The Diamond Sutra has fascinated Buddhists for centuries because of its insights into dualism and illusion. It illuminates how our minds construct limited categories of thought. It offers us alternative ways to look at the world in its wholeness so we can encounter a deeper reality; develop reverence for the environment and more harmonious communities, families, and relationships; and act in the world skillfully and effectively. In his trademark style of making even the most esoteric teachings accessible and meaningful for our every day life, Thich Nhat Hanh writes with great humor, even about the more mundane applications of the sutra, such as the insights one may gain while peeing into the woods: "After I studied the Diamond Sutra . . . I realized that peeing is also a marvelous and wondrous reality, our gift to the universe. We only have to pee mindfully, with great respect for ourselves and whatever surroundings we are in."
One of the best known and most respected Zen masters in the world today, poet, and peace and human rights activist, Thich Nhat Hanh has led an extraordinary life. Born in central Vietnam in 1926 he joined the monkshood at the age of sixteen. The Vietnam War confronted the monasteries with the question of whether to adhere to the contemplative life and remain meditating in the monasteries, or to help the villagers suffering under bombings and other devastation of the war. Nhat Hanh was one of those who chose to do both, helping to found the "engaged Buddhism" movement. His life has since been dedicated to the work of inner transformation for the benefit of individuals and society.
Thich Nhat Hanh continues to live in Plum Village in the meditation community he founded, where he teaches, writes, and gardens; and he leads retreats worldwide on "the art of mindful living."