9 Life Lessons from Thich Nhat Hanh

1. “Some people live as though they are already dead. There are people moving around us who are consumed by their past, terrified of their future, and stuck in their anger and jealousy. They are not alive; they are just walking corpses.”


This is a particularly harsh lesson from Thich Nhat Hanh where he really wants to emphasize the importance of living in the moment. When we become preoccupied with negative feelings about the future and past it makes it impossible to do our best in the present moment.

Worrying about things that we cannot change puts us out of control of the present moment, so in a sense we are dead when we do not work in the now. So release your worries.
Image Credit: www.buddhaweekly.com

2. “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.”

It is so easy for us demonize and blame others for complex problems. Yet when the tables turn and we do something wrong we justify it with the numerous factors that led to the incident. We should extend the same courtesy to all others giving them the same compassion we would want to receive when making a mistake.

3. “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 you 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.”

Just because you live in the moment, doesn’t mean that you should not ever consider the future and past. The past offers us a lot of wisdom. We have to plan for our future to live responsibly. To live in the moment means just to not get swept away by the future and past, so that we forget to experience the beauty of the present. 


4. “People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.” 


We can often get caught up in the difficulty of our current set of problems, so that we don’t want to branch out and grow. No matter what improvements or changes we make in our lives there will always be problems, but often we prefer those problems that we already know how to manage.
We should not let our fear of the unfamiliar inhibit us from growing.
 5. “Every thought you produce, anything you say, any action you do, it bears your signature.”

Think carefully about what you say, do and think, because these are the things that form your identity. Living mindfully also means to live carefully to work towards creating an identity where you wouldn’t mind your signature being on everything you produce.

6. “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.”

Holding onto knowledge and ideals does not let us to explore. Keeping open to the world of different perspective we may find we learn a lot. It will also help us grow compassion for others, who are a lot more like us then we think they are in reality.

7. “Every sliver of carrot needed the sun, the water, the air, the care of another human being. Imagine the effort to grow that carrot, take it from the earth, pack it, cut it and get it here for you. Pay tribute to that. Chew mindfully. At times, close your eyes and pay homage to the carrot. Think of the nourishment it needed to be and the nourishment it’s providing as a gift for your body.”

Every small activity of the day is filled with wonder. By learning to take note of all the complexities of the luxuries of everyday life, we get a great appreciation for the abundance that we live in. This leads to not desiring so many additional things since we already have so much.

8. “Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” 

Our body can have a great deal of influence on our mood. To carry one’s self with confidence and happiness can help bring the brain out of a rut. Next time you are feeling down, stand up straight and smile to help improve your mood.

9. “My actions are my only true belongings.” 


Things come and go, but what determines the course of our lives is the way we act. Choose wisely when making decisions for actions and inactions, because these are the things that permanently alter the course of our lives and those around us.

Source & Credit: www.guidedmind.com

20 Life-Changing Buddhist Lessons You NEED In Your Life

Source:blog.sivanaspirit.com

1) Love heals everything

“Hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by love; this is the eternal rule.”


2) What you do defines you, not what you say

“A man is not called wise because he talks and talks again; but if he is peaceful, loving and fearless then he is in truth called wise.”
“A dog is not considered a good dog because he is a good barker. A man is not considered a good man because he is a good talker.”

3) Don’t believe everything

“Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”

credit:blog.sivanaspirit.com


4) What you think you become

“All that we are is the result of what we have thought: it is founded on our thoughts and made up of our thoughts. If a man speak or act with an evil thought, suffering follows him as the wheel follows the hoof of the beast that draws the wagon…. If a man speak or act with a good thought, happiness follows him like a shadow that never leaves him.”

5) Living fully in the now is the secret of well-being

“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”
“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, nor to worry about the future, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly.”

6) Awaken yourself by looking within

“The way is not in the sky. The way is in the heart.”

7) Words can be a double-edged sword

“Words have the power to both destroy and heal. When words are both true and kind, they can change our world.”

8) Learn to control your mind, or it will control you

“To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one’s family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one’s own mind. If a man can control his mind he can find the way to Enlightenment, and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come to him.”
“It is a man’s own mind, not his enemy or foe, that lures him to evil ways.”

9) You must walk your own path

“No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.”

10) Happiness never decreases by being shared

“Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”

11) Kindness should be given to everyone

“Resolve to be tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant with the weak and wrong. Sometime in your life, you will have been all of these.”
“Have compassion for all beings, rich and poor alike; each has their suffering. Some suffer too much, others too little.”
“Teach this triple truth to all: A generous heart, kind speech, and a life of service and compassion are the things which renew humanity.”

12) Let it go and watch your suffering leave you

“You only lose what you cling to.”

13) Spirituality is a necessity

“Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, men cannot live without a spiritual life.”

14) Let go of fear

“The whole secret of existence is to have no fear. Never fear what will become of you, depend on no one. Only the moment you reject all help are you freed.”

15) The truth always comes out

“Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.”

16) Knowing yourself is priceless, profound knowledge

“It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell.”

17) Doubt destroys, trust unites

“There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.”

18) You are deserving of your own love

“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”

19. Replace jealousy with admiration

“Do not be jealous of others’ good qualities, but out of admiration adopt them yourself.”

20. Love and let go

“In the end these things matter most: How well did you love? How fully did you live? How deeply did you let go?”

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