No Death, No Fear
Zen master Nhat Hanh turns his hard-earned wisdom as a survivor of war, persecution, and exile to the age-old dilemma of what happens when one dies. If the greatest fear is, as he suggests, that one becomes nothing, then how is one to live with this threat of complete annihilation? Using Buddhist parables and anecdotes, Nhat Hanh offers an alternative perspective. Buddhists see birth and death as mere concepts, not manifestations of reality. When someone dies, they are still with us, just in a different form. In this view, a continuation, a connection between people and nature persists because time is understood as being circular: nothing begins; nothing ends; it just is. Nhat Hanh's beliefs are certainly not for everyone, especially those who definitely feel most comfortable within the set rules and established doctrines of the Western traditions. Others may find his perspective on the ultimate mystery of the human condition refreshing, especially when it is expressed as calmly and matter-of-factly as Nhat Hanh expresses it.