Nhat Hanh

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On the last analysis, then, love is life. Love never faileth and life never faileth so long as there is love.
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The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green earth in the present moment, to appreciate the peace and beauty that are available now.

Thich Nhat Hanh (born 11 October 1926) is an expatriate Vietnamese Buddhist monk, peace activist, and prolific author in both Vietnamese and English. He is most commonly referred to as Thich Nhat Hanh, in which the Vietnamese title Thích (釋), derived from "Thích Ca" or "Thích Già" (釋迦) and applied to all Vietnamese Buddhist monks and nuns, means "of the Shakya (Shakyamuni Buddha) clan".

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We have more possibilities available in each moment than we realize.
It's wonderful to be alive and to walk on earth.
You are a miracle, and everything you touch could be a miracle.
Your true home is in the here and the now. It is not limited by time, space, nationality, or race.
  • If in our daily life we can smile, if we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone will profit from it. If we really know how to live, what better way to start the day than with a smile? Our smile affirms our awareness and determination to live in peace and joy. The source of a true smile is an awakened mind.
    • Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life (1992) Bantam reissue ISBN 0553351397
  • The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green earth in the present moment, to appreciate the peace and beauty that are available now.
  • In order to rally people, governments need enemies. They want us to be afraid, to hate, so we will rally behind them. And if they do not have a real enemy, they will invent one in order to mobilize us.
    • Quoted in Engaged Buddhist Reader: Ten Years of Engaged Buddhist Publishing (1996) by Arnold Kotler, p. 106
  • 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.
  • Reality is reality. It transcends every concept. There is no concept which can adequately describe it, not even the concept of interdependence.
    • The Miracle of Mindfulness (1999)
  • It's wonderful to be alive and to walk on earth.
    • Talk at Stonehill College (2002)
  • You are a miracle, and everything you touch could be a miracle.
    • Episode of the National Public Radio program Speaking of Faith : "Brother Thay: A Radio Pilgrimage with Thich Nhat Hanh" (2003)
  • If you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors. All of them are alive in this moment. Each is present in your body. You are the continuation of each of these people.
    • Quoted in A Lifetime of Peace : Essential Writings by and About Thich Nhat Hanh (2003) edited by Jennifer Schwamm Willis , p. 141
  • We have more possibilities available in each moment than we realize.
    • As quoted in Visions from Earth (2004) by James Miller
  • 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.
  • Going vegetarian may be the most effective way to fight global warming. Buddhist practitioners have practiced vegeterianism over the last 2000 years. We are vegetarian with the intention to nourish our compassion towards the animals. Now we also know that we eat vegetarian in order to protect the earth...

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  • Smiling is very important. If we are not able to smile, then the world will not have peace. It is not by going out for a demonstration against nuclear missiles that we can bring about peace. It is with our capacity of smiling, breathing, and being peace that we can make peace.
  • The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.
  • 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.
  • Life can be found only in the present moment. 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.
  • Live your daily life in a way that you never lose yourself. When you are carried away with your worries, fears, cravings, anger, and desire, you run away from yourself and you lose yourself. The practice is always to go back to oneself.
  • 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.
  • There is no enlightenment outside of daily life.
  • Reconciliation is to understand both sides; to go to one side and describe the suffering being endured by the other side, and then go to the other side and describe the suffering being endured by the first side.
  • In true dialogue, both sides are willing to change.
  • The practice of peace and reconciliation is one of the most vital and artistic of human actions.
  • If in our daily life we can smile, if we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone will profit from it. This is the most basic kind of peace work.
  • And once we have the condition of peace and joy in us, we can afford to be in any situation. Even in the situation of hell, we will be able to contribute our peace and serenity. The most important thing is for each of us to have some freedom in our heart.
  • I would not look upon anger as something foreign to me that I have to fight...I have to deal with my anger with care, with love, with tenderness, with nonviolence.
  • Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves - slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future. Live the actual moment. Only this moment is life.
  • In April, we cannot see sunflowers in France, so we might say the sunflowers do not exist. But the local farmers have already planted thousands of seeds, and when they look at the bare hills, they may be able to see the sunflowers already. The sunflowers are there. They lack only the conditions of sun, heat, rain and July. Just because we cannot see them does not mean that they do not exist.
  • True love is made up of understanding.
  • If I had to choose between Buddhism and peace, I would choose peace.
  • Whatever you can do, do it today and then old age will be a delicious fruit.
  • Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.

Quotes about Nhat Hanh

His ideas for peace, if applied, would build a monument to ecumenism, to world brotherhood, to humanity. ~ Martin Luther King Jr.
  • He has immense presence and both personal and Buddhist authority. If there is a candidate for "Living Buddha" on earth today, it is Thich Nhat Hanh.
    • Richard Baker
  • [Thich Nhat Hanh's practices] do not have any affinity with or any foundation in traditional Vietnamese Buddhist practices.
  • A great spiritual leader whose influence can help us find a living peace in everything we do. Thich Nhat Hanh's words connect inner peace with the need for peace in the world in a compelling way.
    • Natalie Goldberg, author of Wild Mind
  • [Thich Nhat Hanh] shows us the connection between personal inner peace and peace on earth.
  • Thich Nhat Hanh is a real poet.
    • Robert Lowell
  • Thich Nhat Hanh writes with the voice of the Buddha.
    • Sogyal Rimpoche, author of The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying

Nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize

Martin Luther King Jr.'s letter of nomination of Nhat Hanh for the Nobel Peace Prize (25 January 1967) at Hartford-HWP Archives
  • This would be a notably auspicious year for you to bestow your Prize on the Venerable Nhat Hanh. Here is an apostle of peace and non-violence, cruelly separated from his own people while they are oppressed by a vicious war which has grown to threaten the sanity and security of the entire world.
  • I know Thich Nhat Hanh, and am privileged to call him my friend...
  • Thich Nhat Hanh offers a way out of this nightmare, a solution acceptable to rational leaders. He has traveled the world, counseling statesmen, religious leaders, scholars and writers, and enlisting their support. His ideas for peace, if applied, would build a monument to ecumenism, to world brotherhood, to humanity.

External links

Wikipedia
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Official websites for Thich Nhat Hanh and the Order of Interbeing