The Art Of Living Book Summary By Thich Nhat Hanh

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The Art of Living (2017) is an insightful read into how to fully appreciate every moment of life.

It looks at the fears and anxieties that can often get in the way of living our lives with true purpose, as well as introducing mindfulness practices that can help us overcome these obstacles.

By exploring our existence more deeply, we can gain a deep understanding of what it means to truly live - and this book explains just how.

With its focus on fostering self-awareness, cultivating meaningful relationships, and embracing mindful practices, The Art of Living is an empowering tool for living a life with greater depth and joy.

The Art Of Living Book

Book Name: The Art of Living (Peace and Freedom in the Here and Now)

Author(s): Thich Nhat Hanh

Rating: 4.7/5

Reading Time: 23 Minutes

Categories: Mindfulness & Happiness

Author Bio

Thich Nhat Hahn was a highly respected Buddhist monk, peace activist, and the author of an impressive 100+ books.

His titles, from Anger to children's stories and even poetry, all contribute to his amazing literary talents.

He has deep philosophical beliefs mixed with compassion for humanity.

On top of this, he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1967 by none other than Martin Luther King Jr.


Thich Nhat Hahn is best known for The Art of Living Book which provides readers with mindful behavior and mindfulness practices that have been viewed as life changing by many people around the world.

Discover The Art Of Being Alive: Uncovering Why We Allow Ourselves To Live In The Past And Future, And How We Can Reclaim The Present Moment


The Art of Living was created to show us the importance of making the most out of our lives.

The book shines a light on why we engage in hurtful behavior that is often distracting us from truly living life, and it encourages us to make the most of every present moment before it passes us by.

It provides insight into how busy we have allowed ourselves, the benefits that can come with being aimless, and how to find pure bliss and nirvana in our lives.

It also discusses mindfulness practices that can help you gain essential insights into your existence and make sure that you spend each day fully engaged.

With these teachings, you can learn how to prioritize your life goals and make the most out of each precious moment, ensuring a happier and more meaningful life experience overall.

We Are All Interbeings: How Connecting With Our Ancestors And Teachers Reminds Us We Are Not Alone

“There is no such thing as an isolated existence or a separate “self”.

We are all interconnected entities, influenced by and influencing elements that exist in both time and space.

Take the example of a child who strongly resembles her parents not only in look but also in mannerism, speech and way of life.

You could confidently say that the child is largely shaped by her parent’s upbringing and adaptation of their lifestyle.

Likewise, when you observe the parents, traces of their child can be found in them.

It proves that neither parties exists independently from one another – they’re just too intertwined to stand alone.

Genetics aren’t the only factor that creates an interbeing – even experiential contact is unnecessary for it to occur.

A prime example would be Thich Nhat Hanh’s students who share his same characteristics simply from being immersed in his written works!

It’s through constant reminders like these that remind us how deeply connected we are with each other and that we’re not alone.

By understanding this concept, you realise how your everyday activities are apart of something much larger than yourself – the global living cell.”

The Transformative Power Of Overcoming The Fear Of Death

The idea that you have always existed, and will always exist is a powerful one.

It’s based on the concept of transformation, as detailed in the first law of thermodynamics – energy cannot be created or destroyed; it can only be transformed.

This whole concept couldn’t be more true when discussing our own existence.

Our presence in this world is made up of particulars that go beyond just birth and death.

Before even entering this world, we existed in our mother’s womb before conception.

These same elements were present in our grandparents, ancestors and so on to infinity.

Therefore, there was never really a time when we didn’t exist; we were simply continually transforming into who we are today.

Moreover, upon “death,” we don’t disappear forever but continue to exist through transformation into something else; something new emerges from each passing moment and death is no exception.

Rather than viewing death with trepidation it can instead provide an opportunity to recognize its place in the universal cycle of life and appreciate its larger significance for how it shapes our life today.

By accepting this notion that we have always existed and will always exist, it no longer becomes necessary to look at things by their signs but rather appreciate the full nature of existence beyond them-a rich tapestry ready to be explored.

Stop Chasing After Goals And Enjoy The Wonders Of The Present Moment

Present Moment

At the root of true peace, is stillness.

It’s an ancient principle that our ancestors learned through chasing down prey and avoiding danger.

Now, most of us don’t need to live that way in order to survive – however, many of us are still chasing after something.

Money, love, health, even helping others; these all fall under the same umbrella of relentlessly trying to achieve a goal.

Whilst the reward for such efforts is often desirable in theory – ‘one day we’ll reach our version of heaven and be happy’ – it’s important to remember that our own version of happiness already exists right here and now.

We just have to let go of running after it and embrace this moment instead.

This is where aimlessness comes into play – a practice popular in Buddhism for re-engaging with being present in the moment without attachment or worry about a particular outcome.

Aimless living isn’t about doing nothing; it’s about allowing yourself to exist without desperately searching for something else (which is extremely difficult in today’s go-go-go culture).

By cultivating stillness, peace can truly blossom from within ourselves – which can help restore energy otherwise lost from constantly being on the go.

The art of living focuses on embracing the joy and wonderment found when we simply allow ourselves to ‘be’ in the present moment without worrying about what comes next; leading ultimately towards greater understanding, balance, compassion and peace.

Embracing Impermanence: How Change Can Help Us Grow And Find Happiness

Impermanence is a blessing.

We may usually see change as something daunting, refusing to believe that it can bring us happiness.

But it’s true – through change, diseases are cured and tyrannical regimes come to an end, no matter how dark the times might seem.

It can also remind us of just how incredible our bodies are – capable of doing so many amazing things.

Knowing that your body will eventually turn into dust helps you to cherish and appreciate every moment you have with it even more.

Impermanence isn’t only regarding physical objects though – feelings and thoughts are everchanging too.

Knowing this allows you to confront difficult emotions courageously and confidently, because one day those feelings will no longer be there.

Because of impermanence comes an excellent opportunity for self-growth and positive transformation – think of the inner landscape within yourself as a garden that you get to develop and tend to however you choose.

By nurturing the qualities of peace and happiness, we create beauty in our lives through impermanence!

The Key To Freedom Is Letting Go Of Our Cravings

The key message here is that to gain your freedom back, you must recognize and let go of your inner cravings.

We all have cravings; they stem from the primal fear of dying that we experience at birth, when our mother stops providing oxygen, and we must rely on ourselves to survive.

That same fear also leads us to seek out connection with others, but when these are not based in love, they often leave us feeling even more isolated.

The trick is that cravings can never truly fulfill us; even if we get exactly what we wanted, it only leads to wanting something else.

If you want to be free from this cycle of unhappiness, you will need to identify your own cravings and their potential hooks.

Thoroughly examine what impact certain things may have on your health or relationships before making any decisions.

Finally, remind yourself of the suffering that a craving can lead to – this could be motivation enough for you to resist it!

Embrace Your Pain To Live A Fully Present And Fulfilled Life

Fully Present

The Art of Living book highlights that in order to truly live in the present moment, we must first become aware and face our suffering.

When something triggers pain within us, instead of running away or distracting ourselves with busyness, we should be willing to embrace it.

By facing our pain head on and being mindful of it, we can start to understand why it exists and how to better manage it.

To free ourselves from the barriers that are stopping us from entering the present moment, we need to ask ourselves questions such as: What are these barriers? Where did they come from? Why do they exist?

Once we’ve done this, then comes the hard part; letting go of all distractions so that you can focus on feeling and healing your pain.

To make sure healing is truly taking place, take time out for yourself and meditate on what you’re feeling – it’s a great way to discover what blocks us from living in the moment fully.

Additionally, look into creative outlets such as writing down thoughts or feelings, drawing or listening to music – which may help bring comfort by reminding you that even amidst grief there is still beauty in life.

Nirvana Is A State Of Life, Not A Prize After Death

Nirvana isn’t a place you get to at the end of life; it’s something that you can experience all throughout your life.

This is the key insight from Thich Nhat Hanh’s The Art of Living.

When he was in Kuala Lumpur, he noticed billboards advertising a company called Nirvana offering funeral services – and he found this to be a misguided notion of what nirvana really is.

The Buddha never associated nirvana with death, because as much as Western Buddhist scholars may have misleadingly defined it as such, existence actually is continuous.

According to the Buddha’s teachings, nirvana isn’t an end point we can only attain after dying; rather, it’s a state of life we can experience regularly.

To reach it, we need to learn how to manage our suffering.

This type of suffering includes the anxieties and cravings that flare up from time to time – usually when we don’t know how to face them head-on or transform them through meditation.

That’s why recognizing the continuation of all existence makes it easier for us to understand and achieve nirvana: by eliminating the limits posed by words like “life” and “death,” we can find peace in understanding those concepts don’t necessarily reflect reality.

It doesn’t matter if you don’t consider yourself enlightened enough; everyone experiences nirvana at different points in their lives based on where they’re at yet it is still available for anyone who knows how to handle their suffering.

Even the Buddha himself had to deal with pain, hunger, cold — indeed all human emotions — but due his ability to welcome and embrace his suffering, he also experienced moments of deep peaceful bliss throughout his life which were ultimately moments or episodes of being in nirvana.

Wrap Up

The Art of Living is all about living in the present moment and embracing our true emotion, even if it’s painful.

We often try to mask our feelings by staying busy or indulging in mindless activities, but the secret to inner peace is to be still and accept how we feel.

This will help us connect more deeply with our own lives and appreciate every moment as it comes.

To get started on this path, try using breathing meditation to stay grounded when you feel overwhelmed.

Ask yourself what’s motivating your actions when you reach for distraction such as turning on the TV.

Remember that you are never alone; you’re supported as long as you take the time to embrace yourself and your feelings.

The Art of Living teaches us that we already have everything we need inside ourselves – all we need to do is recognize our own strength and power and use it wisely!

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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