13 Powerful Thich Nhat Hanh Quotes on Happiness, Anger, and Peace

13 Powerful Thich Nhat Hanh Quotes on Happiness, Anger, and Peace

Solutions to universal challenges we all face as humans.

In the rush of modern life, we tend to lose touch with the peace that is available in each moment. World-renowned Zen master, spiritual leader, and author Thich Nhat Hanh shows us how to make positive use of the very situations that usually pressure and antagonize us.  In his book, Peace is Every Step, Thich Nhat Hanh discusses solutions and action steps to universal challenges and issues that we face as humans.  These challenges and issues include: overcoming anxiety, fear, and depression and how to feel more fulfilled, calm, and happy in the present moment; understanding anger and learning how to live in a more compassionate, blissful state; and bringing peace to both our inner and outer worlds with every step we take in life.

One of the fundamental lessons that Thich Nhat Hanh communicates in his book is that any large scale change – on a community or global level – must (and always) starts with the individual.  Peace work is not a means, Nhat Hanh reminds us, it is the way.  In the forward to the book, the Dalai Lama introduces this point and discusses the importance of becoming a more compassionate, mindful, and peaceful person and the ripples that our actions have on the larger scale.  He says:

“Although attempting to bring about world peace through the internal transformation of individuals is difficult, it is the only way.  Wherever I go, I express this, and I am encouraged that people from many different walks of life receive it well.  Peace must first be developed within an individual.  And I believe that love, compassion, and altruism are the fundamental basis for peace.  Once these qualities are developed within an individual, he or she is then able to create an atmosphere of peace and harmony.  This atmosphere can be expanded and extended from the individual to his family, from the family to the community and eventually to the whole world.”

Below, you will find 13 of the most powerful Thich Nhat Hanh quotes we found from reading his book.  We encourage you to drink deeply from his words and reflect on ways you might be able to adopt these principles in your life.  If you find yourself moved by any of these thoughts, share your reflections in the comment section below – you never know who you might influence!  Enjoy 🙂

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The List:  13 Powerful Thich Nhat Hanh Quotes on Happiness, Anger, and Peace:

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#13

“We can realize peace right in the present moment with our look, our smile, our words, and our actions.  Peace work is not a means.  Each step we make should be peace.  Each step we make should be joy.  Each step we make should be happiness.  If we are determined , we can do it.  We don’t need the future.  We can smile and relax.  Everything we want is right here in the present moment.”

#12

“Enlightenment, peace, and joy will not be granted by someone else.  The well is within us, and if we dig deeply in the present moment, the water will spring forth.  We must go back to the present moment in order to be really alive.”

#11

“In our daily lives, we may see the people around us, but if we lack mindfulness, they are just phantoms, not real people, and we ourselves are also ghosts.  Practicing mindfulness enables us to become a real person.  When we are a real person, we see real people around us, and life is present in all its richness.”

#10

“The foundation of happiness is mindfulness.  The basic condition for being happy is our consciousness of being happy.  If we are not aware that we are happy, we are not really happy.  When we have a toothache, we know that not having a toothache is a wonderful thing.  But when we do not have a toothache, we are still not happy.  A non-toothache is very pleasant.  There are so many things that are enjoyable, but when we don’t practice mindfulness, we don’t appreciate them.  When we practice mindfulness, we come to cherish these things and we learn how to protect them.  By taking good care of the present moment, we take good care of the future.  Working for peace in the future is to work for peace in the present moment.”

#9

“We often ask, ‘What’s wrong?’ Doing so, we invite painful seeds of sorrow to come up and manifest.  We feel suffering, anger, and depression, and produce more such seeds.  We would be much happier if we tried to stay in touch with the healthy, joyful seeds inside of us and around us.  We should learn to ask, ‘What’s not wrong?’ and be in touch with that.  There are so many elements in the world and within our bodies, feelings, perceptions, and consciousness that are wholesome, refreshing, and healing.  If we block ourselves, if we stay in the prison of our sorrow, we will not be in touch with these healing elements.”

#8

“Anger is rooted in our lack of understanding of ourselves and of the causes, deep-seated as well as immediate, that brought about this unpleasant state of affairs.  Anger is also rooted in desire, pride, agitation, and suspicion.  The primary roots of our anger are in ourselves.  Our environment and other people are only secondary.  It is not difficult for us to accept the enormous damage brought about by a natural disaster, such as an earthquake or a flood.  But when damage is caused by another person, we don’t have much patience.  We know that earthquakes and floods have causes, and we should see that the person who has precipitated our anger also has reasons, deep-seated and immediate, for what he has done.”

#7

“If we become angry at our anger, we will have two angers at the same time.  We only have to observe it with love and attention.  If we take care of our anger in this way, without trying to run away from it, it will transform itself.  This is peacemaking.  If we are peaceful in ourselves, we can make peace with our anger.  We can deal with depression, anxiety, fear, or any unpleasant feeling in the same way.”

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Thich Nhat Hanh Quotes on Happiness, Anger, and Peace

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#6

“Someone who speaks badly to us may have been spoken to in exactly the same way just the day before, or by his alcoholic father when he was a child.  When we see and understand these kinds of causes, we can begin to be free from our anger.  I am not saying that someone who viciously attacks us should not be disciplined.  But what is most important is that we first take care of the seeds of negativity in ourselves.  Then if someone needs to be helped or disciplined, we will do so out of compassion, not anger and retribution.  If we genuinely try to understand the suffering of another person, we are more likely to act in a way that will help him overcome his suffering and confusion, and that will help all of us.”

#5

“Even if we have a lot of money in the bank, we can die very easily from our suffering.  So, investing in a friend, making a friend into a real friend, building a community of friends, is a much better source of security.  We will have someone to lean on, to come to, during our difficult moments.”

#4

“We have to continue to practice mindfulness and reconciliation until we can see a child’s body of skin and bones in Uganda or Ethiopia as our own, until the hunger and pain in the bodies of all species are our own.  Then we will have realized nondiscrimination, real love.  Then we can look at all beings with the eyes of compassion, and we can do the real work to help alleviate suffering.”

#3

“The source of love is deep in us, and we can help others realize a lot of happiness.  One word, one action, or one thought can reduce another person’s suffering and bring him joy.  One word can give comfort and confidence, destroy doubt, help someone avoid a mistake, reconcile a conflict, or open the door to liberation.  One action can save a person’s life or help him take advantage of a rare opportunity.  One thought can do the same, because thoughts always lead to words and actions.  If love is in our heart, every thought, word, and deed can bring about a miracle.”

#2

“Consciousness exists on two levels: as seeds and as manifestations of these seeds.  Suppose we have a seed of anger in us.  When conditions are favorable, that seed may manifest as a zone of energy called anger.  It is burning, and it makes us suffer a lot.  It is very difficult for us to be joyful at the moment the seed of anger manifests.  Every time a seed has an occasion to manifest itself, it produces new seeds of the same kind.  If we are angry for five minutes, new seeds of anger are produced and deposited in the soil of our unconscious mind during those five minutes.  That is why we have to be careful in selecting the kind of life we lead and the emotions we express.  When I smile, the seeds of smiling and joy have come up.  As long as they manifest, new seeds of smiling and joy are planted.  But if I don’t practice smiling for a number of years, that seed will weaken, and I may not be able to smile anymore.”

#1

“We can smile, breathe, walk, and eat our meals in a way that allows us to be in touch with the abundance of happiness that is available.  We are very good at preparing to live, but not very good at living.  We know how to sacrifice ten years for a diploma, and we are willing to work very hard to get a job, a car, a house, and so on.  But we have difficulty remembering that we are alive in the present moment, the only moment there is for us to be alive.  Every breath we take, every step we make, can be filled with peace, joy, and serenity.  We need only to be awake, alive in the present moment.”

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If you enjoyed our list of Thich Nhat Hanh quotes you can find more quotes, resources, and info from the book below:

Peace is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh

Book Overview: Lucidly and beautifully written, Peace Is Every Step contains commentaries and meditations, personal anecdotes and stories from Nhat Hanh’s experiences as a peace activist, teacher, and community leader. It begins where the reader already is—in the kitchen, office, driving a car, walking a part—and shows how deep meditative presence is available now. Nhat Hanh provides exercises to increase our awareness of our own body and mind through conscious breathing, which can bring immediate joy and peace. Nhat Hanh also shows how to be aware of relationships with others and of the world around us, its beauty and also its pollution and injustices. The deceptively simple practices of Peace Is Every Step encourage the reader to work for peace in the world as he or she continues to work on sustaining inner peace by turning the “mindless” into the mindFUL.

All Quotes from Book Buy from Amazon
 

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