Nhat Hanh

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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".

Quotes[edit]

Seeds can produce seeds
Seeds can produce formations.
It's wonderful to be alive and to walk on earth.
You are a miracle, and everything you touch could be a miracle.
If in our daily life we can smile, if we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone will profit from it.
We have more possibilities available in each moment than we realize.
Children understand very well that in each woman, in each man, in each child, there is capacity of waking up, of understanding, and of loving.
Smiling is very important. If we are not able to smile, then the world will not have peace.
Your true home is in the here and the now. It is not limited by time, space, nationality, or race.
  • When you understand the roots of anger in yourself and in the other, your mind will enjoy true peace, joy and lightness
  • When you feel anger arising, remember to return to your breathing and follow it. The other person may see that you are practicing, and she may even apologize.
  • Your first love has no beginning or end. Your first love is not your first love, and it is not your last. It is just love. It is one with everything.
  • The quality of our life
    depends on the quality
    of the seeds
    that lie deep in our consciousness.
  • The present moment
    contains past and future.
    The secret of transformation,
    is in the way we handle this very moment.
  • Seeds can produce seeds
    Seeds can produce formations.
    Formations can produce seeds.
    Formations can produce formations.
  • One included all, and all were contained in one.
    • Old Path White Clouds : Walking in the Footsteps of the Buddha (1991) Parallax Press ISBN 81-216-0675-6
  • The leaf and his body were one. Neither possessed a separate permanent self. Neither could exist independently from the rest of the universe.
    • Old Path White Clouds : Walking in the Footsteps of the Buddha (1991)
  • Contemplating the bowl, it is possible to see the interdependent elements which give rise to the bowl.
    • Old Path White Clouds : Walking in the Footsteps of the Buddha (1991) Parallax Press ISBN 81-216-0675-6
  • Freedom from suffering is a great happiness.
    • Old Path White Clouds : Walking in the Footsteps of the Buddha (1991) Parallax Press ISBN 81-216-0675-6
  • The Buddha also counseled the monks and nuns to avoid wasting any precious time by engaging in idle conversation, oversleeping, pursuing fame and recognition, chasing after desires, spending time with people of poor character, and being satisfied with only a shallow understanding of the teaching.
    • Old Path White Clouds : Walking in the Footsteps of the Buddha (1991) Parallax Press ISBN 81-216-0675-6
  • The same clouds that Buddha had seen were in the sky. Each serene step brought to life the old path and white clouds of the Buddha. The path of Buddha was beneath his very feet.
    • Old Path White Clouds : Walking in the Footsteps of the Buddha (1991) Parallax Press ISBN 81-216-0675-6
  • Venerable Svasti and the young buffalo boys were rivers that flowed from that source. Wherever the rivers flowed, the Buddha would be there.
    • Old Path White Clouds : Walking in the Footsteps of the Buddha (1991) Parallax Press ISBN 81-216-0675-6
  • 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)
  • Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the whole earth revolves—slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future. Live the actual moment. Only this actual moment is life.
    • 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. [citation needed]
    • As quoted in Visions from Earth (2004) by James Miller
  • Children understand very well that in each woman, in each man, in each child, there is capacity of waking up, of understanding, and of loving. Many children have told me that they cannot show me anyone who does not have this capacity. Some people allow it to develop, and some do not, but everyone has it. This capacity of waking up, of being aware of what is going on in your feelings, in your body, in your perceptions, in the world, is called Buddha nature, the capacity of understanding and loving. 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.
    • Being Peace (2005) ‎
  • 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...
  • Love is the capacity to take care, to protect, to nourish. If you are not capable of generating that kind of energy toward yourself — if you are not capable of taking care of yourself, of nourishing yourself, of protecting yourself — it is very difficult to take care of another person.

Quotes about Nhat Hanh[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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Official websites for Thich Nhat Hanh and the Order of Interbeing