Present Mindedness

Don’t Miss the Flower – A Short Zen Story from Thich Nhat Hanh

One day the Buddha held up a flower in front of an audience of 1,250 monks and nuns.  He did not say anything for quite a long time.  The audience was perfectly silent.  Everyone seemed to be thinking hard, trying to see the meaning behind the Buddha’s gesture.

Then, suddenly, the Buddha smiled.  He smiled because someone in the audience smiled at him and at the flower.  The name of that monk was Mahakashyapa.  He was the only person who smiled, and the Buddha smiled back and said, “I have a treasure of insight, and I have transmitted it to Mahakashyapa.”

That story has been discussed by many generations of Zen students, and people continue to look for its meaning.  To me the meaning is quite simple.  When someone holds up a flower and shows it to you, he wants you to see it.  If you keep thinking, you miss the flower.  The person who was not thinking, who was just himself, was able to encounter the flower in depth, and he smiled.

That is the problem of life.  If we are not fully ourselves, truly in the present moment, we miss everything.  When a child presents himself to you with his smile, if you are not really there—thinking about the future or the past, or preoccupied with other problems—then the child is not really there for you.  The technique of being alive is to go back to yourself in order for the child to appear like a marvelous reality.  Then you can see him smile and you can embrace him in your arms.

—— —— ——

If you enjoyed this story you can find more quotes, resources, and info from the book below:

Peace is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh

By: Thich Nhat Hanh

Book Overview: 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. For him a ringing telephone can be a signal to call us back to our true selves. Dirty dishes, red lights, and traffic jams are spiritual friends on the path to “mindfulness”—the process of keeping our consciousness alive to our present experience and reality. The most profound satisfactions, the deepest feelings of joy and completeness lie as close at hand as our next aware breath and the smile we can form right now.

Post(s) Inspired by this Book:  13 Powerful Thich Nhat Hanh Quotes on Happiness, Anger, and Peace  ///  Focus on what’s going RIGHT – The Power of Mindfulness [VIDEO].

Quotes from Book! Buy from Amazon!
 

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

Thich Nhat Hanh

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: Continue reading

 

Peace is Every Step

Peace is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh

By: Thich Nhat Hanh

Book Overview: 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. For him a ringing telephone can be a signal to call us back to our true selves. Dirty dishes, red lights, and traffic jams are spiritual friends on the path to “mindfulness”—the process of keeping our consciousness alive to our present experience and reality. The most profound satisfactions, the deepest feelings of joy and completeness lie as close at hand as our next aware breath and the smile we can form right now.

Post(s) Inspired by this Book:  13 Powerful Thich Nhat Hanh Quotes on Happiness, Anger, and Peace  ///  Focus on what’s going RIGHT – The Power of Mindfulness [VIDEO].  /// Don’t Miss the Flower – A Short Zen Story from Thich Nhat Hanh

Quotes from Book! Buy from Amazon!
 

“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.  But that is the most that hope can do for us—to make some hardship lighter.  When I think deeply about the nature of hope, I see something tragic.  Since we cling to our hope in the future, we do not focus our energies and capabilities on the present moment.  We use hope to believe something better will happen in the future, that we will arrive at peace, or the Kingdom of God.  Hope becomes a kind of obstacle.  If you can refrain from hoping, you can bring yourself entirely into the present moment and discover the joy that is already here.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace is Every Step

 

“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.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace is Every Step

 

“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.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace is Every Step

 

“Our culture is so focused on progress that we frequently don’t experience our own lives just as they are here and now.  But the world will always be exactly as it is in each moment.  It’s astonishing how much time and energy we expend in trying to deny this simple fact.  This doesn’t imply passivity.  Our visions and ideals are also part of this moment.  Everything changes, no matter how slowly, and we can act to alleviate suffering.  Yet if plans for the future are not balanced with acceptance and joy in this moment, just as it is, our lives go unlived.  The challenge is to work with our lives as they are rather than imagine that things are different.  If we can learn to soften our aversions and desires, our lives might become less frantic and more spacious.” ~ Robert Kull, Solitude

 

“What is the secret to the art of life?  The secret is this – live in full awareness.  Don’t grope in the darkness; don’t walk in sleep; walk in awareness.  Whatsoever you do, no matter what it is – even if it is as insignificant as opening and closing your eyes – do it thoughtfully, do it with awareness.  Who knows, everything may depend on that tiny action, on opening and closing your eyes.  You may be walking along the road and see a woman, and you may spend your whole life with her!  Even opening and closing your eyes, stay alert.” ~ Osho, The Art of Living and Dying

 

You Have 60 Seconds Left To Live. Does That Change The Way You Look At The World?

Take a look at the world around you…

No, seriously.  Look up from the screen and look at the world around you for just a quick minute.

Good.  Now, take a minute to think about how you would look at the same surroundings if I told you you had 60 seconds left to live.

…59 …58 …57

…And you weren’t allowed to do anything but soak in the world through your senses.

No calls.  No actions.  No wishes.

The world would look very different wouldn’t it?

As creatures of habit we spend the majority of our days following generally the same routines which, through their repetitive nature, desaturate the beauty and awe of life that is packed into every moment we’re alive.

If we let it.

…46 …45 …44

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