Thich Nhat Hanh

Discussion in 'Eastern Religions and Philosophies' started by Chronicles, Oct 29, 2003.

  1. Chronicles

    Chronicles New Member

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    Interesting character - I've linked to this elsewhere, but here you go anyway:

    http://www.seaox.com/thich.html

    Anyway, of particular interest was his list of precepts at the end of the page, which I'll take the liberty of reposting here, because they are precisely interesting:

     
  2. emong

    emong New Member

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    Beautiful!!

    He is we, and we are he.
     
  3. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste all,

    if you've not had a chance to, there is a great book that he's written. actually, he's quite a prolific writer...

    in any event... the book is called The Heart of the Buddhas Teaching i would recommend it to anyone with a passing interest in Buddhism.

    it's top notch, as they say.
     
  4. littlemissattitude

    littlemissattitude Creative Thinker

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    "...And we are all together."

    Sorry. I have these Beatles' moments once in awhile. It isn't an exact quote, I think, but the flavor of emong's post just hit a note with me, and...presto! A Beatle's moment.

    Anyway, to be serious for a moment, these precepts make a beautiful statement, to me, at least, that spirituality is to be a gentle thing. A thing opposed to force of all kinds, opposed to extremisim of all kinds, opposed to dogmas of all kinds.

    All I can say to that is, amen and amen.
     
  5. Kensho

    Kensho In this moment

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    Vajradhara,
    Is the book you mention here the same as the prajnaparamita heart sutra? I have been exposed to Thich Nhat Hanh's teaching through this book, and I can say with no qualm that it is amazing. I look forward to reading more of Mr. Hanh's works (and you are right, he IS a prolific writer) as soon as my finals are concluded.
     
  6. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste Kensho,

    no, the Heart of the Buddhas Teaching breaks down things like the Noble 8 Fold Path, the 4 Noble Truths, the 5 Precepts and some other Buddhist teachings.

    The Prajnaparamita Sutra is a particular sutra that corresponds to the Second Turning of the Wheel of Dharma. in fact, the Prajnaparamita Sutra (also known as the Heart Sutra) is a foundational text on the establishment of emptiness as a point of Buddhist praxis.

    The Heart Sutra is the shortest of all the Sutras... as such, i shall take the liberty of posting it here:

    When Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva was practicing the profound Prajna Paramita, he investigated and perceived the five Skandhas and saw that they were all non-existent, thus securing his deliverance from all suffering and difficulty.

    Avolakiteshavara said: "Shariputra, form does not differ from emptiness; emptiness does not differ from form. Form itself is emptiness; emptiness itself is form. So too are feeling, cognition, mental function and consciousness in relation to emptiness.

    Shariputra, all dharmas are empty of characteristics. They are not created, not annihilated, not impure, not pure, and they neither increase nor decrease. Therefore, in emptiness there is no form, feeling, cognition, mental function, or consciousness; no eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body and mind; no sights, sounds, smells, taste, touch, and ideas; no field of the eyes, up to and including no field of mind-consciousness, and no ignorance or ending of ignorance, up to and including no old age and death, or ending of old age and death. There are no Four Noble Truths, no wisdom and no gain.

    Because nothing is gained, the Bodhisattva, through reliance on Prajna Paramita, has no hindrances in his heart. Because there is no hindrance, he is not afraid, is free from contrary and delusive ideas and attains the Final Nirvana.

    All Buddhas of the past, present and future attain enlightenment through reliance on Prajna Paramita. Therefore, know that Prajna Paramita is a great spiritual mantra, a great bright mantra, a supreme mantra, an unequalled mantra. It can remove all suffering; it is genuine and not false. That is why the mantra of Prajna Paramita was spoken. Recite it like this:

    GATE GATE PARAGATE PARASAMGATE BODHI SVAHA!
     
  7. sjr

    sjr New Member

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    I Brian,
    I had the opportunity to see him in Berkley in the early 90s.My introduction to boodism.What a remarkable human.He talked on suffering, empty ghosts,and peace rallies not being very peacefull.Could never understand why other religions(western) cant adopt his "miracle of mindfullness" message.He truly is a modern day MASTER.
     
  8. Kensho

    Kensho In this moment

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    Ah, I see, Vajradhara.
    Thanks for the insight, I will keep an eye out for that book!
    Also, thanks for posting the Heart Sutra here.
    Svaha!
     
  9. Pathless

    Pathless Fiercely Interdependent

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    He truly is a wonderful teacher and prolific writer. I have read a few of his smaller books in the past and am currently reading No Death, No Fear, which is a bit longer but which I am still able to read quickly because it is written so simply. That simplicity and the directness of his approach is what makes him so amazing to me--he conveys so much wisdom so casually.

    Here's an excerpt from No Death, No Fear

    No Fear

    In chemistry we would call the ground of being of water H2O: two hydrogen atoms and an oxygen atom. From this ground of being, a molecule, many things can manifest: clouds, rain, snow, water. It is wonderful to be a cloud, but it is also wonderful to be the rain. It is also wonderful to be the snow or water. If the cloud remembers this, then when the cloud is about to transform and continue in the form of rain, it will not be so frightened. It will remember that to be a cloud is wonderful, but to be the rain falling down is also wonderful.
    When the cloud is not caught in the idea of birth and death, or being and non-being, there is no fear. By learning from the cloud, we can nurture our non-fear. Non-fear is the ground of true well-being. As long as fear is in us, happiness cannot be perfect.
    When you practice looking deeply, you see your true nature of no birth, no death; no being, no non-being; no coming, no going; no same, no different. When you see this, you are free from fear. You are free from craving and free from jealousy. No fear is the ultimate joy. When you have the insight of no fear, you are free. And like the great beings, you ride serenely on the waves of birth and death.
     
  10. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Staff Member

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    Cloud...good analogy. I like that. :)
     
  11. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    yes...


    water analogies are used in Buddhism quite a bit... Taoism as well... it's a great metaphor, in my opinion.
     
  12. zenmonk_genryu

    zenmonk_genryu New Member

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    Thich Nhat Hanh is actually in the US at the moment if some of you wish to go and meet him.
     
  13. sjr

    sjr New Member

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    This could be the begining of a miracle,hope so.


    Los Angeles, Calif. (USA) -- Next week, I am sponsoring a group of Israelis and Palestinians to spend a few weeks in a small village in southern France with a Buddhist monk named Thich Nhat Hanh. These two disparate groups of people do not know each other, but often feel hatred toward each other. Some of them have been hurt in the war.

    But by the end of the two weeks, under the guidance of the monks, the Israelis and the Palestinians will learn to listen to, understand, forgive and maybe even like each other. They will be at peace.

    Could this work on a larger scale for their respective countries? I think so.

    There are only two ways to ever make peace in the Middle East, and both are extreme. One is for one side to obliterate the other in a military conquest. The other, far more favorable approach, is for an unrelated third party to broker peace. For this to succeed, this person must come with absolutely no agenda — not one of country, religion, politics or money. Just peace.

    That’s the one we are going for, because we have found such a person.

    Nhat Hanh is a world-renowned Vietnamese Buddhist monk, scholar, poet and peace activist who lives in Plum Village, France. Martin Luther King Jr. nominated him for a Nobel Peace prize. He has written almost 100 books. All over the world, he teaches what he calls mindfulness — peaceful, joyful living.

    He is in a unique position to help the world now. We are trying to help him.

    I met him because I read one of his books and it really helped my life as a movie producer. I learned to listen more, scream less, appreciate everything around me and focus. I even learned to "de-multitask." And now I get more done, and am happier and calmer about it.

    http://www.buddhistnews.tv/current/tnh-300704.php
     
  14. ISFP

    ISFP New Member

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    i'm very fond of Thich Nhat Hanh as well. his writing style and message is as clear and beautiful as a running stream. i've never had a writer on spiritual matters touch me so completely. i do feel that he speaks truth, softly and lovingly.
     
  15. Pathless

    Pathless Fiercely Interdependent

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    Yes, an excellent book; actually, my Buddhist book study group (also a meditation group) is reading it right now. We are discussing a chapter entitled "The Two Truths" tomorrow morning. I thought I'd share a few bits and pieces from this chapter that I found particularly meaningful:

    "Many people think that in order to avoid suffering, they have to give up joy, and they call this 'transcending joy and suffering.' This is not correct... ...Don't get caught in theories or ideas, such as saying that suffering is an illusion or that we have to 'transcend' both suffering and joy. Just stay in touch with what is actually going on, and you will touch the true nature of suffering and the true nature of joy.

    ...

    "We do not have to transcend the 'world of dust' (saha) in order to go to some dust-free world called nirvana. Suffering and nirvana are of the same substance. If we throw away the world of dust, we will have no nirvana.

    ...

    "It would be sad if the wave did not know that it is water. It would think, Some day, I will have to die. This period of time is my life span, and when I arrive at the shore, I will return to nonbeing. These notions will cause the wave fear and anguish. We have to help it remove the notions of self, person, living being, and life span if we want the wave to be free and happy.

    ...

    "It is nice to be old! There are things young people cannot experience. Young people are like a source of water from the top of the mountain, always trying to go as quickly as possible. But when you become a river going through the lowland, you are much more peaceful. You reflect many clouds and the beautiful blue sky. Being old has its own joys. You can be very happy being an old person. When I sit with young monks and nuns, I feel that they are my continuation. I have done my best, and now they are continuing my being. This is interbeing, nonself.

    ...

    "The Buddha recommends we live our daily life in this way, seeing everything in the light of interbeing.

    ...

    "We have to remove the notion of human as something that can survive by itself alone. Humans can survive only with the survival of other species. This is exactly the teaching of the Buddha, and also the teaching of deep ecology.

    ...

    "In the dimension of relative truth, the Buddha passed away many years ago. But in the realm of absolute truth, we can take hi hand and join him for walking meditation every day.

    Practice in a way that gives you the greatest relief.

    ...

    "If you go deeply into any one of the teachings of the Buddha, you will find all of the other teachings in it.

    ...

    "We must free ourselves of our ideas of Buddha and of human beings. Our ideas may be the obstacles that prevent us from seeing the Buddha."

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    A sample and a distillation of Thich Nhat Hahn's words from The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching: Transforming Suffering into Peace, Joy, and Liberation. Vajradhara is right: great book. :)
     
  16. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    With the recent governmnental changes on both sides the past month, we need TNH, the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela, and every praying, compassionate peacemaker to put forth positive thoughts...check out the global Peace Alliance initiative..
     
  17. harticulate

    harticulate New Member

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    Hello my name is Heidi and I am new to this website. I havn't had much time to delve into all the great info here, but I am excited to get to know more of you and learn more as well.

    I just received my first "book on tape" from www.Learnoutloud.com .......I was given a gift certificate and was very excited get my new b.o.t.....

    I ordered "Living Buddha, Living Christ" by Thich Nhat Hanh.......I have just started to listen to it this morning and already know that I will thoroughly enjoy it. I know nothing thus far about Buddhism.....aside from having the feeling that Buddhists seem to be a very peaceful people. As I wish to have peace in my life and be an even more peaceful person..........I am very interested in this belief system.

    I am thankful for a site like this that offers a way learn more about eachother in a peaceful manner.

    Thanks Heidi
     
  18. Pathless

    Pathless Fiercely Interdependent

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    Hi Heidi and welcome Harticulate to CR!!! :D Glad to have you around and I look forward to reading your posts and expressions of peace.

    Peace,
    P
     
  19. Pathless

    Pathless Fiercely Interdependent

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    From The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching
    Chapter Nineteen: The Three Doors of Liberation

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    The Third Door of Liberation is aimlessness, apranihita. There is nothing to do, nothing to realize, no program, no agenda. This is the Buddhist teaching about eschatology. Does the rose have to do something? No, the purpose of a rose is to be a rose. Your purpose is to be yourself. You don't have to run anywhere to become someone else. You are wonderful just as you are. This teaching of the Buddha allows us to enjoy ourselves, the blue sky, and everything that is refreshing and healing in the present moment.

    There is no need to put anything in front of us and run after it. We already have everything we are looking for, everything we want to become. We are already a Buddha so why not just take the hand of another Buddha and practice walking meditation? This is the teaching of the Avatamsaka Sutra. Be yourself. Life is precious as it is. All the elements for your happiness are already here. There is no need to run, strive, search, or struggle. Just be. Just being in the moment in this place is the deepest practice of meditation. Most people cannot believe that just walking as though you have nowhere to go is enough. They think that striving and competing are normal and necessary. Try practicing aimlessness for just five minutes, and you will see how happy you are during those five minutes.

    The Heart Sutra says that there is "nothing to attain." We meditate not to attain enlightenment, because enlightenment is already in us. We don't have to search anywhere. We don't need a purpose or a goal. We don't practice in order to obtain some high position. In aimlessness, we see that we do not lack anything, that we already are what we want to become, and our striving just comes to a halt. We are at peace in the present moment, just seeing the sunlight streaming through our window or hearing the sound of the rain. We don't have to run after anything. We can enjoy every moment. People talk about entering nirvana, but we are already there. Aimlessness and nirvana are one.
     
  20. Pathless

    Pathless Fiercely Interdependent

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    This poem by Thich Nhat Hanh embodies the essence of what he calls "interbeing," the innerconnectedness of all things.

    Call Me by My True Names
    by Thich Nhat Hanh
    From: Peace is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life

    In Plum Village, where I live in France, we receive many letters from the
    refugee camps in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and the
    Philippines, hundreds each week. It is very painful to read them, but we
    have to do it, we have to be in contact. We try our best to help, but the
    suffering is enormous, and sometimes we are discouraged. It is said that
    half the boat people die in the ocean. Only half arrive at the shores in
    Southeast Asia, and even then they may not be safe.

    There are many young girls, boat people, who are raped by sea pirates.
    Even though the United Nations and many countries try to help the
    government of Thailand prevent that kind of piracy, sea pirates continue
    to inflict much suffering on the refugees. One day we received a letter
    telling us about a young girl on a small boat who was raped by a Thai
    pirate. She was only twelve, and she jumped into the ocean and drowned
    herself.

    When you first learn of something like that, you get angry at the pirate.
    You naturally take the side of the girl. As you look more deeply you will
    see it differently. If you take the side of the little girl, then it is
    easy. You only have to take a gun and shoot the pirate. But we cannot do
    that. In my meditation I saw that if I had been born in the village of the
    pirate and raised in the same conditions as he was, there is a great
    likelihood that I would become a pirate. I saw that many babies are born
    along the Gulf of Siam, hundreds every day, and if we educators, social
    workers, politicians, and others do not do something about the situation,
    in twenty-five years a number of them will become sea pirates. That is
    certain. If you or I were born today in those fishing villages, we may
    become sea pirates in twenty-five years. If you take a gun and shoot the
    pirate, all of us are to some extent responsible for this state of affairs.

    After a long meditation, I wrote this poem. In it, there are three people:
    the twelve-year-old girl, the pirate, and me. Can we look at each other
    and recognize ourselves in each other? The title of the poem is "Please
    Call Me by My True Names," because I have so many names. When I hear one of the of these names, I have to say, "Yes."

    Call Me by My True Names

    Don't say that I will depart tomorrow-
    even today I am still arriving.

    Look deeply: every second I am arriving
    to be a bud on a Spring branch,
    to be a tiny bird, with still-fragile wings,
    learning to sing in my new nest,
    to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower,
    to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone.
    I still arrive,
    in order to laugh and to cry,
    to fear and to hope.
    The rhythm of my heart
    is the birth and death of all that is alive.

    I am a mayfly metamorphosing
    on the surface of the river.
    And I am the bird
    that swoops down to swallow the mayfly.

    I am a frog swimming happily
    in the clear water of a pond.
    And I am the grass-snake
    that silently feeds itself on the frog.

    I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones,
    my legs as thin as bamboo sticks.
    And I am the arms merchant,
    selling deadly weapons to Uganda.

    I am the twelve-year-old girl,
    refugee on a small boat,
    who throws herself into the ocean
    after being raped by a sea pirate.
    And I am the pirate,
    my heart not yet capable of seeing and loving.

    I am a member of the politburo,
    with plenty of power in my hands.
    And I am the man who has to pay
    his "debt of blood" to my people
    dying slowly in a forced-labor camp.

    My joy is like Spring, so warm
    it makes flowers bloom all over the Earth.
    My pain is like a river of tears,
    so vast it fills the four oceans.

    Please call me by my true names,
    so I can hear all my cries and laughter at once,
    so I can see that my joy and pain are one.
    Please call me by my true names,
    so I can wake up
    and the door of my heart
    can be left open,
    the door of compassion.
     

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