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Be Free Where You Are

4.42  ·  Rating Details  ·  595 Ratings  ·  49 Reviews
"Freedom is not given to us by anyone; we have to cultivate it ourselves."
—Thich Nhat Hanh

This compendium of the core teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh, based on a talk given at a prison, shows how mindfulness practice can cultivate freedom no matter where you are.

"This is living Buddhism at its best."
Shambhala Sun

"This beautiful little compendium of the core teachings of Th
Paperback, 76 pages
Published May 1st 2002 by Parallax Press (first published 2000)
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Jan 10, 2009 Mamuska rated it it was amazing
I carry this book with me always and give it to people I love.
Nov 25, 2015 Marc rated it really liked it
What a gift to have given these talks inside a prison! The book closes with a section of questions and answers from his visit, as well as some quotes from those who were there. You get a sense for how Hahn's presence alone sets an example. A slim volume that gives a very clear overview of mindfulness and tangible ways of daily practice.

“With understanding you will become compassionate, and that will change everything.” -Thich Nhat Hanh , Sister Chan Khong
Mar 11, 2009 Wendy rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: philosophically-minded-mindful types
Recommended to Wendy by: yoga reading group
Tiny pocket-sized book with 71 pages. You can take it anywhere and read it anytime. It's fast, simple and thoughtful. This book is a transcript of a speech given by Thich Nhat Hanh to prisoners at the Maryland Correctional Institution in Hagerstown. Basically, this zen master is describing how we are always free whether captive or not. The enjoyment we get from breathing and having food to eat and feeling the ground beneath our feet cannot be taken away. The sky is the same in the prison yard as ...more
Dec 19, 2014 Gail rated it really liked it
This book is a transcript of a talk Thich Nhat Hanh gave to the Maryland Correctional Institution at Hagerstown in 1999. It talks about the basics of mindfulness which are always a good reminder for me. I highlighted a number of passages in this book. After a stressful week, this helped ground me. I'll return to this one again.
Apr 05, 2015 Jen rated it it was amazing
And at last, we return to “Present Moment, Wonderful Moment.”

“Breathing in, I dwell in the present moment. Breathing out, I feel this is a wonderful moment.” Remember, the Buddha said that the present moment is the only moment when life is available to us. So in order to touch life deeply, we have to come back to the present moment.
Feb 24, 2014 WR rated it it was amazing
Be here, be present, now. Mindfulness is so satisfying, yet so hard to attain. We are often so distracted by a thousand and one things, that we forget to take in the here and now. It's interesting that this was from a talk given in a prison, because that is surely the best place to practise to be free where you are. Awesome!
Nov 30, 2015 Cheska added it
The word "mindfulness" has been twisted by the media (social media especially) as a selling tool, which makes sense since it is the antithesis of what the media sells: mindless consumerism. Interesting read. Happy to see that its true meaning is not what's being pushed by popular culture.
Feb 04, 2015 T. rated it really liked it
Shelves: buddhist-books
I love Thay's teachings but I was a bit skeptical about this little book as it is actually talks that he gave at a correctional institution. I wasn't sure it would be relevant. But trust Thay, we all live somewhat in a prison, even if it is of our own making, and there is plenty to digest in this book.
Austin Wright
Dec 15, 2014 Austin Wright rated it liked it
This is a great book for anyone in prison--though the part where he talks about 11-year getting raped by Pirates was completely inappropriate.

This book also is a stepping stone for leaning about Sister Chan Khong and her village of Ben Tre.
Jan 13, 2015 Deborah rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book. Everything by Thich Nhat Hanh feeds my soul. I rated this particular book as a 3, simply because it was more basic than others I have read, more of an intro to mindfulness.
Jul 03, 2014 Zoe rated it it was amazing
This little book gives you Thay's (Thich Nhat Hanh's) wisdom in the palm of your hands. I have been at a retreat with Thay and this book is taken directly from one of his speeches. Excellent, and worth having/reading.
Dec 31, 2015 Stephanie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
This tiny book is a gem. If you are interested in cultivating more peace in your life, this book will send you on your way. Definitely recommend!
Jun 27, 2014 Gail rated it really liked it
Nice quick read and an excellent addition to the pursuit of mindfulness no matter where you are or what you are doing.
Feb 03, 2016 Juanbpf rated it it was amazing
I loved it. It's concise but extremely useful for my life. I wish everyone could read it at least once!
Trey Nowell
Aug 07, 2014 Trey Nowell rated it it was amazing
Excellent short read to help you be more mindful about where you are at within your life and how to adjust.
Carolina Newman-Beckinsale
Mar 26, 2015 Carolina Newman-Beckinsale rated it it was amazing
A great little pocket book outlining the basics of mindfulness!
Julie Lusk
Sep 10, 2015 Julie Lusk rated it it was amazing
A wonderful synopsis of Thich Hnat Hanh's teachings
Apr 29, 2014 Zak rated it it was amazing
This is a beautiful and moving little book. I loved it.
Be Free Where You Are is a compendium of the core teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh, based on a talk given at a prison. It shows how mindfulness practice can cultivate freedom no matter where you are, and summarizes for the first time all of Thich Nhat Hanh's core teachings making it an outstanding introduction to the ideas and practices of one of the foremost Buddhist teachers alive. Included is a foreword by Sister Chan Khang and an appendix describing how Thich Nhat Hanh's visit impacted those tha ...more
Denise Tarasuk
Jan 22, 2015 Denise Tarasuk rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spiritual
"Be Free Where You Are" is special! It made me feel good from beginning to end. This little pocket size gem is perfect for caring around and sharing with others. It is a perfect gift that will bring peace and harmony for all of those who read or just hear the words. Thank you Thich Nhat Hanh and Parallax Press!
Jan 02, 2012 Kristin rated it really liked it
My sister gave me this book for Christmas and I'm glad I read it. This short book (71 very small pages) is the transciption of a speech Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh gave to Maryland prisioners about practicing mindfulness. The speech is an excellent introduction to Thich Nhat Hanh's ideas and made me think about ways to stay in the present moment. As someone who is often thinking about the future, it's good advice for me.

Mr. Roboto
Sep 29, 2009 Mr. Roboto rated it really liked it
I'd really give it 4.5 stars. This book is a gift, and my acquisition of it is well-timed given that I'm currently suffering with a prescribed dietary overhaul that is quite difficult. I will remember, thanks to this book, to eat mindfully, and to remember how much went into producing the things I don't particularly feel the desire to eat. We can make our own prison but also free ourselves from it.
Brett Bartow
Jan 22, 2014 Brett Bartow rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Based on a lecture given to prisoners, this little book gives a great introduction to the practice of mindfulness and how it can be applied in any situation.
Feb 10, 2009 Heather rated it really liked it
This book is a talk about being completely involved in the present moment that Thich Nhat Hanh gave at a Maryland Correctional Facility. The book will benefit anyone to enjoy each moment more while your eating, walking, etc. I really enjoyed it, but being mindful while going to the bathroom was a little too much for me. :)
Aaron Finkel
Nov 28, 2011 Aaron Finkel rated it really liked it
I really enjoy Thich Nhat Hanh's writing, and this is a nicely condensed version of some of his teachings regarding mindfulness. It's not quite 5-star material, as it is repetitive in places, even in its brevity, and I really wish there were more inmate questions in the afterword.
Jul 25, 2011 Rah~ri rated it did not like it

Like what he has to say?
Good message and all...i suppose?
Have yet to enjoy reading any of his books, though i have tried a few?
I want them to have meaning to me :(
Blahblahblahblahhhhh It is yet to happen!
but i really WANT TO LIKE his books???
Mar 25, 2011 Matt rated it it was amazing
A small gem with more thoughts on mindfulness from Thich Nhat Hanh. When I read about mindful breathing and eating in his books and try to put it into practice, I find I am very happy doing the simplest, most mundane things. Thank you TNH.
Mar 11, 2009 Rebecca rated it it was amazing
I have given this book away at least a dozen times. I'm determined to hang on to my most recent copy (though I did just lend it someone...) as it's an easy quick read and a great reminder of how simple it is to practice freedom.
Pake Hall
May 21, 2015 Pake Hall rated it it was amazing
Wonderful and inspirational book. Very easy to read and suitable for anyone. Thich Nhat Hanh also gives great advice on practices to start with - wherever we are.
Will give it to people in prison for sure!
Thomas Hayes
Jul 21, 2013 Thomas Hayes rated it really liked it
This is a very accessible pathway to the mindfulness teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh. It is short yet thought provoking and the excerpts from letters from audience members testify to this.
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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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“For me, there is no happiness without freedom, and freedom is not given to us by anyone; we have to cultivate it ourselves.” 5 likes
“THE FIVE CONTEMPLATIONS This food is the gift of the whole universe, the Earth, the sky, and much hard work. May we eat in such a way as to be worthy to receive it. May we transform our unskillful states of mind and learn to eat in moderation. May we take only food that nourishes us and prevents illness. We accept this food in order to realize the path of understanding and love.” 2 likes
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