TRUE LOVE: A Practice for Awakening the Heart
Thich Nhat Hanh, . . Shambhala, $12.95 (109pp) ISBN 978-1-59030-188-3
This umpteenth volume from the highly regarded Vietnamese Zen monk really has nothing new, but that is precisely the author's point: just do a few simple things, and keep doing them. True love—the real thing—is actually hard to practice, and so Nhat Hanh begins with a short Buddhist explanation on the components of love—loving kindness, compassion, joy and freedom—and then offers a series of practices, including mantras, deep listening and a variety of meditations. Throughout, he skillfully weaves in Buddhist teachings about consciousness and nonduality whose complexity belies the simplicity of the author's words. Nhat Hanh is always good, and poetic, at seeing the deep in the ordinary: how the ring of a telephone can be a call to awareness, how the waste material of human fear and pain can be composted—transformed—into flowers of understanding and hope. These teachings will all be familiar to the many students and admirers of the popular monk, but the compassionate call to awareness and to everyday practice does not grow old. The book's gift format makes it an especially good choice as a present to anyone who might need an accessible door to the author's vast body of work and teachings.
Reviewed on: 08/30/2004