Thich Nhat Hanh: Reading Suggestions?

Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Reading Suggestions?

Postby MuMun » Sun Apr 15, 2012 1:04 am

Someone already mentioned "The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching," and currently I am reading the more recent "Understanding our Mind." Books like these two do a decent job of introducing a general reader to Buddhist vocabulary and concepts and building bridges to practical, everyday experience.

They can get repetitive, and "mindfulness" can be kind of a squishy term. But overall, he's a good teacher and some of his books provide good Buddhist instruction at a non-academic level.
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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Reading Suggestions?

Postby Lazy_eye » Sun Apr 15, 2012 1:43 pm

I've found that his books fall into two broad categories -- relatively specialized books for practicing Buddhists, and others which are aimed at a more general audience (not necessarily Buddhist).

In the former category, I'd second Kirtu's recommendation above ("The Diamond That Cuts Through Illusion"). His commentaries on key Pali suttas (Satipatthana, Anapanasati, Alagaddupama) are also well worth reading. Here are the links:

http://www.amazon.com/Transformation-Healing-Sutra-Establishments-Mindfulness/dp/0938077341/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1334493078&sr=8-1
http://www.amazon.com/Breathe-You-Are-Alive-Awareness/dp/0938077937/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1334493078&sr=8-2
http://www.amazon.com/Thundering-Silence-Sutra-Knowing-Better/dp/1888375981/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1334493161&sr=8-5

Lots of mindfulness in these, especially the first two.

I read his Lotus Sutra book awhile back and liked it -- though probably for the same reasons that others dislike it, namely it's rational and practical (rather than devotional and otherworldly) approach to the sutra. However, some of his assertions about the origin of Mahayana seem based in outdated scholarship.

Usually I stay away from the more general-audience works, though I respect his intention in offering them. Of the ones I've read, though, No Death No Fear was the best.
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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Reading Suggestions?

Postby Old_Dan » Fri Apr 20, 2012 11:32 pm

lazy_eye...

thanks for pointing these out....as i study theravada meditation, but have a zen mindset, i am a big TNH fan. im glad to see he has these commentaries on these pali suttas, which are the basis of my practice.


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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Reading Suggestions?

Postby Jikan » Fri Apr 20, 2012 11:58 pm

Thanks, everyone. I've now read an even ten Thich Nhat Hanh texts, ranging from the more popular mode (Miracle of Mindfulness, Being Peace) to the more straightforwardly Buddhist (Zen Keys, Transformation at the Base).

And the Lotus Sutra commentary as well, which I liked very much (respectfully disagreeing with rory on it): I particularly appreciated his reworking of the traditional division of the sutra in two parts, with fourteen chapters committed to one of the two truths. TNH introduces a third division: the familiar ultimate (absolute) and historical (provisional), as well as a field of action (taking in most of the chapters on the bodhisattvas). This fleshed out some aspects of the text that had been obscure to me.

I came to appreciate Thich Nhat Hanh more and more as I read more and more. Transformation at the Base was easily my favorite of the bunch. It's not as useful to my research, but it's an effective introduction to consciousness-only thinking. Astus suggested Nothing to Do, Nowhere to Go, and I'm glad he did; that is a text I will come back to later. I liked Interbeing and Zen Keys quite a lot too.

I'll have a look at the Diamond Sutra commentary at some point in the future. It won't be in the coming weeks, though, as the semester's winding up and I have to move ahead with other parts of the research.
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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Reading Suggestions?

Postby Lazy_eye » Sat Apr 21, 2012 3:03 am

Old_Dan wrote:lazy_eye...

thanks for pointing these out....as i study theravada meditation, but have a zen mindset, i am a big TNH fan. im glad to see he has these commentaries on these pali suttas, which are the basis of my practice.


dan



Hi, Old Dan -- I'm the same way. Mostly focused on the Pali suttas, but still consider myself Mahayana (with Zen leanings). Glad there are others out there...
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