Lotus Bud

“[A] fiery debut. . . . [Nhi’s] perceptive textual criticism and willingness to call out bias are refreshing. [This book] is a valuable contribution to the literature on Buddhism.” —Publishers Weekly

Born into a family legacy of Buddhist spirituality in Việt Nam, Nhi Yến Đỗ Trần immigrated to the US at age ten. Budding Lotus in the West follows her journey and unveils the complexities of Buddhist teachings woven into the American fabric. With raw authenticity, Trần combines personal narratives, scholarly insights, and critical analysis to share her experiences with Buddhism and provide a fundamental understanding of key Buddhist concepts and traditions. Examining the interplay between ancient wisdom and contemporary challenges, she invites spiritual seekers and curious minds to relate these principles to their own lived realities.

For example, what would the Buddha say about abortion, gun, and LGBTQIA+ rights? Or about prejudice, discrimination, and gender equality? How can practitioners more skillfully navigate romance in the sangha community? Whether you are a longtime Buddhist practitioner or just beginning to explore the religion, Budding Lotus in the West offers wisdom, inspiration, and a path toward an evolving, authentic, and inclusive spirituality in the modern world.

Praise for Budding Lotus in the West

Finally! Nhi Yến Đỗ Trần has peeled back the layers of mysticism and misogyny that have obscured Buddhism—and its foundational tenets of love and inclusion—for far too long. This book may horrify the gatekeepers, but I suspect the Buddha is smiling. —Norea K. Hoeft


Budding Lotus in the West is an essential, thought-provoking addition to Buddhist literature. It provides a deep dive into the Buddha’s teachings, blending them with engaging stories of his disciples and Nhi’s insightful, occasionally hilarious personal anecdotes. Equally instructive and entertaining, it addresses modern issues like abortion, marriage equality, and racism. This book is needed for our world, and everyone—Buddhist or not—would benefit from reading and reflecting on its many helpful and timely lessons. —Vu Le, creator of NonprofitAF.com and founding board member of Community-Centric Fundraising


A captivating, engaging, and insightful journey—I couldn’t put it down and find myself eager to share it with my Buddhist friends. Nhi’s rich experience and personal accounts add a unique dimension, bridging traditional Buddhist practice with the contemporary American context. Her approach of treating ancient wisdom as hypotheses to be validated through individual experiences offers a refreshing perspective. Budding Lotus in the West is an invaluable guide for anyone navigating the complexities of modern spirituality. —Jeremy Sherman, member of Cherry Blossom Sangha & former Buddhist monastic aspirant


Nhi Yến Đỗ Trần gives us a precious gift: clarity that is born of her deep spiritual practice, scholarship, and humanity. She reveals a spirituality in its purest form—stripped of the same toxic additives that the Buddha rejected. Nhi welcomes us into her own uneasy journey toward enlightenment and compels us to see clearly by removing our egos—the egos that have, over centuries, extinguished many aspects of the female form. Whether you are curious about Buddhism or a devout follower, this book will motivate your desire to seek truth in everything. —Inger Piena Brinck, staff to President Clinton’s Advisory Council on Ending Violence Against Women; speaker at World Bank Women’s Peace Conference; former cabinet member of Washington governor Jay Inslee


A reckoning on the hypocrisy and sexism in Buddhist organizations. With candor and wit, Nhi offers brave insight and practical solutions while exposing the underbelly of this beloved tradition. —Susan Lieu, author of The Manicurist’s Daughter


Regardless of your familiarity with Buddhism, Budding Lotus in the West brims with smart insights and a nuanced analysis of a globally revered religion. In our polarized world, Nhi’s perspective is a breath of fresh air—firm yet kind, imbued with the heartfelt sincerity of a dedicated Buddhist. Beyond its depth, her personal narrative is endearing, relatable, and delightfully witty. —Julie Pham, PhD, creator of the 7 Forms of Respect; CEO of CuriosityBased.com; co-owner of Northwest Vietnamese News


About Nhi

Nhi Yến Đỗ Trần Headshot

Nhi Yến Đỗ Trần immigrated with her family from Việt Nam to the United States at age ten through the Humanitarian Operation Program. Now residing in Seattle, she cofounded Cherry Blossom Sangha, a mindfulness community dedicated to fostering inner serenity, mutual understanding, and universal compassion.


Her diverse exploration of Buddhism, from Theravāda and Mahāyāna traditions to secular applications, has been enriched by pilgrimages to India and Nepal and a residential internship at a Zen monastery. Her forthcoming book, Budding Lotus in the West, reflects these experiences, focusing on gender equality and social change.


Nhi is also a devoted patron of Tu Viện Giác Hải, a monastery in Khánh Hòa founded by her great-uncle, the Venerable Thích Viên Giác. She holds a master’s in public administration from Seattle University and enjoys exploring culinary delights from around the globe, always with a side of sriracha or chili pepper.


Nhi is represented by literary agent Leticia Gomez of Savvy Literary.

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Praise for Budding Lotus in the West

In this powerful and timely collection of insights, Nhi Yến Đỗ Trần examines centuries of Buddhist doctrine through a contemporary feminist lens. With intelligence, compassion, and wry wit, she interprets the Buddha’s teachings as they relate to current issues such as abortion, gun rights, and gender equality. Nhi combines scholarly analysis with personal experience and a dash of skepticism, handling her topics with both the firm hand they warrant and a light touch that makes for compelling and approachable reading. What results is an engaging and refreshing perspective on Buddhist philosophy for committed followers and a fresh and intriguing insight for the curious. —Lisa Manterfield, author of All Our Lies Are True

Black divider

Nhi Yến Đỗ Trần’s writing exhibits a deep courage—both in her critical examination of the contradictions within Buddhist philosophy across all major lineages, and in sharing her complex, personal journey on the path to liberation. Western Buddhist communities stand to gain much from Nhi’s insights. —Nathan Bombardier, Cherry Blossom Sangha co-facilitator

Black divider

A gentle yet firm reminder of women’s equal place in Buddhism and life. Women have been integral to religious traditions since time immemorial, yet their contributions have often been overlooked. Following the actionable steps and practical ideas outlined in this book paves the way for us to collectively redress this historical under-recognition and under-appreciation. —Erin Okuno, creator of Fakequity.com and principal at Okuno Consulting

Black divider

A bow of gratitude to Nhi Yến Đỗ Trần for her insightful critique of Buddhism in the West. Interweaving her own compelling story as a Vietnamese immigrant and feminist trying to find a place within Buddhist tradition with historical scholarship and light touches of humor, Nhi shines a steady light on the sexism that often infuses practice communities and invites Buddhist practitioners everywhere to embrace a compassionate, socially just community of practice for the benefit of all beings and the earth. —Holly J. Hughes, author of The Pen & the Bell: Mindful Writing in a Busy World

Black divider

A timely look at modern issues and concerns in light of traditional Buddhism, illuminating Buddhism from a personal and cultural perspective. Nhi intertwines her personal story of being raised in a traditional Buddhist family with a necessary new understanding of ancient Buddhist texts and teachings. —Eileen Kiera, Dharma teacher and founder of Mountain Lamp Community

Black divider
Intimate, profound, personal, and universal, Yến Nhi—the “little canary”—breaks free from confinement to embark on a journey that resonates with the curious child in all of us. Balancing a rich understanding of Buddhism with the nuances of the American psyche, she challenges flawed narratives with impeccably researched history and tackles internalized oppression, abortion, and gun rights with deep insights, grace, and humor. For those seeking solace, understanding, and stories of love, this book of humility and hope contains them all. —Melissa Muir, contributor to the National Center for State Courts on building trust and inclusive cultures
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The book cover of "Budding Lotus in the West: Buddhism from an Immigrant's Feminist Perspective" by Nhi Yến Đỗ Trần.

Enjoy the first 10 pages of Budding Lotus in the West for free!

Contact & Resources

For media inquiries:
Chloe Wertz, Senior Publicist

For sales inquiries:
Annette Hughes, National Sales Director

Knee :) is fluent in English, Vietnamese, and a wee bit—very wee bit—of French. She can also be reached at contact[@]kneetran.com.