8 inspiring books by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh

8 inspiring books by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh

In Reading Lists by Molly Hurford

8 inspiring books by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh

World-renowned Zen Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh was known by millions through his activism and writing. “The Art of Dying” in Time magazine covers his influence as the “father of mindfulness” and “Over Time, Buddhism and Science Agree” shows how his teachings helped people connect Buddhism and science in a holistic way.

In his 95-year lifetime, he published more than 100 books while remaining active as a monk and an activist for peace. Banned for over 30 years from his homeland in Vietnam, he founded a monastic community in France before his death in January. His teachings live on, inspiring millions through his work.

Every one of us can use more peace in our lives, and Thich Nhat Hanh’s teachings are far from what you would expect from a monk living in a monastery. Rather than teach that people should move away from their busy lives, Peace Is Every Breath is about coming to terms with your busy life and incorporating mindfulness into small pockets everyday until it’s second nature. Mindfulness is accessible even if you’re working two jobs while juggling family life and seemingly endless projects.

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With so much division in the world today, it can be hard to feel at peace — this book offers ways to live in such a world. From pandemics to political unrest, many of us are struggling with questions that aren’t easily answered. In this book, Thich Nhat Hanh shows another approach to mindfulness that helps us feel feelings of freedom rather than despair — even while accepting that inevitably, life is finite.

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In the last two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, most of us have likely experienced a moment of fear, whether for our immediate health and well-being, for our family and friends, or simply for the future. But that fear doesn’t serve us, Thich Nhat Hanh explains. In this book, he looks at the origins of fear and explores how we can move through fear and away from the turmoil that it causes.

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For bite-sized nuggets of inspiration and wisdom, listen to this podcast. His talks are shared in over 300 episodes and range from shorter, 10-minute episodes to hour-long discussions about what happiness really means. From how to enjoy the moment to finding peace within, the topics are simple yet profound, and you can listen while you walk, commute, or exercise.

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The Art of Power by Thich Nhat Hanh 

You might be surprised to hear that a world-renowned Buddhist monk has written a book about power. In this book, he investigates how the quest for power permeates our daily lives and can damage our well being, causing us to constantly struggle to earn more, do more, be more. Then, he explains that true power comes from what we already have — not what we’re striving for. This book might change the way you act at work and in life for the better. 

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Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life by Thich Nhat Hanh and Lilian Cheung 

While Thich Nhat Hanh has written dozens of books around the idea of mindfulness, this manual is the most practical and specific. Written with Harvard nutritionist Lilian Cheung, Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life shows how becoming mindful about food and nutrition is the best way to live a fulfilling, healthy life. It’s not your typical diet book with prescriptive meal plans, rather it’s about the process of making a dish and eating it with intention. This mindset shift can help heal troubled relationships with food. 

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This series of talks from a six-day retreat at Magnolia Grove Monastery in 2013 focuses on healing the self, then healing the world. Listen to Thich Nhat Hanh explain the importance of healing yourself in order to heal those around you and, ultimately, the world. Instead of putting yourself first, or being totally selfless and focusing on others, he points out that by helping yourself, you can become a better source for others.

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The Art of Communicating by Thich Nhat Hanh 

This is arguably one of the most powerful books Thich Nhat Hanh wrote. His goal in the book is to teach people how to express themselves authentically through words and intentions. He explains how to listen with compassion and clearly express ourselves in ways that people will understand. He uses examples from work, family, and social dynamics to demonstrate the different ways we can effectively communicate by being mindful. 

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About the Author: Molly Hurford

Molly is a writer and bookworm in love with all things wellness related. When not playing outside, she’s writing or podcasting about being outside and healthy habits for The Consummate Athlete. She also writes books, including the Shred Girls series. In her spare time, she runs, rides bikes, and hikes with her mini-dachshund and husband.
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