on March 10, 2004
Being Peace is a beautiful book that will open your eyes and your heart. Nhat Hanh was an important leader for the Peace movement, and through this collection of essays it is easy to see why. He takes the reader through basic concepts of mindfulness practice, and then relates practice to the way one lives in the world. His concept of InterBeing helped me to see the connectedness in the the world, in a way that applies to my own life and way of living. The book also shares very concrete suggestions for using meditation and awareness to improve life in the modern world. Mindfulness is portrayed as not just a way to relieve stress or feel better, but also to affect change in the crazy world we now live in. If we could all read this book and try to live its lessons, what an amazing world this could be!
on December 30, 2003
Of all of Thich Nhat Hanh's works, I would say personally this stands out as my favorite. It is relitively short, meaning you can probably read it within a few hours. I especially like his chapter "Working for Peace", where he brings up his often used poem, "Please Call Me By My True Names." He explains how he, along with others at Plum Village, often take upon the task of helping refugees attempting escape from oppresive governments. The work at times becomes very tedious, many of the letters the will receive in Plum Village are heartwrenching, stories of murder or young girls being raped. Thich explains how it often becomes challenging to see both sides in a conflict, when it seems so evident there may have only been one victim.
Yet this is where meditation comes in, allowing yourself to truly try to understand where the perpetrator of the crime may have come from. In his poem he basically says he is both the frog and fly, or cat and mouse. In a nutshell, he shows us the middle path. Where good and bad do certainly exist, but also how no true resolution can spring forth without an attempt to understand all sides involved in a conflict. I must say I don't agree that violence can always be avoided, that sometimes a person must be stopped because they are harming other people continuosly; not to mention they are not filtering their own bad karma they create. It is with compassion that we must resolve these terrifying issues with. Love for perpetrator and everyone else in this world. Othwerwise we fan the flames of revenge and hate. Hate never once begot hate, only love begets hate. The Buddha Shakyamuni stressed that in Ancient times. It seems that Thich Nhat Hanh has rekindled the Buddha within to write this magnificent work.
Enjoy the book:)
on October 15, 2003
A collection of essays, based in some part (perhaps completely) on speeches made in the United States, Thich Nhat Hahn's *Being Peace* serves as a guide to meditation; a glimpse into how Buddhism can help attain world peace; a collection of poems and allegories on Buddhism that are easily understood by Westerners, yet not overly-simplified; and a portrait of a man whose sense of calm is so powerful it has the inevitable effect of bringing peace to the reader. *Being Peace* is neither a practical guide to meditation - with precise explainations on how to sit, koans to recite during sitting, etc. - nor a theoretical justification of Buddhism, a la Alan Watts; instead, it is a book that gives real-life, meaningful reasons to meditate: both to bring peace to yourself, and to the world (which are, in fact, one and the same).
The concepts are not new - in fact they are thousands of years old. What is new is the sense of attainability that *Being Peace* brings to the art of meditation, particularly for those of us who live in not-so-meditative environments.
The volume is slim and easily read in one sitting, but it might serve you better to take time with each concept.
on May 28, 2003
Thich Nhat Hanh has a gift. Even for non-Buddhists like myself. He is able to explain simply the way a Buddhist teacher/monk like himself deals with the ups and downs of life, often with a gentle beguiling humor, and he illustrates his advice with stories told in the most simplistic terms. The warm smile on his face is present across all its pages and this little book has a gentle way of telling you a lesson for every moment in your life.
One sad afternoon, I took the book outside with me to sit and read by the side of our family pet during the last afternoon of his life. I was extremely angry at the injustice of watching our wonderful young pet's life being cut short. He was dying that day and we couldn't save him. It was hard for me to contain that anger. I opened Hanh's book at random, to allow fate to put in front of me whatever it willed for that moment. To my amazement I found myself reading a paragraph on Hanh explaining how to control anger, how to care for it and how to make it constructive rather than destructive for the environment around you. His simple language flowed right to the heart of my moment. Our dog was not benefiting from my hidden anger - he needed me to give him peace in those last couple of hours. Once again I had learnt something precious to that moment of reading from this sweet, gentle monk's writings ...
on October 29, 1998
This is a book to live by. T.N.Hanh expresses his ideas simply and directly. Even as a buddhist of some experience and knowledge in buddhism philosophy, I found this book refreshing and a joy to read. Sometimes, I find myself reading a few lines, and sighed, and then read the same lines again. Other times, I read and nod in agreement. This is definitely a book for both experienced Buddhism and those who are totally new to Buddhism. The Little Enlightenment that you will gain from this book, will change the way you live your life, and the way you view relationships with others. BEING PEACE, begins with you!
on August 6, 2003
I was raised a Buddhist, but discovered from this book that I know more about Buddhism than I thought I did. I love the simplicity of the teachings in this book. I brought this book to Moab, Utah and found it the perfect book to read and reflect upon in that setting. This book made me think more about being a better person, a better Buddhist, and more peaceful. I've since given this book as gifts to two other people since the lectures don't just apply to Buddhists, but are universal to humans attempting to live in peace.
on August 28, 1998
This book serves as an excellent introduction to Buddhist thought. Hanh illustrates the wisdom of the Middle Path with clarity and grace, avoiding unfamiliar terminology that may confuse newcomers to the subject, and shows that anyone can benefit from the teachings of the Buddha. With a focus on mindfulness and compassion, the book is also a reminder to the more advanced student of the importance of direct experience of the dharma. Highly recommended.
on March 17, 1998
Being Peace was the first book of engaged Zen to come into my hands, and I found it essential to read from it each day. Hanh's simple stories, and delivery of our need to find and be Peace within before there will be Peace in our world, transformed my thoughts on meditation and prayer. It is an excellent starting place for a new journey in self-understanding/spiritual adventure. "Breathing in, I calm my body; breathing out, I smile...."
on March 6, 2001
I will always be grateful to Thich Nhat Hanh for _Being Peace_. It is kept on my bedside table so that I can pick it up and read it whenever I need some perspective. The beautiful simplicity of his writing makes the author's message so strong. There are many wonderful books on Buddhist thought that provide more detail, but I find this one the best at reminding me that happiness is not a matter of luck, but a matter of practice.
on July 23, 2002
This book is indeed a legend in the Buddhist community. This was the 3rd book I read of Thich Nhat Hanh and I was very moved. The book is wonderful, you learn how to breathe away anger and develop mindfulness. You learn how kindness changes your heart and your mind at the same time. I recommend this book to anyone and I suggest reading it many times. You WILL be transformed from this book.