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The Better of Thich Nhat Hanh: Life, Quotes, and Books

Thich Nhat Hanh

Photograph by Duc.

The previous is gone, the long run will not be but right here, and if we don’t return to ourselves within the current second, we can’t be in contact with life.
-Thich Nhat Hanh

“We gauge the greatness of religious lecturers by the depth, breadth, and influence of their teachings, and by the instance their lives set for us. By all these measures, Thich Nhat Hanh is among the main religious masters of our age,” writes Lion’s Roar editor-in-chief Melvin McLeod in his introduction to The Pocket Thich Nhat Hanh. In his 94 years, Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh has made a worldwide influence as a instructor, creator, activist, and the founding father of the Engaged Buddhism motion. His easy but deeply profound teachings intention to guide college students in the direction of a lifetime of mindfulness, pleasure, and peace—a life that advantages the planet, and all beings.



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The Lifetime of Thich Nhat Hanh

Early Life

Thich Nhat Hanh, (now affectionately known as “Thay” by his college students), was born Nguyen Xuan Bao in central Vietnam in October of 1926. All for Buddhism from an early age, he entered the monastery at Tu Hieu Temple in Vietnam at sixteen and labored along with his main instructor, Zen grasp Thanh Quy Chan That. In 1949, Nhat Hanh, then 23, was ordained as a monk after receiving coaching in Vietnamese traditions of Mahayana Buddhism and Vietnamese Thien Buddhism.

Nhat Hanh turned editor-in-chief of the periodical created by the Unified Vietnam Buddhist Affiliation, Vietnamese Buddhism. He went on to start his activist work, founding La Boi Press and the Van Hanh Buddhist College in Saigon. Nhat Hanh additionally based the Faculty of Youth for Social Service, a impartial corps of Buddhist peaceworkers who established faculties, constructed healthcare clinics, and rebuilt villages in rural areas.

Dr. Martin Luther King announcing that he had nominated Thich Nhat Hanh for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Dr. Martin Luther King and  Thich Nhat Hanh. Picture: public area.

The Vietnam Battle and Engaged Buddhism

Nhat Hanh studied comparative faith at Princeton College in 1960 and was subsequently appointed a lecturer in Buddhism at Columbia College. He had grow to be fluent in English, Japanese, Chinese language, Sanskrit, Pali, and English. In 1963, he returned to Vietnam in 1963 to proceed initiating nonviolent peace efforts.

The founding of the Engaged Buddhism motion was his response to the Vietnam Battle. Nhat Hanh’s mission was to have interaction with struggling brought on by conflict and injustice and to create a brand new pressure of Buddhism that would save his nation. Within the youth of the Engaged Buddhism motion, Nhat Hanh met Cao Ngoc Phuong, who would later grow to be Sister Chang Kong. She hoped to come up activism for the poor within the Buddhist group, working carefully with Nhat Hanh to take action. She stays his closest disciple and collaborator to today.

Three years later, Nhat Hanh returned to the U.S. to guide a symposium at Cornell College on Vietnamese Buddhism. There, he met with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and requested that King denounce the Vietnam Battle publicly to his massive following. Dr. King granted the request within the following yr with a speech that questioned America’s involvement within the conflict. Quickly after, he nominated Nhat Hanh for a Nobel Peace Prize. “I don’t personally know of anybody extra worthy of [the prize] than this mild monk from Vietnam. His concepts for peace, if utilized, would construct a monument to ecumenism, to world brotherhood, to humanity,” he wrote.

Thich Nhat Hanh holding a singing bowl.

Photograph by Duc.

Nhat Hanh served because the delegate for the Buddhist Peace Delegation on the Paris Peace talks in 1969, and the Paris Peace Accords had been later signed in 1973. Nhat Hanh was exiled from Vietnam after these occasions and remained in France, a flip of occasions that deeply damage the monk, and would preserve him from his birthplace for a few years to return.

Establishing the Order of Interbeing

At this time, Nhat Hanh heads the Order of Interbeing, a monastic and lay group that he’d based in 1966. In 1969, he based the Unified Buddhist Church, and later in 1975, shaped the Candy Potatoes Meditation Middle southeast of Paris, France. As the middle grew in recognition, Nhat Hanh and Sister Chan Khong based Plum Village, a vihara (Buddhist monastery) and Zen middle, within the South of France in 1982. Each Nhat Hanh and Sister Chan Khong reside at Plum Village at present. The middle is open to the general public for a lot of the yr and homes retreats that see folks touring from throughout the globe to attend. Moreover, many dharma facilities throughout the U.S. have been established as half the Order of Interbeing.

Returning to Vietnam

After many negotiations, the Vietnamese authorities allowed Nhat Hanh to return to Vietnam for a go to in 2005. He was capable of educate, publish 4 books in Vietnamese, journey the nation, and return to his root temple. Though his first journey dwelling stirred controversy, Nhat Hanh was allowed to return once more in 2007 to assist new monastics in his Order, manage chanting ceremonies to assist heal remaining wounds from the Vietnam Battle, and to guide retreats in his start nation.

Thich Nhat Hanh in hospital with a flower.

Photograph by Velcrow Ripper.

Thich Nhat Hanh’s Well being

Nhat Hanh suffered a mind hemorrhage in November 2014. He was taken to a stroke rehabilitation clinic at Bordeaux College Hospital, the place he was capable of get well sufficient to get pleasure from sipping tea outdoor and take heed to the sounds of the skin world. As of June 2015, Nhat Hanh continues to reside at Plum Village, the place his well being has made exceptional course of and he is ready to get pleasure from being “out in nature, having fun with the blossoms, listening to the birds and resting on the foot of a tree.”


Thich Nhat Hanh’s teachings on meditation

Thich Nhat Hanh on Tips on how to Sit
A felt Buddha statue.

Thich Nhat Hanh’s extremely easy directions for meditation.

Thich Nhat Hanh on Strolling Meditation

The apply of aware strolling, says Thich Nhat Hanh, is a profound and pleasurable solution to deepen our reference to our physique and the earth. We breathe, take a aware step, and are available again to our true dwelling.

Thich Nhat Hanh’s teachings on love

Rising Collectively

Thich Nhat Hanh reveals us how we are able to use loving relationships to domesticate the seeds of buddhahood inside us.

After the Honeymoon

Falling in love is straightforward, however staying in love takes work. Thich Nhat Hanh presents recommendation for cultivating a relationship that’s loving and robust.

Remodeling Anger Into Love

Thich Nhat Hanh presents recommendation on utilizing mindfulness to handle your anger, and in the end rework it into love and understanding.


Thich Nhat Hanh’s teachings on mindfulness

Pink lotus flower with green leaves.

5 Mindfulness Trainings

The 5 mindfulness trainings are an expression of the 5 precepts, the core of Buddhist ethics, and supply a down-to-earth methodology of working towards mindfulness in day by day life.

Thich Nhat Hanh on The Observe of Mindfulness

It’s such a easy apply, however it will probably rework your life. The good meditation grasp Thich Nhat Hanh teaches 5 mindfulness workouts that can assist you reside with happiness and pleasure.

The Second is Good

There may be nothing we expertise—from the easy act of consuming to the issues of labor and relationships—that we can not strategy with the mindfulness and compassion we develop in our meditation.


Thich Nhat Hanh’s teachings on peace and happiness

5 Practices for Nurturing Happiness

A educating from Thich Nhat Hanh’s e-book, No Mud, No Lotus: The Artwork of Remodeling Struggling.

Happiness in Each Breath

After we cease feeding our cravings, says Thich Nhat Hanh, we uncover that we have already got the whole lot we should be glad.

There is no such thing as a path to peace. The trail is peace.

Thich Nhat Hanh, in his 2003 deal with to congress, says that solely deep listening, mindfulness, and mild communication can take away the fallacious perceptions which are the inspiration of violence.


Thich Nhat Hanh’s teachings on Buddhist philosophy

The Observe of Sangha

Thich Nhat Hanh explains that sangha is greater than a group. It’s a deep religious apply.

The Fourteen Precepts of Engaged Buddhism

Primary? “Don’t be idolatrous about or certain to any doctrine, concept, or ideology, even Buddhist ones. Buddhist techniques of thought are guiding means; they aren’t absolute reality.”

The Fullness of Vacancy

Vacancy will not be one thing to be afraid of, says Thich Nhat Hanh. The Coronary heart Sutra teaches us that kind could also be empty of self nevertheless it’s filled with the whole lot else.

The 4 Layers of Consciousness

Abhidharma, Buddhism’s map of the thoughts, is usually handled as a subject of merely mental curiosity. The truth is, says Thich Nhat Hanh, figuring out the completely different parts of consciousness, and understanding how they work together, is crucial to our apply of meditation.

The Observe of Wanting Deeply Utilizing Three Dharma Seals

Thich Nhat Hanh teaches that by wanting deeply we develop perception into impermanence and no self. These are the keys to the door of actuality.


Thich Nhat Hanh’s teachings on saving the Earth

The World We Have

Solely once we mix our concern for the planet with religious apply will we now have the instruments to make the profound private transformations needed to handle the approaching environmental disaster. Thich Nhat Hanh presents us the guiding ideas for a brand new ecospirituality of aware dwelling.

Earth Gathas

Gathas assist us to apply mindfulness in our day by day lives and to look deeply. Reciting these quick verses will convey consciousness, peace, and pleasure to easy actions. Thich Nhat Hanh presents gathas for recycling, touching the earth, and extra.

Wake As much as the Revolution

Solely once we acknowledge our connectedness to the earth, says Thich Nhat Hanh, can actual change start.


Thich Nhat Hanh interviews and profiles

A plum village monastic rings a bell that is hanging in a tree.

Photograph by David Nelson.

The Lifetime of Thich Nhat Hanh

Zen grasp, peace activist, instructor of aware dwelling — he is among the most essential religious leaders of our time. His teachings are clear, profound, and unique. He addresses the non-public and international challenges all of us face. He has introduced dharma to tens of millions and helped outline Buddhism for the fashionable world. Lindsay Kyte tells the story of what’s maybe his biggest educating — his brave life.

Profile: The Plum Village Custom in America

A 2011 Buddhadharma: The Practioner’s Quarterly group profile.

In Engaged Buddhism, Peace Begins with You

Thich Nhat Hanh, who originated Engaged Buddhism, in an interview with John Malkin.

Peace in Each Step

Thich Nhat Hanh’s lifetime of braveness and compassion.

You Don’t Have to Be Buddhist

Thich Nhat Hanh explains how anybody can use the 5 mindfulness trainings to guide a lifetime of understanding and compassion.

Be Lovely, Be Your self

Andrea Miller’s unique interview with Thich Nhat Hanh.

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Thich Nhat Hanh quotes

The ocean of struggling is immense, however in the event you flip round, you possibly can see the land.

We now have to stroll in a approach that we solely print peace and serenity on the Earth. Stroll as if you’re kissing the Earth along with your ft.

Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it’s the axis on which the world earth revolves — slowly, evenly, with out dashing towards the long run.

We actually have to grasp the particular person we wish to love. If our love is just a will to own, it isn’t love. If we solely consider ourselves, if we all know solely our personal wants and ignore the wants of the opposite particular person, we can not love.

The thoughts can go in a thousand instructions, however on this stunning path, I stroll in peace. With every step, the wind blows. With every step, a flower blooms.


Thich Nhat Hanh’s calligraphy

Thich Nhat Hanh started creating calligraphy in 1994 and views his work as a meditative apply. It’s estimated that he has created round 10,000 works of calligraphy. A lot of his aware artwork has been bought to lift funds for his many international humanitarian initiatives.

On this video from Blue Cliff Monastery, Thich Nhat Hanh describes his “calligraphic meditation” course of. Under, you’ll discover a few of his most cherished calligraphies.

“I’ve arrived I’m dwelling” calligraphy by Thich Nhat Hanh, obtainable within the Lion’s Roar Retailer.


Books by Thich Nhat Hanh

Peace is Each Breath: A Observe for Our Busy Lives


“You’ve numerous work to do, and you want doing it,” says Thich Nhat Hanh at first of Peace Is Each Breath. “However working an excessive amount of, caring for so many issues, tires you out. You wish to apply meditation, so that you may be extra relaxed and have extra peace, happiness, and pleasure in your life. However you don’t have time for day by day mediation apply.” If this describes your state of affairs, Peace Is Each Breath might be an excel- lent useful resource. It presents anecdotes, meditations, and recommendation on connecting along with your current expertise with out placing your life on maintain. Thich Nhat Hanh explains: “It isn’t essential to put aside a sure interval solely for ‘Non secular Observe’ with a capital S and a capital P. Our religious apply may be there at any second, as we domesticate the power of mindfulness and focus.”

FEAR: Important Knowledge for Getting By way of the Storm


In Concern: Important Knowledge for Getting By way of the Storm, Thich Nhat Hanh addresses the function mindfulness can play in letting go of our fears. We’re afraid of being powerless, he teaches. But when we reside within the current second—if we now have mindfulness—we may have the facility to look deeply at our fears and perceive their supply. At that time, concern will not management us and we are going to contact the final word pleasure. We’ll understand that proper now we’re okay. Our eyes can see the great thing about the sky and our ears can hear the voices of the folks we love.

Making House: Making a House Meditation Observe

Parallax Press

Peaceable locations create peace in our minds and our bodies. “That’s the intention of sacred house,” it says within the introduction of this new launch. “However we don’t want to attend till we are able to discover a church, temple, mosque, synagogue, or different house designed for sacred contemplation… If we make an area for contemplation and meditation proper in our personal houses, then peace and pleasure are all the time obtainable to us.” In Making House, Thich Nhat Hanh begins with the how-tos of stopping, respiratory, and sitting. Then he delves into the significance of making a “respiratory room” or “respiratory nook,” a peaceful place at dwelling you could go to if you’re feeling uneasy, unhappy, or indignant, and thereby come again to your self. Later chapters discover matters equivalent to the way to invite the bell, the way to make an altar, and the way to make your mattress an actual place of relaxation and leisure.

Love Letter to the Earth

Parallax Press

Environmental activists get a foul rap for being dour. Zen grasp Thich Nhat Hanh, nonetheless, is something however. As a substitute of finger-pointing and calling for austerity, his answer to our environmental disaster is mindfulness. By way of mindfulness, he says, we understand that the Earth will not be merely the bottom beneath our ft—we’re the Earth. Each cell in our physique comes from the Earth and is a part of it. “We’re a dwelling, respiratory manifestation of this stunning and beneficiant planet,” he says. After we know this, we fall fully in love with the Earth, and as with something we love, we naturally do no matter we are able to to handle it. I significantly recognize Thich Nhat Hanh’s heartfelt description of seeing for the primary time images of the Earth taken from house. He noticed a glowing jewel and acknowledged the Earth’s fragility. “Expensive Earth,” he thought, “I didn’t know that you’re so stunning. I see you in me. I see me myself in you.”

The Blooming of a Lotus

Beacon Press

Thich Nhat Hanh presents guided workouts to convey practitioners into higher concord with themselves and their world. The textual content contains music to help our reminiscences in serving to us study easy ideas. The various meditations give attention to guiding sentences that glide together with the breath.This revised version contains 5 new meditations: They present us how aware consumption and aware actions can assist forestall struggling and water the seeds of compassion; the way to be in contact with our Buddha nature; and the way to see our dad and mom extra deeply. These meditations will deepen the apply of superior practitioners, in addition to begin novices on the trail.

Tips on how to Eat

Parallax Press
Whereas some monastic communities de-emphasize meals in favor of focusing wholly on the religious, Thich Nhat Hanh’s group considers meals central to apply. “Within the Catholic custom, within the Eucharist,” Thich Nhat Hanh says, “you see the piece of bread because the physique of Jesus. Within the Buddhist custom, we see the piece of bread because the physique of the cosmos.” After we mindfully savor every chew, we perceive that in bread there’s the solar and rain, the soil and compost, the farmer and baker, as a result of with none certainly one of them there’d be no bread. So, once we eat mindfully, we really feel nourished by and related to the universe. We additionally grow to be extra conscious of personal our bodies and feelings and, thus, naturally eat sparsely, main to raised well being. Furthermore, aware consuming is a robust instrument for social change. In deeply considering our meals we discover ourselves impressed to advocate for best-farming practices and/or take motion on behalf of the world’s hungry. Tips on how to Eat is a concise and cheerful information to aware cooking, serving meals, consuming, and washing the dishes.

A Handful of Quiet: Happiness in 4 Pebbles

Plum Blossom Books

For a few years, Thich Nhat Hanh has been educating pebble apply to present kids and their households a tangible solution to return to their breath and join with the world round them. A Handful of Quiet is a lovingly illustrated e-book that brings this meditation to life. All you’ll must apply it’s a quiet spot and 4 odd pebbles. Every represents a special picture embodying a selected high quality. You’ll be able to definitely select your personal pictures and qualities, however in Nhat Hanh’s traditional model pebble one represents the freshness and great thing about a flower, whereas pebble two represents the solidity of a mountain. Pebble three represents the reflectivity of calm water and pebble 4, the liberty of house. Respiratory out and in, you choose up every pebble in flip and in your thoughts’s eye see your self because the respective picture. If you happen to’re holding the flower pebble, as an illustration, you see your self as a flower within the backyard of humanity. Connecting along with your interior flower, you realize that you’re recent, nice, and loveable.

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