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Going Home: Jesus and Buddha as Brothers Hardcover – September 6, 1999

4.4 out of 5 stars 69 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Did you know that Jesus meditated? In Living Buddha, Living Christ, Thich Nhat Hanh delivered a powerhouse bestseller about the affinities of Buddhist and Christian ideals. In Going Home, he focuses on fundamental concepts that still drive a wedge between the two religions--such as rebirth vs. eternal life, God vs. nirvana, and so on. After praising the differences between Christianity and Buddhism, Nhat Hanh proceeds to dissolve them in virtuosic style. Not only did Jesus meditate, he says, but God is equivalent to nirvana. This effort to free us from limiting concepts is Nhat Hanh's way of paving a road back to Christianity for Christians who have been attracted to Buddhism but alienated from their original faith. In effect, Nhat Hanh is dressing up Christianity in the garb of philosophical Buddhism, which isn't too far off from what certain progressive Christian thinkers have themselves done in different terms. Mindfulness engenders concentration, concentration leads to understanding, understanding strengthens faith, and faith provides the energy to practice mindfulness. More conventional Christians may balk at this blending of traditions, but for many lost souls, it will be a beacon back to a warm hearth. --Brian Bruya

From Publishers Weekly

In this short treatise, Vietnamese Buddhist monk Hanh continues the ecumenical dialogue he began in 1995's Living Buddha, Living Christ. The chapters evolved from talks he gave at Plum Village, Hanh's Buddhist retreat center located in the heart of Christian France. In ecumenical fashion, Hanh does not encourage conversion to Buddhism or any other religion but tells followers to bloom where they're planted, cultivating a "mindfulness" in their own religious traditions. Unfortunately, Hanh often seems to imply that for Buddhists and Christians to talk to one another, they must first soft-pedal or ignore those beliefs that make them discrete in the first place. He considers it a waste of time to discuss "whether God is a person or not a person," although the Incarnation question carries profound weight in Christianity; he also asserts that "nothing can come from nothing," although creatio ex nihilo is a fundamental Christian tenet. Buddhism is better understood in these pages, but distinctive Buddhist beliefs can also stand in the way, says Hanh: individuals can become too attached to their own ideas of nirvana, forgetting that "nirvana means extinction of all notions." Despite Hanh's tendency to ignore significant differences between Buddhism and Christianity, his book speaks powerfully about the need for tolerance and love in overcoming those differences.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 202 pages
  • Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover (September 6, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1573221457
  • ISBN-13: 978-1573221450
  • Product Dimensions: 4.8 x 0.9 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #666,170 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By R. Newman on January 4, 2004
Format: Paperback
The celebrated Vietnamese Buddhist monk writes (speaks) to all those who feel it necessary to abandon the Christianity of their childhood. Hanh explains the similarities between Jesus/Buddha and Christianity/Buddhism, hoping to convince Westerners that it is possible to bring the two traditions together in one's life.

This book is recommended for any spiritualist, but mostly for the Buddhist struggling with his/her innate sense of Christianity, or for the Christian who wishes to incorporate Buddhism into his/her life.
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By A Customer on December 29, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is a beautiful book that you can open to any page and wisdom is revealed. This book gives examples of how to walk in peace and compassion and gives the why to walk this way. It also explains the differences and similarities between Christianity and Buddhism. I highly reccomend this book to anyone who is seeking answers and reasons.
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By Goner on January 25, 2001
Format: Paperback
If you have any interest in comparative religion you need to read this book. Hanh is a master of poetically clarifying the parallel essence of both Christianity and BUddhism. His reverence for Jesus and his noble existence as a Vietnamese monk allow for the beauty of both belief systems to soothe you soul. It is a fluid continuation of "Living Buddha, Living Christ". It allows Buddhist to love Jesus and Christians to love Buddha. It is a very important book and subject for our world.
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Format: Paperback
Going Home is not so much a well thought out book as an informal conversation between the reader and Thich Nhat Hanh. It is as if we were on retreat with master Hanh and had a chance to speak with him about our roots and our values and what they mean to us in our life. It doesn't matter whether we are Christian or Buddhist. We are able to find our way home with either set of teachings or preferably, both.
As in most conversations, we are likely to find ourself going over ground we have already covered, but each time with the master to guide us, some new element is added for us to think about. The master does not judge us, but accepts us as we are and, in fact, teaches us to move away from making judgments to a genuine attempt to understand the unique importance of the family and background of each individual. This is the rock on which to build our life. For some whose family background is part of their problem of finding balance and wholeness in their life, the challenge of accepting what can't be changed and understanding the suffering of those who have come before us may be too great a task without help from thoughtful and caring friends.
This conversation with the master will also be difficult for those people who come to the discussion with an absolute conviction of the truth value of their religion. Clearly, the master sees himself as both a follower of Jesus and the Buddha and he sees no contradiction in his position. For the master, Jesus and the Buddha are truly brothers. They both loved others unconditionally and wanted only the best for everyone. Their lives were perfect examples of death to a self that had any concern for personal gain. They owned nothing and lived on the charity of others.
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Format: Hardcover
Like many other readers of this book, I have been exploring the parallels between Christianity and Buddhism for many years. While many in Western Culture immediately shun this idea, the parallels between the two faiths exist. Thomas Merton's work in this area opened many doors of dialogue in Western Culture on this front. In more recent times, Thich Nhat Hanh has offered to continue the exploration.

Much to my disappointment, I found this book to be slanted to the audience that is already Buddhist and struggling with reconciling an affiliation toward Christianity. Viewing the book from an opposite perspective made me feel somewhat isolated. The book is essentially a series of discussions led by Thich Nhat Hanh in which Christianity and the life of Jesus is placed in a Buddhist perspective. Heavily laced with discussion of Dharma, the dialogue frequently loses sight of Christianity or gives an explanation is much too simplistic.

Parts of the book are really worth reading. However, the flaws I found in the book may create a feeling of isolation with some readers. Yet the flaws I find in this books may allow this book to be of greater use to other readers. As an alternative, I would suggest "The Good Heart" written by the Dalai Lama.
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By Sirvart on January 18, 2002
Format: Paperback
When I first received Going Home I looked at the print and expected it to be an easy read, which it is. However, the writing is so easily understood, and the message so clear, that I'm now reading it for the third time and each time I learn more than the last. I recommend it completely for those of us who have beliefs that won't fit into a nice, neat little box under the title of organized religion. I'm now buying all the books by this author.
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By Plato on January 27, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the second book Thich Nhat Hanh has written comparing Christianity with Buddhism. Each of them is especially well-written, representing Thich Nhat Hanh at his best. But I found this second volume even more insightful than his first. It addresses the experience of being devoutly Buddhist or devoutly Christian. In doing so, Hanh points out how faith is better understood as a practice, the ways we practice our devout ways of life on a daily basis, rather than as a creed of doctrines, beliefs, concepts and ideas.
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