"When understood, the Buddha’s universe..is anything but alien and inhibiting. It is a world full of hope, where everything we need to do can be done and everything that matters is within human reach. It is a world where kindness, unselfishness, non-violence, and compassion achieve what self-interest and arrogance cannot. It is a world where any human can be happy in goodness and the fullness of giving." ❦ Eknath Easwara

October 6, 2011

Thich Nhat Hanh - A Simple Teaching on Bringing Mindfulness to Whatever Arises

"There are some practitioners who want to bend and twist their breathing the way they think it ought to be. The Buddha said that is not the correct way. You only be aware of your breath and do not try to intervene. You don't need to do anything, just know. You just observe, you do not need to suppress, you do not need to force. You just be with your breath in awareness. When there is sunshine it just shines across the land and it doesn’t try to spread its rays everywhere or force the land to absorb its rays. The sun just shines.

We too practice in a very non-violent, very loving way with our breathing. When you are sitting with a bent back you just recognise your back is bent and quite naturally your body adjusts itself to become a little straighter. There is no forcing. If you are agitated but you are mindful of this feeling of agitation you simply recognise 'I have irritation.' You should not say 'Irritation is very bad, I have to get rid of my irritation.' No, you just be aware of your irritation.

The teaching of the Buddha is non-violent. If there is irritation you simply recognise you have irritation. You allow irritation to be there and embrace it as if it is a baby. You do not judge, you do not force, and you do not condemn them. You only look at your irritation with compassion. I go back to my body with non-violence, with care, with compassion. When the sunshine falls on the vegetation, the vegetation itself becomes green.

When your mindfulness is shinning upon what is happening in you then you do not need to force but you know right away and you smile with compassion to your irritation and then your irritation will disappear. You know that everything changes including your irritation. If you are aware then your irritation becomes weaker, but if you are not aware then the irritation can grow very fast turning into anger and stress, and other negative feelings. If you are aware it will weaken naturally because it is impermanent."

From a Dharma Talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh on January 18, 1998 in Plum Village, France
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