From the Publisher
"Thich Nhat Hanh is a holy man, for he is humble and devout. He is a scholar of immense intellectual capacity. His ideas for peace if applied, would build a monument of ecumenism, to world brotherhood, to humanity." —Martin Luther King, Jr.
"He shows us the connection between personal, inner peace, and peace on earth."—His Holiness The Dalai Lama
"The message: Peace, love, and compassion are central to the teachings of Buddha and Christ, and people of both faiths should be tolerant of one another." —The Washington Post
Terry C. Muck
Thich Nhat Hanh's....attempts to distill from what Christians say and believe about Jesus Christ a picture that comports well with a similar picture of ...Buddha someone interested in the health and welfare of all sentient beings. Books & Culture: A Christian Review
Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Naht Hanh is one of the most respected and revered religious figures in the modern world. During his lifetime he has engaged in a dialog with important Christian figures like Thomas Merton, Dan Berrigan, and Martin Luther King Jr. Here Thich teaches that, contrary to Pope John Paul's assertion of the narrowness of Christian salvation, the concept of mindfulness is the common ground that Buddhism and Christianity occupy. The Buddhist monk explores the ways that each religious community enacts its beliefs, faith, and practice through love, understanding, acceptance, and interbeing. The book is marked by the beauty and simplicity of Thich's mindful wisdom, his evocative prose, and his lucid insights. Highly recommended.
Read an Excerpt
Twenty years ago at a conference I attended of theologians and professors of religion, an Indian Christian friend told the assembly, "We are going to hear about the beauties of several traditions, but that does not mean that we are going to make a fruit salad." When it came my turn to speak, I said, "Fruit salad can be delicious! I have shared the Eucharist with Father Daniel Berrigan, and our worship became possible because of the sufferings we Vietnamese and Americans shared over many years." Some of the Buddhists present were shocked to hear I had participated in the Eucharist, and many Christians seemed truly horrified. To me, religious life is life. I do not see any reason to spend one's whole life tasting one kind of fruit. We human beings can be nourished by the best values of many traditions.
Just as a flower is made only of non-flower elements, Buddhism is made only of non-Buddhist elements, including Christian ones, and Christianity is made of non-Christian elements, including Buddhist ones. We have different roots, traditions, and ways of seeing, but we share the common qualities of love, understanding, and acceptance. For our dialogue to be open, we need to open our hearts, set aside our prejudices, listen deeply, and represent truthfully what we know and understand. To do this, we need a certain amount of faith. In Buddhism, faith means confidence in our and others' ability to wake up to our deepest capacity of loving and understanding. In Christianity, faith means trust in God, the One who represents love, understanding, dignity, and truth. When we are still, looking deeply, and touching the source of our true wisdom, we touch the living Buddha and the living Christ in ourselves and in each person we meet.
In this small book, I shall try to share some of my experiences of and insights into two of the world's beautiful flowers, Buddhism and Christianity, so that we as a society can begin to dissolve our wrong perceptions, transcend our wrong views, and see one another in fresh, new ways. If we can enter the twenty-first century with this spirit of mutual understanding and acceptance, our children and their children will surely benefit.