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Living Buddha, Living Christ

85 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1573225687
ISBN-10: 1573225681
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Editorial Reviews Review

If you have always assumed that Christianity and Buddhism are as far apart philosophically as their respective founders were geographically, you may be in for a bit of a surprise. In this national bestseller, Zen monk and social activist Thich Nhat Hanh draws parallels between these two traditions that have them walking, hand in hand, down the same path to salvation. In Christianity, he finds mindfulness in the Holy Spirit as an agent of healing. In Buddhism, he finds unqualified love in the form of compassion for all living things. And in both he finds an emphasis on living practice and community spirit.

The thread that binds the book is the same theme that draws many Christians toward Buddhism: mindfulness. Through anecdotes, scripture references, and teachings from both traditions, Nhat Hanh points out that mindfulness is an integral part of all religious practice and teaches us how to cultivate it in our own lives. Nhat Hanh has no desire to downplay the venerable theological and ritual teachings that distinguish Buddhism and Christianity, but he does cause one to consider that beyond the letter of doctrine lies a unity of truth.

From Library Journal

In this popular work Hahn, a Vietnamese Zen monk, offers some parallels between Eastern and Western spiritual practice in an accessible style that will please general readers.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Riverhead Trade (September 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1573225681
  • ISBN-13: 978-1573225687
  • Product Dimensions: 4.5 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #217,608 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Thich Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese monk, a renowned Zen master, a poet, and a peace activist. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize by Martin Luther King, Jr., in 1967, and is the author of many books, including the best-selling The Miracle of Mindfulness.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

99 of 106 people found the following review helpful By W DUANE WESLEY on July 25, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent book for anyone whose mind is open and not mired in dogma. No book can convince anyone who insists on being stubbornly dogmatic. I am a Christian. I practice meditation. The objective of meditation, Christian or Buddhist, is not to empty your mind of everything. The objective is to learn to see.
Hahn does view Christ as a living person and a historical figure. In fact, he very pointedly remarks that most Christians seem to be more interested in Christian dogma than in what Christ actually did-the example he lived for all of us. By the way, "Living Christ" is part of the title.
"Traditional" Christianity has much in common with the Pharisees of Jesus' day. Now that Hanh is living and speaking in a Christ-like way, it's not surprising that he's encountering resistance, misunderstanding, and intolerance.
"Traditional" Christianity is what it is, not because of being true to itself, but because of being true to Western Civilization's ethos of valuing material things, exploiting nature, and controlling the masses for political gain. Christianity and Science (the modern religion) both struggle with the problems that arise from the presumed existence of an objective world. "Traditional" Christianity diverged from the teachings of Christ within the very first century of the Church. Hanh exposes this quite convincingly, as long as you're not afraid to see it. Some reviewers have suggested that a Buddhist such as Hanh has no authority in defining what Christianity is or what it means to be a Christian. Who does? The very labels "Buddhist" vs. "Christian" cause a divisiveness that is as unfortunate as it is unnecessary. Each one of us is a human being on a spiritual journey.
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61 of 64 people found the following review helpful By Aaron W on June 13, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book was largely my introduction to Buddhism. I was a Christian who was losing my faith and became interested in Buddhism. This book helped me come to terms with the two faiths and showed me how their core teachings are compatible.

Thich Nhat Hanh's language is always compassionate and patient. He is more like a friendly uncle than a spritual master. I think that the two major themes of this book (indeed of any of his books) are love and awareness. This book will show you how to awaken both love and awareness within yourself while also helping to restore your faith while understanding the faith of others.
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49 of 52 people found the following review helpful By DAVID-LEONARD WILLIS on January 29, 2004
Format: Paperback
All religions have as their common thread the Golden Rule expressed in Buddhism as: "Hurt not others with that which pains yourself" and in Christianity as: "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you". Almost certainly, if Jesus and Buddha were to meet today they would embrace each other and tell us that we have misinterpreted their teachings by permitting or perhaps even advocating religious intolerance, religious rivalry, religious hatred, religious fanaticism and religious war. It was therefore like a breath of fresh air to discover a Buddhist monk from Vietnam who thinks, speaks and acts the Golden Rule - a man about whom Martin Luther King wrote: "I Know Thich Nhat Hanh and am privileged to call him my friend. He is a holy man, for he is humble and devout. He is a scholar of immense intellectual capacity. His ideas for peace, if applied, would build a monument to ecumenism, to world brotherhood, to humanity". In 1947 in Egypt early Christian documents were discovered, believed to have been hidden after orders to destroy them as heretical were given by the archbishop of Alexandria. The Gospel of Thomas resonates with the Buddhist tradition. These long-hidden sources show that the early Christian movement contained much more diversity of viewpoint and practice than later Christians acknowledged or even imagined. Because these teachings were smothered, many Christians today are adamant that the only path to God is via Christianity. Shortly after Buddha died there were two schools of Buddhism; after 400 years there were 20 schools; and today there are many more. Each is an attempt to keep the Buddhist teachings alive under new circumstances. Likewise Christianity has splintered into many groups.Read more ›
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61 of 67 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Lapins on February 19, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I originally purchased the book because Elaine Pagels put her stamp of approval on it (she wrote the introduction). This is a wise and beautiful book. If you're caught up in dogma, tradition and need to be pampered and saved, this book might not be for you. If you wish to live, learn and love humanely, open your mind and look beyond the horizon, you'll enjoy this feast. I keep this book by my bedside table, close to my "YES Yoko Ono" art book, very different yet very similar books. I'm not interested in any one religion but I very much enjoy being human. Our culture and history weighs us with so much baggage. Life is full of illusion and delusion. There is a simplicity and honesty behind all that distracts and prejudices us as individuals and a culture. So much talk about "peace" and "love" yet we remain empty headed to the Truth behind our existence. This book brings what's of importance to the surface. A book to read in whole and in parts over and over again. A book of healing and awakening. No great revelations. Just you reading about you and your neighbors.
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