"[Thich Nhat Hanh] shows us the connection between personal, inner peace and peace on earth." --His Holiness The Dalai Lama
Nominated by Martin Luther King, Jr. for a Nobel Peace Prize, Thich Nhat Hanh is one of today’s leading sources of wisdom, peace, compassion and comfort.
The 20th 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?
Thich Nhat Hanh has been part of a decades-long dialogue between two great contemplatice traditions, and brings to Christianity an appreciation of its beauty that could be conveyed only by an outsider. IN lucid, meditative prose, he explores the crossroads of compassion and holiness at which the two traditions meet, and he 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."
"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
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.
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.