Thich Nhat Hanh
The Miracle of Mindfulness
Book Review by Author/Illustrator Ross Anthony

Goodness! How to review a book by a Zen master? He would have me review it like any other book. He'd expect the same mindfulness were it a trashy novel or a sacred scripture. He'd want me to put my full mind into what I was doing no matter the task.

So, here goes. I quite enjoyed the preface by translator Mobi Ho. Hanh's first chapter begins with concretes upon which he gently generalizes (for instance: the task of washing dishes), this gives the reader a good grip on the text.

However, the book soon becomes a bit bogged down in concepts and repetitive points. It made me sleepy, but I read on. Thankfully, nuggets shine through the rough. And happily, the book eventually picks up its pace and readability.

I especially enjoyed the parable about the king who sought enlightenment. Usually, kings don't fare very well in parables -- harder for the camel to go through the eye of the needle -- that sort of thing. But this king actually learns a thing or two, as do we, vicariously.

Tacked on to the end are a few articles about the Zen master written by other translators. One is rather unreadable with all the Herein's & Thus's … I gave up on it. Yes, I know, that could be my loss. However, yet another of those articles considers "thought" in a philosophical light. That one I found curious.

All in all, wisdom and peace, and inspiration to improve, shine through some sometimes less-than-literary paragraphs.

Here are some of my favorite quotes:

"Mind is like a monkey swinging."

"When your mind is liberated your heart floods with compassion: compassion for yourself, for having undergone countless sufferings because you were not yet able to relieve yourself of false views, hatred, ignorance, and anger; and compassion for others because they do not yet see… and continue to create suffering for themselves and others."

"... it would be better for each of us to watch ourself. To look after oneself means to look after both of us."

"Like rain falling on fire." One translator said of Hanh's words to an angry man.

Read more Book Reviews by Author/Illustrator Ross Anthony.

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Copyright © 1998-2023 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: or call 1-800-767-7186. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.

Last Modified: Wednesday, 29-Feb-2012 11:10:44 PST