How to Use Buddhist Teachings for a Mindful, Peaceful and Happy Life

Contents
  1. Key Books
  2. Where to start
  3. Meditation
  4. Handling suffering and difficulties
  5. Going Deeper
  6. Interbeing
  7. Zen
  8. The Buddha’s life and teachings
  9. His own life
  10. Engaged Ethics
  11. Relationships
  12. Ecology
  13. Buddhism and Christianity
  14. Poetry
  15. For children
  16. Buddha
  17. Buddhism & Happiness
  18. Buddha: A Little Background
  19. The Problem & The Solution: The Four Noble Truths & The Eightfold Path to Happiness
  20. Buddha taught his followers the Four Noble Truths as follows:
  21. The Eightfold Path
  22. Equanimity: Peace of Mind & Happiness
  23. Right Effort
  24. Mindfulness
  25. Thich Nhat Hanh, the Buddhist monk who introduced mindfulness to the West, prepares to die
  26. Peace activist
  27. Being aware of the moment
  28. Mindfulness in America
  29. Practice Mindfulness and Find Peace
  30. Practicing Mindfulness
  31. 1. Concentration
  32. 2. Sensory Clarity
  33. 3. Equanamity
  34. Mindfulness Meditation
  35. There are four postures in which we can meditate
  36. Benefits of Mindfulness
  37. 1. Finding Peace
  38. 2. Appreciating Life
  39. 3. Removing the Fear of Death
  40. 4. Mindfulness Teaches Us Kindness
  41. 5. A Sense of Fulfillment
  42. Daily Affirmation
  43. Thich Nhat Hanh on The Practice of Mindfulness
  44. You don’t have to wait ten years to experience this happiness. It is present in every moment of your daily life
  45. When your mindfulness becomes powerful, your concentration becomes powerful, and when you are fully concentrated, you have a chance to make a breakthrough, to achieve insight
  46. First Mindfulness Exercise: Mindful Breathing
  47. The in-breath can be a celebration of the fact that you are alive, so it can be very joyful
  48. Second Mindfulness Exercise: Concentration
  49. Third Mindfulness Exercise: Awareness of Your Body
  50. Fourth Mindfulness Exercise: Releasing Tension
  51. It is always possible to practice releasing the tension in yourself
  52. Walking Meditation

Key Books

How to Use Buddhist Teachings for a Mindful, Peaceful and Happy Life

Thich Nhat Hanh has published over 100 titles in English, ranging from classic manuals on meditation, mindfulness and Engaged Buddhism, to poems, children’s stories, and commentaries on ancient Buddhist texts. They capture the Zen Master’s lifetime of teaching, scholarship, creativity and spiritual discovery. 

Jump To Where to start, Meditation, Difficult emotions, Going Deeper, Interbeing, Zen, The Buddha’s life and teachings, His own life, Engaged Ethics, Relationships, Ecology, Buddhism and Christianity, Poetry, For children

Where to start

Since Thich Nhat Hanh has published so many books, it is hard to know where to start. We are here to help!

These are the books we’d recommend if you haven’t read anything before.

Jump To Where to start, Meditation, Difficult emotions, Going Deeper, Interbeing, Zen, The Buddha’s life and teachings, His own life, Engaged Ethics, Relationships, Ecology, Buddhism and Christianity, Poetry, For children

Meditation

A revered Zen Master, Thich Nhat Hanh has looked deeply into key Buddhist texts and offered practical commentaries and insights.

Jump To Where to start, Meditation, Difficult emotions, Going Deeper, Interbeing, Zen, The Buddha’s life and teachings, His own life, Engaged Ethics, Relationships, Ecology, Buddhism and Christianity, Poetry, For children

Handling suffering and difficulties

Through Mindfulness we can learn to soothe and take care of painful feelings such as anger, fear and despair. We can find freedom from deep psychological wounds and learn to leave with more ease and freedom.

Jump To Where to start, Meditation, Difficult emotions, Going Deeper, Interbeing, Zen, The Buddha’s life and teachings, His own life, Engaged Ethics, Relationships, Ecology, Buddhism and Christianity, Poetry, For children

Going Deeper

While Thich Nhat Hanh has written many simple and accessible books, he has also written books that offer an opportunity to delve deeper into Buddhist teachings.

Jump To Where to start, Meditation, Difficult emotions, Going Deeper, Interbeing, Zen, The Buddha’s life and teachings, His own life, Engaged Ethics, Relationships, Ecology, Buddhism and Christianity, Poetry, For children

Interbeing

“Interbeing” is a word coined by Thich Nhat Hanh to help us understand our deep connection to each other, nature and all things. He teaches that we cannot “be” by ourselves we can only “interbe” with all that is.

Jump To Where to start, Meditation, Difficult emotions, Going Deeper, Interbeing, Zen, The Buddha’s life and teachings, His own life, Engaged Ethics, Relationships, Ecology, Buddhism and Christianity, Poetry, For children

Zen

In the Zen tradition, it is said that insight can’t be found in the printed word, or after years or study and practice. Insight can be found only in the heart of the present moment, where it’s possible for each one of us to touch true peace, freedom and awakening.

Jump To Where to start, Meditation, Difficult emotions, Going Deeper, Interbeing, Zen, The Buddha’s life and teachings, His own life, Engaged Ethics, Relationships, Ecology, Buddhism and Christianity, Poetry, For children

The Buddha’s life and teachings

A scholar of original Buddhist sutra’s, Thich Nhat Hanh has looked deeply into the life of Siddartha Gautaman and the teachings he offered and found ways to communicate both in engaging, simple and proud ways.

Jump To Where to start, Meditation, Difficult emotions, Going Deeper, Interbeing, Zen, The Buddha’s life and teachings, His own life, Engaged Ethics, Relationships, Ecology, Buddhism and Christianity, Poetry, For children

His own life

From his early years in Vietnam to teaching and peace work in the U.S.A. and establishing Plum Village in France, Thich Nhat Hanh has written about his own life and the lessons from it.

Jump To Where to start, Meditation, Difficult emotions, Going Deeper, Interbeing, Zen, The Buddha’s life and teachings, His own life, Engaged Ethics, Relationships, Ecology, Buddhism and Christianity, Poetry, For children

Engaged Ethics

Meditation is not just for the sitting cushion, but rather, the insights from mindfulness can guide the way we act in the world, to create more happiness for ourselves and those around us.

Jump To Where to start, Meditation, Difficult emotions, Going Deeper, Interbeing, Zen, The Buddha’s life and teachings, His own life, Engaged Ethics, Relationships, Ecology, Buddhism and Christianity, Poetry, For children

Relationships

How can we bring mindfulness into our relationships with our friends, family and partners?

Jump To Where to start, Meditation, Difficult emotions, Going Deeper, Interbeing, Zen, The Buddha’s life and teachings, His own life, Engaged Ethics, Relationships, Ecology, Buddhism and Christianity, Poetry, For children

Ecology

These books explore what we do we need to do to heal our relationship with Mother Earth and to preserve and protect our planet.

Jump To Where to start, Meditation, Difficult emotions, Going Deeper, Interbeing, Zen, The Buddha’s life and teachings, His own life, Engaged Ethics, Relationships, Ecology, Buddhism and Christianity, Poetry, For children

Buddhism and Christianity

Thich Nhat Hanh has explored the connections between the great traditions of Buddhism and Christianity.

Jump To Where to start, Meditation, Difficult emotions, Going Deeper, Interbeing, Zen, The Buddha’s life and teachings, His own life, Engaged Ethics, Relationships, Ecology, Buddhism and Christianity, Poetry, For children

Poetry

Thich Nhat Hanh has written beautiful, evocative and powerful poetry.

Jump To Where to start, Meditation, Difficult emotions, Going Deeper, Interbeing, Zen, The Buddha’s life and teachings, His own life, Engaged Ethics, Relationships, Ecology, Buddhism and Christianity, Poetry, For children

For children

These simple books are much-loved by children and often also by adults too!

Source: https://plumvillage.org/about/thich-nhat-hanh/key-books/

Buddha

How to Use Buddhist Teachings for a Mindful, Peaceful and Happy Life

For Buddha, the path to happiness starts from an understanding of the root causes of suffering. Those who consider Buddha a pessimist because of his concern with suffering have missed the point. In fact, he is a skillful doctor — he may break the bad news of our suffering, but he also prescribes a proactive course of treatment.

In this metaphor, the medicine is the Buddha’s teachings of wisdom and compassion known as Dharma, and the nurses that encourage us and show us how to take the medicine are the Buddhist community or Sangha.

The illness however, can only be cured if the patient follows the doctor’s advice and follows the course of treatment — the Eightfold Path, the core of which involves control of the mind.

In Buddhism, this treatment is not a simple medicine to be swallowed, but a daily practice of mindful thought and action that we ourselves can test scientifically through our own experience.

Meditation is, of course, the most well known tool of this practice, but contrary to popular belief, it is not about detaching from the world.

Rather it is a tool to train the mind not to dwell in the past or the future, but to live in the here and now, the realm in which we can experience peace most readily.

All that we are is the result of what we have thought. It is founded on our thoughts. It is made up of our thoughts. If one speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain follows one, as the wheel follows the foot of the ox that draws the wagon.

All that we are is the result of what we have thought. It is founded on our thoughts. It is made up of our thoughts. If one speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows one, a shadow that never leaves.

(Dhammapada 1-2 / Müller & Maguire, 2002.)

Buddhism & Happiness

The first and second verses (above) of the Dhammapada, the earliest known collection of Buddha's sayings, talk about suffering and happiness. So it's not surprising to discover that Buddhism has a lot to offer on the topic of happiness.

Buddha's contemporaries described him as “ever-smiling” and portrayals of Buddha almost always depict him with a smile on his face.

But rather than the smile of a self-satisfied, materially-rich or celebrated man, Buddha's smile comes from a deep equanimity from within.

Buddha: A Little Background

An early Gandharan statue of Buddha, 1st-2nd centuries CE, in the Tokyo National Museum.

During the late 6th and early 5th centuries BCE, Siddhartha Gautama of Shakya, who later became known as the Buddha, was born in modern-day Nepal near the Indian border. While there are several mythical stories surrounding his conception and birth, the basic facts of his life are generally agreed upon.

Born into a wealthy royal family, the Buddha was born and raised in worldly luxury. Despite his father's attempts to shield him from the ugliness of life, one day he ventured out beyond the castle walls and encountered three aspects of life: the old, the sick and the dead.

Each of these experiences troubled him and made him question the meaning and transience of life and its pleasures.

After this, he encountered an ascetic who, by choice, lived a life renouncing the pleasures of the world. Even while he was completely deprived of life's comforts, his eyes shined with contentment.

These shocking experiences moved Buddha to renounce his comfortable lifestyle in search of greater meaning in life.

It was during his time practicing extreme forms of self-denial that Buddha discovered the “Middle Path” of moderation — an idea that closely resembles Aristotle's “Golden Mean.”

During his life, he had experienced intensive pleasure and extreme deprivation but he found that neither extreme brought one to true understanding.

He then practiced meditation through deep concentration (Dhyana) under a bodhi tree and found Enlightenment.

He began teaching the Four Noble Truths to others in order to help them achieve transcendent happiness and peace of mind through the knowledge and practice that is known today as Buddhism.

The Problem & The Solution: The Four Noble Truths & The Eightfold Path to Happiness

These Four Noble Truths, monks, are actual, unerring, not otherwise. Therefore, they are called noble truths.  (Samyutta Nikaya 56.27)

Buddha taught his followers the Four Noble Truths as follows:

  1. Life is/means Dukkha (mental dysfunction or suffering).
  2. Dukkha arises from craving.
  3. Dukkha can be eliminated.
  4. The way to the elimination of dukkha is the Eightfold Path.

Buddha believed that dukkha ultimately arose from ignorance and false knowledge.

While dukkha is usually defined as suffering, “mental dysfunction” is closer to the original meaning. In a similar vein, Huston Smith explains dukkha by using the metaphor of a shopping cart that we “try to steer from the wrong end” or bones that have gone ” joint” (Smith, 1991, p. 101).

Because of such a mental misalignment, all movement, thoughts and creation that flow out can never be wholly satisfactory. In short, we can never be completely happy.

The Eightfold Path

The Eightfold Path is often divided into the three categories of wisdom (right view/understanding, right intention), ethical conduct (right speech, right action, right livelihood) and mental cultivation (right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration).

Right View/ understandingRight Intention/ thoughtRight SpeechRight ActionRight LivelihoodRight EffortRight MindfulnessRight Concentration
Wisdom
Wisdom
Ethical Conduct
Ethical Conduct
Ethical Conduct
Mental Cultivation
Mental Cultivation
Mental Cultivation

The Eightfold Path is a practical and systematic way ignorance, eliminating dukkha from our minds and our lifestyle through mindful thoughts and actions. It is presented as a whole system, but the three paths associated with the area of mental cultivation are particularly relevant to the happiness that we can find in equanimity, or peace of mind.

Equanimity: Peace of Mind & Happiness

If by leaving a small pleasure one sees a great pleasure, let a wise person leave the small pleasure and look to the great.  (Dhammapada 290 / Müller & Maguire, 2002.)

Buddhism pursues happiness by using knowledge and practice to achieve mental equanimity. In Buddhism, equanimity, or peace of mind, is achieved by detaching oneself from the cycle of craving that produces dukkha. So by achieving a mental state where you can detach from all the passions, needs and wants of life, you free yourself and achieve a state of transcendent bliss and well-being.

As described in the first verse of the Dhammapada, for Buddha, mental dysfunction begins in the mind. The Buddha encouraged his followers to pursue “tranquility” and “insight” as the mental qualities that would lead to Nirvana, the Ultimate Reality.

As mentioned earlier, the Eightfold Path as a whole is said to help one achieve these qualities.

In particular, the areas of mental cultivation, which include right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration, are the mental skills and tools used for achieving happiness.

Right Effort

The Buddha once described the mind as a wild horse. In the Eightfold Path, he recommends practicing “right effort” by first avoiding and then clearing our minds of negative, unwholesome thoughts.

Once that is achieved, one perfects a wholesome, tranquil state of mind through the practice of positive thinking.

This ongoing effort promotes a state of mind that is conducive to the practice of mindfulness and concentration (meditation).

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is one of the most influential teachings of Buddhism and has filtered into popular culture as well as modern psychotherapy.

The Buddha felt that it was imperative to cultivate right mindfulness for all aspects of life in order to see things as they really are, or in other words, to “stop and smell the roses.

” He encouraged keen attention and awareness of all things through the four foundations of mindfulness: 1. Contemplation of the body 2. Contemplation of feelings 3. Contemplation of states of mind 4. Contemplation of phenomena

In a word, mindfulness is about experiencing the moment with an attitude of openness and freshness to all and every experience. Through right mindfulness, one can free oneself from passions and cravings, which so often make us prisoners of past regrets or future preoccupations.

Source: https://www.pursuit-of-happiness.org/history-of-happiness/buddha/

Thich Nhat Hanh, the Buddhist monk who introduced mindfulness to the West, prepares to die

How to Use Buddhist Teachings for a Mindful, Peaceful and Happy Life

Thich Nhat Hanh, the monk who popularized mindfulness in the West, has returned home to Vietnam to enjoy the rest of his life. Devotees from many parts of the world are visiting the ailing 92-year-old, who has retired to a Buddhist temple outside Hue.

This thoughtful and accepting approach to his own failing health seems fitting for the popular Buddhist teacher, whose followers include a thousand Buddhist communities around the world and millions more who have read his books. For everyone, his teachings encourage being present in the moment.

As a scholar of the contemporary practices of Buddhist meditation, I have studied his simple yet profound teachings, which combine mindfulness along with social change.

Peace activist

In the 1960s, Thich Nhat Hanh played an active role promoting peace during the years of war in Vietnam. Hanh was in his mid-20s when he became active in efforts to revitalize Vietnamese Buddhism for peace efforts.

Over the next few years, Thich Nhat Hanh set up a number of organizations Buddhist principles of nonviolence and compassion. His School of Youth and Social Service, a grassroots relief organization, consisted of 10,000 volunteers and social workers offering aid to war-torn villages, rebuilding schools and establishing medical centers.

He also established the Order of Interbeing, a community of monastics and lay Buddhists who made a commitment to compassionate action and supported war victims. In addition, he founded a Buddhist university, a publishing house, and a peace activist magazine as a way to spread the message of compassion.

In 1966, Thich Nhat Hanh traveled to the United States and Europe to appeal for peace in Vietnam.

In lectures delivered across many cities, he compellingly described the war’s devastation, spoke of the Vietnamese people’s wish for peace and appealed to the U.S. to cease its air offensive against Vietnam.

During his years in the U.S., he met Martin Luther King Jr., who nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1967.

However, because of his peace work and refusal to choose sides in his country’s civil war, both the communist and noncommunist governments banned him, forcing Thich Nhat Hanh to live in exile for over 40 years.

During these years, the emphasis of his message shifted from the immediacy of the Vietnam War to being present in the moment – an idea that has come to be called “mindfulness.”

Being aware of the moment

Thich Nhat Hanh first started teaching mindfulness in the mid-1970s. The main vehicle for his early teachings was his books. In “The Miracle of Mindfulness,” for example, Thich Nhat Hanh gave simple instructions on how to apply mindfulness to daily life. This book was translated into English for a global audience.

In his book, “You Are Here,” he urged people to pay attention to what they were experiencing in their body and mind at any given moment, and not dwell in the past or think of the future. His emphasis was on the awareness of the breath. As you follow the breath, he taught his readers to say internally, “I’m breathing in; this is an in-breath. I’m breathing out: this is an out-breath.”

Thich Nhat Hanh emphasized that mindfulness could be practiced anywhere. Antonio Guillem/Shutterstock.com

People interested in practicing meditation didn’t need to spend days at a meditation retreat or find a teacher. His teachings emphasized that mindfulness could be practiced anytime, even when doing routine chores.

Even when doing the dishes, people could simply focus on the activity and be fully present. Peace, happiness, joy and true love, he said, could be found only in the moment.

Mindfulness in America

Hanh’s mindfulness practices don’t advocate disengagement with the world. Rather, in his view, the practice of mindfulness could lead one toward “compassionate action,” practicing openness to other’s viewpoints and sharing material resources with those in need.

Jeff Wilson, a scholar of American Buddhism, argues in his book, “Mindful America,” that it was Hanh’s combination of daily mindfulness practices with action in the world that contributed to the earliest strands of the mindfulness movement.

This movement eventually became what Time Magazine in 2014 called the “mindful revolution.

” The article argues that the power of mindfulness lies in its universality, as the practice has entered into corporate headquarters, political offices, parenting guides and diet plans.

For Thich Nhat Hanh, however, mindfulness is not a means to a more productive day but a way of understanding “interbeing,” the connection and codependence of everyone and everything. In a documentary “Walk With Me,” he illustrates interbeing in the following way:

A young girl asks him how to deal with the grief of her recently deceased dog. He instructs her to look into the sky and watch a cloud disappear. The cloud has not died but has become the rain and the tea in the teacup. Just as the cloud is alive in a new form, so is the dog. Being aware and mindful of the tea offers a reflection on the nature of reality.

He believes this understanding could lead to more peace in the world.

In 2014, Thich Nhat Hanh suffered a stroke. Since then, he has been unable to speak or continue his teaching. In October of 2018 he expressed his wish, using gestures, to return to the temple in Vietnam where he was ordained as a young monk.

Source: http://theconversation.com/thich-nhat-hanh-the-buddhist-monk-who-introduced-mindfulness-to-the-west-prepares-to-die-111142

Practice Mindfulness and Find Peace

How to Use Buddhist Teachings for a Mindful, Peaceful and Happy Life

What is mindfulness? Mindfulness is a state of both mind and body being present in the moment. It is a mental state where in you aware of what is happening around and yet finding peace and solace because you calmly resonate with the moment. Mindfulness is the state of being in the here and now. Thus it allows peace and tranquility in your heart and soul.

Buddha has taught us to experience each moment through mindfulness. The seventh path of The 8 Fold Path is the Right Mindfulness or Samma Sati. It teaches being Aware of the things that happen around you and within you. True mindfulness meaning understanding your thoughts and feelings and the things that happen to you but NOT CLINGING ON THEM.

Practicing Mindfulness

Mindfulness can be viewed as being present in every moment of time. It means being one with the now, and not being lost in the past or hungering for the future.

Mindfulness can also be viewed through mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness meditation is not just meditating without any thoughts and eliminating everything that goes in, but rather it is allowing the mind to experience what it sees with no judgment or contempt.

However mindfulness goes way beyond meditation and sitting down in the lotus pose. It is a daily practice of being kind to your self and other and not passing judgment to anything or anyone. Mindfulness. Mindfulness is a practice that involves concentration, sensory clarity and equanimity.

1. Concentration

Concentration is the essence of mindfulness. It is being able to focus and not let your thoughts wander about. It is said that human minds wander 47% of the time. This means that we are unable to fully experience life because half of the time our minds wander and we are lost in a different thought rather than concentrating on the moment

2. Sensory Clarity

Sensory clarity is being able to feel each and every sensation and live in that moment to it’s full extent. This is in essence means what it is to be truly alive. It is embracing pain, fear, joy, hotness and coldness and appreciating this feelings. It is seeing the clouds in the sky and noticing the patterns they make. It is sitting in your desk and being fully engaged in a task.

Sensory clarity is basically allowing your mind and body to be one. It is allowing your body to feed your mind and soul. But instead of hating or craving a feeling, you just allow it to happen. This leads us to equanamity.

3. Equanamity

Equanamity is the ability to experience life without the constant need to push or pull. It means to take in everything and understand it rather than be just influenced by it. It is when you feel no fear in the face of pain, because pain is but natural. It is when you do not hold on to joy or life, for these things are fleeting.

All these three factors are important in order to achieve mindfulness. A person to be truly be mindful has to be focused with concentration on the moment, be able to sense things around him and within him through his mind and senses and be able to experience life as it happens with the need to constantly push and pull things to one’s self.

Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness should be practiced right when we open our eyes to the point we drift into sleep. Some are even able to go into high levels of mindfulness that they can even be present in their dreams such having lucid dreams.

However being mindful all the time can be difficult and challenging. Being kind and good in every moment can be hard. And so that is mindful meditation is needed. Through meditation and mindful meditation, we can find tranquility and live a mindful life.

There are four postures in which we can meditate

  1. Sitting
  2. Walking
  3. Standing and
  4. Lying down.

Most people see sitting as the normal form of meditation, however walking can be very beneficial specially for mindfulness practice. This is because as you walk, you can tune into the things around you and marvel at every step that you take.

Standing meditation can be done to promote energy and restore balance in the body and is good for those who cannot sit still. Lying down meditation is good for calming anxiety and promoting sleep. This can also be done before sleeping.

Benefits of Mindfulness

Mindfulness has truly made a leap in the healing arts. Psychologists has seen it as a means to relieve stress, insomnia, pain, PTSD and other emotional problems. It is also said that mindful meditation promotes the growth of neurons in the brain.

1. Finding Peace

The most important reason for mindfulness is to find peace. It is said by the Buddha that life is full of suffering (Dukkha). He also said that we suffer because of our desires. Pleasure is fleeting and wanting more pleasure is a state that the untrained human mind normally does.

But mindfulness eases that. By mindfulness, we appreciate life and thus find peace. When we are mindful we take charge of our feelings and thoughts and desires. We find out why we feel a certain way.

This understanding allows us to live more virtuously. We do not live in virtue because we are told to do so, but because we experience that doing so brings about peace.

This is something we realize through mindfulness.

2. Appreciating Life

Have you ever felt a rat running on a wheel? Have you ever thought that you are forced to go through life by waking, working and then sleeping; in an endless pattern just to die one day? Well you are not alone.

Our society has fed us the notion that we can only be happy if we get to point B when now we are at point A. But when we get there, there is another goal and another and another. The constant wanting and needing of something in the future causes us to suffer. We cannot even appreciate that we wake in the morning, but rather gulp tons of coffee, hoping to survive the day.

In mindfulness, you learn that the present time is the best time to be alive. You don’t need to wait for tomorrow to appreciate life and be happy, because now is the time to be happy.

3. Removing the Fear of Death

Many people struggle through life because they fear death. They fear losing things which will eventually hurt them and would cause them pain or even death.

Through mindfulness, we learn to experience pain and endure it. We learn that joy is fleeting and enjoy it for the moment that it comes. When are mindful, we understand that there is nothing permanent in this life.

Everything changes and thus we need to learn to let go.

When you let go, you become resilient to pain for you hold no attachments. You become liberated from the constant struggle of desiring not to die. We can face death and not be afraid.

4. Mindfulness Teaches Us Kindness

One of the most important teachings of the Buddha is compassion. Compassion promotes peace. Buddha has said that we need to be compassionate to ourselves and to others. Mindfulness gives us the perspective of realities of life. We can empathize with others and thus be more understanding.

Mindfulness allows us to sense the feelings of sentient beings around us. We can feel the joy of the birds singing, the cries of a hungry dog and the sad face of injured cat. We can help the homeless for we feel their suffering.

5. A Sense of Fulfillment

Being mindful allows us to be contented. We as humans constantly desire things. We have an insatiable hunger to own and possess things and people. We crave wealth, love, honor, pride and beauty. But our constant wanting leads us to present in the past or future but never in the present. We think that if we attain wealth we will become happy, but this is not true.

By being mindful, we can see that life is already beautiful now and we need to embrace it. We need to strive to do good but not be lost in the future.

Daily Affirmation

In order to be mindful, we need to live life each day with the intent to be present in every given moment. We need to tell ourselves that we want to be HERE.

So when you wake up, give yourself a few minutes to meditate. Allow you mind to find peace. Meditate when you are standing in the train and tell yourself that you are HERE.

Tell yourself that you want to be kind to yourself and to others. Mindfulness is not only being focused in the hear and now, it is also being kind and patient in the hear and the now.

It is experiencing life and filling it with goodness.

Read more on how Meditation can help you find peace and end suffering. Or you may also read the basic teachings of Buddhism about the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path.

Source: https://teachingsofthebuddha.com/practice-mindfulness-and-find-peace/

Thich Nhat Hanh on The Practice of Mindfulness

How to Use Buddhist Teachings for a Mindful, Peaceful and Happy Life

Calligraphy by Thich Nhat Hanh. Purchas a print in the Lion’s Roar store.

Our true home is not in the past. Our true home is not in the future. Our true home is in the here and the now. Life is available only in the here and the now, and it is our true home.

Mindfulness is the energy that helps us recognize the conditions of happiness that are already present in our lives. You don’t have to wait ten years to experience this happiness.

It is present in every moment of your daily life. There are those of us who are alive but don’t know it. But when you breathe in, and you are aware of your in-breath, you touch the miracle of being alive.

That is why mindfulness is a source of happiness and joy.

You don’t have to wait ten years to experience this happiness. It is present in every moment of your daily life

Most people are forgetful; they are not really there a lot of the time. Their mind is caught in their worries, their fears, their anger, and their regrets, and they are not mindful of being there.

That state of being is called forgetfulness—you are there but you are not there. You are caught in the past or in the future. You are not there in the present moment, living your life deeply.

That is forgetfulness.

The opposite of forgetfulness is mindfulness. Mindfulness is when you are truly there, mind and body together. You breathe in and out mindfully, you bring your mind back to your body, and you are there.

When your mind is there with your body, you are established in the present moment. Then you can recognize the many conditions of happiness that are in you and around you, and happiness just comes naturally.

Mindfulness practice should be enjoyable, not work or effort. Do you have to make an effort to breathe in? You don’t need to make an effort. To breathe in, you just breathe in. Suppose you are with a group of people contemplating a beautiful sunset. Do you have to make an effort to enjoy the beautiful sunset? No, you don’t have to make any effort. You just enjoy it.

The same thing is true with your breath. Allow your breath to take place. Become aware of it and enjoy it. Effortlessness. Enjoyment. The same thing is true with walking mindfully. Every step you take is enjoyable. Every step helps you to touch the wonders of life, in yourself and around you. Every step is peace. Every step is joy. That is possible.

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During the time you are practicing mindfulness, you stop talking—not only the talking outside, but the talking inside. The talking inside is the thinking, the mental discourse that goes on and on and on inside.

Real silence is the cessation of talking—of both the mouth and of the mind. This is not the kind of silence that oppresses us. It is a very elegant kind of silence, a very powerful kind of silence.

It is the silence that heals and nourishes us.

Mindfulness gives birth to joy and happiness. Another source of happiness is concentration. The energy of mindfulness carries within it the energy of concentration. When you are aware of something, such as a flower, and can maintain that awareness, we say that you are concentrated on the flower.

When your mindfulness becomes powerful, your concentration becomes powerful, and when you are fully concentrated, you have a chance to make a breakthrough, to achieve insight. If you meditate on a cloud, you can get insight into the nature of the cloud.

Or you can meditate on a pebble, and if you have enough mindfulness and concentration, you can see into the nature of the pebble. You can meditate on a person, and if you have enough mindfulness and concentration, you can make a breakthrough and understand the nature of that person.

You can meditate on yourself, or your anger, or your fear, or your joy, or your peace.

Anything can be the object of your meditation, and with the powerful energy of concentration, you can make a breakthrough and develop insight. It’s a magnifying glass concentrating the light of the sun.

If you put the point of concentrated light on a piece of paper, it will burn.

Similarly, when your mindfulness and concentration are powerful, your insight will liberate you from fear, anger, and despair, and bring you true joy, true peace, and true happiness.

When your mindfulness becomes powerful, your concentration becomes powerful, and when you are fully concentrated, you have a chance to make a breakthrough, to achieve insight

When you contemplate the big, full sunrise, the more mindful and concentrated you are, the more the beauty of the sunrise is revealed to you. Suppose you are offered a cup of tea, very fragrant, very good tea. If your mind is distracted, you cannot really enjoy the tea.

You have to be mindful of the tea, you have to be concentrated on it, so the tea can reveal its fragrance and wonder to you. That is why mindfulness and concentration are such sources of happiness.

That’s why a good practitioner knows how to create a moment of joy, a feeling of happiness, at any time of the day.

First Mindfulness Exercise: Mindful Breathing

The first exercise is very simple, but the power, the result, can be very great. The exercise is simply to identify the in-breath as in-breath and the out-breath as the out-breath. When you breathe in, you know that this is your in-breath. When you breathe out, you are mindful that this is your out-breath.

Just recognize: this is an in-breath, this is an out-breath. Very simple, very easy. In order to recognize your in-breath as in-breath, you have to bring your mind home to yourself.

What is recognizing your in-breath is your mind, and the object of your mind—the object of your mindfulness—is the in-breath. Mindfulness is always mindful of something. When you drink your tea mindfully, it’s called mindfulness of drinking.

When you walk mindfully, it’s called mindfulness of walking. And when you breathe mindfully, that is mindfulness of breathing.

So the object of your mindfulness is your breath, and you just focus your attention on it. Breathing in, this is my in-breath. Breathing out, this is my out-breath. When you do that, the mental discourse will stop. You don’t think anymore.

You don’t have to make an effort to stop your thinking; you bring your attention to your in-breath and the mental discourse just stops. That is the miracle of the practice. You don’t think of the past anymore. You don’t think of the future.

You don’t think of your projects, because you are focusing your attention, your mindfulness, on your breath.

The in-breath can be a celebration of the fact that you are alive, so it can be very joyful

It gets even better. You can enjoy your in-breath. The practice can be pleasant, joyful. Someone who is dead cannot take any more in-breaths. But you are alive. You are breathing in, and while breathing in, you know that you are alive.

The in-breath can be a celebration of the fact that you are alive, so it can be very joyful. When you are joyful and happy, you don’t feel that you have to make any effort at all. I am alive; I am breathing in. To be still alive is a miracle.

The greatest of all miracles is to be alive, and when you breathe in, you touch that miracle. Therefore, your breathing can be a celebration of life.

An in-breath may take three, four, five seconds, it depends. That’s time to be alive, time to enjoy your breath. You don’t have to interfere with your breathing.

If your in-breath is short, allow it to be short. If your out-breath is long, let it to be long. Don’t try to force it. The practice is simple recognition of the in-breath and the out-breath.

That is good enough. It will have a powerful effect.

Second Mindfulness Exercise: Concentration

The second exercise is that while you breathe in, you follow your in-breath from the beginning to the end. If your in-breath lasts three or four seconds, then your mindfulness also lasts three or four seconds.

Breathing in, I follow my in-breath all the way through. Breathing out, I follow my out-breath all the way through. From the beginning of my out-breath to the end of my out-breath, my mind is always with it.

Therefore, mindfulness becomes uninterrupted, and the quality of your concentration is improved.

So the second exercise is to follow your in-breath and your out-breath all the way through. Whether they are short or long, it doesn’t matter. What is important is that you follow your in-breath from the beginning to the end. Your awareness is sustained. There is no interruption.

Suppose you are breathing in, and then you think, “Oh, I forgot to turn off the light in my room.” There is an interruption. Just stick to your in-breath all the way through. Then you cultivate your mindfulness and your concentration. You become your in-breath. You become your out-breath.

If you continue that, your breathing will naturally become deeper and slower, more harmonious and peaceful. You don’t have to make any effort—it happens naturally.

Third Mindfulness Exercise: Awareness of Your Body

The third exercise is to become aware of your body as you are breathing. “Breathing in, I am aware of my whole body.” This takes it one step further.

In the first exercise, you became aware of your in-breath and your out-breath. Because you have now generated the energy of mindfulness through mindful breathing, you can use that energy to recognize your body.

“Breathing in, I am aware of my body. Breathing out, I am aware of my body.” I know my body is there. This brings the mind wholly back to the body. Mind and body become one reality. When your mind is with your body, you are well-established in the here and the now. You are fully alive. You can be in touch with the wonders of life that are available in yourself and around you.

This exercise is simple, but the effect of the oneness of body and mind is very great. In our daily lives, we are seldom in that situation. Our body is there but our mind is elsewhere.

Our mind may be caught in the past or in the future, in regrets, sorrow, fear, or uncertainty, and so our mind is not there. Someone may be present in the house, but he’s not really there, his mind is not there.

His mind is with the future, with his projects, and he’s not there for his children or his spouse. Maybe you could say to him, “Anybody home?” and help him bring his mind back to his body.

So the third exercise is to become aware of your body. “Breathing in, I’m aware of my body.” When you practice mindful breathing, the quality of your in-breath and out-breath will be improved. There is more peace and harmony in your breathing, and if you continue to practice that, the peace and the harmony will penetrate into the body, and the body will profit.

Fourth Mindfulness Exercise: Releasing Tension

The next exercise is to release the tension in the body. When you are truly aware of your body, you notice there is some tension and pain in your body, some stress. The tension and pain have been accumulating for a long time and our bodies suffer, but our mind is not there to help release it. Therefore, it is very important to learn how to release the tension in the body.

It is always possible to practice releasing the tension in yourself

In a sitting, lying, or standing position, it’s always possible to release the tension. You can practice total relaxation, deep relaxation, in a sitting or lying position. While you are driving your car, you might notice the tension in your body. You are eager to arrive and you don’t enjoy the time you spend driving.

When you come to a red light, you are eager for the red light to become a green light so that you can continue. But the red light can be a signal. It can be a reminder that there is tension in you, the stress of wanting to arrive as quickly as possible. If you recognize that, you can make use of the red light.

You can sit back and relax—take the ten seconds the light is red to practice mindful breathing and release the tension in the body.

So next time you’re stopped at a red light, you might to sit back and practice the fourth exercise: “Breathing in, I’m aware of my body. Breathing out, I release the tension in my body.

” Peace is possible at that moment, and it can be practiced many times a day—in the workplace, while you are driving, while you are cooking, while you are doing the dishes, while you are watering the vegetable garden.

It is always possible to practice releasing the tension in yourself.

Walking Meditation

When you practice mindful breathing you simply allow your in breath to take place. You become aware of it and enjoy it. Effortlessness. The same thing is true with mindful walking. Every step is enjoyable. Every step helps you touch the wonders of life. Every step is joy. That is possible.

You don’t have to make any effort during walking meditation, because it is enjoyable. You are there, body and mind together. You are fully alive, fully present in the here and the now. With every step, you touch the wonders of life that are in you and around you. When you walk that, every step brings healing. Every step brings peace and joy, because every step is a miracle.

The real miracle is not to fly or walk on fire. The real miracle is to walk on the Earth, and you can perform that miracle at any time. Just bring your mind home to your body, become alive, and perform the miracle of walking on Earth.

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Source: https://www.lionsroar.com/mindful-living-thich-nhat-hanh-on-the-practice-of-mindfulness-march-2010/

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