Living Buddha, Living Christ

Living Buddha, Living Christ

3.8 11
by Thich Nhat Hanh
     
 

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"When you are a truly happy Christian, you are also a Buddhist. And vice versa."


-- Thich Nhat Hanh

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 the course of two millenia. If they were to meet on

Overview

"When you are a truly happy Christian, you are also a Buddhist. And vice versa."


-- Thich Nhat Hanh

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 the course of two millenia. If they were to meet on the road today, what would each think of the other's spiritual views and practices?

The bestselling author of Peace is Every Step, and one of the most beloved Buddhist teachers in the West, Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh has been part of a decades-long dialogue between the two greatest living contemplative traditions, and brings to Christianity an appreciation of its beauty that could be conveyed only by an outsider. In a lucid, meditative prose, he explores the crossroads of compassion and holiness at which the two traditions meet, and reawakens our understanding of both. "On the altar in my hermitage," he says, "are images of Buddha and Jesus, and I touch both of them as my spiritual ancestors."

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.
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

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781573225687
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/28/1997
Pages:
240
Product dimensions:
4.52(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.62(d)

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.

Meet the Author

Thich Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese monk, a rare combination of mystic, scholar, and activist and one of the most beloved Buddhist teachers in the West. Poet, Zen master, and chairman of the Vietnamese Buddhist Peace Delegation during the Vietnam War, he was nominated by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., for the Nobel Peace Prize.

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Living Buddha, Living Christ 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Thich Nhat Hanh really deepened my faith with this book. It was so good that I read the entire book in about four hours. What he does in this book is really compares two different religions. But, he also mentions, or infers, that buddhism is not a religion. Rather it is an understanding or a way of living. And when you apply this way of living with your spiritual and daily life, then you have a match made in heaven. I am a devout catholic, but I practice buddhism every day. It helps me calm my anger and harness all of that energy, and turn it into something useful, like love. So if you are looking for some way to pick your life up or to just be happier, I really reccomend that you read this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a practicing Buddhist, and great fan of Thich Nhat Hahn, but am also a devote Christian. I do not believe that Buddhism offers the same kind of spiritual salvation that Christianity does, however, I also am convinced that Biblical Christianity falls far short of providing the necessary tools to find the kind of salvation that Buddhism offers. Ancient and modern forms of Christian prayer do not help us effectively listen and recieve God's guidance as well as Buddhist practice. Real trial and error, and life experiences will show you this. Any assertion that one cannot recieve wisdom outside of the Bible is based solely in fear and indicates a lazy mind.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Buddhist have a wide array of beliefs as do many followers of any religion. Although the views in this book have merit and at times make excellent points, I felt that serveral times there was bias. I do enjoy that this book is a buddhist teaching both buddhist and christians alike about Christ and his teachings and the fact that many relate to the the teachings and practices of Buddha. its one of those, 'from another point of view' books. It has helped me a great deal with my religious and spiritual conflicts and has allowed me to express a more open view of all beliefs. A sudden understanding that in the end we all believe the same basic idea.
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