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 contribuute 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.