Living Buddha, Living Christ: 20th Anniversary Edition

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Penguin, Mar 6, 2007 - Religion - 256 pages
5 Reviews
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"[Thich Nhat Hanh] shows us the connection between personal, inner peace and peace on earth." --His Holiness The Dalai Lama

Nominated by Martin Luther King, Jr. for a Nobel Peace Prize, Thich Nhat Hanh is one of today’s leading sources of wisdom, peace, compassion and comfort.

The 20th anniversary edition of the classic text, updated, revised, and featuring a Mindful Living Journal.

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 contemplatice 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."

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Living Buddha, Living Christ

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

In this popular work Hahn, a Vietnamese Zen monk, offers some parallels between Eastern and Western spiritual practice in an accessible style that will please general readers. Read full review

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My sister got me this book thinking I would enjoy it being a follower of Christ.
Allow me to go forward with quoting various parts from the book, followed by my comments.
1) Introduction page 22
"The books apparently were salvaged from the library of the earliest Christian monastery in Egypt after the archbishop of Alexandria ordered the monks to destroy all books he deemed "heretical" -that is, Christian sources not endorsed by the clerical authorities".
Books such as the Gospel of Philip were not destroyed because they were not endorsed by "clerical authorities", but because they were recognized as forgeries by the body of Christ. This is attested to by second century works such as the Diatessaron that use the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, but never Philip or any other such gospels.
2) Page 13 "I asked him to share with me his understanding of the Holy Spirit and he replied, "the Holy Spirit is the energy sent by God."
"Him" is "a Catholic priest", and this is important to see because much of the understanding of what Christ taught is given through this man. Compare his claim of the Spirit being energy, with Ephesians 4:30 "grieve not the holy Spirit of God". You can't grieve a force.
3) Page 36 "But in Christianity Jesus is usually seen as the only Son of God."
John 1:18 says Jesus is "the only begotten Son", while John 1:12 says "as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God". God has many sons, but only one begotten.
4) Page 75 "He said that if you are angry with your brother, you are already in hell. Anger is hell."
Hanh quotes from Matthew 5:21-22 (KJV), and amazingly comes to his conclusion. Just compare what he quotes with what he says.
Jesus (Matthew 5:22): "whosoever is angry... shall be in danger"
Thich Nhat Hanh: "if you are angry... already in hell"
Hanh speaks of the present, while Jesus spoke of the future.
5) Page 143 "Eternal life is the kind of life that includes death. In fact, eternal life without death is not possible."
Revelation 21:3-4 says "...Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death..."
Death will not be present with those who will enjoy eternal life with God.
6)Page 183 "Christians say that God is in everyone's heart."
The book is about the living Christ, not Christians, so what they say is irrelevant. I have never known a Christian that believes God is in the heart of unbelievers. Romans 8:9 says "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his."
7) Page 190 "When Jesus called Himself the Son of Man, he was speaking of causation in terms of the historical dimension."
Jesus was referencing something spoken by a prophet of Israel named Daniel, showing himself to be the fulfillment. Daniel 7:13 says "I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven..."
8) Page 197 "When you are a truly happy Christian, you are also a Buddhist. And vice versa."
A Christian is one who is a follower of Christ. If a Buddhist is one who is a follower of Buddha, than one cannot be both without compromising, and thus failing to be one or the other, or both. Does God give people grace forgiving their sin, or do people face Karma alone.
The above 8 points are examples of the author using Christian history and what Christ said to back up his Buddhist beliefs. Going off of what Christians and Catholics say is a bad way of representing what Christ taught. In his defense he is a Buddhist, and not a Christian, so it reasonable that he would lack the proper background to know what Jesus believed and taught

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About the author (2007)

Thich Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese monk, a rare combination of mystic, scholar, and activist and one of the most beloved Buddhist teachers in the West. Poet, Zen master, and chairman of the Vietnamese Buddhist Peace Delegation during the Vietnam War, he was nominated by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., for the Nobel Peace Prize.

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