wonders of a human life.