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

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  9,959 ratings  ·  425 reviews
“If there is a candidate for ‘Living Buddha’ on earth today, it is Thich Nhat Hanh.”
                                                                                                 – Richard Baker-roshi
In The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching, now with added material and new insights, Thich Nhat Hanh introduces us to the core teachings of Buddhism and shows us that the Buddh
Paperback, 294 pages
Published June 8th 1999 by Broadway Books (first published May 1998)
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Oct 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
First, I want to make a distinction between what I’d like to call ‘cultural Buddhism’ and ‘secular Buddhism’. Secular Buddhism, much like secular Christianity, is a distilled version of cultural Buddhism made to fit the vogues of our society. Offensive elements are purged, unreasonable stories and precepts dismissed, and what you have left is a perfectly digestible form of the original that now can be taught as an elective for school credit. Cultural Buddhism, as I’ve deemed it, is Buddhism as r ...more
Aug 15, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: buddhism
If you're looking for an erudite, comprehensive overview of mainstream Buddhist thought, "The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching" is an adequate choice, but prepare for a long, hard slog. Thich Nhat Hanh is at his best when he's telling stories from his own life— his time in Vietnam during the war, or stories about the Buddhist community he started in France. Unfortunately, most of the book isn't told from his personal point of view— it's an academic rundown of major Buddhist ideas (and endlessly li ...more
Clif Brittain
Dec 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I think I love Buddhism, but please, please, please, don't make me take a test on it.

When I decided I wanted to know more about Buddhism, it was because of my developing interest in yoga. I can't tell you how exactly Buddhism is related to yoga, but it surely is. First of all, I find no need for faith in yoga or Buddhism. It works. I practice yoga, I feel better. I practice Buddhist principles, I feel better. No faith involved.

Compare this with Judaism. You believe in God? Pro
Mary Overton
"Let us look at a wave on the surface of the ocean. A wave is a wave. It has a beginning and an end. It might be high or low, more or less beautiful than other waves. But a wave is, at the same time, water. Water is the ground of being of the wave. It is important that a wave knows that she is water, and not just a wave. We, too, live our life as an individual. We believe that we have a beginning and an end, that we are separate from other living beings. That is why the Buddha advised us to look ...more
Robert Gustavo
Apr 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: meditation
One of the more difficult books I have read, to the point where I am not sure I got out even a tenth of what Thich Nhat Hanh put into it. I will want to revisit this in the future, once I have let it settle in.

I was bothered by some of the symbolism and examples, such as this: "The Buddha offered this example. A young couple and their two-year-old child were trying to cross the desert, and they ran out of food. After deep reflection, the parents realized that in order to survive they had to kill
Aug 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lucid and helpful with great presentation of Noble Eightfold Path especially.
Thoroughly enjoyed reading it and am incorporating parts of it in my meditation.
Nicholas Whyte
Jun 16, 2012 rated it liked it

A book by a prominent Buddhist monk outlining key teachings of Buddhism. I started off rather liking it as an approach to mindfulness and how to process suffering and the good things about life. But after he Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path, I started to get a bit irritated with the constant discovery of new lists of important spiritual things, from the Two Truths up to the Twelve Links of Interdependent Co-Arising; it seems to me that over-descr
Ankur Banerjee
Oct 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book by Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh goes into a lot of the background from the later-life teachings of the Buddha such as the Lotus Sutra, so in a way, it's more about what the Zen school of Buddhism or Mahayana sects in general teach. Concepts are well-explained with copious footnotes, and it remembers the Indian roots of Buddhism throwing in Sanskrit / Pali terms in addition to Japanese and Chinese terms.

But while the book is easy to read, it often overwhelms the reader with
the gift
this is a very useful book for me, helping to clarify exactly what is the difference between religious and philosophical texts, what I like about Buddhist thought, what I learn, what I generally do not note. as far as difference: ethical assertions within a metaphysical superstructure, ontological arguments, referring often to texts or authorities or stories, is religion. conceptual exploration of said superstructure, of metaphysics, of arguments, referring often to other philosophical texts, is ...more
Jun 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I have been savoring this book for some time, and was lucky to have it with me while trapped on planes and in airports and on an overnight detour to Detroit--Hanh's teachings didn't quite transform the ordeal into great spiritual practice, but they did vastly improve the experience. Many of his other books can be read almost as a philosophy of Buddhism; here he explains the basic religious tenets in depth (and with more clarity than I'd previously encountered in introductory texts). While not qu ...more
Hákon Gunnarsson
I think this may be the most interesting book on Buddhism I’ve read in a while. Certain concepts fell into place while listening to it. Mind you, it’s not the easiest, nor the simplest book on the subject out there.

It covers a lot of ground, and maybe it’s one of those books that one really needs to re-read before getting it completely, and I think I will do that in some time. But I got a lot out of it anyway. Especially the first half.

He touches up on religious dogmatism early on, and handles
Nov 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Mutluluk bireysel bir mesele değildir."
I've had this book on my shelf for years, and I've attempted to read it several times, but I've always abandoned it part way through. This has been a recurring thing for me since I was about sixteen years old: I get interested in Buddhism, read a couple of books, but then I quell the interest by convincing myself that suffering and angst are conducive to good work (just look at the arts!), that it's good to feel bad sometimes, and I leave it alone. A few months later, I get interested again. And ...more
Jakob Masic
Jan 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
I consider myself a spiritual person. And have for as long as I remember being alive, wanted to stay away from religion, any religion. Reading about Buddhism, I truly recognized myself, and the way I live my life inside the faith and practises.
What I like most is the here and now way of living.
Through meditation and living mindfully, is what I believe to be the most important qualities for any soul to practice. In order to understand the here and now, is all that really matters.
As I read more
Mar 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is an excellent book to read to understand the core fundamentals of Buddhism. It covers the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path, in a good amount of detail. It also goes further than that, drawing on key concepts which are common to most variants of Buddhism.

I liked the fact on how Thich Nhat Hanh emphasizes the need for depth in life - developing it by living the values, the Buddha taught and practised. Mindfulness is expectedly a strong theme throughout the book.

The only aspect whi
Andrew Marshall
I first read this book about five years ago. I found it both heavy going and life changing. Returning to The Heart of Buddha's Teaching, I was pleased that I was able to understand more but it is still overwhelming. I think the problem is the huge amount of information: the four noble truths, the twelve turnings of the wheel, the eight fold path, the twelve links of interdependent co-arising, I could go on... And although each item made sense, the overall feeling was indigestion but perhaps that ...more
May 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ox-herding
there is a lot here. sometimes it feels like too much. take small bites. chew. repeat.
Mack Hayden
Aug 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: religion
The more I research Buddhism, the more I'm blown away by just how much understanding its early teachers had of human psychology. Thich Nhat Hanh is probably the best communicator of Buddhist ideas I've come across in my admittedly limited amount of reading on the subject. Don't let the concision of this book fool you, it's a surprisingly comprehensive and nuanced look into all of Buddhism's central teachings alongside practical applications and illustrations for how to implement them into your l ...more
Joshua Buhs
May 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: b12, non-fiction
Still the best book on Buddhism that I have read.

The first two sections are the best, providing a nice overview of the ideas at the heart--as it were--of Buddhist philosophy. Thay certainly has his axes to grind. He is of the opinion that Buddhist practice should emphasize joy, not suffering--suffering is something to get beyond; and to emphasize the immanence of nirvana, rather than putting it off for the after life (or after lives).

He provides textual support for his take. I am not enough of a
Adding this one to the list of "books that have changed my life." This is an excellent, clearly-written explanation of major tenets of Zen Buddhism. My only complaint is the use of terms without definitions. For some unfamiliar terms, definitions are provided late in the text, while others go completely unexplained. Overall, though, a lovely and important read.
James Langer
Feb 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I first picked up this book when I was going through an identity crisis in the seventh or eight grade. Many books have made me think, many books have changed my opinions before, but the Heart of the Buddha's Teachings has been the only book to change my life. I remember the very day when I read a passage from this piece and it was like a great awakening.
Jan 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A thorough and very easy to digest review, in depth, of the teachings of the Buddha. Thay delivers here...illuminating the path with clarity.
Dec 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I think that this is a good book for those new to the subject and those that are more advanced in their study of the subject. For beginners, I think that it serves as a good introduction as it crams in a lot of information and cites where people can study the summarized conceptions in the book in a more in-depth manner. For advanced students, I think that he does a good job pointing out areas of disagreement among Buddhist scholars, does a decent job describing positions that he opposes, and doe ...more
Gülhan Güllü
Buda’nın öğretisi elbette yadsınamayacak değerde. Yalnız kitap, Buda öğretisiyle çelişir nitelikte; maalesef yalınlıktan uzak, özentisiz, kuru.

Çevirinin ve yayın öncesi hazırlığın ne kadar önemli olduğunu bütün okuma boyunca defalarca düşünmeden edemedim.

Dolayısıyla hiç kolay bir okuma vaad edilmiyor, benden söylemesi.
Feb 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Probably the best introduction to the trappings of Buddhist thought and methodologies; simultaneously instructing the reader in the way to be a mindful and useful human being.

Written by a man who is fully awake and filled with metta. Everyone should read this book. It should be taught at school. The world would be so much better for it.
Kim Yee
Dec 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Thich Nhat Hanh's writing is gentle, compassionate and joyful, each page was filled with inspirations for me to be a kinder person every day. You don't need to be a Buddhist to read and understand this book. Thich Nhat Hanh teaches us how to look deeply into ourselves and others, and reminds us that joy can be found in the here and now, we just need to pay attention to find it.
Darryl Knudsen
Apr 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The overview I was looking for. Thich Nhat Han’s voice is beautiful and insightful and accessible.

I will need to read this book many more times to fully appreciate all it has to offer. I look forward to that.
Patti-Ann Clarkson
Mar 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
budda has some great teaching on how to turn your suffering into happiness.
Ming Liu
The perfect book to get back into practicing Buddhism, but also a great and inspiring read for non-religious purposes.
Ugh, that subtitle. I'm definitely not here for the subtitle, but for philosophy and history.
You are not a self-help book.
You are not.
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  • No Time to Lose: A Timely Guide to the Way of the Bodhisattva
  • Awakening the Buddhist Heart: Integrating Love, Meaning, and Connection into Every Part of Your Life
  • Eight Mindful Steps to Happiness: Walking the Buddha's Path
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  • The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha: A Translation of the Majjhima Nikaya
  • The Way of the Bodhisattva: A Translation of the Bodhicharyavatara
  • Not Always So: Practicing the True Spirit of Zen
  • The Diamond Sutra and The Sutra of Hui-Neng
  • What the Buddha Taught
  • Everyday Zen: Love and Work
  • Buddhism Plain and Simple
  • Teachings of the Buddha
  • How to Practice: The Way to a Meaningful Life
  • A Practical Guide to Buddhist Meditation
  • The Heart Sutra
  • Seeking the Heart of Wisdom: The Path of Insight Meditation
  • The Lotus Sutra
  • What Makes You Not a Buddhist
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
“Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness. If, in our heart, we still cling to anything - anger, anxiety, or possessions - we cannot be free.” 1021 likes
“The seed of suffering in you may be strong, but don't wait until you have no more suffering before allowing yourself to be happy.” 646 likes
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