How to use ancient Buddhist teachings to solve modern problems.
Thich Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese Buddhist Zen Master, poet, scholar and peace activist. During the Vietnam War his work for peace and reconciliation moved Martin Luther King to nominate him for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1967. He founded the Van Hanh Buddhist University in Saigon and the School of Youth for Social Service. He was exiled as a result of his work for peace but continued his activism, rescuing boat people and helping to resettle Vietnamese refugees. He has written many, very popular books, which have sold millions of copies around the world. He now lives in France where he founded a Buddhist community and meditation centre.
``Next time you are caught in a traffic jam . . . sit back and smile . . . a smile of compassion and loving kindness.'' While such sappy Zen advice from a Buddhist monk, a Vietnamese resident in France following his exile in 1966, could send Western seekers of enlightenment into overdrive, fortunately most of the suggestions offered in this slim guidebook are of more substance. In a series of vignettes and short passages, e.g., ``Cooking Our Potatoes,'' Nhat Hanh outlines techniques for living mindfullly, that is, in the present. Emphasizing that all things are interconnected on personal and political levels, he notes, for example, that the wealth of one society is based on the poverty of others. This book of illuminating reminders bids us to reorient the way we look at the world, turning away from a goal-driven, me-first modality toward a humanitarian perspective. (Feb.)