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The Diamond That Cuts Through Illusion

4.35  ·  Rating details ·  547 ratings  ·  33 reviews
The Diamond Sutra has fascinated Buddhists for centuries because of its insights into dualism and illusion. It illuminates how our minds construct limited categories of thought. It offers us alternative ways to look at the world in its wholeness so we can encounter a deeper reality; develop reverence for the environment and more harmonious communities, families, and relati ...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published July 6th 2010 by Parallax Press (first published April 1st 1992)
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Hardcover Hearts
Sep 08, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: buddhism
I read this book on the same vacation that I read The Alchemist. This book is a direct opposite of that smarmy book. Thich Nhat Hanhn helps to unravel the Diamond Sutra, which is the Buddhist lesson on emptiness. While the lessons on impermanence were easy to grasp, the concept of emptiness has always been more difficult for me, but his style and approach made this much more accessible for me. The first part is the actual translation, and the second is where he pulls it apart and you can get the ...more
Jul 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
"'All composed things are like a dream,
a phantom, a drop of dew, a flash of lightning.
That is how to meditate on them.
That is how to observe them.'"

"In the dialectics of prajnaparamita, there are three stages: (1) A rose is (2) not a rose, therefore (3) it is a rose. The third rose is very different from the first. The notion "empty of emptiness" (shunyata) in the teaching of prajnaparamita aims at helping us be free from the concept of emptiness."

"We cannot make any statement about the true nat
Aug 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion
One of those elements that seems to resonate across religions is Wisdom. What is Wisdom? I think, when one is honest with oneself, the first thing that comes to mind in ineffability.

Thus shall we think of all this fleeting world:
A star at dawn, a bubble in a stream,
A flash of lightning in a summer cloud,
A flickering lamp, a phantom, and a dream.
Sam Walters
Dec 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Diamond Sutra is not for those just starting out with Buddhism and neither is Thích Nhất Hạnh's commentary on it. That said, it's one of the most straightforward and elucidating treatments of it. Just be ready for something that's closer to a scholarly work than a friendly novel, but definitely worth the effort to read it. ...more
Nov 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another book I'll never stop reading!!! ...more
Sep 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After reading The Other Shore, and learning the existence of this Sutra, I knew I had to read this. Although the main concepts between the two are very much the same, it is also... different. I feel that the Diamond Sutra is a lot more difficult to grasp. I am determined, however, to learn it again when I finally get my hands on the paperback.

I've highlighted so many quotes from this book that I know are essential to the teaching. Once I return this book to the library, all of it will disappear.
Niklas Braun
Oct 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The most clarifying commentaries I have ever read are by Thich Nhat Hanh. He has a way of relating everything to the modern experience, but not too pandering to childish explanations. His comments have shed a lot of light on the dense Diamond sutra. I highly recommend this book for anyone reading the Diamond sutra for the first time, or the hundredth time.
Sep 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great tiny book on Diamond Sutra. Sutra itself might be confusing when reading for the first time or so, but following commentaries attempt to guide the practitioner in the right way. And these commentaries are short and concise. It is possibly a book to be reread at some point, but at the same time, there are so many great others.
Justin Weigl
May 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great read!

This book is a great translation and explanation of the Sutra. I would recommend this book to anyone willing to change the way they see the world.
This one is going to take time to digest, but I do think I'll be coming back to it again. I liked the commentary more than the sutra itself. ...more
Mar 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful book. Thich Nhat Hanh has a wonderful ability to break complex ideas down and allow you see the truth of them for yourself.
David K. Glidden
This is an essential Buddhist sutra with an insightful commentary by Thich Nhat Hanh.
Jan 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
07/01/2020 first reading completed. now i'm on to reading it a second time so i can grasp it more deeply. ...more
Joshua Buhs
Jun 30, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: b12, non-fiction
I'm not equipped to really review this book.

I'll do my best.

The book is a commentary on the Buddhs's teaching called "The Diamond that Cuts Through Illusion." Thich Nhãt Hanh (Thay, for those in the know) is a Vietnamese monk who now lives at a retreat in France called Plum Village Famously, Martin Luther King nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize, although he has not won. He has written many books and a lot of poetry. He was actively involved in attempts to protest the Vietnam War, including
Calysto du Masque
Thich Nhat Hanh (Hereafter venerated as Thiền Sư Nhất Hạnh) is perhaps the most prolific and accomplished Zen Master of modern times. This is all the more remarkable because Thiền Sư Nhất Hạnh is Vietnamese.

South-East Asia is predominately Theravadan; a Buddhist path far removed from the sect he has risen to great prominence in. Regrettably, the region has also suffered greatly from religious oppression at the hands of communis
Abe Something
The Diamond Sutra itself deserves 5 stars. Everyone should read it. This was the 4th time I had read the sutra, and I found it to be the clearest it had ever been. Either I was more receptive, or I had become accustomed to the strange way questions are asked and answered within, either way I came away with more clarity than I had in previous meetings with this work.

In a Kerouac book, maybe the Dharma Bums, or maybe I read this in book of koans, who knows, I once read that when one starts on the
Sudheendra Chaitanya
The book's focus is totally on the Sutras themselves, as they ought to be. The attempt to urge us to connect to Buddha directly first, before the commentary is very welcome. That spirit, one wishes, must become more prevalent.

And, Buddha does scintillate, with his insights. I am yet to complete the book. But, just for the lucid and effective translation of the original sutras, the book is worth a lot.

Buddha's 'shunya' is one of the most misunderstood, and there would be a great temptation to gi
What can I say? A table is not a table, which is why the Buddha calls it a table. The commentary has a few helpful bits, but nothing much deeper than cereal-box jargon. Unfortunately, there is little in the way of structural analysis and significant repetitions of formulae are passed over as insignificant.
Really high level Buddhist text (The Diamond Sutra) is explained in Thich Nhat Hanh's beautiful language; I wish I had read this before I went to the Dala Lama's lectures on emptiness. Good as a way to see and embrace life. ...more
Mar 15, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I gave this three stars because Hanh's commentary seemed very generic and mostly ineffective at helping the reader comprehend the Diamond sutra's more abstruse passages. The sutra itself is fascinating but the rest was of little use (to me, at least). ...more
Feb 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Buddhist
Recommended to Ian by: Myself
This book is an excellent exposure to the Diamond Sutra especially for the first-time reader. This classical text is supported by Thich Nhat Hanh's commentary which provides translation to the Sutra's teachings. ...more
Peter Gerardo
Jan 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thich Nhat Hanh cuts to heart of the Diamond Sutra, using simple English and accessible metaphors to clearly explain concepts that are often confusing to (and sometimes misinterpreted by) Americans who study Buddhism. I can't recommend this book highly enough! ...more
Dec 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is exactly what I needed right now. I was a bit baffled by the sutra itself, but Thich Nhat Hanh always interprets and explains things in a way I can understand, and with far less repetition!
Serena Long ﺕ
A very high level Buddhist text. Keep in mind... in the dialectics of prajnaparamita, there are three stages: 1) A rose is 2) not a rose, therefore 3) it is a rose. The third rose is very different from the first. An essential, difficult sutra.
Steven Cobb
way beyond my ability to practice
Lamont Williams
Jun 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: buddhism
Excellent.. Read again and again.
Mar 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Accessible, easy to read commentary on the sutra. Great short sections helpful to break into brief meditations.
Rune Huang
Aug 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Diamond That Cuts Through Illusion is one of the most fundamental sutras in the Buddhist canon, yet it is profound and so requires the sharp insight of a master to explore and discover.
Nov 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An essential, difficult, repetitive sutra. Hanh is a good guide.
Apr 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great commentary on a mind-bending text. Absolutely worth studying, reflecting, and meditating upon.
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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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