Recommended Reading

These are some of the books from our tradition recommended by Joanne along with her own comments about each selection. Unless otherwise noted, they are all by Thich Nhat Hanh and available through Parallax Press.

Basic Buddhist Meditation and Mindfulness Practice

Miracle of Mindfulness
The first book of Thay’s that I read. I still use it 20 years later. The last half of the book is exercises and meditations which have been really helpful to me. Wonderful ways to incorporate what the Buddha taught into our daily lives.

Peace is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life
Being Peace
Touching Peace
All three of these are sequels to the Miracle of Mindfulness.

Creating True Peace: Ending Violence in Yourself, Your Family, Your Community, and the World
A workbook of basic practices for the individual, couples, groups, etc.

Teachings on Love
Thay takes us deeper in understanding the Brahmaviharas and the practice of metta.

Be Free Where You Are
A wonderful introduction to mindfulness practice based on a transcript of a talk that Thay gave to inmates at the Baltimore Correctional Institution.

The Sun My Heart: Reflections on Mindfulness, Concentration and Insight


The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching: Transforming Suffering into Peace, Joy and Liberation
A basic overview of Buddhism….covering the Four Noble Truths, Eightfold Path, The Seven Factors of Awakening and more. All offered with the clarity that is the hallmark and the gift of our teacher.

Sutra Study and Teachings

Awakening of the Heart: Essential Buddhist Sutras and Commentaries
Thay has written several books that are commentaries on sutras. This new offering contains many of them and Thay’s commentaries all in one volume!

  • The Heart Sutra (Prajnaparamita)

  • The Diamond Sutra

  • The Sutra On Full Awareness Of Breathing

  • The Sutra On The Four Establishments Of Mindfulness

  • The Sutra On The Better Way To Catch A Snake

  • The Sutra On The Better Way To Live Alone

  • The Sutra On The Eight Realizations Of The Great Beings

  • The Discourse On Happiness

  • The Teachings On the Middle Way

Peaceful Action, Open Heart: Lessons from the Lotus Sutra and Opening the Heart of the Cosmos
These are both teachings on the Lotus Sutra.

Pocket Books

Beyond the Self: Teaching on the Middle Way
A great traveling companion…this is Thay’s translation and commentary on the Sutra. He writes "We all have suffering. If we look deeply into the nature of that suffering, we can see the causes and conditions near and far that have brought it about."


Please Call Me by My True Names

Engaged Practice for Social Change

Love in Action
One of Thay’s first books on this subject. Full of great teachings and wonderful examples of applying what the Buddha taught to respond skillfully to the challenges we face.

The World We Have: A Buddhist Approach to Peace and Ecology
A beautiful teaching on deep ecology. Thay writes about how engaging with the world and understanding interbeing and impermanence could enable our survival as a species as well as that of our planet.

Calming the Fearful Mind: A Zen Response to Terrorism
This is a wonderful teaching on transformation and healing. Although we are conditioned to crave revenge, Thay teaches us practices for looking deeply to see the futility of that strategy and offers practices for developing our understanding and transforming anger and hatred.

The Art of Power

Buddhist Psychology

Understanding Our Mind: Fifty Verses on Buddhist Psychology

Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames  
Really helpful teachings on accepting, embracing and transforming the anger and violence in ourselves and understanding the anger in others so that we can be free.

The Sun My Heart: Reflections on Mindfulness, Concentration and Insight

Reconciliation: Healing the Inner Child
A beautiful compilation of the teachings on conflict resolution, forgiveness of ourselves and others, and healing the past in the present moment.

Biography and Autobiography

Fragrant Palm Leaves: Journals 1962-1966  
This is one of my favorites. It is an intimate look at our teacher as a vulnerable young man wrestling with the difficulties of our human condition as well as his personal struggles trying to find skillful means to help his country in a horrible time of war.

A Lifetime of Peace: Essential Writings by and About Thich Nhat Hanh (by Jennifer Schwamm Willis)
This volume draws from many sources to convey the broad range of experiences and teachings of Thay. Stories from his experience illustrate how they have informed his interpretation of the Buddha’s teachings and transmitted them to us to be applied for transformation and healing in our own lives and engaged for social change.

Healing: A Woman’s Journey from Doctor to Nun (by Sister Dang Nghiem) 
A very beautiful and inspiring story of the life of a young woman who experiences very difficult conditioning in growing up and a terrible loss as a young adult. It describes how these difficulties guided her to the path of transformation and healing. Her honesty, strength, courage and sincere practice as a nun in our Order will benefit many beings.

Learning True Love: Practicing Buddhism in a Time of War (by Sister Chan Khong) 
An astonishing account of the life of a truly remarkable woman. Her courage, and determination to help…even at the risk of her own safety is so inspiring and her account of developing, and deepening her practice of love and forgiveness in the midst of the anger, hatred and violence of war is so moving. I came away with the awareness that what I was viewing as obstacles to my practice were no such thing. She has been able to help so many beings. Her life is a powerful inspiration to deepen my practice.