Book Review: The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching

This week Zoe is reading a Thich Nhat Hanh classic which may be the only book on Buddhism you need to read. The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching provides everything you need to study the dharma. It’s written in a clear and poetic style that takes you through all the essential Buddhist teachings, such as the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path.

Some of the subjects covered include: the Three Dharma Seals, the Five Aggregates, the Six Paramitas, the Seven Factors of Awakening, and the Twelve Links of Interdependent Co-Arising.

(Buddhism loves to break the teachings down into numbered groups. If Buddha were teaching today, he’d be a whizz with PowerPoint!)

Some of these topics can get quite abstract, but Thich Nhat Hanh explains every point with such clarity and practical relevance that it really brings the teachings down to earth. He also goes on to give sensitive guidance on how to practise the dharma and get the most out of your meditation practice.

The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching can be read straight through or used as reference if you need to check up on one of the specific areas of the dharma. But I would really recommend spending time with this book, study it closely and, most importantly, put the lessons into practise.

“Please take good care of the happiness of everyone around you. Enjoy your breathing, your smiling, your shining the light of mindfulness on each thing you do… The teachings of the Buddha on transformation and healing are very deep. They are not theoretical. They can be practiced every day. Please practice them and realise them. I am confident that you can do it.”

Read more about the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path here

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