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The heart of the Buddha's teachings by…

The heart of the Buddha's teachings (1998)

by Thích Nhất Hạnh (Author)

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A book by a prominent Buddhist monk outlining key teachings of Buddhism. I started off rather liking it as an approach to mindfulness and how to process suffering and the good things about life. But after he Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path, I started to get a bit irritated with the constant discovery of new lists of important spiritual things, from the Two Truths up to the Twelve Links of Interdependent Co-Arising; it seems to me that over-describing the undescribable is fundamentally a mistake. I also started wondering to what extent Thich Nhat Hanh is presenting a mainstream account of Buddhism or his own particular take (or his school's). And I wonder also if there is much sense of the numinous in Buddhism; there didn't seem a lot here. Anyway, it is still the most interesting book by a Buddhist on Buddhism that I have read. ( )
  nwhyte | Jun 7, 2012 |
"Let us look at a wave on the surface of the ocean. A wave is a wave. It has a beginning and an end. It might be high or low, more or less beautiful than other waves. But a wave is, at the same time, water. Water is the ground of being of the wave. It is important that a wave knows that she is water, and not just a wave. We, too, live our life as an individual. We believe that we have a beginning and an end, that we are separate from other living beings. That is why the Buddha advised us to look more deeply in order to touch the ground of our being which is nirvana. Everything bears deeply the nature of nirvana. Everything has been 'nirvanized' That is the teaching of the LOTUS SUTRA. We look deeply, and we touch the suchness of reality. Looking deeply into a pebble, flower, or our own joy, peace, sorrow, or fear, we touch the ultimate dimension of our being, and that dimension will reveal to us that the ground of our being has the nature of no-birth and no-death.
"We don't have to ATTAIN nirvana, because we ourselves are always dwelling in nirvana. The wave does not have to look for water. It already is water." pg. 211

"...The Buddha said that in the depth of our store consciousness, alayavijnana, there are all kinds of positive and negative seeds - seeds of anger, delusion, and fear, and seeds of understanding, compassion, and forgiveness. Many of these seeds have been transmitted to us by our ancestors. We should learn to recognize every one of these seeds in us in order to practice diligence. If it is a negative seed, the seed of an affliction like anger, fear, jealousy, or discrimination, we should refrain from allowing it to be watered in our daily life. Every time such a seed is watered, it will manifest on the upper level of our consciousness, and we will suffer and make the people we love suffer at the same time. The practice is to refrain from watering the negative seeds in us....
"We also try to recognize the positive seeds that are in us and to live our daily life in a way that we can touch them and help them manifest on the upper level of our consciousness, manovijnana. Every time they manifest and stay on the upper level of our consciousness for a while, they grow stronger. If the positive seeds in us grow stronger day and night, we will be happy and we will make the people we love happy. Recognize the positive seeds in the person you love, water those seeds, and he will become much happier.... Whenever you have time, please water the seeds that need to be watered. It is a wonderful and very pleasant practice of diligence, and it brings immediate results.
"Imagine a circle divided in two. Below is the store consciousness and above is mind consciousness. All mental formations lie deep down in our store consciousness. Every seed in our store consciousness can be touched and manifests itself on the upper level, namely our mind consciousness. Continued practice means trying our best not to allow the negative seeds in our store consciousness to be touched in our daily life, not to give them a chance to manifest themselves. The seeds of anger, discrimination, despair, jealousy, and craving are all there. We do what we can to prevent them from coming up. We tell the people we live with, 'If you truly love me, don't water these seeds in me. It is not good for my health or yours.' We have to recognized the kinds of seeds not to be watered. If it happens that a negative seed, the seed of an affliction, is watered and manifests itself, we do everything in our power to embrace it with our mindfulness and help it return to where it came from. The longer such seeds stay in our mind consciousness, the stronger they become." pg. 206-207
  Mary_Overton | Dec 12, 2010 |
A very meaty book on Buddha and Buddhism by the inimitable Thich Nhat Hanh. This is a great -- but heavy -- introduction to Buddhism for anyone new to it or in need of more grounding. ( )
  unabridgedchick | Mar 17, 2010 |
I'm currently only about a third of the way through, but so far this book is beautifully written. Thich Nhat Hanh writes in a clear yet elegant way that is very helpful in comveying a basic understanding of some of the Buddha's core teachings. I bought this on recommendation from a fellow Buddhist and will definitely be looking into more of his work. I would recommend this book to anyone who, like me, is starting out in Buddhism or who just would like to learn about the basics. This is one of the few books that I'll likely go back and read multiple times. ( )
  Wonderfool | Jan 6, 2010 |
An excellent introduction to Buddhist ideas. Not a guide to practice however.
  ShiraC | Mar 23, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0767903692, Paperback)

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

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:18 -0400)

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