Thích Nhất Hạnh (Tick-Naught-Han) called by his students Thay (meaning teacher) is a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, zen master, peace and human rights activist to name a few. He was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1967 for his efforts to generate peace and reconciliation. One day I hope to be able to visit Plum Village, his meditation practice center in southern France, where he teaches and writes when he's not travelling around the world. But for now, I'll just share some of his quotes that I enjoy:
"You are what you want to become. Why search anymore? You are a wonderful manifestation. The whole universe has come together to make your existence possible. There is nothing that is not you. The kingdom of God, the Pure Land, nirvana, happiness, and liberation are all you."
"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 the way 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. 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?
Just be. Just being in the moment in this place is the deepest practice of meditation.
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 need to search anywhere. We don't need to practice to obtain some high position. We can enjoy every moment. People talk about entering nirvana, but we are already there. Aimlessness and nirvana are one. We have everything we need to make the present moment the happiest in our life, even if we have a cold or a headache. We don't have to wait until we get over our cold to be happy. Having a cold is part of life.
I am happy in the present moment. I do not ask for anything else. I do not expect any additional happiness. Aimlessness is stopping and realizing the happiness that is already available."
There's so much more of his teachings I would like to share, especially about mindful eating which I will post at another time.