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

When we are mindful, deeply in touch with the present moment, our understanding of what is going on deepens, and we begin to be filled with acceptance, joy, peace and love.

You are a miracle, and everything you touch could be a miracle.

Your smile affirms your awareness and determination to live in peace and joy. How many days slip by in forgetfulness? What are you doing with your life? Look deeply, and smile. The source of a true smile is an awakened mind.

Every one of us needs a home. The world needs a home. There are so many young people who are homeless. They may have a building to live in, but they are homeless in their hearts. That is why the most important practice of our time is to give each person a home. When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you don't blame the lettuce. You look for reasons it is not doing well. It may need fertilizer, or more water, or less sun. You never blame the lettuce. Yet if we have problems with our friends or family, we blame the other person. But if we know how to take care of them, they will grow well, like the lettuce. Blaming has no positive effect at all, nor does trying to persuade using reason and argument. That is my experience. No blame, no reasoning, no argument, just understanding. If you understand, and you show that you understand, you can love, and the situation will change.

Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today.

If we are not able to smile, then the world will not have peace.

If you suffer and make your loved ones suffer, there is nothing that can justify your desire.

It is possible to live twenty-four hours a day in a state of love. Every movement, every glance, every thought, and every word can be infused with love.

Many of us are not capable of releasing the past, of releasing the suffering of the past. We want to cling to our own suffering.

Our notions about happiness entrap us. We forget that they are just ideas. Our idea of happiness can prevent us from actually being happy. We fail to see the opportunity for joy that is right in front of us when we are caught in a belief that happiness should take a particular form.

People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don't even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child -- our own two eyes. All is a miracle.

The almond tree is itself truth, reality, your own self. Of all the people who have passed by your yard, how many have really seen the almond tree? The heart of an artist may be more sensitive; hopefully he or she will be able to see the tree in a deeper way than many others. Because of a more open heart, a certain communion already exists between the artist and the tree. What counts is your own heart. If your heart is not clouded by false views, you will be able to enter into a natural communion with the tree. The almond tree will be ready to reveal itself to you in complete wholeness. To see the almond tree is to see the way.

The practice of a healer, therapist, teacher, or any helping professional should be directed toward his or herself first, because if the helper is unhappy, he or she cannot help many people.

There are always some people who are ready to embrace a doctrine, a notion, a dogma, and they miss the real teaching.

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.

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