30 Life Changing Lessons to Learn from Thích Nhất Hạnh


When I think of Thích Nhất Hạnh, words like – stillness, love, compassion, peace and oneness, come to mind. And even though these are some really beautiful and powerful words, they somehow can’t really express the beautiful, pure and loving feelings that I get from reading Thích Nhất Hạnh’s books and watching his beautiful videos.


Thích Nhất Hạnh is someone who’s work I truly love and admire , and even though there are many beautiful lessons we can all learn from this wonderful and loving soul, today I will share 30 of these life changing lessons with you. Trusting that they will nurture your mind and soul and bring a lot of peace and happiness into your life.

Here are 30 Life Changing Lessons to Learn from Thích Nhất Hạnh:

01. Never underestimate the power of a kind word, a touch, or a smile.

“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.”

“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.

“I promise myself that I will enjoy every minute of the day that is given me to live.”

02If you love someone, the greatest gift you can give them is your presence.

“If you love someone but rarely make yourself available to him or her, that is not true love.”

“The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.”

03Keeping your body healthy is an expression of gratitude to the whole cosmos.

“Keeping your body healthy is an expression of gratitude to the whole cosmos — the trees, the clouds, everything.”

04To be beautiful means to be yourself.

“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.”

05Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.

“When we walk like (we are rushing), we print anxiety and sorrow on the earth. We have to walk in a way that we only print peace and serenity on the earth… Be aware of the contact between your feet and the earth. Walk as if you are kissing the earth with your feet.”

“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.”

“Smile, breathe and go slowly.”

“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.”

06. Take time to relax and renew yourself.

“From time to time, to remind ourselves to relax and be peaceful, we may wish to set aside some time for a retreat, a day of mindfulness, when we can walk slowly, smile, drink tea with a friend, enjoy being together as if we are the happiest people on Earth.”

07Get in touch with yourself.

“In modern society most of us don’t want to be in touch with ourselves; we want to be in touch with other things like religion, sports, politics, a book – we want to forget ourselves. Anytime we have leisure, we want to invite something else to enter us, opening ourselves to the television and telling the television to come and colonize us.”

08As long as you’re alive, everything is possible.

“Thanks to impermanence, everything is possible.”

“Because you are alive, everything is possible.”

09When you have peace within, real peace with others is possible.

“We often think of peace as the absence of war, that if powerful countries would reduce their weapon arsenals, we could have peace. But if we look deeply into the weapons, we see our own minds- our own prejudices, fears and ignorance. Even if we transport all the bombs to the moon, the roots of war and the roots of bombs are still there, in our hearts and minds, and sooner or later we will make new bombs. To work for peace is to uproot war from ourselves and from the hearts of men and women. To prepare for war, to give millions of men and women the opportunity to practice killing day and night in their hearts, is to plant millions of seeds of violence, anger, frustration, and fear that will be passed on for generations to come. ”

“Root out the violence in your life, and learn to live compassionately and mindfully. Seek peace. When you have peace within, real peace with others is possible.”

10You are more than your sorrows.

“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.”

“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.”

11When another person makes you suffer, it only is because he suffers deeply within himself.

“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.”

12Blaming has no positive effect at all.

“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.”

13Never lose hope.

“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.”

14Let go of everything that no longer serves you and you will be happy.

“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.”

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

“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.”

15Never underestimate the power of a kind word, a touch, or a smile.

“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.”

“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.

“I promise myself that I will enjoy every minute of the day that is given me to live.”

16True love is free from bondage.

“If our love is only a will to possess, it is not love.”

“You must love in such a way that the person you love feels free.”

“In true love, you attain freedom.”

17Let go of 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 marvelously. Our eyes can still see the beautiful sky. Our ears can still hear the voices of our loved ones.”

“In order to rally people, governments need enemies. They want us to be afraid, to hate, so we will rally behind them. And if they do not have a real enemy, they will invent one in order to mobilize us.”

“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.”

18. Breathe yourself back to life.

“Breathing in, there is only the present moment. Breathing out, it is a wonderful moment.”

“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.”

19. Free yourself of concepts and keeps your mind open to what is.

“For things to reveal themselves to us, we need to be ready to abandon our views about them.”

“Attachment to views is the greatest impediment to the spiritual path.”

20Shift your focus from the negative on to the positive.

“I have noticed that people are dealing too much with the negative, with what is wrong. … Why not try the other way, to look into the patient and see positive things, to just touch those things and make them bloom?”

21Welcome all of your feelings, no matter if they are negative or positive.

“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.”

22The present moment is all you ever have.

“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.”

“The past is gone, the future is not yet here, and if we do not go back to ourselves in the present moment, we cannot be in touch with life.”

“Breathing in, I calm body and mind. Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment I know this is the only moment.”

“Life is available only in the present moment.”

“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.”

23 Love’s only interest is to love.

“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.”

24True happiness is based on peace.

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

“It is my conviction that there is no way to peace – peace is the way.”

25At the core level we are all ONE.

“We are here to awaken from our illusion of separateness.”

26. It may be that humankind has created God in the image of humankind.

“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.”

27Enlightenment is always available to you.

“Enlightenment is always there. Small enlightenment will bring great enlightenment. If you breathe in and are aware that you are alive—that you can touch the miracle of being alive—then that is a kind of enlightenment.”

28To have peace in the world we have to have to first peace between religions.

“Until there is peace between religions, there can be no peace in the world.”

29If you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors.

“If you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors. All of them are alive in this moment. Each is present in your body. You are the continuation of each of these people.”

30Life bursts with miracles.

“Around us, life bursts with miracles–a glass of water, a ray of sunshine, a leaf, a caterpillar, a flower, laughter, raindrops. If you live in awareness, it is easy to see miracles everywhere. Each human being is a multiplicity of miracles. Eyes that see thousands of colors, shapes, and forms; ears that hear a bee flying or a thunderclap; a brain that ponders a speck of dust as easily as the entire cosmos; a heart that beats in rhythm with the heartbeat of all beings. When we are tired and feel discouraged by life’s daily struggles, we may not notice these miracles, but they are always there.”

“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.”

“The kingdom of God is available to you in the here and the now. But the question is whether you are available to the kingdom. Our practice is to make ourselves ready for the kingdom so that it can manifest in the here and the now. You don’t need to die in order to enter the kingdom of heaven. In fact, you have to be truly alive in order to do so.”

What is your favorite quote from Thích Nhất Hạnh? What is one lesson you have learned from Thích Nhất Hạnh that really impacted and changed your life?  You can share your insights by joining the conversation in the comment section below.

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This post was republished from thousandthoughts.org. You can find the original post here.

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