Tag Archives: Thich Nhat Hanh


 photo Waking up this morning..._zps3jx4ijlt.jpg

“Set Your Intention & Rejoice in Your Day”.

I’ve been trying to start each day with an Intention, and words/verses like these are always inspiring and helpful.

I’ve also discovered that setting an Intention for the day isn’t the most difficult part – the most difficult part is at the END of the day, when I reflect and perhaps find that I’ve been less than successful in aligning EVERY MOMENT of the day with my Intention.

It takes a whole lot of loving-kindness and self-compassion to stay with the urge to tell myself “you’ve failed” and not actually succumbing to it, and allowing the mind to let in the thought: “we continue to strive on.”

And we do.

A Marco View of Moments

“We know very well that the present moment is the only moment when we can get in touch with life. The past is not here anymore; the past no longer contains life. And the future isn’t here yet. The past isn’t something real, the future isn’t real either. Only the present moment is real. So the practice is getting in touch with the present moment, making ourselves available to the present moment, establishing ourselves in the present moment, then we can touch life, and really live our life. And that is done with one step, it is done with one breath, with one cup of tea, one breakfast, it’s done with one sound  of the bell. And all of that brings us back to the present moment so that we can live our life.”
-Thich Nhat Hanh
Have you ever sat and watched the Moments, marveling at how the transit from Real to Unreal, from future, present to past? As if we have a Marco Lens of Time, and we are looking deeply into the fluidity of moments, coming, being, and going at the exact point in time we realize they are there. Sometimes, when I am waiting for the bus, standing in the queue, I see the moments pass like this, and it brings some peace and joy. To be a part of that fluidity, and to remind myself that everything – both pleasant and unpleasant – too shall pass.



Body Scan and Mindfulness

I first heard of the phrase “body scan” a few months ago at a mindfulness session. It’s not unlike yoga practice, where we are taught to be aware of our body and breathing.

Then I recently I read this in a book by Thich Nhat Hanh, and feel much clearer about the approach, nuances and benefits of such a practice.

“To practice mindfulness of the body, you might like to lie down and practice total relaxation. Allow your body to rest, and then be mindful of your forehead. “Breathing in, I am aware of my forehead. Breathing out, I smile to me forehead.” Use the energy of mindfulness to embrace your forehead, your brain, your eyes, your ears, and your nose. Each time you breathe in, become aware of one part of your body, and every time you breathe out, smile to that part of your body. Use the energies of mindfulness and love to embrace each part. Embrace your heart, your lungs, and your stomach. “Breathing in, I am aware of my heart. Breathing out, I embrace my heart.” Practice scanning your body with the light of mindfulness and smiling to each part of your body with compassion and love.  When you finish scanning in this way, you will feel wonderful. It takes only half and hour, and your body will rest deeply during those thirty minutes. Please take good care of your body, allowing it to rest and embracing it with tenderness, compassion, mindfulness and love. 

Learn to look at our body as a river in which every cell is a drop of water. In every moment, cells are born and cells die. Birth and death support each other. To practice mindfulness of the body, follow your breathing and focus your attention on each part of the body, from the hair on your head to the soles of your feet. Breathe mindfully an embrace each part of the body with mindfulness, smiling to it with recognition and love. Identify the form elements in your body: earth, water, air and heat. See the connection of these four elements inside and outside of your body. See the living presence of your ancestors and future generations, as well as the presence of all other beings in the animal, vegetal and mineral realms. Become aware of the positions of your body (standing, sitting, walking, lying down) and it’s movements (bending, stretching, taking a shower, getting dressed, eating, etc.). When we master this practice, we will be able to be aware of our feelings and our perceptions as they arise, and we will be able to practice looking deeply into them.” 

Being aware of our emotions even as they are arising will drastically reduce the chances and frequency of us reacting to them without control. It’s definitely something I would like to work towards and cultivate in my work and life.

Buddha Mind Buddha Body

When we know that our suffering, hatred and fear are organic, we don’t try to run away from them. We know that if we practice, we can transform them and they can nourish our happiness and well-being. Meditation is grounded in the insight of nonduality – nonduality between good and evil, suffering and happiness. So the method of handling our suffering is always nonviolent. When you accept the non-dualistic nature of reality, your way becomes nonviolent. You don’t feel the need to fight against your anger or fear anymore, because you see that your anger and your fear are you. So you try to handle them in the most tender way. There’s no fighting anymore. There’s only the practice to transform and take care. Anger and fear should be taken care of in the way that best gives them the chance to turn into love and compassion. In this way, the nondualistic foundation of meditation gives rise to the nonviolent way of practice. You handle your body and feelings in the most nonviolent way. If you’re caught in the dualistic view, you suffer – you’ll be angry at your body and your feelings. You’re trying to run away, looking for something that keeps you from being in touch with your emotions. But happiness cannot be without suffering, the left cannot be without the right. 
To say that either “you’re with us or you’re with the terrorists” – shows that you’re profoundly attached to the dualistic view. It’s like saying, if you’re not a Christian, you’re against Christ. That’s not sound theology. To say if you’re not with the Buddha, you’re against the Buddha, is also not correct. In the teaching and practice of Buddhism we are reminded that the Buddha was a living being and that there is no distinction between Buddha and living beings.
We live in a time when meditation is no longer just an individual practice. We have to practice together as a community, as a nation, as a planet. If we really want peace to be possible, then we should look at reality in such a way that there is no separation. It’s so important to train ourselves to look in a nondualistic way. We know from our own experience that if the other person is not happy, it’s very difficult for us to be happy. The other person may be your daughter, your partner, your friend, your mother, your son, your neighbor. The other person may be the Christian community, the Jewish community, the Buddhist community, or the Islamic community. Because we know that safety and peace aren’t individual matters, we will naturally act for the collective good. Anything we do to help our friends, neighbors and other countries to be safer, to be respected, benefits us as well. Otherwise we are caught in our arrogance, and our dualistic view causes us to act in ways that will continue to destroy ourselves and destroy the world. 
I couldn’t help but be reminded of Ishmael again, especially when I read the last quoted line. If we continue to see the world as an adversity to be conquered, then we are naturally heading towards the path of total destruction, both of the world and ourselves. But if we realize the fact (which is unchanging regardless whether we believe it or not) that we are not separate from the world or each other, that we are really all beads on the same string, and work towards collective good, then… Life might still stand a chance.
Good read.