Book Reviews - The many in one, the one in many
by Nandini Murali
This is another vintage Thich Nhat Hanh. A sequel to the popular, The Miracle of Mindfulness, the central premise of the book is the interconnectedness of the Universe based on the principle of inter-being and inter-penetration as embodied in the Buddhist Avatamsaka Sutra.
"Inter-being means 'This is that’ and 'That is this.' When we meditate deeply on inter-being and inter-penetration, we see that the idea of "one/many" is only a mental construct which we use to contain reality, "much like we use a bucket to hold water." The title of the book is metaphorical and reflects this principle of inseparability and interdependence. The author seamlessly integrates tenets of Buddhist philosophy, principles of psychology, metaphysics, epistemology, and contemporary physics as he gently guides the reader from mindfulness to insight. The poetic prose and gentle humour imparts fluidity to the style that heals and enables us to glimpse truths obscured by ignorance and non-awareness.
Paradoxically, even reviewing the book defeats the very purpose. For when it comes to mystical experiences and spiritual insights, there is no substitute for direct experience. Using the vivid metaphor of the dance of the bees, Hanh outlines a "dance for us, a dance for us to drop our categories and barriers so that we can directly encounter reality and not concern ourselves with its mere reflection."
This is a book meant to be read and reread – and every time, your eyes open wider.
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