Cover of Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet

Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet

Thich Nhat Hanh

You don’t see a lot of self help books on your average “Global Climate Change” reading list, unless you count those helping people attend to their energy use or consumer habits. This one is different. \n\nIn Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet, Nhat Hanh (or Thay, as he was known), patiently guides us to take care of ourselves in order to foster our resiliance and streng for the work of taking care of eachother and the world. When it sometimes feels like we face challenges so overwhelming that there is nothing we can do to help, Thay offers wisdom to put that in perspective. I will not soon forget his account of using meditation to overcome despair when working to stop the war in his native Vietnam, another overwhelming, life-threatening and seemingly intractable challenge. \n\nThere is great teaching here on listening compassionately to others whom you may be inclined to fear or hate. This book offered me new tools to keep my cool and seek genuine dialog when talking to people I might see as complicit in the climate crisis or whose reluctance to face it I may resent.\n\nThe idea that surviving global climate change means first dealing with our own anxiety and despair seems both obvious and under-appreciated. My intuition is this book will be most impactful for those already predisposed to buddhist teachings, but Thay’s accounts of political engagement and the interconnectedness of everything . The author of 75 books available in English (his 1992 work Peace Is Every Step is particularly resonant to me), Thay died just days before I am writing this. His legacy is enormous and this book is one epic and generous gift before departing.\n

Book Info

HarperOne (2021), 320 pages
ISBN/EAN Product Code
Publisher Description

In this masterful work, one of the most revered spiritual leaders in the world today shares his wisdom on how to be the change we want to see in the world. In these troubling times we all yearn for a better world. But many of us feel powerless and uncertain what we can do. Thich Nhat Hanh (Thay) is blazingly clear: there’s one thing that we have the power to change–and which can make all the difference: our mind. How we see and think about things determines all the choices we make, the everyday actions we take (or avoid), how we relate to those we love (or oppose), and how we react in a crisis or when things don’t go our way. Meditation trains us to see reality as it is. But many of us have a distorted view, caused by negative stories about the world and ourselves that have become ingrained. To use our mind for change, we must see clearly. Thay shows us how us to alter our way of thinking, to break free from the notions that block our way, to find truth and touch reality as it is. By breaking down these old stories, we gain the insight and energy we need to take the right kind of action to save the planet and ourselves. Filled with powerful examples of engaged action he himself has undertaken, inspiring Buddhist parables, and accessible daily meditations, this powerful spiritual guide offers us a path forward, opening us to the possibilities of change and how we can contribute to the collective awakening and environmental revolution our fractured world so desperately needs. (Publisher’s Description)

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Books I Enjoyed in 2022