Living Buddha, Living Christ Book Summary - Living Buddha, Living Christ Book explained in key points
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Living Buddha, Living Christ summary

Thich Nhat Hanh

Explore the common ground of Christianity and Buddhism

4.2 (265 ratings)
25 mins

Brief summary

Living Buddha, Living Christ by Thich Nhat Hanh is a book that explores the similarities between Buddhism and Christianity. It encourages readers to embrace the values of mindfulness, compassion, and understanding in their daily lives, regardless of their faith tradition.

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    Living Buddha, Living Christ
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    Interfaith dialogue can open paths toward peace and spiritual fulfillment.

    There’s no single Buddhism. It’s just the opposite, in fact – there are many forms of this spiritual tradition. Just 100 years after the death of Gautama Buddha, the faith’s founding teacher, the tradition split into two distinct schools. A few hundred years later, there were more than 20 different sects.

    Yet these schisms aren’t cause for strife. Each faction is but a single flower in the overall garden of Buddhism. Each is beautiful on its own, but together they form a vibrant ecosystem. Moreover, outside the Buddhist garden are other gardens of other faiths, each with its own flourishing flowerbeds.

    To become spiritually whole, it’s important to recognize the beauty in all of these blooms.

    The key message here is: Interfaith dialogue can open paths toward peace and spiritual fulfillment.

    There’s an unfortunate tendency for people of different faiths to regard each other with suspicion or even animosity. Sometimes these tensions come from unfamiliarity. In other instances, they’re fostered by political or social strife. For instance, during the French colonization of Vietnam, Catholic missionaries worked to suppress Buddhism; this pressure drove the two faiths apart needlessly.

    Yet if we look beyond these artificial divides, it's clear that both faiths share profound similarities – there are Buddhist elements in Christianity, and Christian elements within Buddhism. This state of deep, mutual connection is called interbeing. By looking closely and studying this interbeing between the two faiths, it’s possible to enrich our experience of both.

    In fact, both faiths encourage this type of contemplation. The Christian Psalms urge the faithful to “Be still,” in order to know God’s love. This means practitioners should be tranquil and concentrate on the world around them. In the same vein, Buddhists practice vipasyana, or “looking deeply.” With practice, Buddhists also come to know love by cultivating a calm, relaxed, and contemplative disposition toward the world.

    This isn’t the only similarity between these two religions. The teachings of Buddha and Christ convey similar themes of love, acceptance, and understanding, and both offer valuable advice on how to find joy and overcome suffering. Investigating these overlaps helps practitioners of either faith gain a deeper understanding of their own religion. And, even more importantly, fostering a rich interfaith dialogue, one in which both sides truly listen to one another, can go a long way toward healing the divisions that exist in everyday life.

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    What is Living Buddha, Living Christ about?

    Living Buddha, Living Christ (1995) is a meditation on the surprising intersections between Buddhism and Christianity. This thoughtful text shows the common ground shared by two of the world’s most influential spiritual leaders.

    Living Buddha, Living Christ Review

    Living Buddha, Living Christ (1995) explores the similarities and connections between Buddhism and Christianity, providing a fresh perspective on the two religions. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It offers a thought-provoking exploration of the shared values and teachings of Buddhism and Christianity, encouraging readers to find common ground and foster understanding.
    • Through personal anecdotes and stories, Thich Nhat Hanh beautifully demonstrates how these two spiritual traditions can complement and enrich each other, creating a harmonious and inclusive path.
    • The book's deep wisdom and spiritual insights dive into profound questions of faith, love, and compassion, making it a compelling read that challenges and expands our perspectives.

    Who should read Living Buddha, Living Christ?

    • Christians seeking a new perspective on Christ
    • Buddhists looking to enrich their practice
    • Anyone wanting to cultivate a deeper spiritual life

    About the Author

    Thich Nhat Hanh was a Buddhist monk, peace activist, and world-renowned spiritual leader. The author of more than 70 books, he was once nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by civil-rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

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    Living Buddha, Living Christ FAQs 

    What is the main message of Living Buddha, Living Christ?

    Living Buddha, Living Christ explores the parallels between Buddhism and Christianity, highlighting the importance of mindfulness and compassion.

    How long does it take to read Living Buddha, Living Christ?

    The reading time for Living Buddha, Living Christ varies depending on the reader's speed. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Living Buddha, Living Christ a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Living Buddha, Living Christ is a thought-provoking book that offers valuable insights into finding common ground between different spiritual traditions.

    Who is the author of Living Buddha, Living Christ?

    The author of Living Buddha, Living Christ is Thich Nhat Hanh.

    What to read after Living Buddha, Living Christ?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Living Buddha, Living Christ, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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