From Library Journal
This collection of teachings by noted Vietnamese Buddhist monk and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh will be eagerly read by those concerned about world peace. Rev. Thich claims that world peace starts with the individual's acquiring inner peace. He challenges the reader in warm and anecdotal dialogues:"Have we wasted our hours and days? Are we wasting our lives? . . . Practicing Buddhism is to be alive to each moment." Meditation, says the author, is not an escape from the difficult present but an active form of service to society, directing us to understanding and compassion toward all suffering humanity. The author terms this "engaged Buddhism." Free of jargon and eminently practical, this wise and joyous book celebrates the spirituality inherent in daily life. For academic and public libraries. Alphonse Vinh, Yale Univ. Lib.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.
At sixty-two poet, author, and Buddhist master Thich Nhat Hanh is the perfect embodiment of his teachings of sociallyengaged Buddhism. For the past two decades, exemplifying the Buddhist principles of compassion and reconciliation, he has lived and taught primarily in France and America. two wealthy, powerful countries that did their best to destroy his homeland, Vietnam. Being Peace is a jewel of love and wisdom, a mirror reflecting our own happy Buddhahood, as Hanh always points out, and it is a recognition that will inspire everyone, regardless of previous religious persuasion, with the unexpected joy of smiling. Hanh reminds us of the fundamental importance for the world of just one person smiling, breathing, and being peaceand this is empowering. Yet with that distinct Buddhist love for paradox, in the next breath Hanh dissolves our sense of privileged separateness. Engaged Buddhism means we recognize the inextricable interconnectedness of everyone, or in Buddhist parlance, the endless chain of codependent origination. Clouds, water, sunlight, trees, the logger's labor, his breakfast bread"everything is in this sheet of paper." This is the context for meditation, says Hanh, such that when an individual enters the meditation hall, she brings all of society. We meditate the world and we breathe, smile, and be peace for the enlightenment of everyone, for the clarity of everybody's thoughts, feelings, and attitudes. The apparent membrane separating us is very permeable, and the responsibility significant because the Buddha takes refuge in us. Without us, the Buddha isn't real at all, says Hank and Buddhanature goes disembodied. The embodied Buddha is the quintessence of the practice, and we can all be Buddhas because in mundane acts we engage the Buddha in daily life and, from this simple rooting of clarity and mindfulness in the quotidian, we begin to transform the world. With this synoptic, almost holographic, frarnework~ says Hanh, we next understand the Dharma, or basic teaching, is ubiquitous, spoken in manifold tongues. For more than twenty years Hanh has engaged his Buddha nature in the world for our edificaion. He breathed and smiled during wartime Vietnam, when he was chairman of the Vietnamese Buddhist Peace Delegation., when he founded the Tiep Hien (Interbeing) Order of Buddhism and when he wrote his sixty-six books in Vietnamese, French, and English. His gentle, profound and persuasively true example is flawlessly transmitted in this indefatigably optimistic book, enhanced by the line drawings of Mayumi Oda. -- From Independent Publisher