Thich Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, Zen master, poet and peace activist, founder of the Plum Village Tradition. The wisdom of Thich Nhat Hanh quotes are a source of the living in the present moment and finding happiness from within.
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Thich Nhat Hanh Quotes
We have to walk in a way that we only print peace and serenity on the Earth. Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.
There is no way to happiness – happiness is the way.
Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.
The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.
People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.
My actions are my only true belongings. I cannot escape the consequences of my actions. My actions are the ground upon which I stand.
Keeping your body healthy is an expression of gratitude to the whole cosmos – the trees, the clouds, everything.
We have more possibilities available in each moment than we realize.
Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today.
In true dialogue, both sides are willing to change.
Because of your smile, you make life more beautiful.
Look at flowers, butterflies, trees, and children with the eyes of compassion. Compassion will change your life and make it wonderful.
We can choose how to live our lives now. We can seize any moment and begin anew.
Breathing in, I calm body and mind. Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment I know this is the only moment.
People deal too much with the negative, with what is wrong. Why not try and see positive things, to just touch those things and make them bloom?
Everything can begin with you. You are the foundation of any change that will happen in your society.
Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future.
To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.
I promise myself that I will enjoy every minute of the day that is given me to live.
The mind can go in a thousand directions, but on this beautiful path, I walk in peace. With each step, the wind blows. With each step, a flower blooms.
Waking up this morning, I smile. Twenty-four brand new hours are before me. I vow to live fully in each moment and to look at all beings with eyes of compassion.
When we are mindful, deeply in touch with the present moment, our understanding of what is going on deepens, and we begin to be filled with acceptance, joy, peace and love.
Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.
The amount of happiness that you have depends on the amount of freedom you have in your heart.
The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.
We are all the leaves of one tree. We are all the waves of one sea.
Enlightenment, peace, and joy will not be granted by someone else. The well is within us.
Each time you look at a tangerine, you can see deeply into it. You can see everything in the universe in one tangerine. When you peel it and smell it, it’s wonderful. You can take your time eating a tangerine and be very happy.
We have to learn to live our life as a human being deeply. We need to live each breath deeply so that we have peace, joy and freedom as we breathe.
You need to wake up from your autopilot mode. You have to live deeply and with more awareness so that you can be attentive to each moment.
Freedom is not given to us by anyone; we have to cultivate it ourselves. It is a daily practice.
I will practice coming back to the present moment…not letting regrets and sorrow drag me back into the past or letting anxieties, fears, or cravings pull me out…
Enlightenment is when a wave realizes it is the ocean.
The present moment is the substance with which the future is made. Therefore, the best way to take care of the future is to take care of the present moment. What else can you do?
Ask a cloud: what is your date of birth? Before you were born, what were you?
When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over. He does not need punishment; he needs help. That’s the message he is sending.
Sitting in meditation is nourishment for your spirit and nourishment for your body, as well.
It is not impermanence that makes us suffer. What makes us suffer is wanting things to be permanent, when they are not.
To think in terms of either pessimism or optimism oversimplifies the truth. The problem is to see reality as it is.
Looking deeply requires courage.
The quality of our life depends on what seeds we water in our consciousness.
The seed of suffering in you may be strong, but don’t wait until you have no more suffering before allowing yourself to be happy.
What we believe can significantly affect what we can achieve.
Suffering is not enough. Life is both dreadful and wonderful…How can I smile when I am filled with so much sorrow? It is natural–you need to smile to your sorrow because you are more than your sorrow.
Most people are afraid of suffering. But suffering is a kind of mud to help the lotus flower of happiness grow. There can be no lotus flower without the mud.
Every moment is a gift of life.
It is possible to live happily in the here and now. So many conditions of happiness are available—more than enough for you to be happy right now. You don’t have to run into the future in order to get more.
Become mindful observers of the market-driven, ad-driven world we live in. Advertising is designed to create a need where one does not exist.
When you learn how to suffer, you suffer much less.
Enlightenment is growing all the time. It is not something that happens once and is then complete.
For things to reveal themselves to us, we need to be ready to abandon our views about them.
No one has ever lived in the past or the future, only the now.
Take my hand. We will walk. We will only walk. We will enjoy our walk without thinking of arriving anywhere.
The foundation of a good community is a daily life that is joyful and happy.
The raft is used to cross the river. It isn’t to be carried around on your shoulders. The finger which points at the moon isn’t the moon itself.
While you are walking, smile and be in the here and now, and you will transform that place into paradise.
Without thinking and talking, there is no obstacle to get in the way of our enjoyment of the present moment.
Until we are able to love and take care of ourselves, we cannot be of much help to others.
Yesterday is already gone. Tomorrow is not yet here. Today is the only day available to us; it is the most important day of our lives.
When you love someone, the best thing you can offer is your presence. How can you love if you are not there?
Because you are alive, everything is possible.
If you love someone but rarely make yourself available to him or her, that is not true love.
In true love, you attain freedom.
People suffer because they are caught in their views. As soon as we release those views, we are free, and we don’t suffer anymore.
Life is a miracle and being aware of simply this can already make us very happy.
Patience is the mark of true love. If you truly love someone, you will be more patient with that person.
We need to be fully aware of what is going on in our daily living. Only then can we begin to change.
We are our worst enemies, in conflict with ourselves, and therefore we can easily start conflict with others.
Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child – our own two eyes. All is a miracle.
True love always brings joy to ourselves and to the one we love. If our love does not bring joy to both of us, it is not true love.
Best Thich Nhat Hanh Quotes On Life, Love and Happiness
- When we come into contact with the other person, our thoughts and actions should express our mind of compassion, even if that person says and does things that are not easy to accept. We practice in this way until we see clearly that our love is not contingent upon the other person being lovable.
- Our notions about happiness entrap us. We forget that they are just ideas. Our idea of happiness can prevent us from actually being happy. We fail to see the opportunity for joy that is right in front of us when we are caught in a belief that happiness should take a particular form.
- Peace can exist only in the present moment. It is ridiculous to say, ‘Wait until I finish this, then I will be free to live in peace.’ What is ‘this’? A diploma, a job, a house, the payment of a debt? If you think that way, peace will never come. There is always another ‘this’ that will follow the present one. If you are not living in peace at this moment, you will never be able to. If you truly want to be at peace, you must be at peace right now. Otherwise, there is only ‘the hope of peace someday.’
- People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child—our own two eyes. All is a miracle.
- If we are not happy, if we are not peaceful, we cannot share peace and happiness with others, even those we love, those who live under the same roof. If we are peaceful, if we are happy, we can smile and blossom like a flower, and everyone in our family, our entire society, will benefit from our peace.
- I have the impression that many of us are afraid of silence. We’re always taking in something – text, music, radio, television, or thoughts – to occupy the space. If quiet and space are so important for our happiness, why don’t we make more room for them in our lives?
- People with great wealth and power also suffer tremendously. They feel lonely because they do not have any real friends. Children of wealthy people also suffer deeply; often their parents have no time for them because they are so preoccupied with maintaining their wealth and social status. The suffering of many wealthy people shows us that money cannot buy us true happiness.
- 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 marvelously. Our eyes can still see the beautiful sky. Our ears can still hear the voices of our loved ones.
- We fear that this moment will end, that we won’t get what we need, that we will lose what we love, or that we will not be safe. Often, our biggest fear is the knowledge that one day our bodies will cease functioning. So even when we are surrounded by all the conditions for happiness, our joy is not complete.
- Birth is okay, and death is okay, if we know that they are only concepts in our mind. Reality transcends both birth and death.
- We have a finite amount of energy to spend every day before becoming exhausted. Mindfulness helps you use your energy wisely, spending it on situations, people, and causes that bring you the most joy, meaning, and peace.
- Many people think excitement is happiness…. But when you are excited you are not peaceful. True happiness is based on peace.
- What prevents you from following your good intentions?
- Without suffering, there’s no happiness. So, we shouldn’t discriminate against the mud. We have to learn how to embrace and cradle our own suffering and the suffering of the world, with a lot of tenderness.
- Every thought you produce, anything you say, any action you do, it bears your signature.
- 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.
- 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.
Inspiring Mindfulness Quotes by Thich Nhat Hanh to Live a More Meaningful Life
- Mindfulness helps you go home to the present. And every time you go there and recognize a condition of happiness that you have, happiness comes
- Not talking, by itself, already can bring a significant degree of peace. If we can also offer ourselves the deeper silence of not thinking, we can find, in that quiet, a wonderful lightness and freedom.
- Through my love for you, I want to express my love for the whole cosmos, the whole of humanity, and all beings. By living with you, I want to learn to love everyone and all species. If I succeed in loving you, I will be able to love everyone and all species on Earth… This is the real message of love.
- Changing is not just changing the things outside of us. First of all we need the right view that transcends all notions including of being and non-being, creator and creature, mind and spirit. That kind of insight is crucial for transformation and healing.
- Every one of us already has the seed of mindfulness. The practice is to cultivate it.
- You must love in such a way that the person you love feels free.
- 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.
- The source of love is deep in us and we can help others realize a lot of happiness. One word, one action, one thought can reduce another person’s suffering and bring that person joy.
- Mindfulness is like that—it is the miracle which can call back in a flash our dispersed mind and restore it to wholeness so that we can live each minute of life.
- Love needs to be nurtured and fed to survive; and our suffering also survives because we enable and feed it. We ruminate on suffering, regret, and sorrow. We chew on them, swallow them, bring them back up, and eat them again and again. If we’re feeding our suffering while we’re walking, working, eating, or talking, we are making ourselves victims of the ghosts of the past, of the future, or our worries in the present. We’re not living our lives.
- The energies of mindfulness, concentration and insight can liberate us from our anxiety and worries. We let go of the past and the future and come in touch with the wonders of the present.
- A true partner or friend is one who encourages you to look deep inside yourself for the beauty and love you’ve been seeking.
- Anger is like a storm rising up from the bottom of your consciousness. When you feel it coming, turn your focus to your breath.
- In true love, there is no pride.
- Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.
- Your breathing should flow gracefully, like a river, like a water snake crossing the water, and not like a chain of rugged mountains or the gallop of a horse. To master our breath is to be in control of our bodies and minds. Each time we find ourselves dispersed and find it difficult to gain control of ourselves by different means, the method of watching the breath should always be used.
- The secret of Buddhism is to remove all ideas, all concepts, in order for the truth to have a chance to penetrate, to reveal itself.
- We need to be aware of the suffering, but retain our clarity, calmness and strength so we can help transform the situation.
- Usually when we hear or read something new, we just compare it to our own ideas. If it is the same, we accept it and say that it is correct. If it is not, we say it is incorrect. In either case, we learn nothing.
- We have to continue to learn. We have to be open. And we have to be ready to release our knowledge in order to come to a higher understanding of reality.
- You have to learn how to help a wounded child while still practicing mindful breathing. You should not allow yourself to get lost in action. Action should be meditation at the same time.
- There are thousands of channels in our consciousness; it is up to us to choose the channel.
- Breathing in, I’m aware of the painful feeling in me. Breathing out, I’m aware of the painful feeling in me. This is an art. We have to learn it, because most of us don’t like to be with our pain. We’re afraid of being overwhelmed by the pain, so we always seek to run away from it. There’s loneliness, fear, anger, and despair in us. Mostly we try to cover it up by consuming. There are those of us who go and look for something to eat. Others turn on the television. In fact, many people do both at the same time. And even if the TV program isn’t interesting at all, we don’t have the courage to turn it off, because if we turn it off, we have to go back to ourselves and encounter the pain inside. The marketplace provides us with many items to help us in our effort to avoid the suffering inside.
- Just by breathing deeply on your anger, you will calm it. You are being mindful of your anger, not suppressing it…touching it with the energy of mindfulness. You are not denying it at all. When I speak about this to psychotherapists, I have some difficulty. When I say that anger makes us suffer, they take it to mean that anger is something negative to be removed. But I always say that anger is an organic thing, like love. Anger can become love. Our compost can become a rose. If we know how to take care of our compost…Anger is the same. It can be negative when we do not know how to handle it, but if we know how to handle our anger, it can be very positive. We do not need to throw anything away,
- People kill and are killed because they cling too tightly to their own beliefs and ideologies. When we believe that ours is the only faith that contains the truth, violence and suffering will surely be the result.
Top Thich Nhat Hanh Sayings on Hope, Anger, and Peace
- Anyone can practice some nonviolence, even soldiers. Some army generals, for example, conduct their operations in ways that avoid killing innocent people; this is a kind of nonviolence. To help soldiers move in the nonviolent direction, we have to be in touch with them. If we divide reality into two camps – the violent and the nonviolent – and stand in one camp while attacking the other, the world will never have peace. We will always blame and condemn those we feel are responsible for wars and social injustice, without recognizing the degree of violence in ourselves. We must work on ourselves and also with those we condemn if we want to have a real impact.
- Preventing war is much better than protesting against the war. Protesting the war is too late.
- It never helps to draw a line and dismiss some people as enemies, even those who act violently. We have to approach them with love in our hearts and do our best to help them move in a direction of nonviolence. If we work for peace out of anger, we will never succeed. Peace is not an end. It can never come about through non-peaceful means.
- It’s very important that we re-learn the art of resting and relaxing. Not only does it help prevent the onset of many illnesses that develop through chronic tension and worrying; it allows us to clear our minds, focus, and find creative solutions to problems.
- Nonviolent action, born of the awareness of suffering and nurtured by love, is the most effective way to confront adversity.
- What you are looking for is already in you…You already are everything you are seeking.
- Be Yourself. Life is precious as it is. All the elements for your happiness are already here. There is no need to run, strive, search, or struggle. Just Be.
- When you look at the sun during your walking meditation, the mindfulness of the body helps you to see that the sun is in you; without the sun there is no life at all and suddenly you get in touch with the sun in a different way.
- Your purpose is to be yourself. You don’t have to run anywhere to become someone else. You are wonderful just as you are.
- Life is available only in the present. That is why we should walk in such a way that every step can bring us to the here and the now.
- The earth is so beautiful. We are beautiful also. We can allow ourselves to walk mindfully, touching the earth, our wonderful mother, with each step. We don’t need to wish our friends, ‘Peace be with you.’ Peace is already with them. We only need to help them cultivate the habit of touching peace in each moment.
- If a child smiles, if an adult smile, that is very important. If in our daily lives 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.
- 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.
- Breathe in deeply to bring your mind home to your body. Then look at, or think of, the person triggering this emotion: With mindfulness, you can see that she is unhappy, that she is suffering. You can see her wrong perceptions. You can see that she is not beautiful when she says things that are unkind.
- Every breath we take, every step we make, can be filled with peace, joy and serenity.
- 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.
- 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.
- If you do not know how to take care of yourself, and the violence in you, then you will not be able to take care of others. You must have love and patience before you can truly listen to your partner or child. If you are irritated, you cannot listen. You have to know how to breath mindfully, embrace your irritation and transform it. Offer ONLY understand and compassion to your partner or child – This is the true practice of love.
- When you look deeply into your anger, you will see that the person you call your enemy is also suffering. As soon as you see that, the capacity of accepting and having compassion for them is there.
- When a person’s speech is full of anger, it is because he or she suffers deeply.
- Impermanence and selflessness are not negative aspect of life, but the very foundation on which life is built. Impermanence is the constant transformation of things. Without impermanence, there can be no life. Selflessness is the interdependent nature of all things. Without interdependence, nothing could exist.
- True self is non-self, the awareness that the self is made only of non-self-elements. There’s no separation between self and other, and everything is interconnected. Once you are aware of that you are no longer caught in the idea that you are a separate entity.
- If you truly get in touch with a piece of carrot, you get in touch with the soil, the rain, the sunshine. You get in touch with Mother Earth and eating in such a way, you feel in touch with true life, your roots, and that is meditation. If we chew every morsel of our food in that way, we become grateful and when you are grateful, you are happy.
- When we recognize the virtues, the talent, the beauty of Mother Earth, something is born in us, some kind of connection, love is born.