"The best way to take care of the future is to take care of the present moment." — Thích Nhất Hạnh (Living Buddha, Living Christ)

Thích Nhất Hạnh Quotes

Thích Nhất Hạnh Quotes – 25 The Best Ones

“The day my mother died I wrote in my journal, “A serious misfortune of my life has arrived.” I suffered for more than one year after the passing away of my mother. But one night, in the highlands of Vietnam, I was sleeping in the hut in my hermitage. I dreamed of my mother. I saw myself sitting with her, and we were having a wonderful talk. She looked young and beautiful, her hair flowing down. It was so pleasant to sit there and talk to her as if she had never died. When I woke up it was about two in the morning, and I felt very strongly that I had never lost my mother. The impression that my mother was still with me was very clear. I understood then that the idea of having lost my mother was just an idea. It was obvious in that moment that my mother is always alive in me.
I opened the door and went outside. The entire hillside was bathed in moonlight. It was a hill covered with tea plants, and my hut was set behind the temple halfway up. Walking slowly in the moonlight through the rows of tea plants, I noticed my mother was still with me. She was the moonlight caressing me as she had done so often, very tender, very sweet… wonderful! Each time my feet touched the earth I knew my mother was there with me. I knew this body was not mine but a living continuation of my mother and my father and my grandparents and great-grandparents. Of all my ancestors. Those feet that I saw as “my” feet were actually “our” feet. Together my mother and I were leaving footprints in the damp soil.
From that moment on, the idea that I had lost my mother no longer existed. All I had to do was look at the palm of my hand, feel the breeze on my face or the earth under my feet to remember that my mother is always with me, available at any time.”
— Thích Nhất Hạnh (No Death, No Fear)

“We are very good at preparing to live, but not very good at living. We know how to sacrifice ten years for a diploma, and we are willing to work very hard to get a job, a car, a house, and so on. But we have difficulty remembering that we are alive in the present moment, the only moment there is for us to be alive.”
— Thích Nhất Hạnh (Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life)

“If while washing dishes, we think only of the cup of tea that awaits us, thus hurrying to get the dishes out of the way as if they were a nuisance, then we are not “washing the dishes to wash the dishes.” What’s more, we are not alive during the time we are washing the dishes. In fact we are completely incapable of realizing the miracle of life while standing at the sink. If we can’t wash the dishes, the chances are we won’t be able to drink our tea either. While drinking the cup of tea, we will only be thinking of other things, barely aware of the cup in our hands. Thus we are sucked away into the future -and we are incapable of actually living one minute of life.”
— Thích Nhất Hạnh (The Miracle of Mindfulness)

“Sometimes people ask you: “When is your birthday?” But you might ask yourself a more interesting question: “Before that day which is called my birthday, where was I?”
Ask a cloud: “What is your date of birth? Before you were born, where were you?”
If you ask the cloud, “How old are you? Can you give me your date of birth?” you can listen deeply and you may hear a reply. You can imagine the cloud being born. Before being born it was the water on the ocean’s surface. Or it was in the river and then it became vapor. It was also the sun because the sun makes the vapor. The wind is there too, helping the water to become a cloud. The cloud does not come from nothing; there has been only a change in form. It is not a birth of something out of nothing.
Sooner or later, the cloud will change into rain or snow or ice. If you look deeply into the rain, you can see the cloud. The cloud is not lost; it is transformed into rain, and the rain is transformed into grass and the grass into cows and then to milk and then into the ice cream you eat. Today if you eat an ice cream, give yourself time to look at the ice cream and say: “Hello, cloud! I recognize you.”
— Thích Nhất Hạnh (No Death, No Fear)

“When you hold a child in your arms, or hug your mother, or your husband, or your friend, if you breathe in and out three times, your happiness will be multiplied at least tenfold.”
— Thích Nhất Hạnh (Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life)

“Each minute we spend worrying about the future and regretting the past is a minute we miss in our appointment with life- a missed opportunity to engage life and to see that each moment gives us the chance to change for the better, to experience peace and joy.”
— Thích Nhất Hạnh (Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life)

“To take good care of ourselves, we must go back and take care of the wounded child inside of us. You have to practice going back to your wounded child every day. You have to embrace him or her terderly, like a big brother or a big sister. You have to talk to him, talk to her. And you can write a letter to the Little child in you, of two or three pages, to that you recognize his or her presence, and will do everything you can to heal his or her wounds.”
— Thích Nhất Hạnh (Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames)

“When a person’s speech is full of anger, it is because he or she suffers deeply.”
— Thích Nhất Hạnh (Anger)

“This body is not me; I am not caught in this body, I am life without boundaries, I have never been born and I have never died. Over there the wide ocean and the sky with many galaxies All manifests from the basis of consciousness. Since beginningless time I have always been free. Birth and death are only a door through which we go in and out. Birth and death are only a game of hide-and-seek. So smile to me and take my hand and wave good-bye. Tomorrow we shall meet again or even before. We shall always be meeting again at the true source, always meeting again on the myriad paths of life.”
— Thích Nhất Hạnh (No Death, No Fear)

“When you feel overwhelmed, you’re trying too hard. That kind of energy does not help the other person and it does not help you. You should not be too eager to help right away. There are two things: to be and to do. Don’t think too much about to do—to be is first. To be peace. To be joy. To be happiness. And then to do joy, to do happiness—on the basis of being. So first you have to focus on the practice of being. Being fresh. Being peaceful. Being attentive. Being generous. Being compassionate. This is the basic practice. It’s like if the other person is sitting at the foot of a tree. The tree does not do anything, but the tree is fresh and alive. When you are like that tree, sending out waves of freshness, you help to calm down the suffering in the other person.”
— Thích Nhất Hạnh

“Twenty years ago at a conference I attended of theologians and professors of religion, an Indian Christian friend told the assembly, “We are going to hear about the beauties of several traditions, but that does not mean that we are going to make a fruit salad.” When it came my turn to speak, I said, “Fruit salad can be delicious! I have shared the Eucharist with Father Daniel Berrigan, and our worship became possible because of the sufferings we Vietnamese and Americans shared over many years.” Some of the Buddhists present were shocked to hear I had participated in the Eucharist, and many Christians seemed truly horrified. To me, religious life is life. I do not see any reason to spend one’s whole life tasting just one kind of fruit. We human beings can be nourished by the best values of many traditions.”
— Thích Nhất Hạnh (Living Buddha, Living Christ )

“The best way to take care of the future is to take care of the present moment.”
— Thích Nhất Hạnh (Living Buddha, Living Christ)

“Suffering has many faces. If we discover the roots of one suffering, we are at the same time discovering the roots of others.”
— Thích Nhất Hạnh

“Buddhism teaches that joy and happiness arise from letting go. Please sit down and take an inventory of your life. There are things you’ve been hanging on to that really are not useful and deprive you of your freedom. Find the courage to let them go.”
— Thích Nhất Hạnh (Peace Is Every Breath: A Practice for Our Busy Lives)

“To be or not to be, that is not a question, because reality transcends both notions of birth and death, of being and non-being.”
— Thích Nhất Hạnh

“When you are a young person, you are like a young creek, and you meet many rocks, many obstacles and difficulties on your way. You hurry to get past these obstacles and get to the ocean. But as the creek moves down through the fields, it becomes larges and calmer and it can enjoy the reflection of the sky. It’s wonderful. You will arrive at the sea anyway so enjoy the journey. Enjoy the sunshine, the sunset, the moon, the birds, the trees, and the many beauties along the way. Taste every moment of your daily life.”
— Thích Nhất Hạnh (Good Citizens: Creating Enlightened Society)

“The more happiness and love that can be reborn the better, because it will make this world more beautiful and kind. Therefore you and I should be living our weeks, days and hours in order to be reborn constantly as happiness, love and kindness.”
— Thích Nhất Hạnh (No Death, No Fear)

“Fear keeps us focused on the past or worried about the future. If we can acknowledge our fear, we can realize that right now we are okay. Right now, today, we are still alive, and our bodies are working marvellously. Our eyes can still see the beautiful sky. Our ears can still hear the voices of our loved ones.”
— Thích Nhất Hạnh

“You do not need to waste your time doing those things that are unnecessary and trifling. You do not have to be rich. You do not need to seek fame or power. What you need is freedom, solidity, peace and joy. You need the time and energy to be able to share these things with others.”
— Thích Nhất Hạnh (No Death, No Fear)

“If we take something to be the truth, we may cling to it so much that when the truth comes and knocks on our door, we won’t want to let it in.”
— Thích Nhất Hạnh (The Heart of Understanding: Commentaries on the Prajnaparamita Heart Sutra)

“The moment you wake up, right away, you can smile. That’s a smile of enlightenment. You are aware that a new day is beginning, that life is offering you twenty-four brand-new hours to live, and that that’s the most precious of gifts.”
— Thích Nhất Hạnh (Peace Is Every Breath: A Practice for Our Busy Lives)

“Touching the present moment, we realize that the present is made of the past and is creating the future.”
— Thích Nhất Hạnh (Living Buddha, Living Christ)

“We should live every day like people who have just been rescued from the moon.”
— Thích Nhất Hạnh (No Death, No Fear)

“When we are caught in notions, rituals, and the outer forms of the practice, not only can we not receive and embody the spirit of our tradition, we become an obstacle for the true values of the tradition to be transmitted. We lose sight of the true needs and actual suffering of people, and the teaching and practice, which were intended to relieve suffering, now cause suffering. Narrow, fundamentalist, and dogmatic practices always alienate people, especially those who are suffering.”
— Thích Nhất Hạnh (Living Buddha, Living Christ)

“Don’t do any task in order to get it over with. Resolve to do each job in a relaxed way, with all your attention. Enjoy and be one with your work.”
— Thích Nhất Hạnh (The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation)

“Words sometimes get sick and we have to heal them.”
— Thích Nhất Hạnh (Teachings on Love)

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