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A 3 Pages Term Paper on Living Buddha, Living Christ
By
 Thich Nhat Hanh

 
In the ten chapters of the book   Living Buddha, Living Christ, Hanh brings us on a journey to his spiritual ancestors through the Buddha’s enlightenment on suffering, to Christ’s lessons on caring, with the softness of a tree, working through the changes of the seasons.

Chapter One -Be Still And Know

”Until there is peace between religions, there can be no peace in the world. People kill and are killed because they cling too tightly to their own beliefs and ideologies. When we believe that ours is the only faith that contains the truth, violence and suffering will surely be the result”. [Chapter – 1]

This concept is derived out of the second concept in the “Order of Being” found within Zen Buddhist traditions. It also is alive in practice with the example of Christ’s treatment of the Samaritan woman in the Gospel of John. Hanh is trying to say that we just need to become quiet in our mind, clear our feelings, and pay attention to others.

Chapter 2 -Mindfulness And The Holy Spirit

Hanh believes that the Holy Spirit is the energy sent by God. When the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus, he exposed the expression of the Holy Spirit, and was able to cure whatever he touched. By all of us coming into touch with the Holy Spirit, Hanh believes that we can have the capability to heal the world. To the Buddhist, touching their “inner spirit” is found through mindfulness of the self, sitting in zaizen and focusing on conscious breath.

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“All of us have the seed of the Holy Spirit in us, the capacity of healing, transforming, and loving. When we touch that seed, we are able to touch God the Father and God the Son”. [Chapter 2]

 To Hanh, the spirit released through mindful of consciousness of the Buddhist monk is the same Holy Spirit, which burns in many Christians. If we dwell in the moment and let the light of the Holy Spirit reveal it into our lives to find the inner peace of those who are becoming “enlightened.”

Chapter-3 The First Supper

”This food is the gift of the whole universe-the earth, the sky, and much hard work. May we live in a way that is worthy of this food? May we transform our unskillful states of mind, especially that of greed. May we eat only foods that nourish us and prevent illness? May we accept this food for the realization of the way of understanding and love.”[Chapter –3]

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Hanh is of the opinion that When a Buddhist monk; Jewish family, or religious Christian prays before their meal, they are expressing a thankfulness and consciousness profound with in the hub of all beliefs. Hanh makes us realize that when we take food, we are taking a piece of the universe, and everything in the universe has made some sacrifice to provide the food.

Chapter –4 Living Buddha, Living Christ

          Hanh asks us to study the lives of Jesus and Buddha. Jesus lived exactly as He taught, so studying the life if Jesus is crucial to understanding His teaching. Where as the Buddha’s teachings are based on his experience
”When we are in touch with the highest spirit in ourselves, we too are a Buddha, filled with the Holy Spirit, and we become very tolerant, very open, very deep, and very understanding.”[Chapter –4]

Chapter-5 Communities Of PracticeIn this chapter Hanh tries to tell that, our communities of faith cannot just sermonize about compassion, love, and tolerance unless we act. The Buddha did not just talk about suffering, and leave those in need. Hanh is trying to convey that dependence on others be avoided.
”Even if you have a beautiful temple or church with fine decorations and artwork, if inside there is no tolerance, happiness, understanding, or love, it is a false Sangha, a false church.” [Chapter –5]

Chapter –6 A Peaceful Heart
     In order to bring peace through out the world, one must first find inner peace and Hanh brings the life of Jesus and the Buddha into perspective of inner peace by not letting the internal conflicts stop their journey. The realization must be there that our internal anger if left unchecked, can stop our potential to effect change.
”Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God”

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[Chapter -6]

Hanh, in his views of enacting justice feels that many penalties we place on criminals are more of a reflection on our own troubled hearts. His feeling can however be contested as the safety of the society as a whole is also needed. The sentencing someone for mass murders and horrible offences to protect the whole of society, sometimes is a necessity. Hanh has missed here that there are people who are in fact guided by wrath and wickedness.



Chapter-7/8 For A Future To Be Possible/ Taking Refuge

     For a future to be possible requires civilizations to change their hearts, find their heredity, and above all, develop affectionate humanity.

”Aware of suffering caused by the destruction of life, I vow to cultivate compassion and learn ways to protect the lives of people, animals, plants, and minerals. I am determined not to kill, not to let others kill, and not to condone any act of killing in the world, in my thinking, and in my way of life    ”    [Chapter –7]
  Hanh is also of the view that all humans need to find an inner refuge, a strong belief that we can stand upon when the world seems against us. For the Buddhist, this refuge is mindfulness, for the Christian it is Faith.

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     When we were in our mother’s womb, we felt secure-protected from heat, cold, and hunger. But the moment we were born and came into contact with the world’s suffering, we began to cry. [Chapter –8]


Chapter 9/10 The Other Shore/ Faith And Practice

”Enlightenment is like a tree, if it does not continue to grow, it will die “[Chapter –9]

Hanh is of the opinion that all of us have an inner view our spiritual destination. If our faith can see a destination, we will stay on the path. To a Buddhist, the other shore is the end of the cycle of life and death, the end of reincarnation. To a Christian, the other shore is the Kingdom of God, eternal life, and the end to death.

Conclusion

      Thich Nhat Hanh, the imaginative Buddhist educator and practitioner of peacefulness, considers the seeds of love, understanding, kindness, and individual change, which have developed into the flowers of Buddhism and Christianity. He believes that the enlightenment of the Buddha and the loving kindness of Christ are kept alive when each of us dwells in the moment. "To take good care of yourself and to take good care of living beings and of the environment is the best way to love God. Thich Nhat Hanh looks deeply at mindfulness, presence, gratitude, touching our ancestors, and other practices, which are the jewels of these two spiritual traditions. Living Buddha, Living Christ is a masterwork that builds bridges by celebrating the best within Buddhism and Christianity.

Works Cited

 Thich Nhat Hanh. Living Buddha, Living Christ

 
 


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