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“If there is a candidate for ‘Living Buddha’ on earth today, it is Thich Nhat Hanh.”                                                                                                  – Richard Baker-roshi   In The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching, now with added material and new insights, Thich Nhat Hanh introduces us to the core teachings of Buddhism and shows us that the Buddh “If there is a candidate for ‘Living Buddha’ on earth today, it is Thich Nhat Hanh.”                                                                                                  – Richard Baker-roshi   In The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching, now with added material and new insights, Thich Nhat Hanh introduces us to the core teachings of Buddhism and shows us that the Buddha’s teachings are accessible and applicable to our daily lives. With poetry and clarity, Nhat Hanh imparts comforting wisdom about the nature of suffering and its role in creating compassion, love, and joy – all qualities of enlightenment. Covering such significant teachings as the Four Noble Truths, the Noble Eightfold Path, the Three Doors of Liberation, the Three Dharma Seals, and the Seven Factors of Awakening, The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching is a radiant beacon on Buddhist thought for the initiated and uninitiated alike.   “Thich Nhat Hanh shows us the connection between personal, inner peace, and peace on earth.”                                      – His Holiness the Dalai Lama   “Thich Nhat Hanh is a real poet.”                                     – Robert Lowell


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“If there is a candidate for ‘Living Buddha’ on earth today, it is Thich Nhat Hanh.”                                                                                                  – Richard Baker-roshi   In The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching, now with added material and new insights, Thich Nhat Hanh introduces us to the core teachings of Buddhism and shows us that the Buddh “If there is a candidate for ‘Living Buddha’ on earth today, it is Thich Nhat Hanh.”                                                                                                  – Richard Baker-roshi   In The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching, now with added material and new insights, Thich Nhat Hanh introduces us to the core teachings of Buddhism and shows us that the Buddha’s teachings are accessible and applicable to our daily lives. With poetry and clarity, Nhat Hanh imparts comforting wisdom about the nature of suffering and its role in creating compassion, love, and joy – all qualities of enlightenment. Covering such significant teachings as the Four Noble Truths, the Noble Eightfold Path, the Three Doors of Liberation, the Three Dharma Seals, and the Seven Factors of Awakening, The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching is a radiant beacon on Buddhist thought for the initiated and uninitiated alike.   “Thich Nhat Hanh shows us the connection between personal, inner peace, and peace on earth.”                                      – His Holiness the Dalai Lama   “Thich Nhat Hanh is a real poet.”                                     – Robert Lowell

30 review for The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching: Transforming Suffering into Peace, Joy, and Liberation

  1. 5 out of 5

    Chris Shank

    First, I want to make a distinction between what I’d like to call ‘cultural Buddhism’ and ‘secular Buddhism’. Secular Buddhism, much like secular Christianity, is a distilled version of cultural Buddhism made to fit the vogues of our society. Offensive elements are purged, unreasonable stories and precepts dismissed, and what you have left is a perfectly digestible form of the original that now can be taught as an elective for school credit. Cultural Buddhism, as I’ve deemed it, is Buddhism as r First, I want to make a distinction between what I’d like to call ‘cultural Buddhism’ and ‘secular Buddhism’. Secular Buddhism, much like secular Christianity, is a distilled version of cultural Buddhism made to fit the vogues of our society. Offensive elements are purged, unreasonable stories and precepts dismissed, and what you have left is a perfectly digestible form of the original that now can be taught as an elective for school credit. Cultural Buddhism, as I’ve deemed it, is Buddhism as religion, and it is chiefly concerned with the era and circumstances in which it arose. You cannot separate this kind of Buddhism from its environment, from its birthplace. Mythologist Joseph Campbell reminds us that to truly understand the meaning of a story or religion, we have to allow all symbols and elements of story to play out fully in all of their complex interrelations with other elements in the narrative. Only then will the full flavor of the symbols be drawn out, and one can understand what the story-teller was getting at. Freud was only stating the obvious when he affirmed that religious doctrines bear the imprint of the times in which they arose. Buddhism awoke during a climate of ancient-eastern suffering. All of Buddhism is, at its heart, an answer to, and an attempt to rise above, human suffering. The story of the origin of Buddhism might reveal more. Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha ("the awakened one"), was a prince in the northeastern Indian subcontinent sometime between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE. The story goes that after hearing a prophesy about his son’s destiny to either become the next king OR renounce his inheritance and become an austere holy man, Siddhartha’s father tried to keep his son within the palace walls so that Siddhartha wouldn’t forsake him as the heir. At age 29, Siddhartha finally left the palace and was confronted with the suffering of his world in what has become known as “Four Sights”: an old man, a sick man, a corpse and, finally, an ascetic holy man who was content and at peace with the world. This was enough to compel Siddhartha into a similar lifestyle to pursue peace and enlightenment. After discovering that years of meditation and asceticism alone did not end suffering, he had an experience under a tree during which he is said to have attained enlightenment which was to become the mean between self-indulgence and self-mortification. He then began to spread the word that through enlightenment one can end/transform suffering. “I teach only suffering and the transformation of suffering” (Buddha). This is exactly the reason why Thich Nhat Hanh said Buddhism “is born out of [our] suffering, not from academic studies”. Cultural Buddhism isn’t a western, rational attempt to reduce the universe to a set of definable laws that can be manipulated to build a better cosmos (isn’t that rationalism in a nutshell?) Rather, in its Eastern roots, it’s existential, it’s intuitive, and it’s a practical technique of working with the universe we have. It is ‘the people’s’ guide to find inherent beauty in this world, and live life without the metaphysical obsession of worrying about another(‘s) life. Truth, love and happiness start with me. That’s really enough to keep us busy for a while. Buddhism teaches a four-stage cessation of suffering called “The Four Noble Truths”: 1) Acknowledge suffering in our lives and around us, 2) Recognize the origin of suffering (how it came to be), 3) Understand that you can stop suffering (or be transformed by it to rise above it), and 4) Practice The Noble Eightfold Path which is essentially right thinking and right action in all its forms. There’s nothing to be afraid of here. Buddhism is first and foremost a pragmatic approach to ending suffering in our lives. Enlightenment is emphasized because suffering is part how we view the world, and part how we interact in the world. Instead of begging the world to become less hostile towards us, or blaming our problems on the evil actions of others, we must first realize that suffering begins with us. It’s a very personal approach that emphasizes each individual’s responsibility to end suffering within themselves, and not wait on the world around them to change first. In the words of Buddha Jackson, it’s ‘starting with the man in the mirror’. I hear it coming. Go ahead and say it, “What about Nirvana? Isn’t that spiritual nihilism?” That’s what you were going to say, wasn’t it? WAS’NT IT??? Well, the answer is, ‘yes and no’. Nirvana means “extinction”, but according to my pal Thich Nhat Hanh, nirvana means first and foremost the extinction of ‘signs’ or concepts. The Buddha taught that in all perception is some deception. Sound familiar? “We see as if through a darkened glass.” In other words, as soon as we have observed something with our human senses, we have branded it with our finite bias. Nirvana is the entrance of ‘being’ into a realm where our concept of ‘being’ is blown wide open, and of course the Buddhist believe this is positive. What I can especially appreciate about Buddhism is the practice of mindfulness. The Buddha said that if we could fully appreciate the beauty of a single flower, our lives would be changed forever. Why? Because we would enter into the secret of the universe. Says our author, “If we see the truth of one thing in the cosmos, we see the nature of the cosmos.” While reading this book I was surprised to stumble upon an idea that was identical to a sentence in a C.S. Lewis book I recently finished, The Great Divorce: “This moment contains all moments”. The concept in Lewis’ book was applied to our living this life as if it was the beginning of our Heaven or Hell, for who would want to meet a God in Heaven that had not really ‘meant’ earth and its sorrows? Thich Nhat Hanh echoes this, “The present moment contains all future moments”, “you don’t have to die to enter nirvana or the Kingdom of God. You only have to dwell deeply in the present moment, right now” and “Nirvana is not the absence of life. Nirvana [is] in this very life.” Very close the words of Christ, “The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand”, though, to be fair, not everyone wanted to be implicitly included in Christ’s Kingdom. Now, this is not to say that Buddhism extends itself no further than temporal ‘common sense’ and mindfulness to eliminate suffering and experience joy in life. In its extremities, it certainly catapults to metaphysical speculation and is ‘religious’ in the plurality of its doctrinal lists. But primarily, it is simple and does not conflict with the metaphysical/practical teachings of other religions. It might be criticized as being too general and non-invasive intellectually. It, in my opinion, celebrates mystery without attempting to resolve it, and is behavior-based in its approach to a solution to the problem of soul-lostness. As far as its fundamentals are concerned, I can’t think of hardly a single element in ‘basic Buddhism’ which even a dogmatic Christian would have good ground to dispute its primary teaching. My summary of ‘basic, cultural Buddhism’—healthy bodies, healthy mind, healthy life. Stop your cycles of suffering, experience the wonder and joy of life every moment and every day. It is through your experience of life that you will find doors opening to a larger experience of life, and ever-expanding vista. Not bad, not bad at all.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jake

    If you're looking for an erudite, comprehensive overview of mainstream Buddhist thought, "The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching" is an adequate choice, but prepare for a long, hard slog. Thich Nhat Hanh is at his best when he's telling stories from his own life— his time in Vietnam during the war, or stories about the Buddhist community he started in France. Unfortunately, most of the book isn't told from his personal point of view— it's an academic rundown of major Buddhist ideas (and endlessly li If you're looking for an erudite, comprehensive overview of mainstream Buddhist thought, "The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching" is an adequate choice, but prepare for a long, hard slog. Thich Nhat Hanh is at his best when he's telling stories from his own life— his time in Vietnam during the war, or stories about the Buddhist community he started in France. Unfortunately, most of the book isn't told from his personal point of view— it's an academic rundown of major Buddhist ideas (and endlessly listy— sure, you've heard of the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path, but maybe the reason you're not familiar with The Seven Factors of Awakening and Twelve Links of Inderdependent Co-Arising is because all of the other people who heard about them died of boredom before they could pass on those truths.) If you're looking for more approachable Dharma teachings, try Pema Chodron.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Clif Brittain

    I loved this book. I think I love Buddhism, but please, please, please, don't make me take a test on it. When I decided I wanted to know more about Buddhism, it was because of my developing interest in yoga. I can't tell you how exactly Buddhism is related to yoga, but it surely is. First of all, I find no need for faith in yoga or Buddhism. It works. I practice yoga, I feel better. I practice Buddhist principles, I feel better. No faith involved. Compare this with Judaism. You believe in God? Pro I loved this book. I think I love Buddhism, but please, please, please, don't make me take a test on it. When I decided I wanted to know more about Buddhism, it was because of my developing interest in yoga. I can't tell you how exactly Buddhism is related to yoga, but it surely is. First of all, I find no need for faith in yoga or Buddhism. It works. I practice yoga, I feel better. I practice Buddhist principles, I feel better. No faith involved. Compare this with Judaism. You believe in God? Prove it. Abraham, sacrifice your son. Compare it with Christianity. You believe in God? He sacrificed his son. A little stiff to my way of thinking. Or guilt. I was raised a Presbyterian and converted to Catholicism in my thirties. Either way, original sin. You're a goner from day one. Presby - predestination. Catholic - although baptism receives you into the church, you get a few years, then you have to start confessing sins. Sins - in your thoughts (thoughts!), in your words, and what you have done, and what you haven't done. Did I miss anything? Is there any moment when I am not sinning? Buddhism has a few guiding principles. Actually more than a few. Maybe several thousand few principles. But you can get by with a dozen or so. Hanh starts off with the Four Noble Principles and the Eightfold Path. But these dozen emphasize conduct. Good conduct, not guilt. Wrong action (nothing about wrong thoughts)? Think about it, do better. No shame, no guilt. Different than Catholicism. So why haven't I become a Buddhist? No creator. I first picked up a book by the Dalai Lama because he is the spiritual leader for many Buddhists. Within the first three paragraphs, I became fully cognizant that there is no creator in his Buddhism. I tried to wrap my mind around this, and I couldn't. I thought about those three paragraphs for about a week and still couldn't fathom no creator. I figured maybe reading the Dalai Lama was sort of like reading the Pope. Dense, unrelenting, and no prospect of fun. So I looked for something more approachable. My local library had two dozen or so books on Buddhism, half of which were checked out (an auspiciously high proportion). I liked the title and Thich Nhat Hanh has written many books with similarly direct and interesting titles. He starts with the basics and gets into more and more complex structures, but the structures are all inter-related. One loops back to and includes another, which is related to others, which include others. For example, impermanence. One of the Three Dharma Seals. That person you love? Always changing, so love that person right now, for everything they are. Not for what they were, or you hope they will become. Appreciate that now, for tomorrow they will be different, and so will you. The second of the three seals is nonself. That you that existed when you started reading this screed? Gone - you breathed. The oxygen atoms you inhaled became part of the new you and that houseplant has become you through the CO2 you exhaled. Over the course of your life, every atom has been exchanged on a regular basis. Third seal is nirvana, not to be confused with the dope enhanced nirvana experienced about in smokey rooms (not that I would know anything about this). "Nirvana is the extinction of all notions. Birth is a notion. Death is a notion. Being is a notion. Nonbeing is a notion." Do you see how all three are related? One exists within the other two and those two are present in the other two, and all are one and one are all. The fun thing is that this is explained fairly well, and if you are alert and patient, you understand everything up to the summation, where we are BEING HERE NOW. If you are here instantly and totally now, nothing came before. There was no creator. You are part of the universe and the universe is part of you and there was no creator. Sorry, because there is no leap of faith, I can't swallow this whole. In Catholicism, too much faith. In Buddhism too little faith. This much is clear - Buddhists are more peaceful than Jews, Christians and Muslims. I sense none of the arrogance and non-acceptance in Buddhism which mark the world's major religions. I am becoming more estranged from the Catholic church. I joined because of the universality of the church and because I know that Christ taught by a very good example. I am a cafeteria Catholic, and there is plenty that they are serving that I'm not buying. My new pope, my new archbishop, and my new priest are cooking up a stew that is significantly different than the stew I was served 25 years ago (Homophobia Goulash, Bully Pelosi, Badger Kennedy). [It has come to the point where I am reluctant to vote for a Catholic because I am afraid they will react to the bullying of the Vatican mafia. (I am represented by three Jewish males, one pro-choice Catholic woman (who is divorced and therefore mostly out of the fold), one Protestant woman and my Pat Robertsonesque Governor).:] Some of the new dishes weren't even on the menu back then. So I'm going to some new restaurants. So why don't I want to be tested? Too many details. There are Three Dharma Seals, Four Noble Truths, Four Dhyanas, Four Establishments of Mindfulness, Four Great Elements, Four Immeasurable Minds, Four Reliances, Four Standard Truths, Four Wisdoms, Fourfold Right Diligences, Five Aggregates, Five Faculties, Five Mindfulness Trainings, Five Powers and Five Remembrances. This covers two digits. There are dozens more. Reading about each of these details, they all make sense. But as far as remembering them all, I remember about a dozen by name. So don't test me. But they are all one, so I could get at least 50% on an exam. If you want the quickest possible course in Buddhism, go to a bookstore and read the 28th Chapter, "Touching the Buddha Within". The rest of the book is this good. But don't say I didn't warn you.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Mary Overton

    "Let us look at a wave on the surface of the ocean. A wave is a wave. It has a beginning and an end. It might be high or low, more or less beautiful than other waves. But a wave is, at the same time, water. Water is the ground of being of the wave. It is important that a wave knows that she is water, and not just a wave. We, too, live our life as an individual. We believe that we have a beginning and an end, that we are separate from other living beings. That is why the Buddha advised us to look "Let us look at a wave on the surface of the ocean. A wave is a wave. It has a beginning and an end. It might be high or low, more or less beautiful than other waves. But a wave is, at the same time, water. Water is the ground of being of the wave. It is important that a wave knows that she is water, and not just a wave. We, too, live our life as an individual. We believe that we have a beginning and an end, that we are separate from other living beings. That is why the Buddha advised us to look more deeply in order to touch the ground of our being which is nirvana. Everything bears deeply the nature of nirvana. Everything has been 'nirvanized' That is the teaching of the LOTUS SUTRA. We look deeply, and we touch the suchness of reality. Looking deeply into a pebble, flower, or our own joy, peace, sorrow, or fear, we touch the ultimate dimension of our being, and that dimension will reveal to us that the ground of our being has the nature of no-birth and no-death. "We don't have to ATTAIN nirvana, because we ourselves are always dwelling in nirvana. The wave does not have to look for water. It already is water." pg. 211 "...The Buddha said that in the depth of our store consciousness, alayavijnana, there are all kinds of positive and negative seeds - seeds of anger, delusion, and fear, and seeds of understanding, compassion, and forgiveness. Many of these seeds have been transmitted to us by our ancestors. We should learn to recognize every one of these seeds in us in order to practice diligence. If it is a negative seed, the seed of an affliction like anger, fear, jealousy, or discrimination, we should refrain from allowing it to be watered in our daily life. Every time such a seed is watered, it will manifest on the upper level of our consciousness, and we will suffer and make the people we love suffer at the same time. The practice is to refrain from watering the negative seeds in us.... "We also try to recognize the positive seeds that are in us and to live our daily life in a way that we can touch them and help them manifest on the upper level of our consciousness, manovijnana. Every time they manifest and stay on the upper level of our consciousness for a while, they grow stronger. If the positive seeds in us grow stronger day and night, we will be happy and we will make the people we love happy. Recognize the positive seeds in the person you love, water those seeds, and he will become much happier.... Whenever you have time, please water the seeds that need to be watered. It is a wonderful and very pleasant practice of diligence, and it brings immediate results. "Imagine a circle divided in two. Below is the store consciousness and above is mind consciousness. All mental formations lie deep down in our store consciousness. Every seed in our store consciousness can be touched and manifests itself on the upper level, namely our mind consciousness. Continued practice means trying our best not to allow the negative seeds in our store consciousness to be touched in our daily life, not to give them a chance to manifest themselves. The seeds of anger, discrimination, despair, jealousy, and craving are all there. We do what we can to prevent them from coming up. We tell the people we live with, 'If you truly love me, don't water these seeds in me. It is not good for my health or yours.' We have to recognized the kinds of seeds not to be watered. If it happens that a negative seed, the seed of an affliction, is watered and manifests itself, we do everything in our power to embrace it with our mindfulness and help it return to where it came from. The longer such seeds stay in our mind consciousness, the stronger they become." pg. 206-207 Wheel of Becoming

  5. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    Lucid and helpful with great presentation of Noble Eightfold Path especially. Thoroughly enjoyed reading it and am incorporating parts of it in my meditation.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Bharath

    This is an excellent book to read to understand the core fundamentals of Buddhism. It covers the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path, in a good amount of detail. It also goes further than that, drawing on key concepts which are common to most variants of Buddhism. I liked the fact on how Thich Nhat Hanh emphasizes the need for depth in life - developing it by living the values, the Buddha taught and practised. Mindfulness is expectedly a strong theme throughout the book. The only aspect whi This is an excellent book to read to understand the core fundamentals of Buddhism. It covers the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path, in a good amount of detail. It also goes further than that, drawing on key concepts which are common to most variants of Buddhism. I liked the fact on how Thich Nhat Hanh emphasizes the need for depth in life - developing it by living the values, the Buddha taught and practised. Mindfulness is expectedly a strong theme throughout the book. The only aspect which could have been better is that while many sections do have good anecdotes from either Thich N hat Hanh's own life or the Buddha's, there are a few sections which are entirely theoretical and dry. Hence, while reading a portion of a book, it feels like simply reading the obvious. Overall, an excellent introductory book to the essence of the Buddha's teachings, and well worth a read.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Alan

    Thich Nhat Hanh 's book is hard to rate for a variety of reasons having to do with its laudable accomplishments and/but embarrassing shortcomings. His scholarship is undeniable: each section of the book is organized, each concept is fleshed out and Nhat Hanh goes through great lengths to interweave tangential abstractions together in the hopes of elucidating the more complex teachings Buddhism and its many schools has to offer. As a source of contemporary Buddhist criticism, however, The Heart o Thich Nhat Hanh 's book is hard to rate for a variety of reasons having to do with its laudable accomplishments and/but embarrassing shortcomings. His scholarship is undeniable: each section of the book is organized, each concept is fleshed out and Nhat Hanh goes through great lengths to interweave tangential abstractions together in the hopes of elucidating the more complex teachings Buddhism and its many schools has to offer. As a source of contemporary Buddhist criticism, however, The Heart of Buddha's Teaching staggers. This has to do with Nhat Hanh 's approach to teaching and the unorthodox and contemporary method he uses to convey information. Each section begins with an introduction of some core idea, be it the Dharmas, The Four Noble Truths, or the Eightfold Path (among many other pillars of Buddhist thought). Nhat Hanh then ties his explanations to some major criticism or religious text (often a Sutra). Finally, Nhat Hanh tries to make a contemporary statement about their meaning that often takes the form of a politically correct comment or even a general tone. Having not looked at the book's date of publication, it did not take me long to guess that it was written in the 90's with its recurrent emphasis on vegetarianism, plurality, and the push for world peace. While on the surface such an interpretation (or use) of Buddhist texts may appear to be progressive and productive, coming to them nearly twenty years later has shown them to - more often than not - sound cliche, generic, or naive. Several instances referring to the Israeli-Arab conflict come to mind. Nhat Hanh uses this incredibly complex and polarising conflict to push his interpretation of how we can apply a certain Buddhist interpretation of love to solve the conflict: if only the Isralies could empathize with the Arabs and vice versa, the conflict would end. Such naive and simplistic interpretations just ruin the actually profound knowledge nested in much of Nhat Hanh writing. The number of issues like this, where Nhat Hanh imposes simplistic politically correct solutions to incredibly complex issues under the guise of Buddhist wisdom really hurt the integrity of this book giving it a New-Agey kind of vibe. That being said, again, Nhat Hanh scholarship is great, and if you have the patience to read past all the fluff, The Heart of Buddha's Teaching is actually a remarkably well organized and informative book. As a side note, I'm convinced Nhat Hanh's theory of Flowers from Garbage was inspired by Leonard Cohen's Suzanne. Look out for oranges, 'touching her perfect body with your mind' and of course, flowers among the garbage and seaweed.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Robert Gustavo

    One of the more difficult books I have read, to the point where I am not sure I got out even a tenth of what Thich Nhat Hanh put into it. I will want to revisit this in the future, once I have let it settle in. I was bothered by some of the symbolism and examples, such as this: "The Buddha offered this example. A young couple and their two-year-old child were trying to cross the desert, and they ran out of food. After deep reflection, the parents realized that in order to survive they had to kill One of the more difficult books I have read, to the point where I am not sure I got out even a tenth of what Thich Nhat Hanh put into it. I will want to revisit this in the future, once I have let it settle in. I was bothered by some of the symbolism and examples, such as this: "The Buddha offered this example. A young couple and their two-year-old child were trying to cross the desert, and they ran out of food. After deep reflection, the parents realized that in order to survive they had to kill their son and eat his flesh. They calculated that if they ate such and such a proportion of their baby’s flesh each day and carried the rest on their shoulders to dry, it would last the rest of the journey. But with every morsel of their baby’s flesh they ate, the young couple cried and cried." I was pulled entirely out of the book by this. I don't know whether this is an effective teaching technique or not -- did it secretly teach me to confront my own preconceived notions, "formations", about eating one's own child? Maybe? Mostly I found the examples like this (and there are many) to be deeply weird. Thich Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese Buddhist, which is one of many traditions of Buddhism, and there are passages about the Vietnam War, and one of his students being killed. Perhaps this is not the right view of Buddhism for me. There were long passages that felt repetitive, as the same thoughts were suggested in a variety of different ways -- I'm not sure if I failed to notice the subtle differences, or whether this was just different ways of teaching the same thing, or both. There are references to gods, holiness, and past lives -- all of which I am having trouble reconciling with what I have learned of Buddhism elsewhere, and in this very book. I'm still not sure whether Thich Nhat Hahn means that we, as individuals, have experienced past lives and will experience future lives, or whether he means that we, as part of everything and being interdependent with everything, are a consequence of other people's past lives. All very complicated, and difficult to wrap my head around. —- 11 March 2018: I keep coming back to this book, and finding something new and relevant each time. The repetitive parts still bother me, and the 12 thingies that might be 4, 5, or 10 just bores me. 4 Noble Truths, an 8 fold Noble Path, an ungodly number of formations and up to a dozen links of interdependence... it feels needlessly complicated. But I keep coming back to it. Maybe it’s just for the metaphor of parents eating their kid.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Nicholas Whyte

    http://nwhyte.livejournal.com/1935728.html A book by a prominent Buddhist monk outlining key teachings of Buddhism. I started off rather liking it as an approach to mindfulness and how to process suffering and the good things about life. But after he Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path, I started to get a bit irritated with the constant discovery of new lists of important spiritual things, from the Two Truths up to the Twelve Links of Interdependent Co-Arising; it seems to me that over-descr http://nwhyte.livejournal.com/1935728.html A book by a prominent Buddhist monk outlining key teachings of Buddhism. I started off rather liking it as an approach to mindfulness and how to process suffering and the good things about life. But after he Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path, I started to get a bit irritated with the constant discovery of new lists of important spiritual things, from the Two Truths up to the Twelve Links of Interdependent Co-Arising; it seems to me that over-describing the undescribable is fundamentally a mistake. I also started wondering to what extent Thich Nhat Hanh is presenting a mainstream account of Buddhism or his own particular take (or his school's). And I wonder also if there is much sense of the numinous in Buddhism; there didn't seem a lot here. Anyway, it is still the most interesting book by a Buddhist on Buddhism that I have read.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Suzy

    I have been savoring this book for some time, and was lucky to have it with me while trapped on planes and in airports and on an overnight detour to Detroit--Hanh's teachings didn't quite transform the ordeal into great spiritual practice, but they did vastly improve the experience. Many of his other books can be read almost as a philosophy of Buddhism; here he explains the basic religious tenets in depth (and with more clarity than I'd previously encountered in introductory texts). While not qu I have been savoring this book for some time, and was lucky to have it with me while trapped on planes and in airports and on an overnight detour to Detroit--Hanh's teachings didn't quite transform the ordeal into great spiritual practice, but they did vastly improve the experience. Many of his other books can be read almost as a philosophy of Buddhism; here he explains the basic religious tenets in depth (and with more clarity than I'd previously encountered in introductory texts). While not quite as poetic as some of his other works, this is a beautiful book, inclusive of all beliefs and faiths while celebrating the Buddha's teachings. If you'd like an accessible description of the Four Noble Truths, the Seven Factors of Awakening, and more, you've found your book. My favorite passage (of many marked) describes Nirvana: "Nirvana is not the absence of life. Drishtadharma nirvana means 'nirvana in this very life.' Nirvana means pacifying, silencing, or extinguishing the fire of suffering. Nirvana teaches that we already are what we want to become. We don't have to run after anything anymore. We only need to return to ourselves and touch our true nature. When we do, we have real peace and joy." It becomes clear in Hanh's writing that he surely has found real peace and joy, and his life is a great embodiment of the teachings he presents so lovingly here.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Hákon Gunnarsson

    I think this may be the most interesting book on Buddhism I’ve read in a while. Certain concepts fell into place while listening to it. Mind you, it’s not the easiest, nor the simplest book on the subject out there. It covers a lot of ground, and maybe it’s one of those books that one really needs to re-read before getting it completely, and I think I will do that in some time. But I got a lot out of it anyway. Especially the first half. He touches up on religious dogmatism early on, and handles I think this may be the most interesting book on Buddhism I’ve read in a while. Certain concepts fell into place while listening to it. Mind you, it’s not the easiest, nor the simplest book on the subject out there. It covers a lot of ground, and maybe it’s one of those books that one really needs to re-read before getting it completely, and I think I will do that in some time. But I got a lot out of it anyway. Especially the first half. He touches up on religious dogmatism early on, and handles that very well. But on the other hand there is a part in the second half of the book where he starts to talk about what TV shows, and things like that, and how those things may affect you, which sounds pretty puritanical. These two parts seem a bit at odds with one another. On the whole, I liked this book because how informative it was about the evolution in Buddhism, and the different schools, and so on. I don’t think I would recommend it as the first book for anyone interested in Buddhism, but it is a good one. I will definitely re-read it someday.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ankur Banerjee

    This book by Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh goes into a lot of the background from the later-life teachings of the Buddha such as the Lotus Sutra, so in a way, it's more about what the Zen school of Buddhism or Mahayana sects in general teach. Concepts are well-explained with copious footnotes, and it remembers the Indian roots of Buddhism throwing in Sanskrit / Pali terms in addition to Japanese and Chinese terms. But while the book is easy to read, it often overwhelms the reader with This book by Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh goes into a lot of the background from the later-life teachings of the Buddha such as the Lotus Sutra, so in a way, it's more about what the Zen school of Buddhism or Mahayana sects in general teach. Concepts are well-explained with copious footnotes, and it remembers the Indian roots of Buddhism throwing in Sanskrit / Pali terms in addition to Japanese and Chinese terms. But while the book is easy to read, it often overwhelms the reader with a lot of overlapping concepts which often basically seem to be saying the same thing. Being bombarded with so many terms can often be distracting. What's good though is he doesn't just teach from one set of Buddhist teachings, but presents teachings from a wide body of books which makes it feel a lot more inclusive.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Krishna Chaitanya

    It's hard for me to give a 3 star rating for Buddha's teachings. I have to blame the audiobook, the narration was robotic and I felt that the contents are not properly structured and organized and I often felt difficult to follow. Will revisit this book with paperback format in future. It's hard for me to give a 3 star rating for Buddha's teachings. I have to blame the audiobook, the narration was robotic and I felt that the contents are not properly structured and organized and I often felt difficult to follow. Will revisit this book with paperback format in future.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    160813: this is a very useful book for me, helping to clarify exactly what is the difference between religious and philosophical texts, what I like about Buddhist thought, what I learn, what I generally do not note. as far as difference: ethical assertions within a metaphysical superstructure, ontological arguments, referring often to texts or authorities or stories, is religion. conceptual exploration of said superstructure, of metaphysics, of arguments, referring often to other philosophical t 160813: this is a very useful book for me, helping to clarify exactly what is the difference between religious and philosophical texts, what I like about Buddhist thought, what I learn, what I generally do not note. as far as difference: ethical assertions within a metaphysical superstructure, ontological arguments, referring often to texts or authorities or stories, is religion. conceptual exploration of said superstructure, of metaphysics, of arguments, referring often to other philosophical texts, is philosophy... there are a lot of numbers here, lists of behaviours or concepts, which are perhaps useful for practitioners but confusing or boring to usual readers, do hold together, do seem to best reconcile various apparent disagreements- through the distinction of relative truth and absolute truth, for example- but I remember only the primary lists found in all Buddhist texts: the four noble truths, the eightfold path, the three baskets, the three jewels. the other lists, well described, would probably be something for extensive study... like his insistence on the inter-dependence aspect of the world, his chosen metaphor of the individuality of each wave but the essential unity of the water which manifests each wave, his truthful recognition to which we must agree in how every flower is in fact the entire world, the sun, the rain, the soil, the gardener who tends it. some beautiful poetic insights, some accessible metaphors, which you can extend according to your knowledge... so for a serious student of the religion, this book rates higher, but for me, whose interest is philosophical, it is perhaps interesting to read how Buddhism has developed, how a Buddhist monk explains it, but does not convince me to assume Buddhist thought on any practical level beyond recognizing the basic lists, the ideas of lust, hatred, delusion, the inescapable reality of transience... and this sounds like a little, but as any wave is of an entire ocean, this is actually everything...

  15. 4 out of 5

    Anthony Mazzorana

    there is a lot here. sometimes it feels like too much. take small bites. chew. repeat.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Cam

    I've had this book on my shelf for years, and I've attempted to read it several times, but I've always abandoned it part way through. This has been a recurring thing for me since I was about sixteen years old: I get interested in Buddhism, read a couple of books, but then I quell the interest by convincing myself that suffering and angst are conducive to good work (just look at the arts!), that it's good to feel bad sometimes, and I leave it alone. A few months later, I get interested again. And I've had this book on my shelf for years, and I've attempted to read it several times, but I've always abandoned it part way through. This has been a recurring thing for me since I was about sixteen years old: I get interested in Buddhism, read a couple of books, but then I quell the interest by convincing myself that suffering and angst are conducive to good work (just look at the arts!), that it's good to feel bad sometimes, and I leave it alone. A few months later, I get interested again. And so on and on. But this time, my interest was piqued and I stuck with it. And man, how I wish I'd stuck with it before! Thich Nhat Hanh tells us that Buddhism is not about not suffering per se. It's not about eradicating suffering entirely and becoming an unfeeling shell, or about viewing the world from an ivory tower of detached self-peace, it's about transforming your own suffering as and when it arises. Buddhism isn't about never suffering, it's literally about transforming suffering when it's there. And that sounds good to me. Much of the book is devoted to the Four Noble Truths, the Noble Eightfold Path, and ideas surrounding non-self and impermanence. There is a HUGE emphasis on mindfulness and meditation, the latter of which I have been inspired (at Thich Nhat Hanh's gentle persistence in every other chapter) to finally try. And in the second half of the book, he goes a little deeper into some other teachings, all of which are interconnected ("inter-are"). I rather felt that these other basic teachings required a book of their own because they are more in depth, but still, it's good to know where to start looking deeper now. In all, would recommend this to anyone as an introduction to Buddhism.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jakob Masic

    I consider myself a spiritual person. And have for as long as I remember being alive, wanted to stay away from religion, any religion. Reading about Buddhism, I truly recognized myself, and the way I live my life inside the faith and practises. What I like most is the here and now way of living. Through meditation and living mindfully, is what I believe to be the most important qualities for any soul to practice. In order to understand the here and now, is all that really matters. As I read more I consider myself a spiritual person. And have for as long as I remember being alive, wanted to stay away from religion, any religion. Reading about Buddhism, I truly recognized myself, and the way I live my life inside the faith and practises. What I like most is the here and now way of living. Through meditation and living mindfully, is what I believe to be the most important qualities for any soul to practice. In order to understand the here and now, is all that really matters. As I read more about the religion, it started to dawn on me how annoying it all started to sound. The problem I've always had with religion, is that it makes me feel like rules are being laid out for you. That is when my interest starts to fade, and I find myself walking away. Inside these pages is great insight, and the noblest of truths. Love, peace and an understanding of oneself and the world around. What I wish for is that one day all religions can strip itself from any labels, and simply LIVE FOR LOVE.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Udit Srivastava

    This is one of the best books I've read in recent times. The book is a meditation in itself. I was looking forward to a book which explains a layman about the teachings of the Buddha. Thich Naht Hanh explains about the core ideas of Buddhist philosophy and is written to assist the reader in practicing those ideas in his daily life. The Eightfold path is explained beautifully. Buddhism as a philosophy aims to alleviate the sufferings of the humankind and eightfold path is the Buddhist idea of how This is one of the best books I've read in recent times. The book is a meditation in itself. I was looking forward to a book which explains a layman about the teachings of the Buddha. Thich Naht Hanh explains about the core ideas of Buddhist philosophy and is written to assist the reader in practicing those ideas in his daily life. The Eightfold path is explained beautifully. Buddhism as a philosophy aims to alleviate the sufferings of the humankind and eightfold path is the Buddhist idea of how to achieve that. It reminds me of the practice of RCA- Root Cause Analysis that we use for problem solving. This is what Buddha advocated 2500 years ago. The key messages of empathetic listening as a part of Right Speech and the ideas of impermanence and inter-being were presented very beautifully. This book has definitely helped me to understand and appreciate the virtues propounded by Buddha and implement them in day to day life. 5 Stars to this wonderful book!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Marshall

    I first read this book about five years ago. I found it both heavy going and life changing. Returning to The Heart of Buddha's Teaching, I was pleased that I was able to understand more but it is still overwhelming. I think the problem is the huge amount of information: the four noble truths, the twelve turnings of the wheel, the eight fold path, the twelve links of interdependent co-arising, I could go on... And although each item made sense, the overall feeling was indigestion but perhaps that I first read this book about five years ago. I found it both heavy going and life changing. Returning to The Heart of Buddha's Teaching, I was pleased that I was able to understand more but it is still overwhelming. I think the problem is the huge amount of information: the four noble truths, the twelve turnings of the wheel, the eight fold path, the twelve links of interdependent co-arising, I could go on... And although each item made sense, the overall feeling was indigestion but perhaps that's what happens when a whole tradition is being covered in ONE book. Or perhaps I need to read it a couple of times more before I can get the full benefit?

  20. 4 out of 5

    Joelle

    A thorough and very easy to digest review, in depth, of the teachings of the Buddha. Thay delivers here...illuminating the path with clarity.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Mack Hayden

    The more I research Buddhism, the more I'm blown away by just how much understanding its early teachers had of human psychology. Thich Nhat Hanh is probably the best communicator of Buddhist ideas I've come across in my admittedly limited amount of reading on the subject. Don't let the concision of this book fool you, it's a surprisingly comprehensive and nuanced look into all of Buddhism's central teachings alongside practical applications and illustrations for how to implement them into your l The more I research Buddhism, the more I'm blown away by just how much understanding its early teachers had of human psychology. Thich Nhat Hanh is probably the best communicator of Buddhist ideas I've come across in my admittedly limited amount of reading on the subject. Don't let the concision of this book fool you, it's a surprisingly comprehensive and nuanced look into all of Buddhism's central teachings alongside practical applications and illustrations for how to implement them into your life. I'm still a long way away from self-describing as a Buddhist, but I think just about everyone who comes into contact with this religious philosophy could really benefit from its central tenets. While I'm doubtful of some of its metaphysical claims, it's becoming increasingly apparent to me that its ethical ideas, focus on meditation, and emphasis on mindfulness and compassion are all essential components to life well lived on the planet earth, for ourselves and for everyone and everything around us.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    Many gems of wisdom in this book. There were parts I got lost, but that is okay. I might go back and reread a chapter or two. There was also a lot of repetition. I liked the way Thich Nhat Hanh compared us to the same cookie batter. Really when you think about it many things and beings on this earth are made of the same components. We’ve got to be easy on ourselves and others. Also, I really liked the way he said that even when our heart is feeling pain, we can still enjoy many of life’s wonders Many gems of wisdom in this book. There were parts I got lost, but that is okay. I might go back and reread a chapter or two. There was also a lot of repetition. I liked the way Thich Nhat Hanh compared us to the same cookie batter. Really when you think about it many things and beings on this earth are made of the same components. We’ve got to be easy on ourselves and others. Also, I really liked the way he said that even when our heart is feeling pain, we can still enjoy many of life’s wonders. Basically, don’t just succumb to the pain. I think it’s healthy to process it and take your time... but don’t forget to live! 😃

  23. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    Lots of good advice in this book about how to live life in a right manner and make good choices. Some chapters were very practical while some others were a little too theoretical for me. I did appreciate learning about the key teachings of Buddhism: the Five Mindfulness Trainings. According to the Plum Village web site, " these are one of the most concrete ways to practice mindfulness. They are nonsectarian, and their nature is universal. They are true practices of compassion and understanding. Lots of good advice in this book about how to live life in a right manner and make good choices. Some chapters were very practical while some others were a little too theoretical for me. I did appreciate learning about the key teachings of Buddhism: the Five Mindfulness Trainings. According to the Plum Village web site, " these are one of the most concrete ways to practice mindfulness. They are nonsectarian, and their nature is universal. They are true practices of compassion and understanding. All spiritual traditions have their equivalent to the Five Mindfulness Trainings. The first training is to protect life, to decrease violence in oneself, in the family and in society. The second training is to practice social justice, generosity, not stealing and not exploiting other living beings. The third is the practice of responsible sexual behavior in order to protect individuals, couples, families and children. The fourth is the practice of deep listening and loving speech to restore communication and reconcile. The fifth is about mindful consumption, to help us not bring toxins and poisons into our body or mind." What's not to like about these trainings? You don't have to be a Buddhist either to adopt these principles.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Joshua Buhs

    Still the best book on Buddhism that I have read. The first two sections are the best, providing a nice overview of the ideas at the heart--as it were--of Buddhist philosophy. Thay certainly has his axes to grind. He is of the opinion that Buddhist practice should emphasize joy, not suffering--suffering is something to get beyond; and to emphasize the immanence of nirvana, rather than putting it off for the after life (or after lives). He provides textual support for his take. I am not enough of a Still the best book on Buddhism that I have read. The first two sections are the best, providing a nice overview of the ideas at the heart--as it were--of Buddhist philosophy. Thay certainly has his axes to grind. He is of the opinion that Buddhist practice should emphasize joy, not suffering--suffering is something to get beyond; and to emphasize the immanence of nirvana, rather than putting it off for the after life (or after lives). He provides textual support for his take. I am not enough of a Buddhist scholar--I am not a Buddhist scholar, at all, merely an interested bystander--to evaluate these: were they anomalous or exemplary? I don't know. I also don't really care. I *like* Thay's interpretation of Buddhism. Any philosopy worth its salt should be a living one, and if Thay is adapting Buddhism, all the better. There are parts I worry about, though. The third section, for instance, is onerous, a series of chapters on the four thisses, the five thats, the eight thoses, and the twelve whatzits. (The fourth section is a couple of sutras, translated.) More importantly, I don't think the tradition has evolved enough in important ways. There's really no discussion of Buddhism as anything more than an individual practice--no attempt to push it towards social justice or social movements. Thay is of the school that believes enough people changing their own behavior--enough people practicing some form of Buddhism--will lead to social change. I'm not sure that is a defensible position. He also is of the opinion, it seems at other points, that we should just allow the world to be, as screwed up as it is. This position is more defensible, but difficult to accept. Perhaps it is right. I don't know. There's that John Burdett line, Buddhism is "elegant, clairvoyant, and radical": this is certainly a radical position. Subversive even. I need to think more about it. Still, even granting that a radical acceptance of the universe--screwed up as it may be--is correct, this focus on individuality is potentially dangerous. It is impossible not to think of Chögyman Trungpa's warning about spiritual materialism--the use of spiritualism to make one feel better about one's self, to make it another mark of personality rather than a subversion of the ego. Having Buddhist practice be so focused on individual development and the cultivation of joy risks making it into another form of consumer good. Perhaps Thay's development of Buddhist thought (or interpretation of it) fits too well with our age. There are, of course, plenty of tools here to prevent too smug of Buddhist practice, provided one follow--loosely and diligently--the set of rules that Thay outlines here. It is an excellent guide. Worth reading not only once, but again and again. (Note, too, that his publisher, is not the usual one for so many Buddhist books, and this book just looks better than most put out by Shambhala.)

  25. 4 out of 5

    Smitha Murthy

    Every now and then, I come across a book that is like a source of light - a gentle breeze that wafts into all the crass corners of my soul and urges me to rethink life all over again. This book is one of those. I have been practicing meditation for almost three years now and this is a wonderful complement to the serious practitioner. Not that meditation is all serious - it’s fun too! But bear in mind this - if you are a beginner to Buddhism or meditation, this book might just put you off. It’s c Every now and then, I come across a book that is like a source of light - a gentle breeze that wafts into all the crass corners of my soul and urges me to rethink life all over again. This book is one of those. I have been practicing meditation for almost three years now and this is a wonderful complement to the serious practitioner. Not that meditation is all serious - it’s fun too! But bear in mind this - if you are a beginner to Buddhism or meditation, this book might just put you off. It’s complex and most definitely not for the beginner. I found myself struggling as well through the end once Thich Nhat Thanh delves really deeply into some of the sutras. But this is a book that I still want to come back to again and again because there’s so much I haven’t grasped.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Craig Werner

    The best introduction to Buddhism I've come across. Clear, as should be the case, practical in its focus. Simple without simplifying. The first two sections devote chapters to each of The Four Nobel Truths and each step of The Nobel Eightfold Path, followed by a section with chapters on various Buddhist approaches: the Two Truths, The Three Dharma Seals, The Three Doors of Liberation, The Three Bodies of Buddha; The Three Jewels and several others. (Not sure why Buddhists have such a thing for li The best introduction to Buddhism I've come across. Clear, as should be the case, practical in its focus. Simple without simplifying. The first two sections devote chapters to each of The Four Nobel Truths and each step of The Nobel Eightfold Path, followed by a section with chapters on various Buddhist approaches: the Two Truths, The Three Dharma Seals, The Three Doors of Liberation, The Three Bodies of Buddha; The Three Jewels and several others. (Not sure why Buddhists have such a thing for lists; in every case what emerges is that each aspect of each of the lists--and each of the lists--is implicit in all of the others.) Pair this with Thich Nhat Hanh's Understanding Our Mind and you've got the basics of Buddhism, more a way of being in the world than a "religion". As the subtitle indicates, primarily a way of transforming suffering.

  27. 5 out of 5

    James Langer

    I first picked up this book when I was going through an identity crisis in the seventh or eight grade. Many books have made me think, many books have changed my opinions before, but the Heart of the Buddha's Teachings has been the only book to change my life. I remember the very day when I read a passage from this piece and it was like a great awakening. I first picked up this book when I was going through an identity crisis in the seventh or eight grade. Many books have made me think, many books have changed my opinions before, but the Heart of the Buddha's Teachings has been the only book to change my life. I remember the very day when I read a passage from this piece and it was like a great awakening.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Brenna

    Adding this one to the list of "books that have changed my life." This is an excellent, clearly-written explanation of major tenets of Zen Buddhism. My only complaint is the use of terms without definitions. For some unfamiliar terms, definitions are provided late in the text, while others go completely unexplained. Overall, though, a lovely and important read. Adding this one to the list of "books that have changed my life." This is an excellent, clearly-written explanation of major tenets of Zen Buddhism. My only complaint is the use of terms without definitions. For some unfamiliar terms, definitions are provided late in the text, while others go completely unexplained. Overall, though, a lovely and important read.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Himanshu Inamdar

    Buddhism often tends to be seen as a practice that is unachievable in the present reality of the world, as a method of removing yourself from the world and becoming an ascetic, in a way that is not compatible with the kind of life that we live. That is perhaps the reason its teachings are not seen as accessible. Thich Nhat Hanh, one of the foremost practitioners of Zen alive today, brings those teachings to life through The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching. The book begins by saying, "The Buddha w Buddhism often tends to be seen as a practice that is unachievable in the present reality of the world, as a method of removing yourself from the world and becoming an ascetic, in a way that is not compatible with the kind of life that we live. That is perhaps the reason its teachings are not seen as accessible. Thich Nhat Hanh, one of the foremost practitioners of Zen alive today, brings those teachings to life through The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching. The book begins by saying, "The Buddha was not a god. He was a human being like you and me, and he suffered just as we do." Thich Nhat Hanh strips away, as he calls it, "analysis for the sake of analysis" and leaves behind only that which a practitioner needs to work on their practice. All myths surrounding the Buddha and the nature of enlightenment are discarded to show what is essential. Perhaps no other person can bring as much credibility to this practice as Thich Nhat Hanh, the founder of the principle of Engaged Buddhism, which seeks ways to apply the teachings of the Buddha to social, political, economic, and environmental problems. An activist who has not just practised Zen in a monastery but lived it in the same world that we live in, Thich Nhat Hanh brings the same experience and realism with staggering humility and an earnest appeal to the reader. This book is not meant to be read, as much as it is to be lived. The reader of the book may find it a dry, difficult, and unengaging read, but those who live the book will find a book that sings a song and touches the mind with every word on every page. The final gift, among many others, that the book provides is of utter humility. The distinct emotion of having connected with a mind that is so far above one's own that one cannot possibly fathom a way for one's mind to get there serves to strip away all pretence of knowing something. It shows the magnitude of what we are yet to learn, and more importantly, yet to unlearn.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Am

    A delightfully rendered and faithful dive into the core teachings of the Buddha. Covers the four noble truths and noble eightfold path in exhaustive detail and clear, modern language, with a deep exploration into suffering, desire, it's causes and how to break the cycle of samsara. If I could take half a star away it would be only that it can become a bit dense, repetitive, and requiring of significant focus when diving into the many numbered lists, concepts, and categories of the many factors of A delightfully rendered and faithful dive into the core teachings of the Buddha. Covers the four noble truths and noble eightfold path in exhaustive detail and clear, modern language, with a deep exploration into suffering, desire, it's causes and how to break the cycle of samsara. If I could take half a star away it would be only that it can become a bit dense, repetitive, and requiring of significant focus when diving into the many numbered lists, concepts, and categories of the many factors of existence. Additionally, while totally transparent and up front about his reasons, Thay occasionally inserts a new or interpreted meaning on some words or concepts, sometimes analogous but sometimes sightly shifting meaning. I don't disagree with his views, and often it helps to bring some concepts or ideas into modern times and understanding, but may upset some looking for pure doctrinal dogma and traditional translations. All in all a valuable addition to any insight-seeker's library, and a Buddhist reference easy to return to and reread in bits and sections.

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