Friday, May 26, 2006

Booknote: Peace is Every Step

Title: Peace is Every Step
Author: Thich Nhat Hanh
Publication Information: New York: Bantam Books, 1991
ISBN: 0-553-35139-7
Genre: Nonfiction
Subgenre: Buddhism (Zen), spirituality, inspirational

I picked this book up from the new books cart at my workplace out of a little curiosity. The fact that it has a foreword by the Dalai Lama helped, since I have read some of the Dalai Lama's books. Readers can find my note on one of the Dalai Lama's books here, a book that I enjoyed very much. The essence of the book I am noting now is that we need to be mindful. Being mindful of our actions, emotions, and behavior will allow us to find peace and love within ourselves. Once we do that, we can then work for peace around us. I know that I have probably oversimplified the author's message, yet to me it seemed as simple as that. I am not saying doing that is simple though. Being mindful allows us to see how things and people are interconnected, and if we can see as much, we can find that peace is with every step we take.

The book is written in short segments arranged in three parts. The writing displays a calm and conversational tone that makes it easy to read. It is the perfect book to read when you are likely to be interrupted. It is also a good book to read when seeking some solace. I found nice to read a few pages at a time before bedtime for instance. The book has a lot of good meditations. One that stuck with me is the one entitled "Interbeing." It tells how a poet can see a cloud on a sheet of paper. It is really simple: the cloud brings rain, which helps the tree grow, from where comes the paper the poet will use to write down his verses. This is just a small sample, but it illustrates the book's content well.

The book is simple and well-written. Any reader interested in a little inspiration will likely enjoy it. While it presents many important Buddhist ideas, readers do not need familiarity with Buddhism to enjoy it. Actually, it may inspire some readers to explore Zen further.

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