Mindfulness and Compassion

    Written by Jasmine

    In the early days of my life on the path of light, I discovered Thich Nhat Hanh (pronounced Tik · N’yat · Hawn). His words were peaceful and calming. They made sense in my soul. And I was and remain grateful for them.

    He passed away January 22, 2022, at the age of 95. This is my respects to a man that was a global spiritual leader, poet, revered writer, peace activist and a powerful teacher and so much more. He brought the practice of Mindfulness to the Western world.

    He was born in Vietnam in 1926. At the age of 16 he became a novice monk. By the early 1950’s he was active in the movement to renew Vietnamese Buddhism. His spiritual teachings were presented in a simple manner making them easy to digest and understand.

    Martin Luther King Jr. nominated him for a Nobel Peace Prize for his involvement as an anti-war activist during the Vietnam war. He was very progressive in bringing his teachings to the people. As an author, he published over 130 books where 100 of them were in English.

    His work evolved to all over the world, including teaching at prestigious Universities and speaking to world leaders. Nhat Hanh’s modernized code of universal global ethics in their daily life, called “The Five Mindfulness Trainings” have been taken in by over 100,000 spiritual retreats over the last 20 years.

    He also developed and launched a program for training teachers to use for their students to teach them about Mindfulness in schools in Europe, America and Asia.

    In 2014 he suffered a stroke. He lost the ability to speak and remained mostly paralyzed over half his body. Eventually, he returned to Vietnam to the Temple, where he was ordained at 16, to live the rest of his time on this earth. He continued to offer the Dharma and inspiration through his peaceful, serene and valiant presence to those who visited the Temple.

    His next journey has just begun. I am grateful to him for leaving his wise teachings for all that might discover for themselves the powerful teachings to nourish our souls…where we can find healing and growth on our own paths of light.

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    Here are some wise words of wisdom from the man himself.

    “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”

    ― Thich Nhat Hanh

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    “Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness. If, in our heart, we still cling to anything – anger, anxiety, or possessions – we cannot be free.”

    ― Thich Nhat Hanh, The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching: Transforming Suffering into Peace, Joy, and Liberation

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    “Many people think excitement is happiness…. But when you are excited you are not peaceful. True happiness is based on peace.”

    ― Thich Nhat Hanh, The Art of Power

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    “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.”

    ― Thich Nhat Hanh, The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation

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    “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.”

    ― Thich Nhat Hanh, Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames

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    “It is said that God has created man in his own image. But it may be that humankind has created God in the image of humankind.”

    ― Thich Nhat Hanh, Going Home: Jesus and Buddha as Brothers

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    “To dwell in the here and now does not mean you never think about the past or responsibly plan for the future. The idea is simply not to allow yourself to get lost in regrets about the past or worries about the future. If you are firmly grounded in the present moment, the past can be an object of inquiry, the object of your mindfulness and concentration. You can attain many insights by looking into the past. But you are still grounded in the present moment.”

    ― Thich Nhat Hanh, The Art of Power

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    “To be beautiful means to be yourself.You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself. When you are born a lotus flower, be a beautiful lotus flower, don’t try to be a magnolia flower. If you crave acceptance and recognition and try to change yourself to fit what other people want you to be, you will suffer all your life. True happiness and true power lie in understanding yourself, accepting yourself, having confidence in yourself.”

    ― Thich Nhat Hanh, The Art of Power

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    To learn more, you can visit this website:https://thichnhathanhfoundation.org/

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