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Hidden Spring

A Buddhist Woman Confronts Cancer

Hidden Spring is the first book to demonstrate in moment-to-moment detail how Buddhist meditation and practice can help us cope with the ordeal of life-threatening disease. In 1995, Sandy Boucher - a well-known Buddhist and feminist writer - was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer. In vivid prose, she describes her year-long encounter with the disease, and reveals how meditation techniques and understanding of Buddhist principles prepared her to meet the mental and physical challenges of her illness.

This intimate account of the development of a Western Buddhist meditator is a triumphant tale of the human spirit in its struggle with mortality, and a guide for anyone looking for strength and comfort for their own struggles.

Sandy Boucher is the author of six books, including Turning the Wheel: American Women Creating the New Buddhism. She has traveled extensively in Asia, and lived for a short time as a nun on the Nuns Island in Sri Lanka founded and directed by Ayya Khema. Boucher is active in both feminism and Buddhism, and has worked with cancer patients since her 1995/96 bout with cancer. She lives in Oakland, California.

"Riveting.... And while the subject of this book is terrible to behold, the message is refreshing. Through this examination of her personal crisis, the author illustrates that anything and everything can be material for practice, that practice is unfailingly available to us in all things, at all times. Sandy Boucher weaves several stories with together with simplicity and grace. [She] has done us a service... This moving record of her journey lights a path on which many of us may one day find ourselves."

– Turning Wheel

"A fiercely honest, richly contemplative, deeply moving account of... Boucher's struggle with cancer and how her long-established practice of Buddhist meditation--and the loving support of others--helped her cope."

– Yoga Journal

"An unflinching, poignant, inspiring account...anyone who has been touched by a serious illness or a death in the family will identify with Boucher's touching story, and admire the author for her courage and perseverance in bringing this very personal tale to public attention. It will surely leave you in tears."

– Booklist

"An excellent resource not only for cancer patients but also for anyone facing serious illness."

– Library Journal

"This book, with its rare and beautiful courage, stuns me with gratitude. The presence of heart that Sandy Boucher discovers in her journey through hell shakes my life with joy. In Hidden Spring, her most important book, Sandy is the spunky and inspiring spiritual companion we all deserve."

– Joanna Macy, author of Widening Circles

"This is the story of a woman's boundless courage in the face of illness, the life-sustaining nature of her spiritual practice, and the tremendous importance of friends. Sandy Boucher sends lovingkindness to us, her readers, through her graceful, poignant writing and her wisdom. Her story can be savored by everyone, not just those who are confronting cancer."

– Anne Webster, Ph.D, Director of the Mind/Body Cancer Program, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

"Hidden Spring is an offering to all of us. We never know how deep our practice is until something difficult or terrible happens... This is a manual on how to receive help in whatever form it comes. Step by step we are brought along with Sandy in her struggles, and we come to understand how we might face with fearless compassion our own illness and those of our family and friends."

– Linda Ruth Cutts, Abbess, San Francisco Zen Center, Green Gulch Farm

"Hidden Spring is an intimate narrative that describes how Boucher's life experience and Buddhist practice informed her year of uncertainty... In the end, she is saved by her ability to see her mortality with honesty, to laugh and cry, and to live in the temporary setbacks and triumphs of each day."

– Shambhala Sun

"Boucher records with total honesty how she remained connected to 'the work at hand' of meeting the mental and physical challenges of her illness. Her words resound with the courage she found to make her own journey. Through mindfulness and great compassion, Boucher forges a way through fire to the 'hidden spring.'"


"Sandy Boucher was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer in 1995. Pulling no punches, she tells her story in down-to-earth, unflinching fashion in Hidden Spring: A Buddhist Woman Confronts Cancer. She shows how faith and spiritual practice helped her realize joy and healing."

– Arkansas Democrat Gazette