Zen

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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!
 

The Place Where You Get Off

The Place Where You Get Off

Photo by Jon Ellis

Outside the station, she stands with her child on the side of the street, taking pictures of cars.

You think she’s insane. Until, one day, you notice that she’s taking pictures of the license plates of the cars her child gets into.

Because you look. But you do not see.

And she walks out the shop with bags full of cat food. You think she’s some crazy cat lady until you find out, she has no cats.

Because you eat. But you do not taste.

It’s been a while since their last album but he assures you, he’s doing just fine these days, white flecks in his nostrils. Then he asks you if he can spend the night on your couch, even though it stinks.

Because you sniff. But you do not smell.

And they say “Just OK” when you ask them how school was. Then you wonder what they’re hiding until you find their diary and the last entry reads “I wish you’d give me some privacy.”

Because you listen. But you do not hear.

And they’ve got a bruise over their eye and you run the tips of your fingers over it and ask them how it happened. You believe them. Until it happens again.

Because you touch. But you do not feel.

And they walk past you everyday, one million stories, each waiting to be told. Waiting for you to ask.

Because you live. But very few, love.

—— —— ——

The above was an excerpt from the book, I Wrote This For You by Iain Thomas.

 

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!
 

“Breathing in and out is very important, and it is enjoyable.  Our breathing is the link between our body and our mind.  Sometimes our mind is thinking of one thing and our body is doing another, and mind and body are not unified.  By concentrating on our breathing, ‘In’ and ‘Out,’ we bring body and mind back together, and become whole again.  Conscious breathing is an important bridge.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace is Every Step

 

“If a child smiles, if an adult smiles, that is very important.  If in our daily lives we can smile, if we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone will profit from it.  If we really know how to live, what better way to start the day than with a smile?  Our smile affirms our awareness and determination to live in peace and joy.  The source of a true smile is an awakened mind.” ~ 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

 
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