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Whether you have just begun to show interest in mindfulness, or you have been practicing it for years, Thich Nhat Hanh is someone who
that is often referenced or quoted in regards to this important practice. Today, I want to focus on this gentle master’s words, and
share with you some of the wisdom that he has brought to us, making the philosophy of mindfulness accessible to everyone.
Who Is Thich Nhat Hanh?
Thich Nhat Hanh is a Buddhist Monk with Vietnamese origin and a prolific Bestselling Author. Having published over 100 books, he now again resides in Vietnam, where he is planning to live out his final days, as he is currently 93 years old.
Thich Nhat Hanh is a Vegan and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1967, by Martin Luther King Jr – that year, no one was awarded this prestigious award.
To introduce you to his teachings, and thought-process, I also included this amazing interview that the great Oprah conducted with him, a few years ago – Quotes start below the video!
- “If we want to be happy and joyful, then we must be determined to let go of attachment. Free from attachment, we are no longer caught in the circle of samsara—not burdened by anxiety nor restlessly searching for what is unwholesome. The absence of attachment leads to true peace and joy.”
- “When we walk with solidity and freedom, and when mindfulness of our breathing brings us solidity, freedom, peace, and joy, then the Pure Land is there right away.”
- May we eat only foods that nourish us and prevent illness.. May we accept this food for the realization of the way of understanding and love.”
- “When our mind experiences pleasure, the five desires arise. The real hero quickly puts an end to these desires.”
- “We absorb and reflect what is around us. If we live in a place where people are angry and violent, then eventually we’ll become like them.”
- “Fear gives life to anger. You don’t have peace when fear is there, so it becomes the soil on which anger can grow. Fear is based on ignorance, and this lack of understanding is also a primary cause of anger.”
- “When we’re having a toothache, we know that not having a toothache is a wonderful thing. Yet when we don’t have a toothache, we’re still not happy. A non-toothache is very pleasant.”
- “Our practice is to water the flower in our loved one, and not bring them more garbage.”
- “When we read a magazine, we consume. When we watch a television program, we consume. Whatever we consume affects our body and mind. If we consume toxic magazine articles, movies, or video games, they will feed our craving, our anger, and our fear.”
- “The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green earth in the present moment.”
- “If we don’t acknowledge and look deeply at our own fears, we can draw dangers and accidents to us.”
- “We may think that if we ignore our fears, they’ll go away. But if we bury worries and anxieties in our consciousness, they continue to affect us and bring us more sorrow”
- “The truth is already in you. You only need to open yourself — body, mind, and heart — so that his or her teachings will penetrate your own seeds of understanding and enlightenment. If you let the words enter you, the soil and the seeds will do the rest of the work.”
- “If you have enough spiritual strength, you will give birth to a spiritual child, and through your life and practice, you continue giving birth, even after you die.”
- “I stopped committing acts that cause suffering to other living beings. All living beings want to live. All fear death. We must nurture a heart of compassion and protect the lives of all beings.”
- “We were born, and with that birth, our fear was born along with the desire to survive. This is the original desire.”
- “Our desire to have a partner is, in part, a continuation of our desire for someone to take care of us.”
- “Your partner needs your attention and your watering of his or her positive seeds. Without that attention, your relationship will wither.”
- “You are part of the universe; you are made of stars”
- “Even with a lot of goodwill, we can still make the other person very unhappy. Mindfulness is the paintbrush in the art of happiness. When we are mindful, we are more artful and happiness blooms”
- “Many of us continue to run even in our sleep. We can never rest. In our dreams, in our nightmares, we continue to run.”
- “The wise do not consider the chains and shackles of jail to be the toughest restraints. The chains of attachment are the strongest of the ties that bind.”
- “Beauty and goodness are there in each of us. A true spiritual partner is one who encourages you to look deep inside yourself for the beauty and love you’ve been seeking. A true teacher is someone who helps you discover the teacher in yourself.”
- “We have an idea of happiness. We believe that only certain conditions will make us happy. But it is often our very idea of happiness that prevents us from being happy.”
- We transmit our thoughts, speech, and actions – collectively known as our karma to our children and to the world, that is our future.”
- “Making an effort at the wrong time or place dissipates our energy.”
- “There is a film, an image stored in your consciousness. Every time your mind goes back to the past and you look at that image or watch that film, you suffer again.”
- “Image teaching” uses words and ideas. “Substance teaching” communicates by the way you live.”
- “We can look around and see that a person who lives with happiness and compassion has the capacity to make others happy.”
- “If you can be aware that you have a living body, and notice when there’s tension in your body, that’s already an important insight.”
- “even when we are most joyful, there is fear behind our joy. We fear that this moment will end, that we won’t get what we need, that we will lose what we love, or that we will not be safe.”
- “vow to speak purely and lovingly. When my mouth is fragrant with right speech, a flower blooms in the garden of my heart.”
- “When you hold your cup and drink your tea in mindfulness and concentration, it’s like you’re performing a sacred ritual, and that is a prayer.”
- “If we don’t practice mindfulness, our cravings and sensual desires will overwhelm us.”
- “Each time we practice sitting meditation, walking meditation, awareness of breathing, loving speech, deep listening, or any other mindfulness practice, our roots are growing stronger and deeper and we are gaining more solidity and strength.”
- “nature is truly the nature of no-birth, no-death. There is a manifestation, and there is the cessation of manifestation in order to have another manifestation.”
- “Refrain from discussing subjects that can destroy your awareness of the people around you and the food. If someone is thinking about something other than the good food on the table, such as his difficulties in the office or with friends, it means he is losing the present moment and the food. You can help by returning his attention to the meal.”
- “We need to practice mindfulness daily in order to fulfill our aspiration. We need to patiently pursue our aspiration, but we don’t lose the present moment, we enjoy the present moment and we use it to realize our deepest desire”
- “Even when we’re sitting still, with no external stimuli, an endless internal dialogue may be going on in our head. we’re constantly consuming our thoughts. Cows, goats, and buffalo chew their food, swallow it, then regurgitate and rechew it multiple times. We may not be cows or buffalo, but we ruminate just the same on our thoughts – unfortunately, primarily negative thoughts. We eat them, and then we bring them up to chew again and again, like a cow chewing its cud.”
- “You can’t take the other person out of you. You can’t take yourself out of others. The suffering still continues.”
- To love means to learn the art of nourishing our happiness.
- “True love includes a sense of responsibility and accepting the other person as she is, with all her strengths and weaknesses. If you only like the best things in a person, that is not love.”
- “True love gives us a lot of space. Because you are connected spiritually and emotionally as well as physically, you do not need to always be in the same place or doing the same thing. You do not worry if your beloved is over here today and you are over there.”
- “Practice looking at all beings with the eyes of compassion: this is the meditation called “the meditation on compassion.”
- Enlightenment, peace, and joy will not be granted by someone else. The well is within us, And if we dig deeply in the present moment, the water will spring forth”
- “Whether we are in the city, the countryside, or the wilderness, we need to sustain ourselves by choosing our surroundings carefully and nourishing our awareness in each moment.”
- “We have to make the effort to heal words by using them properly and carefully.”
- “Since we cling to our hope in the future, we do not focus our energies and capabilities on the present moment”
- “To love means to learn the art of nourishing our happiness.”
- “The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.”
- “We will receive the fruits of any act we have done, whether wholesome or unwholesome.”
- “Mindfulness is the opposite of this tendency. We must invite these things up into our mind consciousness every day and tell them, “My dear, I’m not afraid of you. I’m not afraid of my fear.”
- “If you truly practice mindfulness, it will never cause harm. If the practice doesn’t bring about more compassion, then it’s not right mindfulness.”
- “The needs of our personal life are not separate from those of our work life. Our inability to be mindful and bring our full attention to what we are doing has both personal and professional costs.”
- “Love is a living, breathing thing. There is no need to force it to grow in a particular direction. If we start by being easy and gentle with ourselves, we will find it is just there inside of us, solid and healing.”
If you are interested in reading more from Thich Nhat Hanh, I highly recommend starting with Peace is Every Step. If you are a Christian and want to see a unique take on your religion, in a very respectful way, read his book Living Buddha, Living Christ.
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