230 of 240 people found the following review helpful
on December 15, 2002
Peace is not external, so we do not need to chase it. Peace is already present but we have to get in touch with it. This is attained through mindfulness: living in the present moment, in the here and now. Thich Nhat Hanh, Zen master and spiritual leader teaches mindfulness through conscious breathing and smiling. Connecting the body and mind, to find peace and happiness even in the most unlikely situations. Breathing and smiling! Is that it? You may be as skeptical as I was before practicing this exercise: breathe in, while reciting " breathing in I calm my body" then breathe out while smiling and reciting "breathing out I smile" do this three times! This is a very easy yet very effective exercise, do this often enough, in any position at any time (sitting, lying, driving, walking, before you eat, before you wash the dishes, when you hear the phone ring....) and enjoy being calm, relaxed and peaceful.
The author teaches us to be mindful of the people in our life, of the food we eat and of the environment around us.... Turn off the TV and instead walk in the park, visit a good friend, sit down for a meal with family or friends or even by yourself but before you dig in, breath smile, appreciate the food on the table, then eat mindfully, be aware of the taste, the smell, the texture, even if its only a bowl of rice, be happy, be thankful. He also teaches how to transform unpleasant feelings like anger for example into something more wholesome like understanding, using a 5-step method. By practicing understanding and loving speech instead of blaming and arguing we can help each other be happy. By knowing the true nature, the essence of the people around us we can enjoy each other. Mindfulness should lead to proactivity. We must be aware of the real problems of the world and of the suffering around us, and then with mindfulness we will know what to do to be of help.
This book is written clearly and beautifully. Full of inspiring stories and parables, meditations and practices, reflecting the author's wisdom and experience. Terrific and extremely effective, will make you calm and happy just reading it, then breathe, smile and be peaceful!
76 of 80 people found the following review helpful
on January 19, 2000
Hanh's book is a wonderful exhortation for all of us to find deep sprirituality in the midst of what we are NOW, what we do NOW, and simply the moment we call NOW. I greatly admire this Buddhist author's humility. He does not say "follow in my footsteps," but rather invites us to walk alongside him, and discover our own paths to "mindfulness." This is a very welcome change of pace from all the "spiritual" books that attempt to sell the author's own beliefs about God, or worse yet, attempt to promote the financial well-being of the author. Hanh has the resume to prove his sincerity -- having taken great risks to urge reconciliation at a time when the U.S. and Vietnam were torn by violent conflict. He adheres to the Zen tradition of making no demands on what people choose to believe, or what religion they should practice. "Peace Is Every Step" is a well expressed invitation to join him in this sincere spiritual quest.
A word of caution though -- you are not likely to benefit from the book unless you actually *practice* the techniques Hanh so eloquently describes. However, if you do, you will find peace, because it is already there inside of you. (And his other books are very much worth reading too!)
99 of 108 people found the following review helpful
on July 19, 2000
This book was written by a Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk. But don't let that fool you, this book is for everyone. The author doesn't try to convert you to his religion, the only Buddhist principles in this book go hand in hand with many Christian beliefs. The author shows how easy it is to live a fulfilling life in harmony with yourself and the world around you.
Read this book if you ever feel depressed or if you feel you are getting lost in the modern age. This book will not tell you who you are, but it will help to show you how you can discover what it is you really want and find happiness.
Thich Nan Haht was even nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by none other than Martin Luther King Jr.
60 of 65 people found the following review helpful
This book seems very simplistic on the surface, with what appear to be standard Eastern metaphors encouraging inner peace and awareness. Some examples are stories about meditating on a falling leaf or retreating to a quite room in your house. But as you make your way through the book and think about what you're reading, you'll find that Nhat Hanh is actually using these simple stories to make very profound points about how you can embark on a journey of inner peace. And this is serious inner peace as the Buddhists continually strive for, not just the stereotypes that you hear from Western folks who only see this stuff as a fad. Nhat Hanh describes how you can find serenity in the most mundane of activities, such as washing dishes, walking, eating, and even breathing (the breathing techniques he describes are also a key component of Yoga). His techniques for managing anger, depression, and frustration are incredibly useful and should be practiced by far more Westerners. The only flaw in this book is in some sections of Part 3, in which Nhat Hanh attempts to move these techniques from your inner world to the outer world, and contends that these methods of inner awareness can help solve the world's problems or war, hunger, crime, etc. if everyone just practiced them devoutly. He may be right about that, but this is far too idealistic for the real world, even if his Eastern interpretation is far more humane and open-minded than the Western view. Other than that minor flaw, I highly recommend this book if you are looking for a way to cut down on stress or anger, and would like to improve your mental and emotional health.
48 of 52 people found the following review helpful
on July 2, 2003
I love this book. It's short, easy and delightful to read, and full of practical wisdom. More so than any other Zen Master whose writings I have encountered, Thich Nhat Hanh knows how to teach Westerners in a way that is straightforward, practical for everyday problems, and fun to read (rather than an intellectual puzzle). I cannot recommend this book more highly. A wealth of wisdom presented in a unique and immensely practical way. Thich Nhat Hanh's writing embodies peace and mindfulness at their highest - one could almost learn all he has to teach simply by reading his writings for their style and attitude, without hardly paying attention to the message or content per se.
Please do yourself a favor: buy this book, read it at your leisure, reread it if you feel so compelled, keep it on a shelf or pass it on as a gift. I almost never review books on Amazon.com, but when I finished this one I knew I had to recommend it, and I do so with no reservation whatsoever.
37 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on November 19, 2012
If you've never read anything by Thich Nhat Hanh and you are interested in and open to the concept of living mindfully, then this book is a nice, easy introduction. If however, you are familiar with Hanh's work and/or Buddhist philosophy, this book may well be too simplistic. I didn't find it nearly as meaningful as some of Hanh's other books, particularly The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching.
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on April 28, 2001
How can you make a difference in this world? Reading PEACE IS EVERY STEP is definitely a step in the right direction. Thich Nhat Hanh illustrates in his beautifully simplistic way that peace is something that begins with the individual.
One need not read the book from start to finish. Each chapter is a morsel of wisdom in and of itself. I use it as a daily meditation first thing in the morning. A gentle reminder as I start the day.
This book radically changed the way that I look at the world. I have bought copies for so many of my friends and they have done the same after reading it. By passing this message of Peace along, we are in essence forming a Peace Movement. Please do yourself and your community a favor and read and savor this little volume of wisdom.
A moment of peace is waiting for you...
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on December 10, 2000
Having read many of Hanh's books, this is the most accessible to those unfamiliar with Buddhism. Having given several copies of this as gifts, some Christians view any other religious writings with skepticism. Like so many of his works, this book by Hanh is valuable to people of any belief. The principles and practices he espouses are applicable to any religion. Hanh extends the principles of mindfulness and 'monkey mind' to everyone. My Christian friends who have read this have found it valuable in aiding their own efforts at quiet contemplation.
Regardless of its utility, it is also a 'feel good' book. It would be hard for anyone to read this with an open mind, and not come away with a feeling of refreshment and cleanliness. Of course, this is truly common to all of Hanh's more ecuminical writings. Hopefully, this book will serve as an invitation to explore more of his work, and to learn more of his remarkable life.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on November 8, 2013
Nhat Hahn's other books are much more powerful. After reading his books on Fear, Anger, Power, the Buddha's Teachings and the History of Zen Buddhism, I was quite disappointed with the negativity in this book and the preoccupation with worldly problems such as pollution, injustice and suffering. We are all keenly aware that such problems do exist and of their urgency; they do indeed warrant mention as they are a product - as he very astutely points out - of the mind upon which our world is based.
However, it is one thing to touch on these topics and another to dedicate 1/3 of the book to lamenting them - apart from that, he also expressed some unfounded beliefs about certain environmental hazards e. g. that you can develop a photograph in the Rhine River, that European countries are working to send all their garbage to Africa etc. (a rather generalizing statement). There were no citations provided, merely the statement 'I have heard', which really isn't the kind of rumor you want to be spreading unless it is backed by hard fact. I think it is quite important to be accurate in this regard, especially considering his message. All of his books and talks I have read/heard to date are quite different from this book so it caught me off guard - I would be interested in knowing the background of how it was written and what state he was in. On the other hand, as Nhat Hahn suggests, it is better to 'feed' the solution and not the problem as excess preoccupation with a problem only strengthens it so I am going to leave it at my three star rating.
Any person picking up his book is, I would venture, keenly aware of the urgency of these issues, which we are confronted with on TV, at the movies, on the Internet, in the papers not to mention in everyday life in general. What we need therefore is a technique for transforming the mind on which our world is based - he does in fact convey such a technique in this book, but I find not as well as in his other books. His preoccupation with environmental issues in this book (over 1/3 and sadly most of the closing is dedicated to these issues) is for me a sign that something is wrong. In his subsequent books, the reader quickly becomes aware that Thich Nhat Hahn's techniques and perspective have the power to transform even the most profound suffering. I myself, but also many I know have experienced such transformation practicing his techniques daily over months (ideally one should practice for the rest of one's life to maintain a good state). That is indeed the mark of a great individual such as Nhat Hahn and all those who share such genuine wisdom. I therefore urge anyone, who liked this book or who found the constructive parts promising, to read his books about fear, anger and the art of power, they are truly worth 5 stars. You can also find video and audio recordings of his talks on popular media portals and on the plum village website (audio section). May this wisdom spread further, healing the wounds within us and those we have inflicted on our world, may we be the peace we so long for.
31 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on December 24, 2006
This book leaves me speechless. It has changed my life, helping me to be more mindful, which helps me live in the present. (I would have never thought to type such a sentence even one year ago, but midlife has taught me the enormous enjoyment that the present offers.) The lessons can be learned and practiced immediately. Moments after starting it, I had become more able to listen to others, to relax, to enjoy life more fully.
Nominated for the 1967 Nobel Peace Price by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Thich Nhat Hanh teaches how to turn the small moments of daily life -- washing dishes, driving the car -- into meaningful engagement.
If you are willing to read only one book on finding inner peace, on learning to meditate, on living in the present, here is that book. It is short and sweet -- and very accessible, not pie-in-the-sky philosophical.