Book Review: The heart of Buddha’s Teaching
Author: Thich Nhat Hanh (1926-present)
Thich Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese Buddhist monk and peace activist that resides in Plum village, France. He is active in the peace movement and is constantly promoting non-violent solutions to conflicts. He has written over 100 books on meditation, mindfulness, and Buddhism. He has also written poems and children’s stories. He has been crucial in bringing the teachings of Buddha to the west by opening over 1000 local mindfulness communities and 6 monasteries in America and Europe combined. He has also sold over 3 million copies in America alone.
In his book called “The heart of Buddha’s teachings”, he explains the core Buddhist teachings in clear and concise way so that it is easy to understand by Non-Buddhists as well. He explains the four noble truths, the noble eightfold path and other teachings by Buddha himself. He tries to tell us that the suffering that we feel is the path to our liberation. He says that the heart of Buddha lies in each and every one of us, and to enter it means to be present in our suffering and joy as well. This book can be considered as a starting point for anyone inquisitive in learning about Buddhism. It also gives the difference between religious and philosophical texts. It also contains some beautiful prose and poetry.
Personally, I have always been spiritually inclined, so reading this book has been a real treat. I am still a beginner in understanding the vast religion that is Buddhism; so having a starting point into it has been quite helpful. The most influential thing that the book said is that in life if there is suffering, there is also joy. It is important to embrace both. There is so much information here, and one can spend years just analyzing and practicing a single chapter in the book. It also has some really beautiful prose and poetry. Reading this book has bought a sense of peace and joy into my life, where there was once confusion and suffering. I still go back to this book and read parts of it to gain insight and clarity into some of the complexities of life.