More from and about
Thich Nhat Hanh
(biographical info at bottom of page)

  

Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile,
but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.

   

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.
  
  
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.

      
I have noticed that people are dealing too much with the negative, with what is wrong. ... Why not try the other way, to look into the patient and see positive things, to just touch those things and make them bloom?
  
Feelings, whether of compassion or irritation, should be welcomed, recognized, and treated on an absolutely equal basis; because both are ourselves. The tangerine I am eating is me. The mustard greens I am planting are me. I plant with all my heart and mind. I clean this teapot with the kind of attention I would have were I giving the baby Buddha or Jesus a bath. Nothing should be treated more carefully than anything else. In mindfulness, compassion, irritation, mustard green plant, and teapot are all sacred.
   

When you say something really unkind, when you do something in retaliation your anger increases. You make the other person suffer, and he will try hard to say or to do something back to get relief from his suffering. That is how conflict escalates.

     

The past is gone, the future is not yet here, and if we do not go back
to ourselves in the present moment, we cannot be in touch with life.

   

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Our own life has to be our message.

   

The source of love is deep in us and we can help others realize
a lot of happiness. One word, one action, one thought can reduce
another person’s suffering and bring that person joy.

   

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.

   
    
Thich Nhat Hanh (pronounced Tick-Naught-Han) is a Vietnamese Buddhist monk.  During the war in Vietnam, he worked tirelessly for reconciliation between North and South Vietnam.  His lifelong efforts to generate peace moved Martin Luther King, Jr. to nominate him for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1967.  He lives in exile in a small community in France where he teaches, writes, gardens, and works to help refugees worldwide.  He has conducted many mindfulness retreats in Europe and North America helping veterans, children, environmentalists, psychotherapists, artists and many thousands of individuals seeking peace in their hearts, and in their world.

Thich Nhat Hanh has been living in exile from his native Vietnam since the age of forty.  In that year of 1966, he was banned by both the non-Communist and Communist governments for his role in undermining the violence he saw affecting his people.  A Buddhist monk since the age of sixteen, Thây ("teacher," as he is commonly known to followers) earned a reputation as a respected writer, scholar, and leader.  He championed a movement known as "engaged Buddhism," which intertwined traditional meditative practices with active nonviolent civil disobedience.  This movement lay behind the establishment of the most influential center of Buddhist studies in Saigon, the An Quang Pagoda. He also set up relief organizations to rebuild destroyed villages, instituted the School of Youth for Social Service (a Peace Corps of sorts for Buddhist peace workers), founded a peace magazine, and urged world leaders to use nonviolence as a tool.  Although his struggle for cooperation meant he had to relinquish a homeland, it won him accolades around the world.

When Thich Nhat Hanh left Vietnam, he embarked on a mission to spread Buddhist thought around the globe.  In 1966, when Thây came to the United States for the first of many humanitarian visits, the territory was not completely new to him:  he had experienced American culture before as a student at Princeton, and more recently as a professor at Columbia. The Fellowship of Reconciliation and Cornell invited Thây to speak on behalf of Buddhist monks, and he offered an enlightened view on ways to end the Vietnam conflict.  He spoke on college campuses, met with administration officials, and impressed social dignitaries.  The following year, Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., nominated Thich Nhat Hanh for the same honor.  Hanh's Buddhist delegation to the Paris peace talks resulted in accords between North Vietnam and the United States, but his pacifist efforts did not end with the war.  He also helped organize rescue missions well into the 1970's for Vietnamese trying to escape from political oppression.  Even after the political stabilization of Vietnam, Thich Nhat Hanh has not been allowed to return home.  The government still sees him as a threat--ironic, when one considers the subjects of his teachings:  respect for life, generosity, responsible sexual behavior, loving communication, and cultivation of a healthful life style.

  

  

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