Book Reviews · Buddhism

The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching: Book Review

“To make hell into paradise, we need only change the mind on which it is based…”

Heart of the Buddha's TeachingClassic and essential, The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching provides everything you need to study the dharma. The subtitle reads: “Transforming suffering into peace, joy and liberation.” In the book, Thich Nhat Hanh explains the basic teachings in a clear and poetic style, covering the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path, before taking you through other essential Buddhist teachings, including:

  • The Two Truths
  • Three Dharma Seals
  • Three Doors of Liberation
  • Three Bodies of the Buddha
  • Three Jewels
  • Four Immeasurable Minds
  • Five Aggregates
  • Five Powers
  • Six Paramitas
  • Seven Factors of Awakening
  • Twelve Links of Interdependent Co-Arising

Some of these subjects can get quite abstract, but Thich Nhat Hanh explains every point with such clarity and day-to-day relevance that it really brings the teachings down to earth. He then goes on to give sensitive guidance on how to practise the dharma and meditation.

Finally, there are three discourses to take you deeper: Turning the Wheel of the Dharma; The Great Forty; and Right View.

This book can be read straight through or used as reference if you need to check up on one of the specific areas of the dharma. But I would really recommend spending time with this book, study it closely and, most importantly, put the lessons into practise.

The heart of the Buddha has been touched by our being wonderfully together. Please practice as an individual, a family, a city, a nation, and a worldwide community. Please take good care of the happiness of everyone around you. Enjoy your breathing, your smiling, your shining the light of mindfulness on each thing you do… The teachings of the Buddha on transformation and healing are very deep. They are not theoretical. They can be practiced every day. Please practice them and realise them. I am confident that you can do it.

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