Thich Nhat Hanh
The Order of Interbeing, Tiep Hien in Vietnamese, is a community of monastics and lay people who have committed to living their lives in accord with the Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings, a distillation of the Bodhisattva (Enlightened Being) teachings of Mahayana Buddhism. They were formed by Thich Nhat Hanh in the mid- 1960s, at a time when the Vietnam War was escalating and the teachings of the Buddha were desperately needed to combat the hatred, violence, and divisiveness enveloping his country. Today, there are more than four hundred members of the core community and many thousands of other worldwide who recite the Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings regularly .
I share these with you today as I dedicate myself to become one of the many thousand who recite them regularly. In fact, when I first read the Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings in Peace is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh, the first thought that came to my mind was, “How might I put these onto a poster so that I may read them daily?!” And then it got me thinking even further about making them a part of my morning ritual. I figure the way you start your day will determine how the rest of the day will flow and reading these principles puts me into an incredibly clear and compassionate state of mind. My belief is that they will do the same for you.
While pillow punching might seem like a good idea for, “letting off steam” and managing anger, hitting things while angry actually tends to have the opposite effect.
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Expressing anger is not always the best way to deal with it. In expressing anger we might be practicing or rehearsing it, and making it stronger in the depth of our consciousness. Expressing anger to the person we are angry at can cause a lot of damage.
Some of us may prefer to go into our room, lock the door, and punch a pillow. We call this “getting in touch with our anger.” But I don’t think this is getting in touch with our anger at all. In fact, I don’t think it is even getting in touch with our pillow.
Learning how to handle anger is a crucial skill not only for managing relationships with others, but for managing the relationship you have with yourself as well.
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Anger is an unpleasant feeling. It is like a blazing flame that burns up our self-control and causes us to say and do things that we regret later. When someone is angry, we can see clearly that he or she is abiding in hell. Anger and hatred are the materials from which hell is made. A mind without anger is cool, fresh, and sane. The absence of anger is the basis of real happiness, the basis of love and compassion.
When our anger is placed under the lamp of mindfulness, it immediately begins to lose some of its destructive nature. We can say to ourselves, “Breathing in, I know that anger is in me. Breathing out, I know that I am my anger.” If we follow our breathing closely while we identify and mindfully observe our anger, it can no longer monopolize our consciousness.
Awareness can be called upon to be a companion for our anger. Our awareness of our anger does not suppress it or drive it out. It just looks after it. This is a very important principle. Mindfulness is not a judge. It is more like an older sister looking after and comforting her younger sister in an affectionate and caring way. We can concentrate on our breathing in order to maintain this mindfulness and know ourselves fully.
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
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
- How to Handle Your Anger – A Mindfulness Exercise from Thich Nhat Hanh
- Pillow Punching – Good or Bad for Anger Management?
- How To Live More Mindfully – The Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings of the Order of Interbeing
“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.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace is Every Step
“Nature is our mother. Because we live cut off from her, we get sick. Some of us live in boxes called apartments, very high above the ground. Around us are only cement, metal, and hard things like that. Our fingers do not have a chance to touch the soil; we don’t grow lettuce anymore. Because we are so distant from our Mother Earth, we become sick. That is why we need to go out from time to time and be in nature. It is very important.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace is Every Step