When you think of the teachers who’ve had the greatest impact on your life, who comes to mind?
For me, it’s the calm, the humble, the patient—the people who not only imparted useful life lessons but also embodied their message with their grace and equanimity. My grandmother and other people I had the privilege of knowing personally brought clarity and peace to my life, as did others like Thich Nhat Hanh, who I didn’t know.
Thay, as his students called him, was a Vietnamese Zen monk, author, poet, peacemaker, and founder of the “engaged Buddhism” movement—the act of leveraging our personal healing to help transform the world.
Known as the “father of mindfulness,” Thay had a gift for helping others liberate themselves from their afflictions and find joy in the present.
He said that mindfulness can be practiced both in the easy and difficult moments. This will help you understand and change your suffering. And that this is the key to serving others—because we can only help the people around us if we first help ourselves.
Whether you’re already familiar with Thay’s teachings or you’re looking for new tools to help free your mind, I have a feeling you’ll appreciate this free gift from Sounds True: Living Without Stress or Fear, an audio series of Thich Nhat Hanh dharma talks.
His words will soothe, support, and bring you peace.
Here are ten of my favourite Thich Nhat Hanh quotations:
“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 possession—we cannot be free.”
“I come here empty-handed, and I go empty-handed. My actions are my only true belongings.”
“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.”
“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.”
“We have more possibilities available in each moment than we realize.”
“Our notions about happiness entrap us. They are only ideas. It is possible to be unhappy if we believe that happiness should take a particular form. 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.”
“Even though things are not as we would like, we can still be content, knowing we are trying our best and will continue to do so.”
“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.”
“There is the mud, and there is the lotus that grows out of the mud. We need the mud in order to make the lotus.”
“If you take a handful of salt and pour it into a small bowl of water, the water in the bowl will be too salty to drink. But if you pour the same amount of salt into a large river, people will still be able to drink the river’s water. Your heart will suffer if you are small. But if your heart is large, if you have understanding and compassion, that word or deed will not have the power to make you suffer.”
About Lori Deschene
Tiny Buddha was founded by Lori Deschene. She’s also the author of Tiny Buddha’s Gratitude Journal, Tiny Buddha’s Worry Journal, and other books and co-founder of Recreate Your Life Story, an online course that helps you let go of the past and live a life you love. For daily wisdom, join the Tiny Buddha list here. You can also follow Tiny Buddha on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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Tiny Buddha’s first post, Free Thich Nhat Hanh Audio Series. Living Without Stress and Fear appeared on Tiny Buddha.