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The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching: Transforming Suffering into Peace, Joy, and Liberation Paperback – June 8, 1999


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; 1st Broadway Books trade pbk. ed edition (June 8, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767903692
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767903691
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (205 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,881 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

What should we think when on the one hand Buddhism tells us that life is suffering and on the other we are told to enjoy life's every moment? Loved around the world for his simple, straightforward explanations of Buddhism, Thich Nhat Hanh has finally turned his hand to the very core of Buddhism and conundrums such as this. In the traditional way, Thich Nhat Hanh takes up the core teachings one by one--the Four Noble Truths, the Noble Eightfold Path, the Twelve Links of Interdependent Co-Arising--but his approach is as fresh as a soft breeze through a plum orchard. For illustration, he dips into the vast stores of Buddhist literature right alongside contemporary anecdotes, pointing out subtleties that can get glossed over in other popular introductions. He also includes three short but key sutras, essential source teachings from which all Buddhism flows. Studying the basics of Buddhism under Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh is like learning basketball from Michael Jordan. --Brian Bruya

From Publishers Weekly

Thich Nhat Hanh's introduction begins with the Turning the Dharma Wheel Sutra, the classic tale of Buddha's announcement in the Deer Park of his awakening. Nhat Hanh then proceeds through a series of laundry-list definitions of core Buddhist terminology: Four Noble Truths, The Noble Eightfold Path, The Three Dharma Seals, The Three Doors of Liberation, The Twelve Links of Causation, The Three Jewels, The Six Harmonies, The Five Powers, The Five Wonderful Precepts and The Four Immeasurable Minds. Despite the tedium of the list, Nhat Hanh does present Buddhism as way of thinking and a well-traveled path toward enlightenment. Buddhism, he teaches, is not only about the individual's attainment of enlightenment but also about the community, past and present, which has fostered the possibility of an individual's enlightenment. As an introduction to Buddhism, this is a masterful inventory of the basic accouterments of a well-furnished Buddhist life.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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

Thich Nhat Hanh explained Buddhism in a manner that was easy to absorb and reflect on.
Merry Jen
Thich Nhat Hanh is living testimony that Buddhist practice can transform a life of suffering and despair into one of peace and joy.
edward.whittingslow@tamc.chcs.amedd.army.mil
I'd highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to learn more about Buddhism and its practices.
Sarah R

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1,084 of 1,113 people found the following review helpful By greg taylor VINE VOICE on October 31, 2001
Format: Paperback
My approach to this book is different than the other reviewers. I am not a man of faith. I do not believe in the existence of God and I believe the whole issue is unimportant. More important than the existence of God (which is a question neither side can settle) is the question of how to live our lives now. I came to this book as I always come to religious writings and practices; will this help me to understand others or myself better? Will this teach me to be more loving, to live more mindfully, with more compassion?
From this point of view, this is a wonderful book. Not because it answers all questions (or any questions for that matter). If anything it creates more ambiguities, it raises more challenges. That is a good thing. Many of the other reviewers seem to react to Thich Nhat Hahn based on whether or not his is the True Buddhism or just one man's opinion. Fair enough. But unless you are so fortunate as to have some sort of satori or God decides to drop in for a chat what else do you ever have but one person's opinion? It seems to me that what we all do is find something that seems to make sense to you, a practice that carries you along your path and you practice. Thich Nhat Hahn will help most readers to do this. This is a man of extraordinary faith who is apparently equally diligent in trying to live his faith. I do not know about the other readers but this man is a wonderful and unnerving challenge to me in my ideas on how to live my life.
Throughout the book the author suggests very simple practices to improve mindfulness and diligence. He calls us back to the breath always. In my experience, whether doing yoga, tai chi, chi-kung, kung fu, meditation or just plain living this is always the beginnings of real practice.
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268 of 272 people found the following review helpful By Darren on February 10, 2001
Format: Paperback
Of all the books I have read and enjoyed by Thich Nhat Hanh, this is the one of the most comprehensive, inspiring and practical. His introduction to the Four Noble Truths is simply written, easy to understand, and yet lacks not one bit in depth. Like all his books, this one helps us to integrate Buddhist ideas into our everyday life without becoming too encumbered with terminology. Although Thich Nhat Hanh does tend to repeat himself in subtle ways, within this book and across his other books, The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching seems to integrate many of his ideas into one very coherent and practical treatise on the nature suffering as one of the most basic human conditions we spend our lives trying to accept, or possibly escape.
He makes the Buddhist concepts of attachment to objects and people very clear in relationship to human suffering and then highlights the path of well-being, peace and liberation from it.
If I was stuck on an island and could bring a few books, this would be one at the top of the list. It's a reminder that much our our suffering is self created and an illusion. In the same way we imprison ourselves mentally, is the way we begin to liberate ourselves. Freedom and liberation come from within and are possible even under the most extreme, excruciating and trying conditions.
I highly recommend this book, and especially to those who are having difficulty dealing with the loss of a loved one (or loss in general) and those who are imprisoned mentally (with fear), or even physically incarcerated.
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101 of 102 people found the following review helpful By edward.whittingslow@tamc.chcs.amedd.army.mil on March 16, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book is probably the single best book for those interested in learning the fundamentals of buddhism, as well as for those looking for a guidebook to refine and contemplate their buddhist views. Thich Nhat Hanh is living testimony that Buddhist practice can transform a life of suffering and despair into one of peace and joy. His books were the start of my path and this book is almost like a handbook to the four noble truths and the eightfold path, as well as other fundamental thoughts of buddhists. The language does get somewhat abstract and spiritual and may require some re-reading by some, especially those with no previous exposure to buddhism. Otherwise, the best book covering fundamental buddhism I've ever read.
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64 of 70 people found the following review helpful By A. Steinhebel on March 5, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book is the cure to all those [] self-help type introductions to Buddhism you see these days. This is far from a scholalry book, only suited for dry academics, but at the same time, it doesn't pidgeon hole all of the Buddha's teachings into a few maxims for the Busy American to absorb on the way to the gym or work. I can't gaurantee that you'll become a Buddhist after reading this, or even have much desire to (I know I didn't), but I simply do not see how you can walk away from it without some insight into how you live your life. At the very least, this book will cause you to locate your own self-deprecating actions and stop them (without being new age-y, or full of [] pop psychology). At best, this will cause you to start your life along the middle path. More likely than not, though, you'll end up some where in the middle, like I did. I read this at a very hard point in my life, and I can tell you that it was one of the main reasons I was pulled out of that funk. It helped me to understand why we suffer, and how to escape the cycle of pain and humiliation. Highly Recommended.
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