The Energy of Prayer: How to Deepen Your Spiritual Practice
Thich Nhat Hanh, . . Parallax, $11.95 (155pp) ISBN 978-1-888375-55-8
Hanh, the Vietnamese Zen master and author of more than 60 books, asks: "Why is prayer successful at some times and not at others?" Other questions also animate this brief primer on prayer: How can we pray for healing, say from lung cancer, when that disease is the natural karmic result of our own choices (e.g., smoking)? And to whom do we pray, especially since Buddhism teaches that there is no separate, distinct being called God who exists apart from creation? Hanh has a winning style, nimbly mixing deep philosophy with personal anecdotes and helpful illustrations. He also introduces spiritual practices, including the expected (reciting sutras, bowing, or performing walking and sitting meditation) as well as the unusual and ecumenical (praying to the living as well as the dead.) He also dissects the Lord's Prayer line by line. The book closes with five simple meditation exercises to increase awareness and calm, and some short Buddhist prayers.
Reviewed on: 03/27/2006