The Heart of the Buddhas Teaching Epub ß of the

The Heart of the Buddhas Teaching Epub ß of the


10 thoughts on “The Heart of the Buddhas Teaching

  1. Chris Shank Chris Shank says:

    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 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 endtransform 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 techniue 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 formsThere’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 CS 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 KingdomNow 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 metaphysicalpractical 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 teachingMy 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. Jake Jake says:

    If you're looking for an erudite comprehensive overview of mainstream Buddhist thought The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching is an adeuate 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 approachable Dharma teachings try Pema Chodron


  3. Clif Brittain Clif Brittain says:

    I loved this book I think I love Buddhism but please please please don't make me take a test on itWhen I decided I wanted to know 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 involvedCompare 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 thinkingOr 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 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 approachableMy 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 and complex structures but the structures are all inter related One loops back to and includes another which is related to others which include othersFor 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 faithThis much is clear Buddhists are 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 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 Robertsonesue Governor Some of the new dishes weren't even on the menu back then So I'm going to some new restaurantsSo 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 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 examIf you want the uickest 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. Mary Overton Mary Overton says:

    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 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 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 deathWe 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 211The 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 usWe 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 resultsImagine 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 207Wheel of Becoming


  5. Carol Carol says:

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


  6. Nicholas Whyte Nicholas Whyte says:

    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


  7. Bharath Bharath says:

    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


  8. Alan Alan says:

    Thich Nhat Hanh 's book is hard to rate for a variety of reasons having to do with its laudable accomplishments andbut 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 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 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 bookAs 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


  9. Robert Gustavo Robert Gustavo says:

    One of the 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 inI 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 criedI was pulled entirely out of the book by this I don't know whether this is an effective teaching techniue 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 weirdThich 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 conseuence 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


  10. Suzy Suzy says:

    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 uite 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 clarity than I'd previously encountered in introductory texts While not uite 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 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 any 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


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The Heart of the Buddhas Teaching [Ebook] ➤ The Heart of the Buddhas Teaching Author Thich Nhat Hanh – Capitalsoftworks.co.uk “If there is a candidate for ‘Living Buddha’ on earth today it is Thich Nhat Hanh”                                                        “If there is a candidate for of the PDF/EPUB ¾ ‘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 ualities of enlightenment Covering such significant teachings as the Four Noble The Heart Epub / 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.

  • Paperback
  • 294 pages
  • The Heart of the Buddhas Teaching
  • Thich Nhat Hanh
  • English
  • 04 January 2015
  • 9780767903691

About the Author: Thich Nhat Hanh

Thích Nhất Hạnh is a Vietnamese of the PDF/EPUB ¾ Buddhist monk teacher author poet and peace activist who now lives in southwest France where he was in exile for many years Born Nguyễn Xuân Bảo Thích Nhất Hạnh joined a Zen Vietnamese Thiền monastery at the age of and studied Buddhism as a novitiate Upon his ordination as a monk in he assumed the Dharma name Thích Nhất Hạnh Thích is an honorary.


10 thoughts on “The Heart of the Buddhas Teaching

  1. Chris Shank Chris Shank says:

    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 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 endtransform 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 techniue 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 formsThere’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 CS 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 KingdomNow 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 metaphysicalpractical 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 teachingMy 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. Jake Jake says:

    If you're looking for an erudite comprehensive overview of mainstream Buddhist thought The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching is an adeuate 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 approachable Dharma teachings try Pema Chodron

  3. Clif Brittain Clif Brittain says:

    I loved this book I think I love Buddhism but please please please don't make me take a test on itWhen I decided I wanted to know 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 involvedCompare 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 thinkingOr 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 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 approachableMy 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 and complex structures but the structures are all inter related One loops back to and includes another which is related to others which include othersFor 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 faithThis much is clear Buddhists are 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 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 Robertsonesue Governor Some of the new dishes weren't even on the menu back then So I'm going to some new restaurantsSo 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 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 examIf you want the uickest 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. Mary Overton Mary Overton says:

    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 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 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 deathWe 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 211The 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 usWe 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 resultsImagine 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 207Wheel of Becoming

  5. Carol Carol says:

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

  6. Nicholas Whyte Nicholas Whyte says:

    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

  7. Bharath Bharath says:

    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

  8. Alan Alan says:

    Thich Nhat Hanh 's book is hard to rate for a variety of reasons having to do with its laudable accomplishments andbut 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 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 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 bookAs 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

  9. Robert Gustavo Robert Gustavo says:

    One of the 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 inI 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 criedI was pulled entirely out of the book by this I don't know whether this is an effective teaching techniue 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 weirdThich 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 conseuence 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

  10. Suzy Suzy says:

    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 uite 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 clarity than I'd previously encountered in introductory texts While not uite 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 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 any 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

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