Living Buddha, Living Christ 10th Anniversary Edition

Living Buddha, Living Christ 10th Anniversary Edition

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by Thich Nhat Hanh

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10th anniversary edition of the classic text, updated, revised, and featuring a Mindful Living Journal.

Buddha and Christ, perhaps the two most pivotal figures in the history of humankind, each left behind a legacy of teachings and practices that have shaped the lives of billions of people over two millennia. If they were to meet on the road today, what would…  See more details below


10th anniversary edition of the classic text, updated, revised, and featuring a Mindful Living Journal.

Buddha and Christ, perhaps the two most pivotal figures in the history of humankind, each left behind a legacy of teachings and practices that have shaped the lives of billions of people over two millennia. If they were to meet on the road today, what would each think of the other's spiritual views and practices? In this classic text for spiritual seekers, Thich Nhat Hanh explores the crossroads of compassion and holiness at which the two traditions meet, and he reawakens our understanding of both.

Editorial Reviews

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
Library Journal
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.
Donna Seaman
Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh, author of more than 70 books, is truly a universal spiritual teacher whose mission is to translate Buddhist precepts into language everyone can understand and to explain the practice of mindfulness in terms of contemporary life. These efforts are in keeping with the Buddhist belief in open-mindedness and the acceptance of change, as is Nhat Hanh's recognition of Jesus as "one of his spiritual ancestors." As he carefully compares key aspects of Christianity with Buddhism, Nhat Hanh distinguishes between the historical and the living Jesus and Buddha, celebrates common ground shared by their teachings, and explicates important differences. His ability to see beyond dogma is in sharp contrast to the rigidity of certain Christian perspectives, a contrast Nhat Hanh discusses with respect and urgency. If there is to be understanding, compassion, and peace in the world, spiritual teachers must learn to honor" the "jewels," or "best values," at the heart of diverse traditions, and to keep their own alive by interpreting them in light of the here and now.

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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.

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Meet the Author

Thich Nhat Hanh has been living
in exile from his native Vietnam since the age of forty. In that year of 1966, he was
banned by both the non-Communist and Communist governments for his role in
undermining the violence he saw affecting his people. A Buddhist monk since the age of
sixteen, Thay ("teacher," as he is commonly known to followers) earned a reputation as a
respected writer, scholar, and leader. He championed a movement known as "engaged
Buddhism," which intertwined traditional meditative practices with active nonviolent
civil disobedience. This movement lay behind the establishment of the most influential
center of Buddhist studies in Saigon, the An Quang Pagoda. He also set up relief
organizations to rebuild destroyed villages, instituted the School of Youth for Social
Service (a Peace Corps of sorts for Buddhist peace workers), founded a peace magazine,
and urged world leaders to use nonviolence as a tool. Although his struggle for
cooperation meant he had to relinquish a homeland, it won him accolades around the

When Thich Nhat Hanh left Vietnam, he embarked on a mission to spread Buddhist
thought around the globe. In 1966, when Thay came to the United States for the first of
many humanitarian visits, the territory was not completely new to him: he had
experienced American culture before as a student at Princeton, and more recently as a
professor at Columbia. The Fellowship of Reconciliation and Cornell invited Thay to
speak on behalf of Buddhist monks, and he offered an enlightened view on ways to end
the Vietnam conflict. He spoke on college campuses, met with administration officials,
and impressed social dignitaries. The following year, Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr.
Martin Luther King, Jr., nominated Thich Nhat Hanh for the same honor. Hanh's
Buddhist delegation to the Paris peace talks resulted in accords between North Vietnam
and the United States, but his pacifist efforts did not end with the war. He also helped
organize rescue missions well into the 1970's for Vietnamese trying to escape from
political oppression. Even after the political stabilization of Vietnam, Thich Nhat Hanh
has not been allowed to return home. The government still sees him as a threat-ironic,
when one considers the subjects of his teachings: respect for life, generosity, responsible
sexual behavior, loving communication, and cultivation of a healthful life style.

Thay now lives in southwestern France, where he founded a retreat center twelve
years ago. At the center, Plum Village, he continues to teach, write, and garden. Plum
Village houses only thirty monks, nuns, and laypeople, but thousands from around the
globe call it home. Accommodation is readily available for short-term visitors seeking
spiritual relief, for refugees in transit, or for activists in need of inspiration. Thich Nhat
Hanh gathers people of diverse nationalities, races, religions, and sexes in order to expose
them to mindfulness-taking care in the present moment, being profoundly aware and
appreciative of life.

Despite the fact that Thay is nearing seventy, his strength as a world leader and
spiritual guide grows. He has written more than seventy-five books of prose, poetry, and
prayers. Most of his works have been geared toward the Buddhist reader, yet his
teachings appeal to a wide audience. For at least a decade, Thich Nhat Hanh has visited
the United States every other year; he draws more and more people with each tour,
Christian, Jewish, atheist, and Zen Buddhist alike. His philosophy is not limited to
preexistent religious structures, but speaks to the individual's desire for wholeness and
inner calm. In 1993, he drew a crowd of some 1,200 people at the National Cathedral in
Washington DC, led a retreat of 500 people in upstate New York, and assembled 300
people in West Virginia. His popularity in the United States inspired the mayor of
Berkeley, California, to name a day in his honor and the Mayor of New York City
declared a Day of Reconciliation during his 1993 visit. Clearly, Thich Nhat Hanh is a
human link with a prophetic past, a soft-spoken advocate of peace, Buddhist community,
and the average American citizen.

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Living Buddha, Living Christ 10th Anniversary Edition 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 33 reviews.
JimmyMac More than 1 year ago
I am reminded that there are many ways to say the same thing. The sayings of the gnostic Jesus, the traditional Jesus, the Buddha. We have often interpreted the message to suit our institutional needs, but the message really was always the same, regardless of the messenger: Love one another. This is a beautiful book, easy to read, portable, easy to carry with you on your lunch break. Read it sitting outside with the birds singing as spring approaches. Read it in bed before falling off to sleep. But by all means read it. And give thanks that people like Thich Nhat Hanh were given life, and reminded us how to live it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Whether you are a buddhist coverting to christian or a christian converting to buddhist, this book will definitely open up your heart, calm your mind, and enrich your soul. Most importantly, it will reawaken the 'Holy Spirit'--the Living Buddha and the Living Christ within you...
Guest More than 1 year ago
I recently began practicing Buddhism, and this book was one of the catalysts for me. The analogies between Buddhism and Christianity are interesting. I was impressed with his simple, common-sense approach. A very engaging writer. I plan on reading more of his works.
rochellej More than 1 year ago
As a beiliver in the Divinity of Christ and the teachings of Buddah I found this book to be a woulderful bridge that assisted me in my desire to make a connection between the two "religions".
chosen25 More than 1 year ago
It easier for us to point out each others flaws but from reading the book i found that we really are more alike than we would all like to think. Its a humbling feeling. There is no need to be better than, i think we can exist and let others believe what they will as long as we all respect one another. I finish the book and just re read it. Im going to keep reading it until it truly all sinks in. I dont want to miss a thing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an easy read that makes connections with christianity and taking spirituality to a better understanding.
Lucilletln More than 1 year ago
Excellently written book about similarities of Buddhism and Christianity. Written from a perspective of inclusiveness it is this book is well suited to reader interested in starting a study of either Buddha or Jesus. May be a bit to "deep" for some readers but otherwise I recommend it highly. Excellent read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Living Buddha, Living Christ offers a deep and rich insight into the similarities between Buddhism and Christianity. It’s quite surprising how similar the two religions can be. One would think that out of all the modern-day religions, if anything these two would be the least bit similar. However Living Buddha, Living Christ really shows the beauty of both. Just as Thich Nhat Hanh wrote, “We have different roots, traditions, and ways of seeing, but we share the common qualities of love, understanding, and acceptance.” As an atheist, I’ve always been interested in Buddhism, and its formation of a religion around existential beliefs. I’ve also always been a bit wary of Christianity. After reading this book, I gained a newfound respect and enjoyment of both religions. I think that because I’ve been raised in a society where the youth tends to rebel and go against their religious roots, I’ve always held a sort of grudge against Christianity and only acknowledged the things that I hated about it. Perhaps it was the comparison to Buddhism, a relatively peaceful and calm religion, that did it for me, but I’ve gained an appreciation for both, and a keenness to do something about it. Miriam AG
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well written. Wish I could be this well centered.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing book- changed my perspective on life...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A great look at the ways that Buddhism and Christianity overlap in ideas and philosophies. A very enlightening read!
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Very insightful, this book aided in clarifying my thoughts regarding misperceptions I have had through the years. It has helped open my mind.
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