Quotes from Thich Nhat Hanh

When we look deeply at the nature of things, we see that in fact everything is impermanent. Nothing exists as a permanent entity; everything changes. It is said that we cannot step into the same river twice. If we look for a single, permanent entity in a river, we will not find it. The same is true of our physical body. There is no such thing as a self, no absolute, permanent entity to be found in the element we call "body." In our ignorance we believe that there is a permanent entity in us, and our pain and suffering manifest on the basis of that ignorance. If we touch deeply the nonself nature in us, we can get out of that suffering.

Thich Nhat Hanh

from Your True Home: The Everyday Wisdom of Thich Nhat Hanh

The Second Arrow the buddha speaks about the "second arrow." When an arrow strikes you, you feel pain. If a second arrow comes and strikes you in the same spot, the pain will be ten times worse. The Buddha advised that when you have some pain in your body or your mind, breathe in and out and recognize the significance of that pain, but don't exaggerate its importance. If you stop to worry, to be fearful, to protest, to be angry about the pain, then you magnify the pain ten times or more. Your worry is the second arrow. You should protect yourself and not allow the second arrow to come, because the second arrow comes from you.

Thich Nhat Hanh

from Your True Home: The Everyday Wisdom of Thich Nhat Hanh

In our society, we're inclined to see doing nothing as something negative, even evil. But when we lose ourselves in activities, we diminish our quality of being. We do ourselves a disservice. It's important to preserve ourselves, to maintain our freshness and good humor, our joy and compassion. In Buddhism we cultivate aimlessness, and in fact in Buddhist tradition the ideal person, an arhat or a bodhisattva, is a businessless person—someone with nowhere to go and nothing to do. People should learn how to just be there, doing nothing.

Thich Nhat Hanh

from Your True Home: The Everyday Wisdom of Thich Nhat Hanh

When you contemplate the big, full sunrise, the more mindful and concentrated you are, the more the beauty of the sunrise is revealed to you. Suppose you are offered a cup of tea, very fragrant, very good tea. If your mind is distracted, you cannot really enjoy the tea. You have to be mindful of the tea, you have to be concentrated on it, so the tea can reveal its fragrance and wonder to you. That is why mindfulness and concentration are such sources of happiness. That's why a good practitioner knows how to create a moment of joy, a feeling of happiness, at any time of the day.

Thich Nhat Hanh

from Your True Home: The Everyday Wisdom of Thich Nhat Hanh

The word suchness describes reality as it is. Concepts and ideas are incapable of expressing reality as it is. Nirvana, the ultimate reality, cannot be described, because it is free of all concepts and ideas. Nirvana is the extinction of all concepts. Most of our suffering arises from our ideas and concepts. If you are able to free yourself from these concepts, anxiety and fear will disappear. Nirvana, the ultimate reality, or God, is of the nature of no-birth and no-death. It is total freedom.

Thich Nhat Hanh

from Your True Home: The Everyday Wisdom of Thich Nhat Hanh

Whether we have happiness or not depends on the seeds in our consciousness. If our seeds of compassion, understanding, and love are strong, those qualities will be able to manifest in us. If the seeds of anger, hostility and sadness in us are strong, then we will experience much suffering. To understand someone, we have to be aware of the quality of the seeds in his consciousness. And we need to remember that his is not solely responsible for those seeds. His ancestors, parents, and society are co-responsible for the quality of the seeds in his consciousness. When we understand this, we are able to feel compassion for that person. With understanding and love, we will know how to water our own beautiful seeds and those of others, and we will recognize seeds of suffering and find ways to transform them.

Thich Nhat Hanh

from Your True Home: The Everyday Wisdom of Thich Nhat Hanh