melting ice

IN BUDDHISM, knowledge is regarded as an obstacle to understanding, like a block of ice that obstructs water from flowing. It is said that if we take one thing to be the truth and cling to it, even if truth itself comes in person and knocks at our door, we won’t open it. For things to reveal themselves to us, we need to be ready to abandon our views about them. – thich nhat hanh

Hell

TO ME, THE definition of hell is simple: it is a place where there is no understanding and no compassion. We have all been to hell. We are acquainted with hell’s heat, and we know that hell is in need of compassion. If there is compassion, then hell ceases to be hell. You can generate this compassion yourself. If you can bring a little compassion to this place, a little bit of understanding, it ceases to be hell. You can be the bodhisattva who does this. Your practice consists in generating compassion and understanding and bringing them to hell. Hell is here, all around us. Hell is in us, like a seed. We need to cultivate the positive within us so we can generate the energy of understanding and compassion and transform hell. Hell is a matter of everyday life, like the Kingdom of God. The choice is yours. – thich nhat hang

if you behaved badly…

IF YOU BEHAVED badly in the past, if you have been destructive, you can do something about it. By touching the present deeply, you can transform the past. The wounds and injuries of the past are still there—they are within your reach. All you have to do is come back to the present moment, and you will recognize the wounds and injuries that you have caused in the past and those that other people have caused you.

You should be here for these wounds and injuries. You can say to them, “I am here for you,” with your mindful breathing, your deep looking, and your determination not to do the same thing again. Then transformation is possible.

– thich nhat hanh

We are more than our anger

You have to believe this. We are more than our anger; we are more than our suffering. We must recognize that we do have within us the capacity to love, to understand, to be compassionate. If you know this, then when it rains you won’t be desperate. You know that the rain is there, but the sunshine is still there somewhere. Soon the rain will stop, and the sun will shine again. Have hope. If you can remind yourself that the positive elements are still present within you and the other person, you will know that it is possible to break through, so that the best things in both of you can come up and manifest again.

– Thich Nhat Hanh

(photo: Abiquiu, NM – September 2018)

the past

THE BUDDHA SAID that we should not be afraid of the past; but he did warn us not to lose ourselves in it, either. We should not feed our regret or pain over the past, and we should not get carried away by the past. We do need to study and understand the past, however, because by looking deeply into the past we learn a lot of things that can benefit the present and the future. The past is an object of our study, of our meditation, but the way to study it or meditate on it is by remaining anchored in the present moment.
Thich Nhat Hanh

Your heart can also bloom

IN THE SPRINGTIME, thousands of different kinds of flowers bloom. Your heart can also bloom. You can let your heart open up to the world. Love is possible—do not be afraid of it. Love is indispensable to life, and if in the past you have suffered because of love, you can learn how to love again.
– thich nhat hanh

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Photo: Portland, Maine – August 2012

They suffer too

Usually when we suffer we think we’re the only person who suffers, and that the other person is very happy. But in fact, it’s likely that the person who hurts us also has a lot of pain and doesn’t know how to handle his strong emotions. Breathing with awareness, we generate our energy of mindfulness, and we can have insight into how to handle our suffering and that of the other person’s suffering with compassion.
– Thich Nhat Hanh