Thich Nhat Hanh on living and dying

By Minh Minh   January 21, 2022 | 06:55 pm PT
As the world mourns the passing of Thich Nhat Hanh, master of mindfulness, his legacy lives on in his teaching about life and death.
Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh writes calligraphies at the Plum Village in France in 2013. Photo courtesy of Plum Village

Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh writes calligraphies at the Plum Village in France in 2013. Photo courtesy of Plum Village

Thich Nhat Hanh, a Zen Master who has brought mindfulness to the West, died at his birthplace Hue Saturday, aged 95.

He left global influence with key teaching on mindfulness, through which people can learn to live happily in the present moment, which is the only way to truly develop peace, both within oneself and in the world outside.

Here are some of his famous quotes on not fearing death:

"You would not cry if you knew that by looking deeply into the rain you would still see the cloud."

"Birth and death are only notions." "They are not real."

"The Buddha taught that there is no birth; there is no death; there is no coming; there is no going; there is no same; there is no different; there is no permanent self; there is no annihilation. We only think there is."

"This body is not me; I am not caught in this body, I am life without boundaries, I have never been born and I have never died. Over there the wide ocean and the sky with many galaxies all manifests from the basis of consciousness. Since beginning less time I have always been free. Birth and death are only a door through which we go in and out. Birth and death are only a game of hide-and-seek. So smile to me and take my hand and wave good-bye. Tomorrow we shall meet again or even before. We shall always be meeting again at the true source. Always meeting again on the myriad paths of life."

.. and embracing life.

"Walk as if you are kissing the earth with your feet."

"When you love someone, the best thing you can offer is your presence. How can you love if you are not there?"

"We should live every day like people who have just been rescued from the moon."

"It is possible to live happily in the present moment. It is the only moment we have."

"Walking meditation is really to enjoy the walking–walking not in order to arrive, just for walking.... We walk all the time, but usually it is more like running. Our hurried steps print anxiety and sorrow on the Earth. If we can take one step in peace, we can take two, three, four, and then five steps for the peace and happiness of humankind."

"There is no phenomenon in the universe that does not immediately concern us, from a peeble resting at the bottom of the ocean, to the movement of a galaxy millions of light years away. The poet Walt Whitman said "I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars..." These words are not philosophy. They come from the depths of soul. He said "I am large, I contain multitudes."

What are your favorite quotes by Thay? Share with us in the comments below.

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