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 Comfort-Food Buddhism: about Thich Nhat Hanh - harsh criticsm

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Jcbaran

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PostSubject: Comfort-Food Buddhism: about Thich Nhat Hanh - harsh criticsm   Mon Jun 30, 2014 9:29 am

I am posting this essay from Tom Pepper in the spirit of encouraging analytical or critical thinking... which continues to be a rare process in most Zen/Buddhist and frankly many other western spiritual scenes.  Commonly, any critical thinking is demonized as ego-mind, resistance and so on.  So we have this chronic state of what I call "wowing and bowing" - since a "master' says something, you accept it fully without questioning or analysis.  It is just some version of "WOW... how wonderful."  If it is inspirational or poetic and old masters / the Buddha are quoted, then it all must be true, dharma, perfect.  Whatever you do, DON'T THINK ABOUT IT, or pull it apart, or truly question. Following the Dogen line, bow down, don't question the master's shortcomings, and receive the teaching.  Period.  There is some questioning that sometimes goes on, but it is in the vein of "I don't quite understand."  and disagreeing with a teacher like Thich Nhat Hanh - in his community, i don't have any first-hand knowledge, but i would doubt if that ever happens.  

Tom is very critical of some of what he sees.  He has some good insights, and posting it here, as i have said before with regard to other pieces, does not mean i agree with everything - but what I do support is analysis, thinking, using your mind and logic and intelligence.  The Buddha never taught this mindless, stop thinking nonsense.  Your brain doesn't needed to be emptied, it needs to be energized and awakened through insight. 


Comfort-Food Buddhism - Posted by Tom Pepper on August 24, 2012
Vague Platitudes to Avoid Life’s Hard Questions: Thich Nhat Hanh’s Comfort-Food Buddhism
by Tom Pepper


My first experience with the “mindfulness” craze was in psychology class.  Nobody seemed very clear on what mindfulness meant, but they were all sure it was a “Buddhist concept.”  It seemed harmless, if not at all helpful, so I ignored it.  Until they showed us the educational dvd on mindfulness, which I believe came from the Mindful Awareness Research Center at UCLA.

In this video, a well-meaning psychologist spoke earnestly of how mindfully living “in the moment” would cure everything from ADHD to post-traumatic stress to addictions.  When she got to the description of how we should learn to ignore everything but our sensory experiences, I thought, well, she just doesn’t know much about the history of psychology, or she would be aware that such practices have been tried, and nobody can EVER do that.  Not even for a moment.  And she doesn’t know much about Buddhism, or she would know that such “bare awareness” is not at all what the Buddha meant by sati.  Then, she began to describe how one could mindfully walk to the guillotine to be executed, and I laughed so hard I had to leave the room.

I didn’t think much of the new fad of mindful-everything, and figured it was harmless, and irrelevant to Buddhism.  I didn’t think any Buddhists were so mistaken about the concept.

Then, I read Thich Nhat Hanh. I discovered that this concept really is coming from a Buddhist, and it became much more troubling to me.  I had never read Thich Nhat Hanh until about four years ago, when a study group in my sangha decided to read his Answers from the Heart.  I wasn’t much interested in the kind of night-stand Buddhism that is usually found in the books on the shelves at Barnes and Noble.  These books seemed mostly interested in making a quick buck off of the American middle-class readers who just want to feel better about themselves without too much effort, and like to think they are more open minded and spiritually advanced than average.  I pretty much dismissed Thich Nhat Hanh without reading him.

I sometimes wish I had left it at that.

Having now read nearly a dozen of Thich Nhat Hanh’s books, I have to say that I think his version of Buddhism is troublingly simplistic, not really helpful at all, and overall damaging to the possibility of  any real understanding of Buddhism spreading to the United States. His Tuesdays-With-Morrie-style empty platitudes make people think they’ve learned something profound, when they have actually only strengthened their attachments to the delusions that are the real source of misery in our culture.  I read Answers from the Heart with a knot in my stomach, wondering: don’t people realize this is just a bunch of banal clichés?  Isn’t it obvious he is oversimplifying every problem to the point of absurdity?

Nevertheless, I pressed on with the reading, trying to find something useful in the book, something to say when the study group met.  Then, I got to the “Children’s Questions” section, and, well, I lost hope.  Let me give a specific example of the problem.

In answer to a child’s question about what “we can do to become enlightened,”  Thich Nhat Hanh says:

    When you drink your tea, and know that you’re drinking your tea, you’re concentrated, you see that drinking tea is something you like to do.  So drinking tea mindfully is a kind of enlightenment. (p. 147)

No, it really isn’t.  It may be a kind of contentment, and may be very useful in helping restore peace of mind, relieve stress, and help us go on with our day.  But it is NOT enlightenment.  Nowhere does the Buddha say that what he means by awakening is enjoying a good cup of tea–or anything even remotely like it.  Even if mindfulness was the same as concentration, which it isn’t, neither is it the same as enlightenment.  They are not even a beginning, or lower level of, enlightenment.  At  most, they are a preparation to train the mind, so that we will be able to begin working toward enlightenment.  Now, this is an answer to a question by a child, and we could say that this is just skillful means, that he is encouraging the child on toward that fantastic castle-city.  But my problem is that this is the same thing he says in all his books, repeatedly, not just to children, and he never gives any indication that he sees this as only a first step.  For Thich Nhat Hanh, drinking tea, chopping carrots, and looking at flowers simply is what the Buddha meant by enlightenment.

This may be comforting to the bookstore Buddhist who wants to believe her garden parties or his golf swing really is the end of the Buddhist path.  But it is very, very clear from everything that the Buddha says about his own awakening that he had something much more in mind.  And it may not always be so easy to accept.

Certainly what Thich Nhat Hanh says sounds, at first, like wonderfully “wise” answers—until we realize he hasn’t told us anything we couldn’t get out of a fortune cookie.  For instance, when he discusses “engaged Buddhism,” he tells us to encourage our leaders to  “understand the world situation” (103), and to “bring about awareness”(104), but he never says anything specific about what would help, or what exactly should be done.  Who doesn’t think that leaders who understand the problem would be a good thing?  There’s nothing Buddhist about that.  What about discussing a Buddhist position on the absurd naiveté of the voluntarist idea that leaders could change the world if they just wanted to?  What is the Buddhist position on the problem of structure and agency in social formations?  These are harder questions, clearly, and require more than fortune-cookie answers.

And they require thought, which Thich Nhat Hanh consistently discourages.  I began counting all the disparaging remarks about “philosophy” and “rationalism” and “intellectuals,” but really, there’s no point.  I think Thich Nhat Hanh’s anti-intellectualism is pretty obvious in all his books.  On his understanding of the dharma, the Buddha believed thinking was the source of our problems, and just sipping a cup of tea in the garden would clear everything right up.  Now, Americans hate thinking, so I can see why this is popular. To quote Heidegger, is there any greater anxiety today than the anxiety in the face of thinking?  But the Buddha doesn’t seem to have this terror of mental effort. The figure of the Buddha presented in the Pali canon clearly knew all the major philosophical trends of his time, and developed a fairly sophisticated one of his own.  It isn’t all that complex, but it is very difficult because it is thoroughly counter-intuitive, and requires not just thought, but also practice.  This is an important point.  We need to both practice, and to be able to think clearly about what we are practicing and why.  Samadhi, in fact, seems to originally have served as mental training to produce the powers of mind necessary for complex philosophical thought in a non-literate culture, where one couldn’t just take notes or “google” something.

Like many self-help Buddhists, Thich Nhat Hanh is adept at telling people what they want to hear, and making it sound profound.  When he tells the luxury-car-driving nuclear warhead designer to keep his job, because he will do it mindfully, I wanted to scream.  Really, go ahead and facilitate mass murder, just do it in a mindful fashion?  Would he have said the same to Himmler, when he was drawing up the plans for more efficient mobile gas chambers?  Weapons-dealing is one of the things the Buddha most explicitly says is NOT right livelihood.  So sure, go ahead and keep whatever job you have, and don’t worry about whether you are producing bad karma; but, you should realize that you will never become enlightened, are not practicing Buddhism, and will contribute to the dukkha of countless other people.  But, hey, as long as you are mindful while driving your Mercedes, right?

Answers from the Heart is full of evasions, vacuous platitudes, and empty clichés.  Consider some of the questions in the “spiritual practice” section.  When someone asks what “looking deeply” means, he defines it as “being deeply aware”(66).  Yeah, real helpful.  “What is the best way to nourish our bodhicitta?”  We should desire to ”help awaken other people, relieve their suffering, and bring them happiness”(68).  Okay, this is a (vague) definition of what bodhicitta is, but it doesn’t tell us how to acquire it, and tells us nothing about what will really bring people happiness.  All this feel-good empty advice is not just harmless, because it makes people think they are actually learning Buddhism, when they are learning nothing at all.  Thich Nhat Hanh merely helps people strengthen their existing tendency to avoid facing the hard questions and solving the hard problems, the tendency to be only as “engaged” as we can be while we watch reality television and surf the internet, drive our luxury cars and drink our tea. We only need to wish people well, not do anything about it that might actually put a crimp in our lifestyle. Instead of challenging people to face the truth, Thich Nhat Hanh produces the worst kind of capitalist post-modern ideology, and calls it Buddhism.

So, one final point, on the idea of anatman.  Thich Nhat Hanh absurdly conflates ideas of a “healthy sense of self,” self esteem, and a sense of superiority, and then suggests that what is really meant by “no-self” is simply not being a narcissist.  Having compassion is our “true nature of no-self”(75).  This ridiculously oxymoronic phrase is the worst explanation of anatman I have ever seen, and I’ve read some bad ones.  No-self means realizing that we have an essential true nature of compassion?  Yikes!  If he was going for the Zen paradox here (to realize no-self is to realize our essential self), that would be bad enough, but clearly this particular example is just a case of convoluted thinking.

I used to be indifferent to Thich Nhat Hanh, thinking he was a harmless popularizer; but the more I read of his books, the more I think he is one of the worst things to happen to Buddhism in America since Alan Watts.  People are just getting over the idea that Buddhism means dropping acid and having sex with your students.  Now they are likely to think it means sipping tea and looking at flowers, and general anti-intellectual American complacency.  Maybe that’s just a feature of the audience–the baby boomers are getting old. Thich Nhat Hanh, though, seems consistently better able to reinforce delusions than remove them.

But of course, this is what sells.  The bookstore Buddhist wants comfort, not challenge.  She wants to be reassured that the only test of the truth of anything is whether it corresponds to what she already believes (this is what the Kalama Sutta says, right?).  And that “the Buddha says” that “intellectualizing” is the source of suffering, and that we must accept everything in the world, including our own mind, and never make an effort at improvement.  The Buddha says these things, right?  It’s on that plaque I bought at T.J. Maxx, it must be true.  Thich Nhat Hanh has paved the way for a whole host new teachers who spout platitudes in soft voices at retreats and sell their books online.  Everyone’s afraid to ask them a question, because pointing out that what their saying is simplistic or just plain wrong is rude.  And, if you do it, they get irrationally angry, call you names, and start listing their “qualifications,” then condescendingly smirk at your ignorance.  After witnessing this once or twice, most people just won’t dare to ask a question.  They choke down the cloying comfort-food version of Buddhism, and when they can’t stomach any more move on to something else.

Enough with the mindfulness already.  There’s nothing wrong with thinking!  For millennia, even Buddhists did a lot of it.
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Stan Giko

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PostSubject: Re: Comfort-Food Buddhism: about Thich Nhat Hanh - harsh criticsm   Mon Jun 30, 2014 5:06 pm

Hey Josh,  Thanks for posting this...what a breath of fresh air !
I was almost laughing in agreement with what both you and Tom Pepper wrote.  I could have
bought you guys a beer and joined you if I drank.  Well, I rarely do have one. Two and i`m 
anybody`s  Lol...

I pretty much agreed with everything Tom wrote but particularly liked this section....

 But the Buddha doesn’t seem to have this terror of mental effort. The figure of the Buddha presented in the Pali canon clearly knew all the major philosophical trends of his time, and developed a fairly sophisticated one of his own.  It isn’t all that complex, but it is very difficult because it is thoroughly counter-intuitive, and requires not just thought, but also practice.  This is an important point.  We need to both practice, and to be able to think clearly about what we are practicing and why.  Samadhi, in fact, seems to originally have served as mental training to produce the powers of mind necessary for complex philosophical thought in a non-literate culture, where one couldn’t just take notes or “google” something.


The Buddha was indeed familiar with all the philosophical and religious trends of his time.  He was 
born into a high class Brahmin surrounding of the Vedic age.  The story of him escaping from the
palace was allegory.  He didn`t really sneek past bambi peeping out of the bushes at the dead of
night.  He and his companion hurrying to make their escape into town and bump into the real world
for the first time.
In the Buddha`s day, the vedic religious way of life that had continued for several thousand years
was breaking down.  As is the way of things, religion was becoming corrupt and the Brahmin priests
were selling favours and corrupting the highest teaching which was Vedanta....the science of 
knowledge of consciousness/Awareness leading to Liberation.

The Buddha obviously was very `Dharmic`....highly motivated by Truth and virtue and set about
altering the teaching.  In Vedanta, he is still counted as one of their own but a heterodox teacher.
Nearly all of the Buddhas teachings have been born out of the vedantic teaching...eightfold path and
all. witness Ashtanga Yoga etc.  The Buddha `adjusted` some of the teachings and in particular 
laid the theory of Suffering`s cause to be Desire.  He was hugely driven in his quest for Liberation
and justice as can be testified by his Sadhana or spiritual practise. Starving the body almost to the
point of death hardly seems wise even to a normal worldly person yet somehow the Buddha must
have thought it was a good idea.  By comparison, the Japanese strict zen attitude seems positively 
tame !  At that point in his training, I imagine that the Buddha would have thought that Shasta was
a den of dissolute high living for the lazy, weak of mind and a low self esteem temperament.

I like the way Tom says that the teaching is counter intuitive. I absolutely couldn`t agree more !!
We hold on to our views and opinions because we actually think they are true when really, they are
just a result of our conditioning. Nearly all of them are uninvestigated beliefs and swallowed without
any critical thought or discrimination. They are simply our likes and dislikes......Ignorance, taken to
be truth.  You`re darn right it`s counter intuitive to back up and break down this hard wired and
habitual Ignorance.

Poor old Thich Nhat Hanh...i`m sure he has his place in the order of things but I can`t get away
from that great little phrase of yours... " Wowing and Bowing"...I love it. I nearly wet myself.
Good job I had my pampers on  Lol...

Really, all that " I don`t get it so it must be deep" stuff. Never using critical thinking or analysis.
It`s for children.
I`ve never heard of this Tom guy but he`s ok by me.  He just doesn`t take it far enough !
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PostSubject: Re: Comfort-Food Buddhism: about Thich Nhat Hanh - harsh criticsm   Mon Jun 30, 2014 10:58 pm

Hey Stan & Josh

Questioning, questioning, questioning is great!

but/and

..Just imagine a study group you are connected to, choosing to study a book by a teacher you find to be facile. Then imagine yourself going out and reading 12 more books over the next 4 years by that same teacher just to find something positive to say about him to that group.

Was this a Thich Nhat Hanh group he was studying with, and if so..why?


Wowing and bowing (yes Stan..I loved that term too) just as easily describes Peters behaviour.

It is amazing sometimes what we don't question.

I think if one is going to make a career out of disputing the worth of a specific teacher's understanding then perhaps one should also consider mentioning some alternative teachers whose understanding you judge to be acceptable. This would allow the readers to see if..lets say... only Theravada teachers, or Tibetan teachers, or non Buddhist teachers or whatever, were OK which might provide some context to explain an authors particular obsession with this one teacher..

Just a question.
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Stan Giko

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PostSubject: Re: Comfort-Food Buddhism: about Thich Nhat Hanh - harsh criticsm   Tue Jul 01, 2014 11:04 am

Hey Stan & Josh

Hey Howard    ......where` you goin` with that gun in your hand ?  to the
tune of "Hey Joe" of old...

Questioning, questioning, questioning is great! 

Yeah....and contemplating, evaluating, thinking, analysing ....

but/and

..Just imagine a study group you are connected to, choosing to study a book by a teacher you find to be facile. Then imagine yourself going out and reading 12 more books over the next 4 years by that same teacher just to find something positive to say about him to that group. 

Tom gave Thich Nhat the benefit of the doubt and didn`t dismiss him outright.
" Nevertheless, I pressed on with the reading, trying to find something useful
to say when the study group met ".
Tom started off his post by criticising the " Mindfulness craze" and brought up
Thich Nhat`s teaching in that context. This was to show that it was even 
Buddhists that supported the so called "mindfulness is everything" craze.
What`s wrong with that ? 

Was this a Thich Nhat Hanh group he was studying with, and if so..why?

As the man said, a study group in his Sangha was reading one of Thich Nhat`s 
books.....`Answers from the heart`.  It doesn`t say that it was a Thich Nhat 
group per se in the article.


Wowing and bowing (yes Stan..I loved that term too) just as easily describes Peters behaviour.

Who`s `Peter` ?  I`m assuming you mean Tom ?  not sure if I missed 
something here but if not, why the wild accusation that Tom`s behaviour is 
`Wowing and Bowing` ??
We`ve had Josh`s defenition of Wowing and Bowing as ....
since a "master' says something, you accept it fully without questioning or analysis.  It is just some version of "WOW... how wonderful."  If it is inspirational or poetic and old masters / the Buddha are quoted, then it all must be true, dharma, perfect.  Whatever you do, DON'T THINK ABOUT IT, or pull it apart, or truly question. Following the Dogen line, bow down, don't question the master's shortcomings, and receive the teaching.  Period.  "


In what way is Tom`s behaviour Bowing and Wowing ?  He`s certainly not 
been `wowed by the `teachings` he is criticising, that`s for sure.
If you`re saying that he`s putting himself up as someone to be `wowed by 
and bowed to, I think you`d be hard pressed to make it stick.  He not only 
criticises certain teachings but says why...unlike certain teachers & Gurus who
rain on down their so called teachings from on high.
So, just what do you mean by Peter`s / Tom`s behaviour ?

It is amazing sometimes what we don't question.

Ain`t it just.....

I think if one is going to make a career out of disputing the worth of a specific teacher's understanding

Whoa  !....  Who`s making a career out of dissing a `specific` teacher`s 
understanding ?  sounds to me like someone`s dissing the so called disser !
Making a career ?  really ?


then perhaps one should also consider mentioning some alternative teachers whose understanding you judge to be acceptable.


Or perhaps not.  It`s always nice to get a few pointers or recommendations if
someone`s actually looking for them.  On the other hand let`s say, what if 
there isn`t another teacher one could freely recommend?  Should that stop one
from criticising teachings that are seen to be unhelpful ?  I don`t think so.


 This would allow the readers to see if..lets say... only Theravada teachers, or Tibetan teachers, or non Buddhist teachers or whatever, were OK which might provide some context to explain an authors particular obsession with this one teacher.. 


Ha ha... Howard, you`re just making mischief now !  Have you got any 
recommendations as to which school of Buddhism and which teacher is ok for
any readers ?   thought not.
I don`t think it`s the author that is obsessed with " this one teacher".


Just a question.



Is that what it was then ?
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Jcbaran

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PostSubject: Re: Comfort-Food Buddhism: about Thich Nhat Hanh - harsh criticsm   Tue Jul 01, 2014 11:29 am

Tom Pepper has many blogs posted on line and turned them into an e-book, so if you want to know more about his thinking....

The Faithful Buddhist - e-book on Amazon (very cheap) - http://amzn.com/B00KXFTNLY

His website - where many of the blogs are still available:  http://faithfulbuddhist.com/

There is also another book of essays - Cruel Theory, Sublime Practice
http://amzn.com/8792633234

and some of his blogs are posted on some other sites like - http://speculativenonbuddhism.com/
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PostSubject: Re: Comfort-Food Buddhism: about Thich Nhat Hanh - harsh criticsm   Thu Jul 03, 2014 1:12 pm

Also - some of Tom Pepper's thought on anatman / no-self

http://faithfulbuddhist.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/taking-anatman-full-strength.pdf
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PostSubject: Re: Comfort-Food Buddhism: about Thich Nhat Hanh - harsh criticsm   Fri Jul 04, 2014 9:56 am

Josh...thanks for posting the above link.  I gave it a good read as it`s on a topic that is one of
my core interests....the self.  I think anyone hoping to gain some real understanding from Tom`s
article will come away more confused than before reading. It`s a mass of confusion and, I know,
who am I to say ?
I found it funny that Tom say`s that there is no self of any kind anywhere and yet purports to be
a practicing Shin Buddhist....a believer in ` Other Power `.  Maybe he believes in `Other Power`
but thinks it doesn`t exist ?  He also holds the unusual notion that something `impermanent` can
be Real.  It was a disappointing read really in it`s notions but I enjoyed reading it.  Always good
mental exercise .   Thanks for caring to post.
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PostSubject: Re: Comfort-Food Buddhism: about Thich Nhat Hanh - harsh criticsm   Fri Jul 04, 2014 10:45 am

this topic of no-self can be challenging and confusing in the best of situations.  I also enjoy reading various points of view or insights - it shakes things up.  It's not that I agree with a particular point of view...  definitely need more reflection on this.......no wonder when the Buddha was asked about the self - he remained silent - but then he spoke quite a lot about it.....
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PostSubject: Re: Comfort-Food Buddhism: about Thich Nhat Hanh - harsh criticsm   Sun Jul 06, 2014 12:19 pm

wanted to jump back to the "wowing and bowing."  Right now skimming the book on how the mass meditation movement of mindfulness was created in Burma by Ledi Sayadaw.  One thing that struck me.  When Ledi Sayadaw wrote an extensive commentary on the Abhidhamma, there was a huge debate about many specifics in the book, a "war of commentaries."  And this kind of discussion was true in many Asian Buddhist countries.  They did not wow and bow.  When even famous monks published teachings or commentaries, it was common for the extended sangha to dig into the details, they sometimes vigorously debated and disagreed, and it sometimes got mean and vituperative.  But what they did not do was to shut down their rational mind.  They didn't just accept whatever was said and stop thinking or discussing - and this passionate discussion was not considered "breaking the precepts" or unZen or anti-Dharma or disrespecting your teacher or a sign of your resistance.  it was OK to question, challenge, say, "i disagree"  it was fine to say, "I think you are wrong." 

What we have here in the west - the demonizing of rational / critical thought is I think very harmful - and we not only see this with many Zen and Buddhist groups, but other Asian and new age groups and teachers.  "Shut up and bow" and stop questioning creates blind faith and stupidity and encourages spiritual despots and cult leaders.

Now, that being said, just also wanted to add - yes, there were many examples also in Asian Buddhism, especially with Japanese Soto Zen, where they did wow and bow with Dogen's teachings - even worshiping the physical texts and most sangha members not even being allowed to read them, so it isn't just in the West that the rational mind was discounted or suppressed....  so there were also examples of there of blind following.......
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PostSubject: Re: Comfort-Food Buddhism: about Thich Nhat Hanh - harsh criticsm   Tue Jul 08, 2014 2:48 am



A socially engaged Buddhist perspective will lead us to inquire about our obligation to treat not only the person but also the environment that has contributed to the conditions that create suffering. Thich Nhat Hanh wrote about this eloquently in The Path of Compassion (1995):
Quote :
Restoring mental health does not mean simply adjusting individuals to the modern world of rapid economic growth. The world is ill, and adapting to an ill environment cannot bring real mental health. Psychiatric treatment requires environmental change and psychiatrists must participate in efforts to change the environment, but that is only half the task. The other half is to help individuals be themselves, not by helping them adapt to an ill environment, but by providing them with the strength to change it. To tranquilize them is not the Way. The explosion of bombs, the burning of napalm, the violent death of our neighbors and relatives, the pressure of time, noise, and pollution, the lonely crowds—these have all been created by the disruptive course of our economic growth. They are all sources of mental illness, and they must be ended.

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PostSubject: Re: Comfort-Food Buddhism: about Thich Nhat Hanh - harsh criticsm   Tue Jul 08, 2014 3:10 am

it seems to me Tom is the one who hasn't thought deeply enough, not thich nhat hanh. thich has written eloquently as the health professional above quotes. One should also be aware he was part of the Vietnamese peace delegation in the Vietnam war, and has seen the he worse mankind can do to each other first hand.

the things Tom quotes in a derogatory way I see very differently.

I agree totally with what thich is saying. at the deepest level of my experience.

He is asking us to stop reading a few books on a subject and thinking we know, and to learn to listen. to stop doing what tom has done and to truly try and hear.

I have spent 30 years trying to do this, and am constantly amazed how I get it wrong and how profound the results can be when I get it right.

the great psychotherapist Carl Rogers preached little more than what thich is saying. he came to his conclusions after 20 years running a centre for children, and his writings are profound and for me required reading.

For me all the suffering in the world is caused by separating from others then thinking I know better than them what it feels like to be them. whether it is napam or how we treat our children.

Thich Nhat Hanh  knows how to intellectualise, we can be sure of that. He also has been in a war where one third of his people were killed. 

Lets stop falling into old mistakes and instead try and understand what he is trying to say and why. 

At the moment he's the only Buddhist teacher I have any hope in. I haven't met him yet so my opinion on on this is of no consequence.
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PostSubject: Re: Comfort-Food Buddhism: about Thich Nhat Hanh - harsh criticsm   Tue Jul 08, 2014 3:59 am

Hi David,

" For me all the suffering in the world is caused by separating from others then thinking I know better than them...."

True enough, that`s the point of view of Duality. I am separate from you but,  if that`s the cause
as you said,  How do you get rid of it ?  As you said, thinking that you know better than them as to
how they feel, follows on from that.

I don`t think Tom was dissing Thich.  He was saying that much of Thich`s writing comes over long
on Compassionate sayings in a broad and general way but short on practical solutions.  solutions
that one can practically apply to effect a real change.
Trying to `save the world` is mission impossible.  I think that was the gist of his argument.
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Comfort-Food Buddhism: about Thich Nhat Hanh - harsh criticsm
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