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Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet

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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 whic 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. 


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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 whic 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. 

30 review for Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sean Barrs

    "Tell me what you eat and I will tell you who you are"  Everything we read, watch or listen to is food: it is material we are choosing to consume and pollute our bodies, minds and environment with. Naturally, we should be quite selective of this material because mindful consumption can save the planet. Thich Nhat Hanh (Thay) was a vegan Buddhist monk and spiritual teacher and through this book he discusses the impotence of Zen in changing the world for the better. Mindfulness is needed on so m "Tell me what you eat and I will tell you who you are"  Everything we read, watch or listen to is food: it is material we are choosing to consume and pollute our bodies, minds and environment with. Naturally, we should be quite selective of this material because mindful consumption can save the planet. Thich Nhat Hanh (Thay) was a vegan Buddhist monk and spiritual teacher and through this book he discusses the impotence of Zen in changing the world for the better. Mindfulness is needed on so many levels. Mindful actions and mindful consumption are required to create a peaceful environment. We must first change ourselves if we want to encourage others to live a kinder life. And I cannot quite stress enough how important this is. So many people look to others to create change, such as governments and politicians, but we must first make active attempts to change individually. “When you wake up and you see that the Earth is not just the environment, the Earth is us, you touch the nature of interbeing.” If we wish to save the planet and act in an environmentally sustainable way, then we must first act. We must make changes to our diets and our habits, and we must encourage others to do better. Thay’s words are important and insightful; they are an indictment for peaceful living and a peaceful word. They're so desperately needed, and I wish more people would listen to them. To put it simply, if the entire world did listen to them the Earth would be reformed. Thay passed away last year, but I think it's fair to assume what his current stance would be regarding the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Thay would encourage peace, conversation and a kinder approach because the planet is at stake. We must always strive to do better and to be better. Achieving change is possible in the world, and I'm inclined to agree with his Zen approach that suggests we must first change ourselves before we can affect change at large. We must be beacons of peace and we must teach others the errors of their ways. I absolutely loved this book. It is so inline with how I think and feel about advocacy, climate change and our environmental responsibility. I could not rate it any higher. I highly recommend this to other activists because it's insightful, energetic and entirely altruistic across species lines. __________________________________ You can connect with me on social media via My Linktree. __________________________________  

  2. 4 out of 5

    Hákon Gunnarsson

    Thich Nhat Hanh died today, 22. January, 2022, 95 years old. He was one of the great teachers of this world, a peace activist, and a Buddhist monk. I think I’ve read more books by him, than any other Buddhist writer. He really left a positive mark on the world, and reading his writing has taught me a lot. Rest In Peace Thich Nhat Hanh.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Linden

    Thay, as he is called, opines we are all part of everything and everyone, past and present, as the wave is part of the ocean. The author speaks of “two kinds of truth: the conventional truth and the ultimate truth. On the level of conventional truth we differentiate mind from matter…humans from other species…..but on the level of the ultimate truth this differentiation is not possible.” He speaks about mindfulness, compassion, and happiness. Happiness has many doors, but if we close all but one Thay, as he is called, opines we are all part of everything and everyone, past and present, as the wave is part of the ocean. The author speaks of “two kinds of truth: the conventional truth and the ultimate truth. On the level of conventional truth we differentiate mind from matter…humans from other species…..but on the level of the ultimate truth this differentiation is not possible.” He speaks about mindfulness, compassion, and happiness. Happiness has many doors, but if we close all but one door, we may never be happy, so we should open all of the doors. Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for allowing me to review this thought-provoking book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Martine

    "I have learned that my home, my country, is the whole planet Earth." I love this book so much! I read it slow in order to absorb all the beautiful words and spiritual wisdom. I'll be keeping it close to me and referring to it often. Thich Nhat Hanh teaches our deep interconnectedness with each other and our planet, and lovingly reminds us that we are nature. It is a gentle teaching of coming together as a community, but also about personal reflections on compassion, peace, and love. "Nothing ca "I have learned that my home, my country, is the whole planet Earth." I love this book so much! I read it slow in order to absorb all the beautiful words and spiritual wisdom. I'll be keeping it close to me and referring to it often. Thich Nhat Hanh teaches our deep interconnectedness with each other and our planet, and lovingly reminds us that we are nature. It is a gentle teaching of coming together as a community, but also about personal reflections on compassion, peace, and love. "Nothing can be achieved without the energy of togetherness. "

  5. 5 out of 5

    Shevon

    This book, along with A Life on our Planet and Braiding Sweetgrass, are foundational books in creating a more peaceful, mindful and united world; they contain within them the answers to the crises we find ourselves in today. This is a book I recommend to anyone and everyone.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    Instant favorite! I'm so glad I read this. Instant favorite! I'm so glad I read this.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Brian Pond

    Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet is an inspiring book that offers an insightful Zen Buddhist viewpoint and approach to correcting our current climatic and environmental crises. In it, Thich Nhat Hanh and Sister True Dedication describe how, if more of us wake up to our interconnectedness with and the beauty of the earth, we can recognize not only how we are harming ourselves, each other, and the planet, but also find the motivation to change our minds and behaviors to prevent further harm, a Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet is an inspiring book that offers an insightful Zen Buddhist viewpoint and approach to correcting our current climatic and environmental crises. In it, Thich Nhat Hanh and Sister True Dedication describe how, if more of us wake up to our interconnectedness with and the beauty of the earth, we can recognize not only how we are harming ourselves, each other, and the planet, but also find the motivation to change our minds and behaviors to prevent further harm, and correct the harm that’s been done. The book is divided into three parts: changing how we view our relationship with the earth, taking action to implement changes, and building communities that share these insights and viewpoints, respectively. In Mahāyāna Buddhism, the Diamond Sutra provides four notions a person must abandon to realize life as it really is: the notions of self, human being, living thing, and life span. Once we internalize this teaching, we will be able to recognize our connection with the earth. I found this part really interesting, and realize it’s something you need to mull around and meditate on for a while. Once we’ve awakened to our interconnectedness with the earth, we can take action. In Buddhism, it’s understood that before we can really help others we need to help ourselves. Fittingly, the majority of the action part involves self development. The Five Mindfulness Trainings are described as a powerful spiritual code of conduct, and I think they’re very good. The expanded list of Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings taught at Plum Village and which is a foundational doctrine of the Order of Interbeing is also very good and worth remembering. While discussing each of the five trainings in detail, the book discusses several other Buddhist trainings, concepts, and practices for cultivating our mental attitudes and outlooks to live more peaceful and enjoyable lives. Examples include the 4 Nutriments, Thay’s foundation of Engaged Buddhism, information of key Bodhisattvas, and the idea that we each have an inner meditator, artist, and warrior. I found all of this really interesting and enlightening, and plan to incorporate and read more about a lot of it. Life can be stressful at times, especially with so much work to be done to help reverse our negative effects on the climate and environment. The third part of the book discusses why it’s so important to have a community—a sangha, in Buddhism—in which to find support and encouragement. We each need a source of mindful communication, deep listening, and loving speech. By forming communities with a collective consciousness based on the Five Mindfulness Trainings and the Six Togethernesses, we can establish, as quoted from Dr. Larry Ward, a lay Buddhist teacher, “‘communities of resilience’-communities where we make a conscious intent to live together ‘in kindness, openness, generosity, sanity, and love.’” I love this idea, and hope we can someday reach a point where more communities share a collective spirit of togetherness and healthier and more harmonious living both amongst ourselves and with the earth. Overall I really enjoyed this book, and plan to add a copy to my holiday list for future reading, reflection, and reference. Thank you so much to the publisher and NetGalley for letting me read an advanced copy! And thank you to Dear Thay and Sister for bringing this insightful book to fruition for all of us 🙏

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kate Lawrence

    This is a most helpful, thorough, and encouraging compilation of writings from Thich Nhat Hanh on the subject of environmental action, which must begin within our minds because that's the origin of greed, overconsumption, a disconnect from nature, and other planet-destroying behaviors. Through mindful meditation, we can better understand and stop giving way to our bad habits, and start our activism there. We also, he advises, need to study and practice calm and non-judgmental listening to each o This is a most helpful, thorough, and encouraging compilation of writings from Thich Nhat Hanh on the subject of environmental action, which must begin within our minds because that's the origin of greed, overconsumption, a disconnect from nature, and other planet-destroying behaviors. Through mindful meditation, we can better understand and stop giving way to our bad habits, and start our activism there. We also, he advises, need to study and practice calm and non-judgmental listening to each other, especially to people whose views seem to be opposite and antagonistic to ours, and he explains how to do this. A third emphasis is on building community, which allows individuals to accomplish much more in solidarity with others and be better able to avoid burnout. I heartily recommend this book to everyone who cares about the future of our planet but has felt powerless. The commentaries on Nhat Hanh's writings by Sr. True Dedication are insightful as well.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Heidi Burkhart

    I have read all of Thich Nhat Hanh's books that I could find. This title is also excellent. I have read all of Thich Nhat Hanh's books that I could find. This title is also excellent.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kelly (miss_kellysbookishcorner)

    3.75 review to come

  11. 4 out of 5

    Richard Propes

    It was in 1992 with "Peace is Every Step" that Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh became a household name and would spend a good majority of the rest of his adult life as the main inspiration for engaged Buddhism and, in his later years, immersed within his community known as Plum Village located in southwest France. In 2014, Thich Nhat Hanh, or Thay, experienced a dramatic stroke that significantly impacted his daily life yet his presence as a teacher, spiritual guide, and powerful influence has remain It was in 1992 with "Peace is Every Step" that Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh became a household name and would spend a good majority of the rest of his adult life as the main inspiration for engaged Buddhism and, in his later years, immersed within his community known as Plum Village located in southwest France. In 2014, Thich Nhat Hanh, or Thay, experienced a dramatic stroke that significantly impacted his daily life yet his presence as a teacher, spiritual guide, and powerful influence has remained even as he has now turned 94-years-old. While "Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet" is noted as "by Thich Nhat Hanh" it should be noted that the book is less "by" Thay and more immersed in his life of teachings as brought to life those who surround him at Plum Village and, in particular, Sister True Dedication, one of his longtime students whom, it would seem, is most adept at communicating in a way reflective of the beloved Zen Master. "Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet" immerses us in Thay's longtime teachings, poetry, and beliefs and applies them to this art, "saving the planet," by creating a regenerative world in which all life is respected. If, like me, you've followed Thich Nhat Hanh's writings since 1992 then there's a strong likelihood that much of what is written here will feel familiar and will follow the consistent path that Thich Nhat Hanh has traveled throughout his life. There is both a challenge to it and a comfort to it - it is challenging because living this way feels counter to much of what is promoted here in my home country of the United States yet it is also comfortable because deep down in our being we know these to be truths. It's hard not to contemplate Thich Nhat Hanh's own journey in adapting to a body over these past few years that has dramatically altered his own path. This was on my own often as I experienced "Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet" and absorbed its wise lessons on healing myself and healing my planet with mindfulness and Zen meditation. If I were to sum it up overly succinctly, I would simply say "More Being, Less Doing." Thay is very clear that our way of looking, seeing, and thinking determines every choice 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. "Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet" is written in the voice of the beloved Thich Nhat Hanh even if it is not written in its entirety actually by the beloved Zen Master who, at 94-years-old, remains one of the most powerful Buddhist influences worldwide and who has seemingly entrusted his teachings to his equally beloved Plum Village community that carries it with tenderness and faithfulness. These teachings are enlightening, wise, open-hearted, and written with the gentle clarity we've come to expect from Thay yet because there are different voices involved here there is a tonal shift within the writing that is subtle yet noticeable for those familiar with Thay's writings. Sister True Dedication's writings are simply noted throughout the book with a "T.D.," a way of acknowledging her presence throughout "Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet" without us ever forgetting that these are the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh being brought to life. While one can question slightly the notion of listing the book as "by Thich Nhat Hanh," after a lifetime of teaching these very lessons I lean toward affording the grace that in becoming attached to Thich Nhat Hanh exclusively we've kind of missed the point. As seems to always be true of Buddhist teachings, there are times I find myself in slight disagreement with an observation or insight that feels overly simplified. Yet, there is so much that is brilliant here that by book's end I was grateful and in a reflective space contemplating this wisdom. The final chapters, in particular, are exhilarating as "Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet" takes the building blocks it has laid out and applies them in simple yet profound ways that had me uttering "Wow." "Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet" is yet another memorable work from an author, activist, and Zen Master who has graced us with memorable works throughout his life. This time, he collectively shares his wisdom with students who have immersed there own lives in his teachings and together we all benefit as we seek to save our planet.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Bella Peardon

    how could i debate or question Thay. Each book of his gifts something special.. i will always be thankful for what Thay has taught and continues to teach me 🤍

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jen (bookscoffeedogs)

    One of the most important books I have ever read. It is a lot to take in and one can’t just get through it fast, must be allowed to seep into your being. If everyone on the planet read this book now, we might be kinder and more compassionate to each other and the planet. Not dogma. Mindfulness. Compassion. I will be reading this particular book over and over, in bits and as a whole, for the rest of my life. Nightstand worthy.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    I was first introduced to Thich Nhat Hanh with his book Peace Is Every Step in 1992. I must have bought it right when it came out and still have it on my shelf. It’s a classic. It was one of my introductions to Buddhism, mindfulness, meditation, and a quest for inner peace. 30 years later I saw this book, and trusted that regardless of the topic, it would be a book where I could be a learner.Thay (as his friends call him) had a stroke in 2014 and is non-verbal.This is a book he had talked about p I was first introduced to Thich Nhat Hanh with his book Peace Is Every Step in 1992. I must have bought it right when it came out and still have it on my shelf. It’s a classic. It was one of my introductions to Buddhism, mindfulness, meditation, and a quest for inner peace. 30 years later I saw this book, and trusted that regardless of the topic, it would be a book where I could be a learner.Thay (as his friends call him) had a stroke in 2014 and is non-verbal.This is a book he had talked about prior to his stroke. Members of his community put it together. It alternates between Thay’s writings/teachings and Sister True Dedication’s (a monk and student of Thay) reflections on the teachings and how she has experiences them. I felt like this was a primer in Buddhism. The more connected we are to ourselves and each other the more connected we will be to Mother Earth. The content is rich a d it took me a couple of weeks to listen to this. I did walk away with some big ideas (the five remembrances) and a renewed interest in and commitment to developing a mindfulness/meditation practice. I found myself replaying certain sections so I could take notes.there were two narrators,one read Thay’s teachings and the other was Sister True Dedication herself. They did an excellent job. Thanks to Harper Audio for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kirsten D

    This book made me a better person.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Gijs Van

    Important and timely book! In his usual eloquent style, with grace and ease, Thich Nhat Hanh addresses climate change and the great problems that seem to threaten our society, and shows us how we can address them from the inside out!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Silje

    One of the most important books I have read in my life. I hear the voice of Thay reading the words. The little man with so much power and wisdom. The book of his voice such a transformative treasure. So simple. But cutting so deep. We have so much work to do to wake up together and save the planet. But are tired because we don’t cultivate compassion, love, our nourishment and motivation. We are tired because we lose ourself. Because we don’t take time to replenish our compassion. Love is the fue One of the most important books I have read in my life. I hear the voice of Thay reading the words. The little man with so much power and wisdom. The book of his voice such a transformative treasure. So simple. But cutting so deep. We have so much work to do to wake up together and save the planet. But are tired because we don’t cultivate compassion, love, our nourishment and motivation. We are tired because we lose ourself. Because we don’t take time to replenish our compassion. Love is the fuel of everything. Love is compassion. There is nothing esoteric in this book. Just short sentences telling you to breathe and listen truly, so that you can transform your suffering and go on to transform the suffering of others and save the world. One breath at a time. With every step I am home. With every breath I am safe, grounded in this Earth and it’s wonderous beauty. With every breath I smile. This book is such a suitable parting gift, as Thay has left his human body this year. The book is both very strongly his soft gentle firm voice, as well as a collaborative work with the Plum Village monastic community, in particular sister True Dedication. It has very clear instructions. Short explanations. Pointing out a clear path to follow. If you are not touched by this work, getting ready to get up with a smile in the morning and save the Earth, I don’t know what will. We are so many bodhisattvas. What are we waiting for?? I don’t know anyone else who can convey urgency with such softness and calm. Our society is collapsing. But we are ready. Together. In community. With hearts full of never ending compassion.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Artemisia Hunt

    I’ve read many books over the years by Zen teacher and activist Thich Nhat Hanh and each one has added something to my understanding of engaged Buddhism as well as to my admiration for this wise and gentle man. He died in January at the age of 95 and it seems fitting that his final book would be about the greatest existential challenge we humans have ever faced, the climate crisis that threatens our very existence as a species. In spite of this daunting subject matter, Hanh’s message is a hopefu I’ve read many books over the years by Zen teacher and activist Thich Nhat Hanh and each one has added something to my understanding of engaged Buddhism as well as to my admiration for this wise and gentle man. He died in January at the age of 95 and it seems fitting that his final book would be about the greatest existential challenge we humans have ever faced, the climate crisis that threatens our very existence as a species. In spite of this daunting subject matter, Hanh’s message is a hopeful one, inviting us to engage with this crisis with mindfulness and a realization of what he calls “interbeing”, the essential truth that we are all connected to each other, to the rest of the natural world and to the earth itself. For it is through the awareness of this connection that we will be able to learn to live in harmony and with respect for all of life. Though cautionary at times, Thich Nhat Hanh’s beautiful message is both powerful and gentle, timeless and timely. I would also strongly recommend reading this book in a pairing with Jane Goodall’s The Book of Hope, the most recent offering from another treasured elder and teacher, on this same subject.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Michael Jones

    This is a wonderful collection of Thich Nhat Hanh's previously published words on a variety of topics that can be related to saving our planet (and our civilization). Sister True Dedication, at the end of each segment, brings the message forward and focuses it on today's issues. There is also a wonderful, albeit brief Afterword from Sister Chan Khong. I deeply appreciate all of the works by Thich Nhat Hanh. The value of this work is in bringing together his messages from over the decades of his p This is a wonderful collection of Thich Nhat Hanh's previously published words on a variety of topics that can be related to saving our planet (and our civilization). Sister True Dedication, at the end of each segment, brings the message forward and focuses it on today's issues. There is also a wonderful, albeit brief Afterword from Sister Chan Khong. I deeply appreciate all of the works by Thich Nhat Hanh. The value of this work is in bringing together his messages from over the decades of his practice to shine a light on the path forward in today's environment. Sister True Dedication does a masterful job weaving it all together.

  20. 4 out of 5

    WY

    tl;dr to fix the world, start by fixing yourself; to fix yourself, start by being mindful. Beautifully written book, with simple language to communicate some simple yet deeply profound truths about the broader mindset shift we need to make, to be happier and make our world a better place. This is a book that deserves a permanent place on one's bookshelf, to be revisited again and again over time, to meditate on different parts as you go through various seasons in life. Took a star off as I persona tl;dr to fix the world, start by fixing yourself; to fix yourself, start by being mindful. Beautifully written book, with simple language to communicate some simple yet deeply profound truths about the broader mindset shift we need to make, to be happier and make our world a better place. This is a book that deserves a permanent place on one's bookshelf, to be revisited again and again over time, to meditate on different parts as you go through various seasons in life. Took a star off as I personally found some portions a little repetitive, but might as well be that I'm not resonating with those portions at this time.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Taylor Blossom

    Started this book mid-January and really took my time with it as I believe it found me in divine timing during Thich Nhat Hanh's transition on 1/22/22. Each time I picked it up I found myself in effortless meditation on the words. This is a guide through which we can learn to be with ourselves, others, and the earth as we are all intertwined. I am so grateful for this book, this message, and all of the amalgamated experiences that made it possible. May we continue this teaching as we remember th Started this book mid-January and really took my time with it as I believe it found me in divine timing during Thich Nhat Hanh's transition on 1/22/22. Each time I picked it up I found myself in effortless meditation on the words. This is a guide through which we can learn to be with ourselves, others, and the earth as we are all intertwined. I am so grateful for this book, this message, and all of the amalgamated experiences that made it possible. May we continue this teaching as we remember that a cloud never dies.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Liz Hyde

    Wonderful. I will definitely reread.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Cathleen

    This is a thought-provoking book by the zen master Thich Nhat Hanh. While the focus is on climate change and environmental activism, the lessons are much broader and deeper than I originally imagined. The concept of interbeing exists in cultures across the planet, and here in this text, is the central focus of not only how, but also why, the earth is vulnerable and needs our actions. Very simple language, yet profound insights and plans of action.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Avi

    Having read Bill Gates's How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need last year, I found this book to be an interesting complement to Gates's writings. How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need is all about high-level, technological solutions to climate change. These solutions are great, but they really are only accessible for governments and CEOs. The only advice Gates really offers for the common man is to consu Having read Bill Gates's How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need last year, I found this book to be an interesting complement to Gates's writings. How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need is all about high-level, technological solutions to climate change. These solutions are great, but they really are only accessible for governments and CEOs. The only advice Gates really offers for the common man is to consume in a more thoughtful way, advocate for your government to invest in eco-friendly technologies, and hope for the best. There is some truth in this; corporations and militaries are the ones producing the most pollutants, not consumers. Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet is the complete opposite of How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need. Essentially, Thich (called Thay by his followers) distills Buddhist teachings into tips about how to balance yourself to save the climate. As RuPaul (or the Buddha, who's to say?) always preaches, Thay doesn't really discuss concrete steps to *actually* save the climate, outside of general advice about not polluting and eating more plant-based meals. This book is more about finding peace within yourself so you can make the best decisions for the climate and your loved ones. At the end of the day, we need both technology and balanced minds to save the climate. In regards to the audiobook narration, both narrators did a great job! Their voices were so calm and relaxing. I also think that the book cover is beautiful and portrays the wonders of nature and Thay's inner peace. Some quotes / ideas that I liked: “I don’t want to be a victim of my anger. I want to be myself. I want to make change.” Not all boddhisatvas are human. All creatures can embody positive traits and teach you something. “The quality of action depends on the quality of [your] being.” Every morning, wake up with a smile because you have 24 hours ahead of you. Lack of harmony wastes energy, because everyone is being pulled in a different direction. I think this book is appropriate for all ages and demographics, so long as you are in the right headspace for some deep philosophical thought. I know at certain points in my life I wouldn't have finished this book because I was not really ready/open to hear these thoughts. I also think this book is a great candidate for re-reading, or referencing a certain chapter during a difficult time. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 5 stars!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Pro Mukherjee

    Essential reading and more importantly a practice. Offered from a place of deep compassion. Skilfully edited to merge timeless wisdom with modern day context and urgency of action.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Rouchswalwe

    Solid food for thought and action! I appreciate the fact that the reader is presented with words from elders and youths. Each generation has the task of saving the planet for the next. Truth. And I am thankful to find simple (not simplistic) solutions that I can contribute to in order to save the planet in my lifetime.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kristen

    I always enjoy the writings of Thich Nhat Hanh and this book is no exception. Some take-aways I wanted to remember: NOW IS THE TIME. THIS IS IT. (Introduction) Every flower is a smile of the Earth. An essential condition to hear the call of the Earth and respond to her is silence. Mindfulness helps us stop the distraction and come back to our breathing. The Earth is not just the environment, the Earth is us. BE STILL AND SEE. (Part 1) The Japanese term for meditation is zen. In other words it’s I always enjoy the writings of Thich Nhat Hanh and this book is no exception. Some take-aways I wanted to remember: NOW IS THE TIME. THIS IS IT. (Introduction) Every flower is a smile of the Earth. An essential condition to hear the call of the Earth and respond to her is silence. Mindfulness helps us stop the distraction and come back to our breathing. The Earth is not just the environment, the Earth is us. BE STILL AND SEE. (Part 1) The Japanese term for meditation is zen. In other words it’s “the practice of being fully present and looking deeply.” You are the continuation of parents, ancestors, stars, moon, sun, rivers, mountains. You are the cosmos. As humans, rebirth and continuation are always happening; every moment we are producing thoughts, speech, and actions. Our actions are an energy that has an effect on ourselves and on the world. We shouldn’t try to run away from fear but take time to recognize it, embrace it, and look deeply into its roots. It is understanding that we need the most—and love. We also need peace. We can learn a lot from our suffering, and there is always something we can do to transform it into joy, into happiness, into love. There is a deep connection between suffering and happiness. When you take time to listen to your suffering and look deeply into it’s true nature, understanding will arise; when understanding arises, compassion is born. If there’s no suffering, there can be no happiness. Once a disciple asked his teacher, “Where should I look for nirvana?” The Zen master replied, “Right in the heart of samsara!” We have to use the suffering—our fear, our despair, our anxiety—to create happiness, awakening, and insight. When suffering is emerging, adopt another attitude. Don’t try to run away. Stay where you are and welcome it, whether it is anger or frustration or a longing for something that is not satisfied. Be ready to embrace it and live with it. Every time I fall, I’ll stand up again so life can get better. TRUE LOVE HEALS. (Part 2) We shouldn’t do things for praise, fame, or financial profit. We shouldn’t do things to run away or avoid something else. We have to find a way to create joy every day. We have to organize our daily life so it’s not repetitive and so each moment can be a new moment. On the outside it may look the same but ‘inwardly you’re doing it differently’. You’re evolving. I allow the artist in me to operate and make my practice new, interesting, nourishing, and healing. In every one of us there is also a warrior. You refuse to give up. You don’t become a victim of anything. We should not be afraid of obstacles on our path. The meditator, the artist, and the warrior are not three separate people; they are three aspects of your person. You should allow all three aspects to be active at the same time to have balance. Mindfulness is a path, not a tool. It’s not a means to an end. In true mindfulness, we arrive at the destination every step of the way. One way we can speak about spirituality is in terms of energy: the kind of energy that helps us to be there, fully present in the here and now, in touch with life and the wonders of life. If you don’t respect yourself, it will be difficult to love and respect others or the Earth. Everyone needs love. Everyone deserves love. We (need to be) mindful that there are wonders of life all around us. We walk like sleepwalkers (not awake to life). It’s up to us to assert our right to be free: to be a simple human enjoying being alive on a beautiful planet. Inclusiveness and tolerance are very important in the practice of non-violence. Discrimination itself is a kind of violence. Non-violence can never be absolute (100%). You can’t be perfect. You do your best and that is good enough. Our enemy is not other people. Our enemy is hatred, violence, discrimination and fear. (We must water the seed of understanding and compassion every day.) Deep Simplicity: You Are Enough. Reconsider your ideas of happiness. Once we realize that we already have more than enough conditions to be happy, we can be happy right here and right now. Awakening is not something far away. We should not be too sure of our ideas. Only the present moment is real. Why do we need to be so busy? You have to accept the fact that it is possible to lead a simpler life. You should live a life that can allow you some time to sit and do nothing. We don’t sit (i.e. meditate) to be a Buddha, to be someone else, someone better or someone different. We just sit to be ourselves, sitting. Time is more than money. Time is life. Time is for being deeply present with the other person. We need time to live. Life is a gift. In order to really protect the environment, you have to be able to take care of yourself. We are the ones who make ourselves suffer the most. In every situation find a way to cultivate compassion, calm and clarity. If these are kept alive then there is hope. The worst enemy is despair. I can take nothing with me when I die; my actions of body, speech, and mind are my only continuation. I began to realize that dying is a very private moment of reckoning. I will want to know: Have I been true to myself? Have I done my best to live well, to do what I wanted to do with this one, precious life? The problem is that we’re using technology mostly to satisfy our cravings and take us out of the present moment. Begin to see everything we read, watch, and listen to as food. There are no absolutes here, no “rights” or “wrongs” —mindful consumption is an art. It’s about content. Eating with non-violence: what we (literally) eat is very important. Not eating meat is a powerful way to help our planet survive. Simply by eating vegetarian, you can preserve water, reduce pollution, prevent deforestation, and protect wildlife from extinction. If we stop consuming, they will stop producing. It’s your awareness of suffering that naturally makes you determined to consume non-violently. You do it out of awareness, mindfulness, and compassion. We (at Plum Village) say that to love means to be there. First of all for yourself, and for the wonders of life and the Earth all around you. If you can be truly present, that is already zen. Allow the sitting to take place. Don’t do anything. Don’t try to be peaceful. Don’t strive in order to sit. Just sit and relaxation will come. There is no healing without relaxation. Simply allow your mind and body to heal. Allow the Earth and sun to embrace you for healing to take place. No striving or fighting for it to happen. WAKE UP TOGETHER. (Part 3) A New Way of Being Together: Master Linji taught that you don’t need much to find freedom. He said you only need “a bowl of brown rice, some clothes on your back, and with these you set out to invest all your energy in finding good spiritual friends.” The people who make up your community are your brotherhood and sisterhood: Togetherness. Like a tree, miracles start small and simple. We have to know our limits. You cannot do more than you can do or you will burn out. We have to organize our life to ensure balance. You need the courage to say no, or you will lose yourself very soon. Preserving ourselves is a way to preserve our opportunity to serve others. It’s about what we’re each doing as individuals to create the community together. We seem to believe that someone or something else is the problem. We forget that we’re a member of this organization! You are not helpless. Money and position only do not allow one to be powerful. If you are free you can do many things to help. We continue to harm and discriminate against the planet because we continue to harm and discriminate against each other. BE ALIVE. BE THE MIRACLE. (Epilogue) Music creates harmony within ourselves and community. Stand up in the house of belonging (take back your power). Take your seat at the table of healing and transformation. Ride the winds of change, unafraid. Don’t be too sure that on Earth there are only children of the Earth. There may be living beings from other planets. Six harmonies (Togethernesses): Physical presence, sharing material resources, sharing ethical principles, sharing insights and views (being inclusive and open to seeing new viewpoints), sharing from the heart, and compassionate communication I also enjoyed the five “Mindfulness Trainings” (meditations)

  28. 5 out of 5

    Violet

    This book might not feel revolutionary at first, but that’s because the ideas inside are so disarmingly simple/accessible we might forget how much we actually need to pay attention to them. What Thich Nhat Hahn offers us is a gentle reminder to take time for ourselves so we don’t lose our balance along the way. He reminds us to mobilize the different aspects of ourselves—the warrior, the artist, and the meditator—never allowing one to become too weak so we continue to do the work and keep mainta This book might not feel revolutionary at first, but that’s because the ideas inside are so disarmingly simple/accessible we might forget how much we actually need to pay attention to them. What Thich Nhat Hahn offers us is a gentle reminder to take time for ourselves so we don’t lose our balance along the way. He reminds us to mobilize the different aspects of ourselves—the warrior, the artist, and the meditator—never allowing one to become too weak so we continue to do the work and keep maintain our health for ourselves and all sentient creatures on Earth. I absolutely loved this book which (at its core) shares a vegan message to the world.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jussi Hölttä

    Excellent compendium of core Zen teachings, brought to the context of (climate) action. Sister True Dedications reflections on each chapter really bring the teachings alive.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    A bit misleading as it's not really "by" Thich Nhat Hahn - it's a compilation of some of his teachings, Buddhist stories, and personal tales and reflections from one of his students. And while they are all very interesting and useful in a general sense, only some have a strong correlation to "saving the planet." I had much higher hopes. A bit misleading as it's not really "by" Thich Nhat Hahn - it's a compilation of some of his teachings, Buddhist stories, and personal tales and reflections from one of his students. And while they are all very interesting and useful in a general sense, only some have a strong correlation to "saving the planet." I had much higher hopes.

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