A Spirited Book Club discussion of Thich Nhat Hanh’s classic, Living Buddha, Living Christ, exploring compassion, inner peace and much more.
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 contemplative 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.”
Reviews for Living Buddha, Living Christ
“[Thich Nhat Hanh] shows us the connection between personal, inner peace and peace on earth.” —His Holiness The Dalai Lama
“This Buddhist monk has a better grasp of Christianity than most Christians. One of the best spiritual books I’ve read.” —Joe K.
“I am deeply rooted in my Christian faith. I have also been a fan of Buddha for quite some time. Hanh understands spirituality that surpasses religion and shares that understanding in a very friendly, accessible style.” —Annie G.
“Absolutely wonderful book. I’ve often wondered of the differences and similarities in both the Buddha and Jesus and this is a fabulous book that goes into great detail about both. I love how open Thich Nhat Hanh is in his writing. As someone who has been following the Buddhist path, I found this to be inspirational and an overall enlightening read.” —Katie O.
FIRST BOOK CLUB MEETING for March 11 : Read Chapters 1-6
FIRST BOOK CLUB MEETING for March 25 : Read Chapters 7 – 10
- What do you think of the author’s statement, “We can be nourished by the best values of many traditions.”?
- How do missionaries get in the way of indigenous people seeing Jesus?
- How can we learn about others by studying ourselves?
- What do you think of inter-being?
- How is mindfulness like the Holy Spirit?
- What do you think of the statement, “The bread we eat is the whole cosmos.”?
- What do you think of his comparisons of Buddha and Jesus in chapter 4?
- How do you compare the ‘Communities of practice’?
- What are your thoughts on ‘collective awareness’?
- How is a Buddhist monk setting himself on fire like Jesus being crucified?
- How does one cultivate compassion?
Book discussion facilitated by Rev. “Bro. Jim” Hanson, faith mentor at Spirit in the Desert Retreat Center in Carefree, Arizona.
Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh is a global spiritual leader, poet and peace activist, revered around the world for his pioneering teachings on mindfulness, global ethics and peace. He has applied Buddhist insights to every aspect of society, including education, business, technology, and the environmental crisis. Thich was nominated by Martin Luther King, Jr. for a Nobel Peace Prize.
Ordained as a monk aged 16 in Vietnam, Thich Nhat Hanh soon envisioned a kind of engaged Buddhism that could respond directly to the needs of society. He was a prominent teacher and social activist in his home country before finding himself exiled for calling for peace. In the West he played a key role in introducing mindfulness and created mindful communities (sanghas) around the world. His teachings have impacted politicians, business leaders, activists, teachers and countless others.
A scholar, Nhat Hanh has has offered modern translations of key Buddhist texts and spoken out on a range of global issues. In addition, he has published more than 100 books, including classics like The Miracle of Mindfulness and Peace is Every Step.
As a calligraphy master, Thich Nhat Hanh’s simple and elegant calligraphies convey powerful teachings, and have been exhibited around the world.