Ma's India Blog: Thich Nhat Hanh: Messenger of Peace Mas India

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Hearkening back to 1969 in France, perhaps it was the advent of the Vietnam War that moved the venerable Thich Nhat Hanh to found the Unified Buddhist Church where he sought to promote and promulgate peace throughout the world. Thich Nhat Hahn’s sangha (community of practice) in France is usually referred to as the Plum Village Sangha. Thich Nhat Hanh’s name and influence, and his lifelong desire to promote peace and harmony throughout the world however, were to come to the notice of our own famed advocate for peace, civil rights leader, Martin Luther King, who nominated Thich Nhat Hanh for the Nobel Peace Prize in France in 1967. Thus we se that Thich Nhat Hanh, a small framed, seemingly delicate master of Buddhism, with boundless resilience, has successfully reached across the great span of the continent to influence thousands. The charmingly named Plum Village in France of Thich Nhat Hanh is for those engaged in a mindfulness practice for lay people. This is also where he teaches, writes and gardens. Thousands of people have crossed the seas and oceans to study at the feet of this great and humble practitioner. Thich Nat Hanh provides countless exercises and practices of mindfulness through utilizing the breath instantly available to all of us. Amusingly, his website states, “Breathe, you are online.”

The books of Thich Nhat Hanh are instantly and easily readable. Some can be read and absorbed very quickly. There is no need in his writings for complex and redundant verbiage. His words go straight to the heart of the matter. Thich Nhat Hanh takes the simplest of words and reduces complex reasoning to profound simplicity. Breathe! You are Alive: Sutra on the Full Awareness of Breathing speaks of how the breath is the key to meditation and how one can become joyful, fresh and tolerant, thus benefiting not only yourself, but everybody in your environment. Thich Nat Hahn’s statements, full of seeming innocence and good will, lend a refreshing and life enhancing view to everyday life. Instead of trying to directly rout out discontent, thereby creating strife and stubbornness he brings joy and harmony with very few words to complexity. “I am breathing in and making my whole body calm and at peace. It is like drinking a cool glass of lemonade on a hot day and feeling your body become cool inside. Thus, one sees with what generosity of soul, kindness and childlike innocence, words can refresh and enrich at the same time.

In Buddhism: the Miracle of Mindfulness of Thich Nhat Hanh, we are exposed to provocative stories in a parable-like fashion showing how to generate the practice of mindfulness to create joy, greater understanding and peace. This is a seminal book from Thich Nhat Hanh and more than 250,000 copies have been sold of this book.

Although a monk, Thich Nhat Hanh speaks as an expert on the theory of love, in True Love, giving practical advice on how to achieve harmony within one’s love life. Raising secular love from traditional ego qualities of distrust, non-cooperation, and selfishness, Thich Nhat Hanh explores love in the Buddhist tradition of loving kindness, compassion, joy and freedom, Thich Nat Hanh teaches and reminds us of what we need to experience to become fully present in our lives. In order to even establish the conditions of love, it is Thich Nhat Hahn’s suggestion that we use the breath and breathing to establish the conditions of love. He speaks of how love cannot be accomplished if one is not in the right physiological mode; that tranquility and compassion cannot come from a discordant and unbalanced mind. Again, Thich Nhat Hanh gives us a totally simplistic and yet brilliant recipe for promoting true love. If one wishes to be a true practitioner on the spiritual path, one knows it takes a discipline of mindfulness and breath.

Thich Nat Hanh thereupon offers a mantra practice for generating love that consists of expressing four key statements or intentions in our relationships. These include: “Dear one, I am really there for you”; “Dear one, I know that you are there, and I am really happy about it”; “Dear one, I know that you are suffering, and that is why I am here for you”; and “Dear one, I am suffering, please help me.” What a treasure trove this book is.  

Enjoy mindfulness and the breath with Thich Nhat Hanh.

by: Mas India icon18_email-7781555icon18_edit_allbkg-7824300

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