With how widespread Thích Nhất Hạnh’s name is in the new age world, I completely misunderstood who he was and what he taught. Hanh’s Miracle of Mindfulness is a series of translated letters from 1968 — written while exiled from Vietnam — instructing young monks overseas on meditation. His ‘mindfulness’ isn’t the confusing buzzword it is today, but simply a way to inch towards the Buddhist idea of enlightenment.
I expected scam artistry akin to Eckhart Tolle or Deepak Chopra, not legitimate Buddhist teachings. There’s still a few lines of woo-woo that don’t mean anything (to me, at least), but the majority of Hanh’s Buddhist ideas reject the nonsense of religious text and simply want the the reader to be self-aware: Recognize their emotions and the emotions of others; the causes of social strife and personal discomfort; the is-ness of all things.