Cover of the book Is Nothing Something? translated into Vietnamese and published recently. Photo courtesy of Kim Đồng Publishing House
The Vietnamese version Trong Cái Không Có Gì Không? is a graphic book illustrated by painter Vũ Xuân Hoàn.
“I painted illustrations for the book for a year,” said painter Hoàn.
“The book is about philosophy, Buddhism, mercy and meditation, so I tried to make it easy to understand for kids,” he said.
“With water colours and natural spread on paper, the pictures are expected to touch readers’ hearts. I learned to release my mind after reading and illustrating the book.”
In the book, Hạnh answers questions from children of all ages, helping adults plant the seeds of mindfulness in young children.
Beginning with the most basic questions such as "What is important in life?" and "Why is my brother mean to me?" and progressing through issues that we all wrestle with, such as "How do I know if I really love somebody?", "How long am I going to live?", and "What does God look like?", each page presents a question with a short answer from Hạnh.
The book also includes kid-friendly instructions for mindful breathing and mindful walking.
The zen master encouraged the readers to love the present, accept anger and respect sorrow, according to editor Thùy Linh.
“The book also helps parents find answers to their children’s wonder and understand their children better,” said Linh.
The book was first published in the US in 2014 and has since been translated into several other languages.
It was translated into Vietnamese by nuns from Plum Village. Kim Đồng Publishing House bought the copyright and published the book in Việt Nam.
Founded in 1982 near Bordeaux in southwest France, Plum Village is the largest international centre in the Plum Village Tradition, and the first monastic community founded by master Hạnh in the West.
Hạnh who was born in 1926, is a renowned zen master, poet, and a peace activist. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize by Martin Luther King, Jr., in 1967. He is the author of many books, including the best-selling The Miracle of Mindfulness.
His books range from classic manuals on meditation, mindfulness and Buddhism, to poems, children’s stories, and commentaries on ancient Buddhist texts.
Currently, Hạnh lives at Từ Hiếu Pagoda Complex, the central city of Huế.
The 72-page book is available at bookshops nationwide for VNĐ160,000 (US$7).