There are many books that manage to capture the essence of the Buddha’s teachings. While some explore the basics of the Buddhist philosophy, others dive deeply into the religious concept. The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching by Thich Nhat Hanh is a simple, yet structured guide to the philosophy that takes us on a transformational journey from suffering to joy.
In his book, Thich Nhat Hanh, a poet, and a Vietnamese Zen master, introduces readers to the concept of suffering and explains how it is also the catalyst that liberates us. He writes: When we direct our attention toward our suffering, we see our potential for happiness. We see the nature of suffering and the way out. That is why the Buddha called suffering a Holy Truth. When we use the word “suffering” in Buddhism, we mean the kind of suffering that can show us the way outThis quote captures the essence of the book that delineates the Buddha not as a God but as “a human being like you and me, and he suffered just as we do.” But, instead of running away from that suffering, the Buddha embraced it whole-heartedly. He called suffering a Holy Truth because it has the capacity to show us the path to liberation, a way to find inner peace.
The book enlists practices for mindfulness that can help us deal with our sufferings and eventually liberate us from it as well. They include mindful walking, mindful breathing, mindful sitting, mindful eating, mindful looking, and mindful listening. One mindful step can help us realise that beauty and joy are all around us. Once we realise this, we should mindfully vow to stop ingesting everything that brings us suffering, says the author.