A Living Buddha

75 thich nhat hanh quotes

This long year, 2020, deserves to be topped off with a salute to our Souls, highlighting the opportunity we have for awakening as a species!

The trouble is we think we have plenty of time. Time for peace. Time for forgiveness. Time for the holy truth we have desired. But the time we seek is now. Take a moment to pause, breathe, and drop out of the running mind and into the living, breathing body. Find your seat, here and now, cultivating compassion along the way. Glimmers of peace, truth, goodness, and beauty are shining everywhere, inside and out.

Consider Thich Nhat Hanh, who last year celebrated his 93rd continuation day – his birthday – at Tu Hieu Temple in Hue, Vietnam, his “Root Temple” where Thay, as he is called, first entered the monkhood when he was sixteen.

He tells a story of going to a mountain in Vietnam for a picnic with a school group when he was 12 years old. He had heard that a hermit lived in the mountain, and he was very excited because a hermit is someone who practices in order to awaken, to become a Buddha. The boy already had a strong desire to embody the stability, presence, and peace of a Buddha. His longing took him to the mountain to meet the hermit, but when he arrived, the monk was not there.

Disappointed, he continued walking and discovered a well on the mountain where he drank the refreshing water. That water completely satisfied him, and it occurred to him that the hermit had transformed himself into a well so that Thay could have a private audience with him.

“During the time of drinking I had the idea that it must be the best water in the world,” he recalled in an interview with Tami Simon, “and if I think now more, I would say that the source of solidity, the source of peace and freedom, must be symbolized but that kind of water.”

That kind of water. Spirit Water. Holy Water. He didn’t meet the hermit in person, but his inner desire was fulfilled and transferred into his own desire to become a monk. He took in the Spirit Water and it became a part of him. So, when he became a novice and entered his Root Temple at the age of 16, he realized his dream.

Thich Nhat Hanh today has authored over 100 books and is considered a living Buddha. He has touched the lives of millions of people with his teachings on suffering, breath meditations, and the sheer presence of someone who embodies the teachings of the Buddha.

In the current pandemic, with so many isolated and our social activities reduced, we are all enlightened-beings-in-training, novices either working overtime on the frontlines or hermits in our caves, doing our best to embody peace, kindness, and goodness during these extraordinary times.

Thay, like my Tibetan Buddhist teacher Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, said that the importance of being happy cannot be overstated.

Since taking refuge in the Kagyu lineage 20 years ago, I continue to share these practices in my Yoga classes, events, and online courses. Because they can help people to dissolve suffering and restore peace, stability, and lovingkindness in them.

We have to look deeply into the nature of our suffering in order to understand it. People who try to run away from their suffering are in fact holding on to the suffering. If we look deeply into it, we discover the true nature of our suffering. We find its root in the shadow, and the loving light of awareness dispels the darkness.

“When you have seen the true nature of your suffering,” says Thay, “you have a chance to see the way out of suffering. And that is why suffering is considered in Buddhism as a holy truth, because it is a truth that can heal.”

If we are to cultivate resilient hearts in times of suffering, we only need to find the stillness and truth at the center of all things. Glimmers of truth, holy water, and the wisdom fire are shining inside us, and everywhere.

I hope you have a glorious Thanksgiving! And may this holiday season’s offering YOGA FOR YOUR SOUL open up a new doorway to discover more of your inner light and bring more light to our shared world. Please join us for the free, live, online class this Saturday, November 28, at 10 AM HST, and nourish your Soul.

Learn more about the FREE Zoom Class on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, by clicking here: Yoga for your Radiant Soul

May the joy and blessings of Spirit shower you with peace, love, and wisdom!

Marya

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