10+ Thich Nhat Hạnh Books to Read in 2021

Best Books of Thich Nhat Hạnh

Thich Nhat Hạnh is a Vietnamese Thien Buddhist monk who has published over 130 books. In this article, we are going to discuss some of his best work. By reading this article, a reader will know what to expect from Thich Nhat Hạnh Books.

About the Author | Thich Nhat Hạnh Books

Thich Nhat Hạnh is a Vietnamese Thien Buddhist monk responsible for founding the West’s largest monastic order. He founded the Plum Village Monastery in France in 1982 along with fellow monk Chang Khong and established the Plum Village Tradition. He was born on 11th October 1926 in Hue in Central Vietnam.

He has received training Vietnamese training in Mahayana Buddhism and Thien Buddhism (Vietnamese version of Zen Buddhism). He is fluent in English, French, Pali, Sanskrit, and Classical Chinese. He has hold teaching positions at various universities in the USA.

He is renowned globally as a peace activist and belief in a peaceful resolution of conflicts. He was exiled for 39 years from Vietnam as he had opposed the conflict between south and north Vietnam and urged both sides to take a peaceful resolution. It was only in the tear 2005; he was allowed to visit is Vietnam. His visit had its share of controversy. Nevertheless, he visited again in 2007.

He is a great believer in non-violence. Though Martin Luther King nominated his name for the Nobel Peace prize in 1967, no prize was given by the Nobel prize committee. He was later conferred with the Courage of Conscience award in 1991. He has many bestowed with many awards, such as the Pacem de Terries Peace and Freedom Award. He has been awarded an honorary doctorate by the Education University Hong Kong.

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He has also been featured in numerous films, including The Power of Forgiveness. Also appeared in the documentary Walk with me. Many notable people around the globe have been his students. He is one of the pioneers of introducing the concept of Mindfulness to the Western world. 

After suffering a severe brain hemorrhage in 2014, Thich Nhat Hạnh, in 2018, returned to Vietnam to pass his “remaining days” in his root temple Từ Hiếu Temple. He is unable to speak. He continues to take eastern medicine and acupuncture. 

Best of Thich Nhat Hạnh Work

Thich Nhat Hạnh has books that have changed many lives. He has over 130 publication to his credit and of which over 100 has been translated to English. It isn’t easy to choose his best works as all of creation a delight to read.

Below are some of the ten of his best works:

1. The Miracle of Mindfulness 

The Miracle of Mindfulness

Originally written in 1975 in Vietnamese, The Miracle of Mindfulness was translated to English by Mobi Hoe. It was published in English in 1999.

This book introduces ‘Mindfulness’ and can be considered ‘the guide’ on how to practice mindfulness and reap its benefit. Through this book, Thich Nhat Hạnh teaches how to be present at the moment and be fully aware.

The book is in the form of a letter that Thich Nhat Hạnh had written to a senior staff member of his school in Vietnam while in exile. The tone of the book is conversational and easy to follow. The simplicity with which he put across a complex though is remarkable.

The great Zen Master has given a lot of practical exercises to practice mindfulness. He has also shared many anecdotes so that the readers have a better understanding of the subject. Here he teaches the reader how to start practicing mindfulness by using some basic breathing exercises or daily chores.

This book is a stepping stone for those who want to practice mindfulness.

2. Peace Is Every Step

Peace Is Every Step

Peace is Every Step was published in 1990. 

This book teaches us how to make positive use of every situation, even the adverse one. Here the great Zen Master teaches us to find profound satisfaction, happiness, and contentment in every moment of life, no matter how busy we are. He encourages us to seek positivity and turn every adversity into an opportunity to achieve peace.

He tells us how to be mindful of every step that we take in our life. It can be washing dishes, cooking or just walking in the park. He explains that being mindful helps ease our disappoints, sorrow, and pain and reduces anger and other negative emotions.

We are joyful when we are mindful as we are aware of our surroundings. We appreciate things around us and are grateful.

3. You Are Here 

You Are Here

You are Here was published in 2010.

This book is also based on practicing mindfulness and various practices that can be followed. Again, Thich Nhat Hạnh proposes simple things like practicing mindfulness while walking and breathing.

It stresses that practicing mindfulness helps us to live in the moment and savor the experience at hand

Here, he, discuss the practicing mindfulness is not to escape reality. It should be practice to be more aware of our surroundings.

4. The Heart Of Buddha’s Teaching

The Heart Of Buddha’s Teaching

The Heart of Buddha’s Teaching was published in 1999. Here Thich Nhat Hạnh writes about the Four Nobel Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path and other basic Buddhism teachings.

The Zen Master follows Mahayana Buddhism and Zen. He spreads the knowledge of Buddhism among people to have a better life and are liberated from suffering.

He has used poetry and eloquent language to talk about Buddhism, its meanings, and how to be in peace and contentment. His style of writing helps the readers to understand the complex teaching easily

This book is best suited for those who are interested in understanding Buddhism.

5. Being Peace

Being Peace

Being Peace was originally published in 1987 and was later translated into many languages including English.

This book’s teaching’s core theme is how to find peace in ourselves and how being in peace affects our people around us. This book teaches how to be at peace by working inwards.

The great Zen Master teaches how to find our happy inner Buddha irrespective of our previous religious beliefs. He talks about how one single happy and smiling person affects the entire surrounding. He explains how society is dependent on each other. Every person archives inner peace; there will be conflict and no suffering. 

Reading this book one step in the right direction for creating a world of peace.

6. A Handful of Quiet – Happiness in Four Pebbles

 A Handful of Quiet – Happiness in Four Pebbles

A Handful of Quiet introduces one of the most innovative techniques develop by Thich Nhat Hạnh to teach children meditation. This technique is called Pebble meditation.

It may sound strange, but even young children are not spared from stress and anxiety in today’s world. Parents and educators can utilize this book to teach children how to meditate. Pebble meditation also helps reduce stress and anxiety.

Though we often associate meditation with adults, this technique involves children and helps increase their concentrations, nourishes their mind, make them grateful and connect to nature. It teaches a fun and interactive way to introduce and engage children in meditation by connecting with Nature.

Thich Nhat Hạnh developed this innovative technique for the children of Plum village to introduce them to meditation. In this book, he shares this knowledge with the world. As children are the future of this world, teaching them how to meditate and practice mindfulness will also create better adults. This will, in turn, create a better world.

A wonderful guide for people who want to teach meditation to the younger generation. 

7. Happiness – Essential Mindfulness Practices

Happiness – Essential Mindfulness Practices

Happiness – Essential Mindfulness Practices published in 2009, is a collection of all the key practices taught by Thich Nhat Hạnh.

This book made all these practices available in one place and accessible with ease for beginners and experts. Like his other books on mindful practices, Thich Nhat Hạnh encourages his readers to integrate daily routines activities with mindfulness practices. These routine activities may include washing dishes, walking, breathing exercise, etc. 

He urges his reader not to practice mindfulness just for its sake but to understand its meaning and benefit and practice it with skills. The initial days may be a little bumpy for the beginners, but soon they will also develop the skills and intellect to practice.

8. Awakening of the Heart

Awakening of the Heart

Awakening of the Heart – Essential Buddhist Sutra and Commentaries is a collection of important Buddhist sutras accompanied by Thich Nhat Hanh’s commentaries. It was published in 2011.

It includes the below sutras:

Prajnaparamita Heart Sutra, Diamond Sutra, Full Awareness of Breathing Sutra, The Four establishments of Mindfulness Sutra, Sutra on The Better way to catch A Snake, Sutra on The Better Way to Live Alone, Sutra on the Eight Realisation of the Great Beings, Discourse on Happiness, Teaching on the Middle Way. 

This book is a complement to the book Happiness – Essential Mindfulness Practices.

In this book, the Zen Master has again used his extraordinary skills to make Buddha’s teachings accessible and relatable to the masses. His teaching way is such that we can relate and practice Buddha’s teaching in our daily life.

9. How to Love 

How to Love

How to Love published in 2014, is part of Parallax’s Mindfulness Essentials Series by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh.

In this book, he tackles the question of how to love in a witty and compassionate way. He discusses this emotion under four essentials “you can only love another when you feel true love for yourself; love is understanding; understanding brings compassion; deep listening and loving speech are key pf showing our love.”

This book is a simple guide to understand all different kinds of love and how meditations and expand our ability and capacity to love.

10. Keeping the Peace 

Keeping the Peace

Keeping the Peace – Mindfulness and Public Services was published in 2005. This book is especially for people in public services like civil services, law enforcement, teachers, social workers, or similar professions where they need to help other peoples.

According to Thich Nhat Hahn, people in these high-stress jobs need to find inner peace so that they can help others.

He teaches these professionals how to manage inner conflicts by sharing with them a path that is clear and simple prose. By practicing techniques suggested by the Zen Master, a reader cab achieve peace.

We have included only ten books in the above list.

Some other notable work includes:

  1. Mindfulness Essential Series – How to Live, How to Eat, How to Fight, How to Relax, How to See, How To walk, How to Sit
  2. A Love Letter to the Planet
  3. The Blooming of a Lotus
  4. The Art of Communicating
  5. The Art of Living
  6. The Art of Power
  7. True Love
  8. At Home in the World
  9. Living Buddha, Living Christ
  10. No Death, No Fear

Conclusion

Most of the work by Thich Nhat Hahn is on the concepts of Mindfulness. He has also introduced the concepts of “Engaged Buddhism” in one of his Vietnam: Lotus in a free sea. In certain books, he has customized the mindfulness practices to suit a certain group of people. Some books are dedicated entirely to type practice like mindful wherein we savor the food. 

In all his books where he advocates mindfulness, he cautions the reader that one should not practice mindfulness to escape reality but be aware of reality. He writes poetry and short stories too,

He has a unique style of writing. It is very simple but has profound depth. He writes with compassion and humor. He often includes proses, poets, and anecdotes. It almost feels that he is guiding you personally to practice mindfulness.

His advice is practical and requires respect and dedication. He has found various innovative ways to engage people in meditation.

Each of his written work is worth reading.

Also read How I Get Writing Jobs as A Freelancer

10+ Thich Nhat Hạnh Books to Read in 2021

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