The Energy of Love

Thich Nhat Hanh, Answers From The Heart

The teaching of the Buddha aims at helping us to generate the energy of love and understanding. If we can practice that energy, it will first of all help us to satisfy our need to be loved. And then, with that capacity of love and understanding, we can embrace the people who are with us now. We can make them happy while we are happy ourselves.

 

Beyond Labels

As human beings, we’re exactly the same. But the many layers of labels prevent other people from seeing you as a human being. Thinking of yourself as or calling yourself a “Buddhist” can be a disadvantage, because if you wear the title “Buddhist” this may be an obstacle that prevents others from discovering the human being in you. The same is true whether you are

Christian, Jewish, or Muslim. This can be an important part of your identity, but it is not the whole of who you are. People are caught in these notions and images, and they cannot recognize each other as human beings. The practice of peeling away all the labels so that the human being can be revealed is truly a practice of peace.

 

Your True Home the everyday wisdom of Thich Nhat Hanh

A Lotus for you, A Buddha to be

A Lotus for you, A Buddha to be                  

by Thich Nhat Hanh

Present Moment, Wonderful Moment

The tradition of joining our palms together and bowing when we meet someone is very beautiful. Millions of men and women in Asia and around the world greet each other that way every day. Forming a lotus bud with your hands is very pleasant. I hope you will try it from time to time. If a tulip blossom is more familiar for you to envision, you may want to say, “A tulip for you, a Buddha to be.” A tulip possesses the Buddha nature just like a lotus.

When someone offers me a cup of tea, I always bow respectfully. As I join my palms, I breathe in and say, “A lotus for you.” As I bow, I breathe out and say, “A Buddha to be.” To join our hands in a lotus bud is to offer the person standing before us a fresh flower. But we have to remember not to join our palms mechanically. We must be aware of the person we are greeting. When our respect is sincere, we remember that she has the nature of the Buddha, the nature of awakening.

If we look, we can see the Buddha in the person before us. When we practice this way regularly, we will see a change in ourselves. We will develop humility, and we will also realize that our abilities are boundless. When we know how to respect others, we also know how to respect ourselves.

As I bow, mindfulness becomes real in me. Seeing my deep reverence, the person to whom I bow also becomes awake, and he may like to form a lotus and bow to me, breathing in and out. With one greeting, mindfulness becomes present in both of us as we touch the Buddha with our hearts, not just with our hands. Suddenly, the Buddha in each of us begins to shine, and we are in touch with the present moment.

Sometimes we think that we are superior to others – perhaps more educated or intelligent. Seeing an uneducated person, a feeling of disdain may arise, but this attitude does not help anyone. Our knowledge is relative and limited. An orchid, for example, knows how to produce noble, symmetrical flowers, and a snail knows to make a beautiful well-proportioned shell. Compared with this kind of knowledge, our knowledge is not worth boasting about, no matter how much formal education we have. We should bow deeply before the orchid and the snail and join our palms reverently before the monarch butterfly and the magnolia tree. Feeling respect for all species of living beings and inanimate objects will help us recognize a part of the Buddha nature in ourselves.

In the West, some people prefer to shake hands. Whatever form you use, if you greet others mindfully and respectfully, the Buddha is present.

 

Looking in the Mirror

Present Moment Wonderful Moment 

by Thich Nhat Hanh

#7 Looking in the Mirror

Awareness is the mirror

Reflecting the four elements.

Beauty is a heart that generates love

And a mind that is open.

The moments during the day of looking in the mirror can be moments of deep awareness. The mirror can serve as a tool for cultivating mindfulness so that we develop a broad capacity to understand and love others. Anyone who maintains awareness in the present moment becomes beautiful and naturally emanates peace, joy, and happiness. A calm half smile and a loving heart are refreshing, and they allow miracles to unfold. The Buddha’s smile is beautiful because it expresses tolerance, compassion, and loving kindness.

In Vietnamese culture, the four great elements are earth, water, fire, and air. The Vietnamese poet wrote;

The flower with its ephemeral fragrance,

Is made of the four elements.

Your eyes, shining with love,

Are also made of the four elements.

 The four elements are neither mind nor matter. They are the universe itself revealed to us. When your mind is the clear mirror of meditative awareness, you will know that you are the outward expression of the essence of reality. So please smile. Smile with your eyes, not just your lips. Smile with your whole being, reflecting the four elements of the mirror of mindful awareness.

The Mind of Enlightenment

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Bodhicitta (Sanskrit) is the mind of enlightenment, beginner’s mind. When we’re inspired by the desire to practice and transform our suffering so we can help the many people around us who suffer, the mind of that moment is very beautiful. It’s a mind of a bodhisattva, one who attains his or her own liberation in order to help all beings. Sometimes we call it the “mind of love.” It’s because of love that we practice. We’re not just trying to run away from suffering. We want more than that. We want to transform our own suffering and be free in order to help many other people to transform their suffering.

Thich Nhat Hanh, Your True Home, the everyday wisdom of TNH