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.”
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: Continue reading
“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.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace is Every Step
“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.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace is Every Step
“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 happiest moments in our lives are when we are playing just like children, when we are singing and dancing, when we are exploring and creating just for fun. It is wonderful when we behave like a child because this is the normal human mind, the normal human tendency. As children, we are innocent and it is natural for us to express love. But what has happened to us? What has happened to the whole world?” ~ Don Miguel Ruiz, The Mastery of Love
“Living clearly and presently takes courage. Don’t live in the haze of the abstract, live with the tangible and real, even if – especially if – it’s uncomfortable. Be part of what’s going on around you. Feast on it, adjust for it. There’s no one to perform for. There is just work to be done and lessons to be learned, in all that is around us.” ~ Ryan Holiday, Ego is the Enemy
“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
“The aliveness, peace, beauty, and love I seek are never out there, but always right here right now.” ~ Robert Kull, Solitude
“And that’s the trick. Somehow in looking back, almost any situation seems to have been ok. The challenge is to live that acceptance in the present, not just in memory.” ~ Robert Kull, Solitude
“Less and less memories will come as the time moves. There will be gaps – you would like to relive something but nothing is coming – and those gaps are beautiful. Then a day will come when you will not be able to move backwards because everything is complete. When you cannot move backwards, only then do you move forwards. Be finished with the past. As you become freer from the past, the mountain starts disappearing. And then you will attain unison: you will become, by and by, one.” ~ Osho, The Art of Living and Dying