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4.7 out of 5 stars49
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 12 April 2005
This is by far the most accessible introduction to buddhism. Not only is this book free of jargon and simply written, but also extremely positive. Unlike some, Nhat Hanh reminds us constantly that suffering can be conquered. He also avoids reference to reincarnation and similar miracluous attributes some authors dwell on.
Buddhism is not a series of philosophy lectures but a tool to liberate oneself. It is the art of being awake and compassionate. Thich Nhat Hanh has mastered that art.
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on 4 October 2001
Many people out there have a romantic notion of being 'into' Buddhism. For those wanting to actually take this one step further and learn a little about the religion then Thich Nhat Hanh's book is the ideal starting ground.
The book is not too in-depth with its writings and gives the reader a fantastic insight into the world of Buddhism. Starting with the basics it goes onto explain the origins of the ancient religion and examples of its teaching. A lot of books addressing this subject are dismissed quickly by potential readers because of their technical and complicated prose but The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching does exactly the opposite. It gets to the subject matter without blinding the reader with complications. Covering everything that needs to be known in a quick synopsis of one of the world oldest religions the reader can gain confidence to take their interests to another stage. Covering all basic aspects it will give the reader, as it did myself, a good basic foundation which can or cannot be taken to the next level. If you are interested in learning more about Buddhism but don't want bogged down then this book is the ideal place to start. It may not give complete enlightenment but it at least tells you where the switch is.
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on 7 September 1998
The best book on Buddhism I have ever read. Thich Nhat Hanh presents the essential teachings of Buddhism in a way that really makes it come alive. The way he presents the four noble truths and eight-fold path are written with a minimum of fuss and jargon. He points out the mutations Buddhism experienced in its oral transmission over the centuries. His argument for critical thinking while reading Buddhist texts is very important reminder that errors in transmission do exist. The material displays not only his intellectual ability as a scholar but also his incredible compassion. He doesn't just write about Buddhism, he lives it.
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on 5 November 1998
Thich Nhat Hanh's presentation of the "basics" of Buddhism is a first-rate introduction to the essentials of this way of practice and faith. What distinguishes it from similar introductory treatments of Buddhism is its profoundly healing quality. The subtitle, "Transforming Suffering into Peace, Joy, and Liberation" could well have been the title. In the Buddhist tradition of both wisdom and compassion, it enlightens the mind and heals the heart. An excellent read for anyone who feels life's difficulty, whether Buddhist or not.
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on 10 October 2010
This is the most wonderful spiritual book I've ever read. A true heart-opener!
It's only necessary to read a few lines at a time, and your whole being is enlightened by Tich Nhat Hanh's profound words, again and again. And it doesn't matter if you are a buddhist, christian, muslim, hindu, humanistic ethicist or belong to any other religion or philosophy. The book is above any religion, and brings peace and awareness to the reader.
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on 1 October 2009
The Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk uses his simple, straightforward writing to explain the very core of Buddhism, presenting Buddhism as way of thinking and a well-traveled path toward enlightenment.

He begins with the Turning the Dharma Wheel Sutra, the classic tale of Buddha's awakening, and then proceeds through the basic core concepts of Buddhist terminology: Four Noble Truths, The Noble Eightfold Path, The Three Dharma Seals, The Three Doors of Liberation, The Twelve Links of Causation, The Three Jewels, The Six Harmonies, The Five Powers, The Five Wonderful Precepts and The Four Immeasurable Minds.

I found this book to be the most accessible and most complete introduction to Buddhism. Thich Nhat Hanh explains things in a simple, clear, and concise manner.
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on 25 December 1998
This book reflects the particular views that T.N.H. teaches Westerners about Buddhism. It is a synergistic product of all his previous books. I keep it beside my bed to read periodically in spurts. Each reading sheds new or brighter light on T.N.H.'s Mindfullness Training, the 5 Precepts, the 3 Jewels, the 4 Nobel Truths, the Eightfold Path, etc.
I highly recomment it to anyone who is at least slightly familiar with T.N.H. and his view of Mahayana Buddhism.
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on 9 November 2012
This book by Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh goes into a lot of the background from the later-life teachings of the Buddha such as the Lotus Sutra, so in a way, it's more about what the Zen school of Buddhism or Mahayana sects in general teach. Concepts are well-explained with copious footnotes, and it remembers the Indian roots of Buddhism throwing in Sanskrit / Pali terms in addition to Japanese and Chinese terms.

But while the book is easy to read, it often overwhelms the reader with a lot of overlapping concepts which often basically seem to be saying the same thing. Being bombarded with so many terms can often be distracting. What's good though is he doesn't just teach from one set of Buddhist teachings, but presents teachings from a wide body of books which makes it feel a lot more inclusive.
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on 11 December 2013
I have a tendency to highlight and 'tab-up' books with key points of interest; items that have a resonance with my thinking; bits that I just enjoy, passages that I can go back to and enjoy again. If, with diligence and considerable thought, I restricted this process to the really key points in this book, I would have highlighted and tabbed about 90%!

Having read a little around Buddhism, this book by Thich Nhat Hanh, was my first deeper journey into the teachings of Buddha and I have found it absolutely fascinating.

I expected, and indeed it was the case, for this book to be a slow read: and the clue/instruction/guidance to this is found in Chapter 4 "While reading or listening, don't work to hard. Be like the earth. When the rain comes, the earth only has to open herself up to the rain. Allow the rain of the Dharma to come in and penetrate the the seeds that are deep within your consciousness".

Read this beautiful book in this way, and gently water your seeds of mindfulness, I hope you will enjoy this book as much as I have done.
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on 5 January 2012
This is a very clear presentation of Buddhist teaching. If I had to take one book onto a desert island, this would be it, as it would help me with my mind, which would be the greatest problem.
The author puts things so succinctly and gives wonderfully clear illustrations. You can really cut down the suffering you put yourself through if you practise these teachings.
The great thing about this philosophy is that as soon as you start to just sit and observe your thoughts or feelings - instead of letting them completely carry you away - it helps.
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