Book Review: ‘The World We Have: A Buddhist Approach to Peace and Ecology’ by Thich Nhat Hanh

Spirituality through ecological responsibility.


The World We Have A Buddhist Approach to Peace and Ecology by Thich Nhat Hanh Book Cover

Book Title: The World We Have: A Buddhist Approach to Peace and Ecology
Author: Thich Nhat Hanh
Publisher: Aleph Book Company
Number of Pages: 136
ISBN: 978-9395853163
Date Published: Apr. 05, 2023
Price: INR 334

Book Review

Thich Nhat Hanh, a renowned Buddhist teacher, has authored “The World We Have: A Buddhist Approach to Peace and Ecology,” which offers a compelling and vivid depiction of the planet’s future. It portrays a world that is rapidly overheating due to the depletion of fossil fuels, ravaged by overconsumption, and threatened by unsustainable population growth. The author expertly maps the path forward, highlighting the belief and strength needed to stay on it.

Throughout the book, Thich Nhat Hanh expertly interprets and explains the Five Mindfulness Trainings, which are essential to achieving genuine change in our global ecological predicament. He emphasizes that interbeing links us all to the Earth’s elements, such as soil, air, water, and sun, connecting us to the planet’s brothers and sisters.

He asserts that our food choices, transportation methods, and the ongoing destruction of natural resources lead us toward “the end of our civilization.”

One of the book’s highlights is the introduction of “The Five Awarenesses Exercise,” which educates us on the importance of recognizing the fragility of life on Earth and taking meaningful action to address our global ecological challenges.

The author reminds us to avoid reacting in anger towards those we see as villains since only shared understanding and compassion can liberate us. The book concludes with “Mindful Living Practices,” which includes eight gathas.

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The book’s central message is that we must cultivate collective awareness to navigate the Earth’s terrain carefully. The author likens us to sleepwalkers unaware of our actions or destinations. We have created a system that we cannot control, and it holds us captive.

Thich Nhat Hanh offers a set of guiding principles for a new eco-spirituality of a mindful life, calling on us to take responsibility for the planet and make decisions that will result in genuine change.

The World We Have: A Buddhist Approach to Peace and Ecology” is an optimistic book that presents a clear vision of the path ahead and the courage needed to stay on it. The book highlights the importance of mindfulness and compassion in achieving real change in our global ecological predicament.