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Living Buddha, Living Christ

4.13  ·  Rating Details ·  10,812 Ratings  ·  482 Reviews
When you are a truly happy Christian, you are also a Buddhist. And vice versa."
-- Thich Nhat Hanh Buddha and Christ, perhaps the two most pivotal figures in the history of humankind, each left behind a legacy of teachings and practices that have shaped the lives of billions of people over the course of two millenia. If they were to meet on the road today, what would each
Paperback, 240 pages
Published September 1st 1997 by Riverhead Trade (first published 1995)
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Cedric Hendrix
Aug 06, 2012 Cedric Hendrix rated it it was amazing
One of the biggest problems I have with organized religion is the amount of time it spends trying to foist its ideals on you while trying to convince you that anything you believed before you came to them is wrong. Rest assured, I have no intention of doing that here. I was raised a Baptist, and baptized a Catholic. Yet I tend to find the most comfort in books centered around Buddhism. This is not to say that I am a Buddhist. I am spiritual, if a label must be assigned. I can see the benefit of ...more
Deborah Yates
Mar 26, 2011 Deborah Yates rated it liked it
I have read many reviews here on Living Buddha, Living Christ, and find that the general opinion is that Hanh is converging Christ and Buddha into one teaching. I did NOT find that to be so. Hanh is showing that the teachings of Buddha and Christ have the same message: love and acceptance, but that Christianity does not teach the love and acceptance that was the embodiment of Jesus' message. In several passages Hanh refers to the intolerance that Christianity has for other religions because of ...more
Mar 09, 2013 Jenz rated it it was amazing
Some reviewers seem to think Hanh doesn't understand Christianity. I think they're missing the point; this wasn't meant as an in depth dissection of that. So far, the book is just as I expected, a look at the similarities between faiths. And in that, I believe Hanh does an excellent job.

As the book title clearly states, it is not just about Christianity, so if you'd like to read primarily about that, go back and note the Buddha part of the title and take a clue from it. I suspect the Christians
Skylar Burris
Mar 13, 2015 Skylar Burris marked it as unfinished
I picked up this book because I thought it might give me some interesting insights into both Christianity and Buddhism (as did Zen Spirit, Christian Spirit), but I chose not to complete it after a ways into it, because I found its picture of Christianity to be insubstantial. G.K. Chesterton wasn't writing a review of this book, but he might as well have been when he said that people "are always insisting that Christianity and Buddhism are very much alike...This is generally believed, and I ...more
Oct 05, 2007 Carolyn rated it it was amazing
This book changed my traditional thinking of Christ as the Only Begotten Son of God, to more of an example and teacher, which makes more sense to me. The book is written with such a passive sense that it doesn't trigger religious defenses like most other church-related literature. I loved everything about it.
Will Waller
It’s rare that in seminary we get assigned books that might find their way into an airport terminal bookstore or your local Barnes and Noble. This book was saved for last in a class investigating other religion’s portrayal of Christ. Having read little if any Buddhist works before, I didn’t know exactly how to charge into this book. Thich Nhat Hanh is an author who makes charging into anything a poorly planned exercise. Getting through half the book confused and unsure of his style, I ...more
Katy Resop Benway
Feb 19, 2014 Katy Resop Benway rated it it was amazing
"The Gospels in their written or even oral form are not the living teaching of Jesus. The teachings must be practiced as they were lived by Jesus."
-Thich Nhat Hanh

I didn't want this book to end. Just reading it made me feel mindful and peaceful. Even the physicality of the book with its narrow pages and clean typesetting made me feel a depth I hadn't experienced in a long while.

I knew halfway through Living Buddha, Living Christ that I would reread it.

Thich Nhat Hanh has a way of revealing trut
Sonia Turtle
Jun 04, 2012 Sonia Turtle rated it really liked it
This book was incredibly relatable to me because although I was raised in a Christian family as a church-going Christian, I've had the personal opinion that religion shouldn't have to fit a cookie-mold, and that picking and choosing aspects that you believe in from different religions should be perfectly okay if it resonates with your personal beliefs. Thich Nhat Hanh describes many interesting parallels between Buddhism and Christianity, connecting food traditions to mealtimes in the Jewish ...more
I haven't read this book, but read many comments here...I once use to be buddist..and I know that there is a difference in the spirituality of being christian. Christ died for all, and rose again to the Father, and has granted all those who accept Him as Lord and savior to be apart of their lives, eternal life... Anything that doesnt lead people to the truth about Christ and His being sent to die for the sins of all, and that God's love is the only motive behind this and why He desire's we have ...more
Apr 16, 2015 Owlseyes marked it as to-read
[Some notes taken from an interview Trich gave].

Born in Vietnam, in 1926, Thích Nhat Hanh has been a prominent figure in Buddhist circles, especially for his role in the Vietnam War and the Peace (non-violent) movement the world over. He would be exiled for 39 years (it was like being taken “out of the beehive”).

He was ordained a Buddhist monk at the age of 16. In 1965 he wrote a letter to Martin Luther King. Then they met in 1966 in the US. In Geneva, Martin L. King was called a "bodhisattv
My reading of this book resulted from the interest stone firmly wedged in the center of my mind. It’s not large enough to prevent me from moving around it but it is always there, tripping me up from time to time to gently remind me of its presence. My life has been a bit off and the most recent stumble sent me towards the bookshelf where I happened to have a stack of Buddhism related books squirreled away.

This isn’t quite what I wanted it to be but what I wanted isn’t exactly clear to me either.
Oct 14, 2009 Ron rated it liked it
My son Ryan suggested this book to me. I found it very interesting. It compares the teaching of Buddha with the teachings of Christ. I think the right path is like the spokes of a wheel, leading to the center wherein lies the truth. ( I am sure this is not an original idea but I don't know where it came from ). While most religious belief systems feel they are the only one, they all teach the same basic values but no one listens to anyone else and all seem to be groping around in a spiritual ...more
Cyril Wong
Jul 21, 2010 Cyril Wong rated it it was amazing
Finally, a monk I can believe in! Thich Nhat Hanh's shining simplicity, generosity and compassion pours through every line in this book that fuses ideas from both Judeo-Christianity and Mahayana-Buddhism. God/Christ/Buddha as spirit and not as some judgmental, external creator; the spirit that runs through our hearts as love/compassion/energy and which should (even as, more often than not, it doesn't) unite the world.
♥ Ibrahim ♥
Feb 11, 2014 ♥ Ibrahim ♥ rated it it was amazing
It is a mistake to read this book as comparing Buddha with Christ because Buddha is Buddha and Christ is Christ. Each came for different reasons. However, we as Christians can take some good tips from Thich in how he tries to establish dialog between the two sides and the good tips we can like learn from Buddhism such as living mindfully. I wish the book didn't have the introduction of THAT woman! Yes, what is Elaine Pagel doing in a book like this? She needs to go back to her gospel of Thomas ...more
Samantha Newman
I always enjoy reading about Buddhism. It relaxes me, centers me, and I find a lot of wisdom, truth, guidance and calm in it. So of course I enjoyed this. So many insights here. Reading about Buddhist philosophy is often repetitive, but so far, I don't find it annoying b/c I have a horrible memory, one, and it reminds me of things I've already read, and two, it's like a meditation- reading the same things again. And different phrasing gives me different insights. Of course much of this, or any ...more
Nov 16, 2010 Walter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a thought-provoking and spirit-invoking book, an insightful synthesis and comparison of the Christian and Buddhist traditions. In particular, I appreciate that the author, Buddhist imminence Thich Nhat Hanh, treats each of these spiritual disciplines so respectfully in the attempt to bring about greater understanding of each of them individually and both of them collectively. Along the way, Thay (meaning "teacher," as the author is called reverently) manages to elucidate societal and ...more
Fred Kohn
This was my first Thich Nhat Hanh read, and I am very much impressed. Lots of five star material here. I do have one warning if you decide to read this book. Do not read this book as a comparison of Christianity and Buddhism, but rather one man's spiritual journey. But I do believe the author is has an illusion about this journey. He describes himself as a man with two roots (Buddhism and Christianity) but he is really a man who has grafted Christianity onto his Buddhist root. How else could he ...more
Jana L.
Mar 05, 2016 Jana L. rated it really liked it
Shelves: thinking, spiritual
A lovely book on the similarities between Buddhism and Christianity from the lens of a renowned Buddhist hoping to provide a way for peace in the face of disagreement. Thich Nhat Hanh shows that there are many wonderful parallels between the two religions, as well as wonderful differences that devotees in both religions should consider and possibly benefit from. As he says, no religion has the monopoly on truth.

It was interesting to read about Christianity from a decidedly Buddhist viewpoint, an
Steven Fouse
Nov 25, 2014 Steven Fouse rated it really liked it
Shelves: religion
Living Buddha, Living Christ by Vietnamese Buddhist Thich Nhat Hanh is a wonderful, encouraging look at the similarities between Jesus and his teachings and the Buddha and his teachings. It will be most beneficial to readers who have familiarity with both traditions and who are open to seeing the similarities between them, rather than just the differences.

The Good - A fresh perspective on Christianity from a person of faith from another tradition. Full of insights on practices, beliefs, and expe
Sep 06, 2013 Richard rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Much of what Thich Nhat Hanh writes about the similarities existing between Christianity and Buddhism are insightful and interesting. There is certainly a case to be made that the Kingdom of God and Nirvana are terms of art used to describe the same phenomenon. Additionally, Hahn's appreciation of Tillich's ground of being in light of Buddhist thought is compelling. Finally, I like the fact that the author makes clear that ecumenism should encourage a deeper appreciation of one's own tradition ...more
Wil Roese
I really would like to beleive that Buddah and Christ brought the same message. I am very ipressed with the Buddhist practice of mindfulness and have started practicing it in my own life, but the more I read of this book the more convinced I become that Hanh does not understand Christianity. For example on page 56 He says: "To him [a Protestant minister] love could only be symbolized by a person. That is why belief in the resurrection is so important to Christians." I have never heard a fellow ...more
Jun 17, 2012 erica rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, spiritual
"When we look into the heart of a flower, we see clouds, sunshine, minerals, time, the earth, and everything else in the cosmos in it. Without clouds, there could be no rain, and there would be no flower. Without time, the flower could not bloom. In fact, the flower is made entirely of non-flower elements; it has no independent, individual existence. It "inter-is" with everything else in the universe. Interbeing is a new term, but I believe it will be in the dictionary soon because it is such an ...more
Sonny Wyatt
Aug 06, 2012 Sonny Wyatt rated it really liked it
If you're looking for a buddhist monk to support your belief that faith in jesus christ is the only way to salvation, this book is not for you. However if you're looking for a comparison of the similarities of the 2 dogmas this may just be the book for you.

Buddha never said that you must believe in him in order to be saved from the pains of this world. Nor do we know that Jesus said this. Only the Bible tells us this but it also tells us that we are to be pure of heart. Buddhism is not against
Nov 19, 2012 Veronique rated it really liked it
There are many messages one can focus on when reading this book, but the ones that resonate with me were those of mindfulness, kindness and love. I like that he observes that when people get caught up in the appearances and dogma of their religion instead of actually living their faith, it is when intolerance and hypocrisy start (my interpretation). We are all interconnected and affect one another more than we know. This is not a discourse on the differences and similarities between Buddhism and ...more
Jan 18, 2011 Alissa rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 19, 2015 Rona rated it really liked it
This little book is a bit "Buddhism 101 for the modern person" and part "spiritual similarities between Christianity and Buddhism." Thich Nhat Hanh, the Buddhist Vietnamese peace activist and teacher was allies with other peace and justice activists including Martin Luther King Jr. and Daniel Berrigan. He spent a lifetime teaching the principles of Buddhism to westerners to try to make a better world.
There is still work to be done. The least you can do is read this book.
David Metting
Jul 12, 2013 David Metting rated it really liked it
Shelves: spirituality
A good introduction to Buddhism for those raised with a Christian perspective. Many strong insights, practical practices, and nuggets of wisdom. A few moments fall flat. Some of the Buddhist philosophical discussions on the nature of reality may be overwhelming. Overall very worth reading!
Feb 04, 2011 Andrea rated it really liked it
One of my favorite books. Proof that Buddhist practice can strengthen your current faith (Christianity).Reading any of his books is like a meditation.
Jon Stout
Jul 24, 2014 Jon Stout rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: the open-minded and open-hearted
Recommended to Jon by: Sam Perry
Shelves: religion
It is often argued that to say that all world religions are equally valid is to wash out any distinction among them. And somehow it is felt that to defend one religious tradition is to reject all others. With a working knowledge of Buddhism and a sympathetic understanding of Christianity, this book by Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh argues for the compatibility of two world religions, and for a return to spiritual roots in any tradition.

By carefully comparing scriptures and practices,
Feb 12, 2014 Keith rated it really liked it
Thich Nhat Hanh studied comparative religion at Princeton and has done an excellent job comparing Christianity and Buddhism. One of the ways the comparison is valuable is that it helps you see Jesus' teachings through an Eastern perspective, which is what Christianity originally was. Today, Christianity is viewed mainly through a Western perspective, which empties Jesus' teachings of much of their spirituality and focuses on Law.

Another value is that the comparison reminds us that God has revea
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  • A Path with Heart: A Guide Through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life
  • Insight Meditation: A Step-by-step Course on How to Meditate
  • Awakening the Buddha Within: Tibetan Wisdom for the Western World
  • No Time to Lose: A Timely Guide to the Way of the Bodhisattva
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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