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Thich Nhat Hanh's Buddhism

johnathanjohnathan ICBICanada Veteran
edited February 15 in Buddhism Basics

What can each of you share to help others understand what TNH's Buddhism is and how it differs from other forms of Buddhism.

I have read peace is every step. What other books by TNH or anyone any else would you recommend to help others learn/practice his form of Buddhism.

Comments

  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Living Buddha, Living Christ. TNH's Buddhism is heavily influenced, and intrinsically connected to The Essence of Christ's Ministry.

    BunksAlex
  • The Heart of Buddha's Teaching: Transforming suffering into peace joy and liberation

    Alexrocala
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran
    edited February 15

    His book “Old Path White Clouds” is a classic! Recounts the life of the Buddha directly from the Suttas but in chronological order.

    Can highly recommend it.

    SuraShine
  • johnathanjohnathan ICBI Canada Veteran

    Is there a name for Thich Nhat Hanh's Buddhism?

    Would it be Thien Buddhism of the Plum Village Tradition?

  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    He practices Zen yeah?

    SuraShinelobster
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran

    He practices an engaged type of Zen but has called himself non sectarian.

  • johnathanjohnathan ICBI Canada Veteran

    @Bunks said:
    He practices Zen yeah?

    Thien is Vietnamese Zen, but TNH has added some aspects of Theravada to his style of zen. He has removed Zazen and instead teaches mindfulness meditation in everyday activities. So Shikantaza is removed too.

    Bunks
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    I watched his film at the cinema last year - Walk with Me.

    Not my cup of tea but each to their own.

    lobster
  • I thought his books excellent. Deep understanding. 💗

    Sadly I was completely unimpressed with his senior students and him as Zen practitioners. It is certainly too late to practice and teach Dharma for him and potentially them to become liberated without more intense guidance. Maybe that was never the intent. Kind, pacifist, socially engaged tree huggers are certainly a good thing. Celebrity partial Dharma? Yes. Has mindfulness led to the goal of Buddhism. Not in this case.

    Personally I prefer a completely enlightening transmission ... Just so you know. 👁

  • AlexAlex UK Veteran
    edited February 16

    I’m an advocate of what TNH has brought to the table. Essentially, he has taken complex and often (for the lay Westerner) impenetrable doctrine and transmitted it in a fashion that is simple and as a consequence, more easily understood. His explanations around Interconnectedness, emptiness and reality are probably the most beautifully written and easily graspable that I’ve seen.

    So for me, I dig him. The focus is upon the Buddha’s simple messages, practical living and kindness, rather than complex understanding of the written doctrine. His understanding is there, but he puts things simply for us. Many will also appreciate him. Along with the Dalai Lama, probably the most responsible for the appreciation of Buddhism that has grown in the West.

    In terms of his books :- I’m currently reading The art of living (which covers all of the above and some good explanations of never born/never die), the Heart of the Buddha’s teaching is great re the core principles of Buddhism and their application. I particularly also like ‘Silence’ I find it a very calming read.

    In truth, you can’t go wrong with anything by TNH.

    SuraShinelobsteradamcrossley
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    I’m also a fan of TNH. The simplicity of his approach is that he first focuses on mindfulness and the breath, the ease of practice, peace and walking meditation. There is a lot of calmness in his teaching. During retreats (many of which are on YouTube) he will talk about deeper subjects such as no-self.

    I also like how his engaged type of Buddhism works. I last saw a video of a retreat where he had invited a number of Israelis and Palestinians to Plum Village, and he worked with them in various sessions to bring them together. Beautiful.

    As far as reading is concerned I can heartily recommend The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching and No Mud, No Lotus. I’ve never yet regretted getting a book of his, I am currently reading No Death, No Fear.

    AlexBunks
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    What can each of you share to help others understand what TNH's Buddhism is and how it differs from other forms of Buddhism.

    It sounds very similar to Humanistic Buddhism

    Plum Village

    Thich Nhat Hanh soon envisioned a kind of engaged Buddhism that could respond directly to the needs of society.

    Humanistic Buddhism

    Temple Nan Tien outlines the principles of humanistic Buddhism as integrating Buddhist practices into everyday life based on the nature of Sakyamuni Buddha achieving Buddhahood while bound in an earthly form. Humanistic Buddhism is based on six core concepts, namely humanism, altruism, spiritual practices as part of daily life, joyfulness, timeliness and the universality of saving all beings.From these principles, the aim of humanistic Buddhism is to reconnect Buddhist practice with the ordinary and places emphasis on caring for the material world, not solely concerned with achieving delivery from it.

    In the long run when it comes to Dharma practice it's a case of "It makes no difference what group I'm in"
    Different strokes of the paddle for different folks on the raft :)

    AlexBunkslobsterrocala
  • SuraShineSuraShine South Australia Explorer
    edited February 16

    I've only ever found one of his books to compare Buddhism and Christianity (Living Buddha Living Christ) and that was probably more for a "bridging" explanation. As a Catholic I certainly found the comparison helpful when first exploring Buddhism. All the other books of his I've read don't mention it. I have his book on the Heart Suttas. I have also got "True Love" and "Peace is Every Step"

    I would say TNH is Vietnamese Zen and a monk minus a lot of the jargon. He's very helpful for newbies IMO.

    Alexlobster
  • @Bunks said:
    I watched his film at the cinema last year - Walk with Me.

    Not my cup of tea but each to their own.

    I only managed to watch a few minutes ... 🥱

    Social, ethical, virtuous inspiring behaviour and words are a great and much need service. However just being good (sila) is a small step. Just as some people need a slap more than huggies ... and sleep walking ...

    The important thing is finding a teaching, sangha and direction that will wake us ... That is our intent, practice and means ...

    BunksZenshin
  • ShimShim Veteran

    @lobster said: Sadly I was completely unimpressed with his senior students and him as Zen practitioners. It is certainly too late to practice and teach Dharma for him and potentially them to become liberated without more intense guidance. Maybe that was never the intent. Kind, pacifist, socially engaged tree huggers are certainly a good thing. Celebrity partial Dharma? Yes. Has mindfulness led to the goal of Buddhism. Not in this case.

    I agree. TNH himself seems like a trustworthy teacher with great understanding but I too have a hard time connecting to anything produced by his sangha since they just seem to recycle his words and do "nice things" like sing songs and have tea in the garden. I'm sure the reality is more complex but also this seems to be the image they market themselves with so I have my doubts. It is still a good approach for some people and situations.

    I've also read his journal, Fragrant Palm Leaves and it gives a bit more nuanced picture of him. I've also watched videos from the Israeli-Palestinian retreat a few times, all of that is good stuff. No doubt a wise man. His teachings are also very approachable to anyone, which I do appreciate.

    AlexBunkslobster
  • AlexAlex UK Veteran

    Singing songs and having tea in the garden sounds rather Zen to me 🙏

    There’s joy for sure.

    And simplicity.

    Perhaps they’re more in tune than we might give them credit for........

    johnathanBunksSuraShine
  • AlexAlex UK Veteran
    edited February 17


    These are consecutive quotes I just came across whilst reading ‘The Art of Living’ by TNH

    SuraShine
  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    edited February 17

    @Alex said: Perhaps they’re more in tune than we might give them credit for........

    ...or perhaps they're singing from a slightly different hymn sheet....

    Alex
  • AlexAlex UK Veteran
    edited February 18

    @federica I think all of the hymn sheets within ‘Buddhism’ are different.......TNH still holds a note rather superbly though.......and he’s no less authentic.

    BunksSuraShine
  • johnathanjohnathan ICBI Canada Veteran
    edited February 18

    @Jeffrey @Alex @Kerome

    Thanks for the Book suggestion of The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching. I just purchased it and looking just at the index it looks to cover a lot of what I was hoping to study from TNH's perspective.

    I think his simplicity is very appealing to me due to not having access to a local Sangha. Without a teacher, simple is key. Perhaps in time I might find myself in closer proximity to a physical Sangha and move into a deeper practice but for now I think his method and teachings are what I need to move me along my path.

    AlexSuraShinelobster
  • AlexAlex UK Veteran

    Good stuff @johnathan I’m with you on all counts 👍

    johnathanlobster
  • AlexAlex UK Veteran

    @Zenshin 100%👍

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    If you find Thich Nhat Hanh a little too simplistic, I would recommend trying Ajahn Chah. There is a big book of his dharma talks available for free on the internet, it’s very good, and in terms of complexity a lot of it is between TNH and more dense practitioners.

    AlexBunksadamcrossley
  • SuraShineSuraShine South Australia Explorer

    Simplistic is not a bad thing. I wonder sometimes if some people think they are learning something special/important/better because it's convoluted? I've seen it in all walks of life during my life - school, work, private life..... As I've gotten older, I have certainly come to appreciate and even seek out, simplicity.

    YMMV

    Alexlobsteradamcrossley
  • johnathanjohnathan ICBI Canada Veteran

    @Kerome
    I enjoy Ajhan Chah's teachings (from what I have read in Jack Kornfield's book on 12 Buddhist teachers). I will definately look for the online writings you recommended.

    Alex
  • AlexAlex UK Veteran

    @Kerome I haven’t come across Ajman Chah, will investigate, thank you.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited February 19

    No doubt a wise man.

    No doubt. Definitely one of Oprahs better 'spiritual guesties'. @Zenshin said it well ... 💗🙏🏽🌈

    Bunks
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