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No Death, No Fear

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4.30  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,910 Ratings  ·  148 Reviews
With hard-won wisdom and refreshing insight, Thich Nhat Hanh confronts a subject that has been contemplated by Buddhist monks and nuns for twenty-five-hundred years—and a question that has been pondered by almost anyone who has ever lived: What is death? In No Death, No Fear, the acclaimed teacher and poet examines our concepts of death, fear, and the very nature of existe ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published August 5th 2003 by Riverhead Books (first published August 5th 2002)
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Siddhartha by Hermann HesseThe Art of Happiness by Dalai Lama XIVZen Mind, Beginner's Mind by Shunryu SuzukiWhen Things Fall Apart by Pema ChödrönPeace Is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh
A Buddhist Reading List
70th out of 683 books — 858 voters
Stiff by Mary RoachHamlet by William ShakespeareThe Bell Jar by Sylvia PlathThe Lovely Bones by Alice SeboldSmoke Gets in Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty
Thanatopsis: Death, Dying, and Mortality
63rd out of 297 books — 173 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Lori
Jan 11, 2013 Lori rated it liked it
Well, it has happened. I have reached the point in my life where death lurks closer and reaches out more frequently. This is not a happy topic; not many of us are calm in the face of it. But I am nearing 50 as my parents approach 80. "Guess who died?" has become a conversational staple with a huge cast of players. I think back to the neighbors I grew up with...and most of the adults of my childhood are gone. I have lost friends and classmates and colleagues. And then there are the celebrity deat ...more
niki
Sep 16, 2014 niki rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I lost my Mom just over 2 years ago, and have been thinking about death quite often ever since. I think that's a normal reaction to the loss of a loved one, especially someone as close to me as she was, but the thoughts of death were beginning to turn into an unhealthily obsession. Dark, frightening, sad and lonely. I decided to do a Google search on books about death, and was very fortunate to have found this one.

This book is simple and beautiful. The analogies are incredible. It changed my vie
...more
Donna Quesada
Dec 27, 2012 Donna Quesada rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-5-star-50
I use the charming stories in this book for my own classes. Of all the books on my bookshelf about Buddhism and emptiness, this is the one I turn to when I need to come back home. Simply told, clearly described, and gently narrated, the charming stories that enhance the main body of the book convey the beauty of this changing universe that we are all a part of. By "looking deeply," we see the miracle that is right before us. We see that although it is ever-changing and forever unfolding into som ...more
Kyle
Oct 20, 2015 Kyle rated it it was amazing
I've never read a "self-help" spiritual book before. I read several books on how to cope with coming out back in the day, but this was the first non-Christian text to cross my path. I am kinda speechless.

The thoughts and actions that are presented in No Death, No Fear are universal. Hanh is a famous Buddhist monk, known for providing training in mindfulness and spirituality.

I am not gonna comment heavily on the writing. I don't feel as if nitpicking on a book that covers this subject matter doe
...more
Danna
Nov 07, 2008 Danna rated it really liked it
Beautiful! I found that if I read a whole lot of chapters in one sitting as I usually do when I read, it seemed repetitive and could be viewed as not much different than dime-store self-help fodder as some Goodreads reviewers have noted. Instead, I discovered it's best to approach this as a book of meditations. Read one chapter, slowly, and let it resonate with you for a while before moving on. A chapter a day would be a good method. When taken in that context, the repetitive nature of his metap ...more
Melissa
Jan 24, 2013 Melissa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spirituality
This book was amazing. Although I am familiar with Thich Nhat Hanh's work, I have never read a complete piece of his.

Given to me about 10 years ago after my father passed away suddenly, I am only completing it now. Funny how books come into your life, or you are able to sit down with them, at precisely the right moment.

Wow. It had a very natural flow to it and in the last chapter brings it full circle beautifully. There is no death, and therefore no fear. I am a practicing meditator and read qui
...more
Amy
Jan 23, 2008 Amy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-reads
This book changed everything I thought about life and death.

Before I began it, I'd been through a very trying personal time, and was really struggling to find some new way of thinking that would provide me some comfort regarding my own mortality. This book did JUST that!

I'd already encountered Ticht Naht Hann's reading through my own exploration of the Eastern Religions, and really enjoyed it. He's like a best friend or a brother, absolutely kind, understanding, and clear.

He tals about complex i
...more
Patience Thomas
Feb 04, 2011 Patience Thomas rated it it was amazing
This book was recommended by a teacher who responded to my interest in gaining more acceptance of death. This book was reassuring that death is not the end but a continuation much like birth. For us to be fully present and be at peace with ourselves life is more dooable. There is no need to worry or regret by just living where we are in the here and now. Thich Khat Hahn writes that everything continues but in different forms thus there is no ending. Are we the same person that we were when we we ...more
Zelda
Oct 22, 2015 Zelda rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015
I had been wishing to read one of Thich Nhat Hanh's books for about 2 years but that can be said for many, many books and there isn't always an obvious reason for why some title rises to the top of that stack. But in this case there is a fairly obvious reason: the recent death of my mother after a short but punishing struggle to stay in front of her cancer. This is the not the first book on death and/or grieving that I've explored in the past year; it is just the latest addition to that shelf. S ...more
Stef
Apr 18, 2011 Stef rated it really liked it
My grandmother was recently diagnosed with cancer. Learning of her illness brought up many feelings of worry, fear & anxiety concerning death & impermanence. I would recommend this book to anyone struggling with those same fears, or to anyone who is suffering the loss of a loved one. The insight is calming & deep.
Huy Nguyen
Jan 05, 2015 Huy Nguyen rated it really liked it
"Có tám ý niệm nuôi dưỡng sự sợ hãi. Đó là ý niệm về sinh - diệt, đến - đi, khác nhau - giống nhau, có và không. Những ý niệm đó làm cho ta không hạnh phúc. Giáo pháp của Bụt dạy ta tám ý niệm đối nghịch gọi là tám không: không sinh - không diệt; không đến - không đi; không giống - không khác; không có cũng không không."

tác giả giải thích rằng cái chết thật ra là một sự bắt đầu mới, dưới một sắc thái hay hình dạng khác. Vì chúng ta không được sinh ra cho nên chúng ta sẽ không bị hoại diệt (chết)
...more
dunianyawira
Aug 01, 2009 dunianyawira rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
meskipun buku ini bahasanya agak berat tapi sungguh memberi siraman semangat agar kita terus meningkatkan kesadaran kita hingga akhirnya kita bisa melihat arti hidup dengan lebih jernih...

menurut saya, sebaiknya buku ini tidak hanya dibaca sekali dua kali tapi mesti berkali kali dan terlebih lagi buku ini tidak akan memberi arti apa pun jika kita hanya berhenti pada membaca tanpa praktek langsung karena seperti disampaikan oleh sang penulis bahwa buku ini hanya berisi kumpulan konsep jadi kuncin
...more
Dylan
Oct 03, 2015 Dylan rated it it was amazing
My first real dip into the Buddhist philosophies and I feel like I picked a good place to start. I found throughout that the book challenged the often ignored expectation that intellectual knowledge is somehow magically internalized. It offers practices for meditating on the ideas given to you so that you may learn the lessons on a real level beyond just intellectual pondering. The book isn't a self help, "read this and be free", cop out. This is wisdom, take it or leave it, but don't expect the ...more
Mengran Xu
Apr 19, 2015 Mengran Xu rated it it was amazing
Fear, in its essence, is future-oriented. We fear something terrible is going to happen, we fear we are going to lose something or someone, and we fear that when bad things happen, we won’t be able to resist and bear. There are two inherent characteristics of our fears—uncertainty and negativity, none of which is inevitable about future.

Future is never purely uncertain. It is uncertain if we will gain success or fame, even happiness and peace are not predictable. However, it is totally certain
...more
Jared Shearer
Apr 20, 2014 Jared Shearer rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
I first learned of Thich Nhat Hanh from a friend who suggested I read Be Free Where You Are when I was going through some stuff and when I saw this one at the bookstore I decided to pick it up as well. This particular book didn't help me as much as the other but I feel that I got some good stuff out of it.

It mainly deals with the concept of no self or the death of the ego. It is a hard idea to wrap one's head around especially for people with a more western or even materialistic look on life. H
...more
Melissa
Feb 26, 2016 Melissa rated it really liked it
Thích Nhât Hahn has once again written another powerful book. Many of the things can be found in his other works and yes he does repeat things over and over throughout the book. I found it helpful since it helped remembering without having to keep flipping back like other books. He helps explain death by discussing impermanence, existance, and the idea that we are not born so therefor we cannot die. A wonderful book though one that is not for everybody.
Anca
Sep 26, 2015 Anca rated it it was amazing
Shelves: anatomical-gifts
This was the best book I ever read on death, Buddhism and the like. Well flowing, deep thoughts, what more can I ask from an author? I loved how this Vietnamese Buddhist monk currently residing in the USA (from what I understood) lives in the present moment while acknowledging all his spiritual and biological ancestors, as well as all his spiritual and biological children. Food for thought ;)
Matt Hudgens-Haney
May 11, 2011 Matt Hudgens-Haney rated it it was ok
April 15, 2011: For the second time, I gave up on this book. A lot of people have told me how much they enjoyed this book, but I just could not get into it. The whole time, it seemed like he was doing little more than playing off ambiguities and vagueness, when his arguments could be torn apart by the tiniest bit of precision. Of course, I can't be sure; I didn't finish the book.
Dale
Nov 14, 2011 Dale rated it it was amazing
Despite the fact that parts of this book were incredibly repetitive - even by TNH standards - there are some very good meditations here on death, life and everything in between. In particular, the Touching the Earth meditations were very thought provoking. TNH's writings generally lend themselves to fitting in with other faith traditions and this one is no exception.
Loretta
Aug 17, 2010 Loretta rated it it was amazing
This book, together with a few of Pema Chodron's books, were profoundly helpful and meaningful to me after the sudden death of my sister. I am fairly convinced they helped me stay sane, while respecting and living with my grief. I'd recommend it to anyone going through that kind of loss.
Brigette
Feb 09, 2014 Brigette rated it liked it
I started reading this after Mom died trying to find a way to help cope with the grief. I read it slowly at first because it does talk a lot about death. But it goes beyond that and talks about impermanence, no self, and nirvana, basic Buddhist concepts. My favorite analogies were about the wave and the water, the candle, and the clouds.
Amy
Mar 12, 2014 Amy marked it as abandoned  ·  review of another edition
The sentence that made me stop reading this book:

If you look deeply into a piece of carrot that you eat at lunch, you will see that the whole cosmos has come together in order to manifest that piece of carrot.

I'm sorry, I'm just not the kind of person who can see the cosmos in a carrot stick.
Nikita Pchelin
Jul 17, 2016 Nikita Pchelin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: buddhism
First of all, if you are looking for the sutta “Given to the Dying” in the Anguttara Nikaya that Thich Nhat Hanh refers to, after a little bit of research, the consensus is that he refers to Janussonin Sutta: To Janussonin (On Offerings to the Dead).
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If you are in the camp of "Dan Harris" people who are not very fond of "transcendental" language, parts of this book may be very hard to read, as some of the reviewers have pointed out. At the same time, if you manage to look past some of the fluff
...more
Louise
Feb 19, 2009 Louise added it
Well, I'm a fool for this precious monk's books. They're often, like this one, so simple as to appear simplistic. But anyone who speaks to the world around him with such love ("dear little piece of paper") and who is, in turn, addressed by flowers and flames, is tops in my book!
Brian
Nov 07, 2015 Brian rated it really liked it
This book was a good reminder to me to look deeply into the nature of the world. Hahn has always been a very accessible author for me, personally. In times that I have struggled to understand where to look in the world for grounding, he reminds the reader that the grounding of ourselves is within everything, in a practical way and also a metaphysical/spiritual way. This book deals with death and dying, offering comfort and reminding those in a position of feeling fear in the loss of the bodily m ...more
Bworm
So many people praise this wise man, and I have heard some pretty good quotes of him, so maybe I started with the wrong book. I do like the main idea (even if it is repeated ad nauseam) that there is no beginning, no end, hence no birth, no death, and nirvana and true freedom come when we have embraced impermanence and let go of the concept of things to just be with them. That's profound and very wise, but the message drowns in the rambling, platitudes, narrow-minded ideas (such as the determini ...more
Katische Haberfield
A brilliant book. Very readable conceptually but the trick with Thich Nhat Hanh is to understand that you can intellectually understand what he is teaching you, however, you need to do more than that. You have to live his teachings- which is the tricky bit. I recommend reading this a little bit at a time. There are many concepts that are repeated throughout the book, but the idea is that you need to be continually presented with the idea of continual manifestation to understand how we exist and ...more
Táňa
Nov 26, 2014 Táňa rated it it was amazing
Úžasná kniha, která změnila můj pohled na smrt. I když jsem jí dočetla už před nějakou chvílí, pořád nevím, jaké bych jí dala hodnocení... protože si zaslouží mnohem vyšší, než jaké jí můžu dát.
Alan Brehm
May 27, 2015 Alan Brehm rated it really liked it
I love brother Thay's work, but this one is one of the more difficult ones to grasp from a Western and Christian perspective, in my opinion. I like the way he points out our connection with past and future, and with all our contemporaries. But in my opinion, while he dealt clearly with the concept of "No Birth," his treatment of "No Death" left too many unanswered questions. Of course, he might say that is simply the way of things, but I think I would prefer to view "No Death" from a perspective ...more
Rich Baker
Apr 30, 2015 Rich Baker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If I had read this book a year ago I probably would have stopped reading after the first little bit. To my brain it would have sounded like a bunch of nonsense language attempting to sound smart. But I've read a lot about meditation and philosophy and what not in the last year and this book really hit me hard. I still don't think I understood it as well as I would have liked, but the parts I did understand were awesome. We are infinite. We are merely manifestations. It's really cool. Highly reco ...more
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Kein werden, kein vergehen. 1 6 Sep 21, 2008 09:23AM  
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Thích Nhất Hạnh is a Vietnamese 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 16, and studied Buddhism as a novitiate. Upon his ordination as a monk in 1949, he assumed the Dharma name Thích Nhất Hạnh. Thích is an honorary ...more
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“When you love someone, the best thing you can offer is your presence. How can you love if you are not there?” 45 likes
“The day my mother died I wrote in my journal, "A serious misfortune of my life has arrived." I suffered for more than one year after the passing away of my mother. But one night, in the highlands of Vietnam, I was sleeping in the hut in my hermitage. I dreamed of my mother. I saw myself sitting with her, and we were having a wonderful talk. She looked young and beautiful, her hair flowing down. It was so pleasant to sit there and talk to her as if she had never died. When I woke up it was about two in the morning, and I felt very strongly that I had never lost my mother. The impression that my mother was still with me was very clear. I understood then that the idea of having lost my mother was just an idea. It was obvious in that moment that my mother is always alive in me.

I opened the door and went outside. The entire hillside was bathed in moonlight. It was a hill covered with tea plants, and my hut was set behind the temple halfway up. Walking slowly in the moonlight through the rows of tea plants, I noticed my mother was still with me. She was the moonlight caressing me as she had done so often, very tender, very sweet... wonderful! Each time my feet touched the earth I knew my mother was there with me. I knew this body was not mine but a living continuation of my mother and my father and my grandparents and great-grandparents. Of all my ancestors. Those feet that I saw as "my" feet were actually "our" feet. Together my mother and I were leaving footprints in the damp soil.

From that moment on, the idea that I had lost my mother no longer existed. All I had to do was look at the palm of my hand, feel the breeze on my face or the earth under my feet to remember that my mother is always with me, available at any time.”
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