Cracking the Walnut: Understanding the Dialectics of Nagarjuna (Paperback)
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Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh's commentary on Nagarjuna's Treatise on the Middle Way, one of the most famous Buddhist texts in existence
Nagarjuna is a giant in the Buddhist canon, thought to be the greatest Buddhist philosopher after the Buddha. He lived in southern India in the 2nd century CE.
Cracking the Walnut contains the text of Nagarjuna’s Treatise on the Middle Way (Mulamadhyamakakarika), defending the essential premise that all things have the nature of emptiness, they have no self-nature, but are in a constant process of change and interrelationship with one another.
Weaving Nagarjuna’s text with commentary by Thich Nhat Hanh, taken from talks given at two 3-month-long retreats, helps us bring these teachings into our daily life. They are strong teachings, designed to break through all metaphysical speculation. To a greater or lesser extent, we all have notions and ideas about life. Sometimes our ideas can contribute to the advancement of humanity, but the problem comes when we are caught in our ideas and believe them to be the absolute truth. When people believe that something is the absolute truth, they may be ready to fight, kill, or die for it. This brings about polarization, deep division, and suffering in ourselves, our society, community, and family. This is not the way ahead for humanity. This book helps us let go of our ideas and go in the direction of understanding and compassion.
About the Author
Thich Nhat Hanh was a world-renowned spiritual teacher and peace activist. Born in Vietnam in 1926, he became a Zen Buddhist monk at the age of sixteen. Over seven decades of teaching, he published more than 100 books, which have sold more than four million copies in the United States alone. Exiled from Vietnam in 1966 for promoting peace, his teachings on Buddhism as a path to social and political transformation are responsible for bringing the mindfulness movement to Western culture. He established the international Plum Village Community of Engaged Buddhism in France, now the largest Buddhist monastery in Europe and the heart of a growing community of mindfulness practice centers around the world. He passed away in 2022 at the age of 95 at his root temple, Tu Hieu, in Hue, Vietnam.
Sister Annabel Laity (Chan Duc, True Virtue) was born in England and studied Classics and Sanskrit. In 1988, in India, she became the first European person to be ordained as a monastic by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh.