Zen Buddist Monk, Thich Nhat Hanh
A summary of some of Thay’s teaching follows.
Every event can be handled by deep listening compassionately, an act out of love, not from despair. Listen with one purpose: help them empty their heart; listen to help them suffer less; let them vent and purge; do not advise; let them attempt to be relieved of their fear, anger, despair, and suffering. You cannot correct wrong perceptions at that time.
Wrong perception lies at the foundation of fear, war, and violence.
Handling Difficulties, even Terrorism
It has to start with loving speech. If you are honest, if you are true, people will open their heart and talk. That is when compassionate, deep listening can be practiced. During the practice, we are able to learn much about our own perception, and their perceptions; that is the best way, the only way to remove terrorism.
Words to say to people who are suffering: Dear friend, dear people, I know that you suffer a lot. I have not understood enough of your difficulties and suffering. It is not our intention to make you suffer more. It is opposite, so please tell us about your suffering and difficulties. I am eager to learn, to understand.
The principle is the same, no matter the conflict.
Anger is the energy which people use in order to act. When you are angry, you are not lucid. You might do wrong things.
Compassion is a better energy. Energy of compassion is very strong. We can always learn from our suffering. In the ash of suffering, a Phoenix can be born.
Mindfulness can help us to look deeply into the difficulty, the suffering we have. Many positives can arise.
It depends upon our way of responding to the event.
There are ways to bring more suffering. There are ways to bring relief right away, and bring hope. It depends on our mind. Mindfulness and concentration help bring insight.
Don’t worry about tomorrow, tomorrow will take care of itself. We care about today. We live today. If we know how to handle the present moment, we don’t have to worry about the future. If the present moment has peace, joy, and happiness, the future will also have it.
Mantras for Happiness
Darling, I am here for you.
When you love someone, the best thing you can offer is your presence. How can you love if you are not there?
You offer your true presence, you are not preoccupied. With the past or the future. You are present for your beloved one.
Darling, I know you are there. I am so happy because you are truly there.
You recognize the presence of your beloved one as something very precious. You use your mindfulness to recognize that. Embrace your loved one with mindfulness and they bloom like a flower. To be loved is to be recognized as existing. Even if your beloved one is not there, you can use the telephone and practice.
When your beloved one suffers:
Darling, I know that you suffer, that is why I am here for you.
Before you do something to help, your presence can already bring some relief.
When you suffer and you believe that your suffering has been caused by your loved one, so you suffer deeply. You prefer to go to your room, close the door, and suffer alone. You get hurt. You want to punish them for making you suffer.
The mantra is to overcome that: Darling, I suffer. I am trying my best to practice. Please help me.
You go to them, and practice that. If you bring yourself to practice that, you suffer less right away.
Peace, Freedom, Community
Respond always with compassion and non-violence.
Happiness and suffering inter-are. They support each other. To be is to inter-be.
Like the left and the right; if the left is not there, the right cannot be there. Same is true with happiness and suffering.
Good and evil inter-are, also.
In every one of us there are good seeds and bad seeds. That is the nature of being human.
The lotus grows out of the mud. We need the mud in order to make the lotus.
Suffering is the kind of mud we must be able to use in order to grow the flower of love and understanding.
Meditation is a practice of living in the here and now. One can always practice, every moment. Collective energy of community (sangha) is very, very helpful.
Namo Avalokiteshvara Chant
Excerpt from a talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh at Blue Cliff Monastery, Sunday, September 1, 2013.