Thich Nhất Hanh

Thich Nhất
Hanh
1926

Vietnamese Peace Activist, Zen Buddhist Monk, Teacher, Community Leader, Author, Chair of Vietnamese Buddhist Peace Delegation to the Paris Peace Talks, Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize, Author of more than 100 books

Author Quotes

To think in terms of either pessimism or optimism oversimplifies the truth. The problem is to see reality as it is. A pessimistic attitude can never create the calm and serene smile which blossoms on the lips of Bodhisattvas and all those who obtain the way.

We have the Statue of Liberty on the East Coast. But in the name of freedom, people have done a lot of damage. I think we have to build a Statue of Responsibility on the West Coast in order to counterbalance. Because liberty without responsibility is not true liberty. We are not free to destroy.

When we cannot communicate, we get sick, and as our sickness increases, we suffer and spill our suffering on other people.

You are like a candle. Imagine you are sending light out all around you. All your words, thoughts and actions are going in many directions. If you say something kind, your kind words go in many directions, and you yourself go with them. We are ...transforming and continuing in a different form at every moment.

Your true home is in the here and the now. It is not limited by time, space, nationality, or race. Your true home is not an abstract idea. It is something you can touch and live in every moment. With mindfulness and concentration, the energies of the Buddha, you can find your true home in the full relaxation of your mind and body in the present moment. No one can take it away from you. Other people can occupy your country, they can even put you in prison, but they cannot take away your true home and your freedom.

Every path, every street in the world is your walking meditation path.

I always encourage them to practice in a way that will help them go back to their own tradition and get re-rooted. If they succeed at becoming reintegrated, they will be an important instrument in transforming and renewing their tradition. When we respect our blood ancestors and our spiritual ancestors, we feel rooted. If we find ways to cherish and develop our spiritual heritage, we will avoid the kind of alienation that is destroying society, and we will become whole again. ... Learning to touch deeply the jewels of our own tradition will allow us to understand and appreciate the values of other traditions, and this will benefit everyone.

If we are not empty, we become a block of matter. We cannot breathe, we cannot think. To be empty means to be alive, to breathe in and to breathe out. We cannot be alive if we are not empty. Emptiness is impermanence, it is change. We should not complain about impermanence, because without impermanence, nothing is possible.

If you touch one thing with deep awareness, you touch everything.

It is said that God has created man in his own image. But it may be that humankind has created God in the image of humankind.

Many people are alive but don't touch the miracle of being alive.

Our own life has to be our message.

Please don't wait until the doctors tell you that you are going to have a baby to begin to take care of it. It is already there. Whatever you are, whatever you do, your baby will get it. Anything you eat, any worries that are on your mind will be for him or her. Can you tell me that you cannot smile? Think of the baby, and smile for him, for her, for the future generations. Please don't tell me that a smile and your sorrow just don't go together. It's your sorrow, but what about your baby? It's not his sorrow, it’s not her sorrow.

The amount of happiness that you have depends on the amount of freedom you have in your heart.

The practice of peace and reconciliation is one of the most vital and artistic of human actions.

There is a Boddhisattva, whose name is Avalokitesvara, in Vietnamise we call her Quan The Âm, in Chinese, Quan Yin. It means: 'Listening deeply to the sound of the cries of the world'. And listening deeply is the practice of mindfulness. But if you are full of pain, full of anxiety, full of projections, and especially full of prejudices, full of ideas and notions, it may be very difficult for you to practice deep listening. You are too full. And that is why to practice in order for you to have space, to have freedom within, to have some joy within is very important for deep listening. Avalokitesvara, Quan Yin, she practices deep listening to herself, and to the world, outside. She practices touching with her ears.

Training is needed in order to love properly; and to be able to give happiness and joy, you must practice DEEP LOOKING directed toward the other person you love. Because if you do not understand this person, you cannot love properly. Understanding is the essence of love. If you cannot understand, you cannot love. That is the message of the Buddha. --

We have to continue to learn. We have to be open. And we have to be ready to release our knowledge in order to come to a higher understanding of reality.

When we come into contact with the other person, our thoughts and actions should express our mind of compassion, even if that person says and does things that are not easy to accept. We practice in this way until we see clearly that our love is not contingent upon the other person being lovable.

You are like fireworks. You go out into your children, your friends, your society, and the whole world.

Every thought you produce, anything you say, any action you do, it bears your signature.

I am breathing in and liberating my mind. I am breathing out and liberating my mind. One practices like this.

If we are not fully ourselves, truly in the present moment, we miss everything.

If you touch the phenomenal realm deeply, you touch the ultimate realm which is the realm of no birth and no death. The ultimate is nirvana, it is God, and it is available to us twenty four hours a day.

It never helps to draw a line and dismiss some people as enemies, even those who act violently. We have to approach them with love in our hearts and do our best to help them move in a direction of nonviolence. If we work for peace out of anger, we will never succeed. Peace is not an end. It can never come about through non-peaceful means.

Author Picture
First Name
Thich Nhất
Last Name
Hanh
Birth Date
1926
Bio

Vietnamese Peace Activist, Zen Buddhist Monk, Teacher, Community Leader, Author, Chair of Vietnamese Buddhist Peace Delegation to the Paris Peace Talks, Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize, Author of more than 100 books