Thich Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, poet, and peacemaker who was nominated by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for the Nobel Peace Prize. The author of many books, including Living Buddha, Living Christ, he lives in France in the monastic community known as Plum Village and lectures and gives retreats regularly in North America.
``Next time you are caught in a traffic jam . . . sit back and smile . . . a smile of compassion and loving kindness.'' While such sappy Zen advice from a Buddhist monk, a Vietnamese resident in France following his exile in 1966, could send Western seekers of enlightenment into overdrive, fortunately most of the suggestions offered in this slim guidebook are of more substance. In a series of vignettes and short passages, e.g., ``Cooking Our Potatoes,'' Nhat Hanh outlines techniques for living mindfullly, that is, in the present. Emphasizing that all things are interconnected on personal and political levels, he notes, for example, that the wealth of one society is based on the poverty of others. This book of illuminating reminders bids us to reorient the way we look at the world, turning away from a goal-driven, me-first modality toward a humanitarian perspective. (Feb.)