The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching Book Review

The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching Book Review

the heart of the buddha's teachingsBook Title: The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching : Transforming Suffering into Peace, Joy, and Liberation
Author:
Thich Nhat Hanh
Publisher:
Broadway Books
Year Published:
1999
Pages:
304
Paperback Price:
$9.59
Kindle Price:
$10.99

 

This is another of many books written by Vietnamese Zen monk and teacher Thich Nhat Hanh.  He currently resides in France and has written many other books on Buddhism and the relation of Buddhism with other faiths like Christianity (e.g. “Going Home: Jesus and Buddha as Brothers”).

 

Book Summary

This book greatly elaborates on the Buddha’s Four Noble Truths including the Eightfold Path.  He includes many examples and simply explains the reasoning behind Buddhist thought. And as is the case with nearly every book by Thich Nhat Hanh, he also includes suggestions on how to put the principles he talks about into practice in our day to day lives.

Part One The Four Noble Truths

Chapter 1 Entering the Heart of the Buddha
Chapter 2 The First Dharma Talk
Chapter 3 The Four Noble Truths
Chapter 4  Understanding the Buddha’s Teachings
Chapter 5 Is Everything Suffering?
Chapter 6 Stopping, Calming, Resting, Healing
Chapter 7 Touching Our Suffering
Chapter 8 Realizing Well-being

Part Two The Noble Eightfold Path

Chapter 9 Right View
Chapter 10 Right Thinking
Chapter 11 Right Mindfulness
Chapter 12 Right Speech
Chapter 13 Right Action
Chapter 14 Right Diligence
Chapter 15 Right Concentration
Chapter 16 Right Livelihood

Part Three Other Basic Buddhist Teachings

Chapter 17 The Two Truths
Chapter 18 The Three Dharma Seals
Chapter 19 The Three Doors of Liberation
Chapter 20 The Three Bodies of Buddha
Chapter 21 The Three Jewels
Chapter 22 The Four Immeasurable Minds
Chapter 23 The Five Aggregates
Chapter 24 The Five Powers
Chapter 25 The Six Paramitas
Chapter 26 The Seven Factors of Awakening
Chapter 27 The Twelve Links of Interdependent Co-Arising
Chapter 28 Touching the Buddha Within

Part Four Discourses

Discourse on Turning the Wheel of the Dharma
Discourse on the Great Forty Mahacattarisaka Sutta
Discourse on Right View Sammadithi Sutta

Here are a few quotes from the book that I hope will give you a better idea.

  1. “Mindfulness is the energy that allows us to recognize our habit energy and prevent it from dominating us.”
  2. “The Buddha said many times, ‘My teaching is like a finger pointing to the Moon.’ Do not mistake the finger for the Moon.”
  3. “When we are mindful, touching deeply the present moment, the fruits are always understanding, acceptance, love, and the desire to relive suffering and bring joy.”
  4. “The greatest miracle is to be alive. We can put an end to our suffering just by realizing that our suffering is not suffering for!”
  5. “The Buddha called suffering a Holy Truth, because our suffering has the capacity of showing us the path to liberation. Embrace your suffering, and let it reveal to you the way of peace.”

My Critique

This was a great book which I thoroughly enjoyed reading and it covers all four Noble Truths as well as the Eightfold Path which are all inter-related and in themselves show us the interdependence of all things.

I don’t really see any bad things about this book and I’ve learned a lot from it and it has enhanced my understanding of the foundations of Buddhist teachings.  This is definitely a book for those on the Buddhist path, and is written simply enough for anyone to be able to understand and apply the teachings to their own lives.

Conclusion

I expected this book to be good since I’ve already written some of his other books and I can say that this book exceeded my expectations. Thich Nhat Hanh teaches in a way that is always interesting and thought-provoking and this certainly comes across in his writings as well.

Thanks for reading this review of “The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching” and if you have any questions or if you’ve read the book yourself, feel free to leave a comment below.

I also encourage you to pick up your copy of the “The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching” which is also available on Kindle as well!

 

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6 Responses to The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching Book Review

  1. Kim Gattari says:

    What an informative book review. I really like the quote under number 5:“The Buddha called suffering a Holy Truth, because our suffering has the capacity of showing us the path to liberation. Embrace your suffering, and let it reveal to you the way of peace.”
    So many people think that life is supposed to be roses and sunshine all the time. I don’t agree, how are we supposed to grow into understanding people if we don’t suffer in this life?
    Thanks for sharing the review!
    Kim

    • Ian H says:

      Hi Kim,
      Thank you! I totally agree, I think most people have an unrealistic and unreasonable expectations about how everything is supposed to be in life. But you can’t have pleasure without pain.

  2. derekcurry2 says:

    “When we are mindful, touching deeply the present moment, the fruits are always understanding, acceptance, love, and the desire to relive suffering and bring joy.” Man I love this quote! Wifey & I are always talking about being present, in “the now.” Are you Buddhist? Is that a stupid question? I haven’t perused your whole site yet as I just read this review. I like your review and will eventually have to get this book to read. I used to date a girl whose dad was a Buddhist Monk sometimes. He was Buddhist all the time, but she would tell me he’d be a Monk for different 30, 60 & 90 day stretches of time. Are you familiar with this? Thanks!

    • Ian H says:

      Hi Derek,
      Thanks for your comment! I consider myself to be a student of the Dharma but I guess you could call me Buddhist. A part-time Buddhist monk. This kind of practice is common in Southeast Asian Theravada schools of Buddhism.

  3. Sarah says:

    Who would you say this book is for, and who it is not for? I’m not Buddhist, but I’ve always found this religious practice interesting and admirable. Is it written more for a historical understanding, or a religiously based discussion? Thanks for the review! What would you say stuck out to you the most with this?

    • Ian H says:

      Hi Sarah,
      I would say that this book is for anyone who is interested in learning about Buddhism, especially Christians who may be curious about what the Buddha taught. It is primarily a book of religious teaching, this is not a historical work.

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