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Living Buddha, Living Christ

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  14,484 ratings  ·  685 reviews
A Vietnamese monk and Buddhist teacher explores the common ground of Christianity and Buddhism on such subjects as compassion and holiness, and offers inspiration to believers in both religions.
Paperback, 240 pages
Published September 1st 1997 by Riverhead Trade
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Average rating 4.15  · 
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 ·  14,484 ratings  ·  685 reviews

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Cedric Hendrix
Aug 06, 2012 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 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
JJ Litke
Sep 27, 2011 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
Apr 21, 2008 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 belie ...more
Oct 05, 2007 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.
♥ Ibrahim ♥
Feb 01, 2014 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 a ...more
Stephen Hicks
I could write a review for this book, but I will repeat a quote given elsewhere by G.K. Chesterton, because I think it elucidates my opinion much more eloquently than I could myself. Here Chesterton is engaging with a different author of a different book in a different time about Buddhism and Christianity, but I found Thich Nhat Hanh to be using some of the same rhetorical devices. The examples Chesterton uses are not present in "Living Buddha, Living Christ", but the spirit of the comparison st ...more
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 reevaluate ...more
Sonia Turtle
Jun 04, 2012 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 fai ...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
Nov 02, 2014 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 "bodhis
Oct 14, 2009 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 dar ...more
Feb 15, 2014 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
Cyril Wong
Jul 21, 2010 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.
Feb 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lessons from this book:

The First Noble truth is that there is suffering:
Suffering exists. And suffering has causes. Once we understand the nature of our suffering, then there is way of liberation.

Focus on: Simplicity: “To breathe means to live.”
- “A layperson who wants to practice the Way should also live a simple life.”

Focus on: Generosity
- The five wonderful precepts of Buddhism: Reverence for live, generosity, responsible sexual behavior, speaking and listening deeply, and ingesting only whol
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.
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 C ...more
Nov 04, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
This one didn't resonate at all for me. Looking at some of the other reviews, it does seem like the book did more or less what it was aiming to do, which I guess was to make Buddhism seem less scary to Reagan-era satanic panic christians. I hope that's true. For me personally, I found it to be the weakest of his work that I've read, but I'm not exactly the target audience on this one so it's hardly a fair standard.
Robin Tobin (On the back porch reading)
Truly a gifted wise teacher... Thay’s deep mindfulness of Buddha and Christ takes us on a journey into their similarities and differences. Thick Nhat Hank expertly interweaves the emphasis, the importance, and the wisdom of working together..
Apr 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book actually helped me to understand the teachings of Jesus so much better than all the Christian books and Bible's i've read and studied. Who knew it would be a Buddhist monk to do it! This book is amazing, I really enjoyed it.
Mack Hayden
Jun 10, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: religion
Though I still enjoyed this book and gleaned some great new insight from it, I think I’d just hyped it up to myself too much prior to reading it. Thich Nhat Hahn’s books have been a source of insight and joy for me the last couple years and, as someone who grew up Christian, I was eager to see what he’d have to say about the two traditions’ commonalities. Little of it struck me as too profound, but it still was an edifying and enjoyable read.
Feb 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was helpful to someone who grew up Christian and still believes in God, but also aligns with Buddhism. It helps me find comfort in how the two so easily align. I will say though, the point was made to redundancy by the end. I would have preferred more teaching on how to apply the concepts to feel more spiritually connected. Still this one is worth a re-read because of all the nuggets of wisdom that resonated.
Jan 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Became a vegetarian after reading this delight.
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 b ...more
Alejandro Bhattacharjee
Amazing read that is relevant and profoundly important.
Oct 26, 2010 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 spi ...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 Light
Mar 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: spiritual, thinking
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
Mar 24, 2014 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
Aug 20, 2013 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 a ...more
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FCCUCC Book Group: Chapter 8 2 11 Aug 28, 2015 02:28PM  
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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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