Thich Nhat Hanh Quotes

76 Thich Nhat Hanh Quotes on Suffering, Smile & Gratitude

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Being forced to be in exile for over 40 years, Thich Nhat Hanh certainly knows what suffering is.  Yet, the renowned Vietnamese Zen Master has transformed his suffering into a positive energy, inspiring and teaching people around the world to smile, to be mindful and be grateful of the present moment.  Here we have compiled his famous quotes to understand his wisdom.

On Suffering

1.“When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over. He does not need punishment; he needs help. That’s the message he is sending.”

“When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over. He does not need punishment; he needs help. That’s the message he is sending.” Thich Nhat Hanh

2. “The seed of suffering in you may be strong, but don’t wait until you have no more suffering before allowing yourself to be happy.”

3. “Suffering is not enough. Life is both dreadful and wonderful…How can I smile when I am filled with so much sorrow? It is natural–you need to smile to your sorrow because you are more than your sorrow.”

4. “Some people live as though they are already dead. There are people moving around us who are consumed by their past, terrified of their future, and stuck in their anger and jealousy. They are not alive; they are just walking corpses.”

5. “If you suffer and make your loved ones suffer, there is nothing that can justify your desire.”

6. 'In modern society most of us don’t want to be in touch with ourselves; we want to be in touch with other things like religion, sports, politics, a book – we want to forget ourselves.' Thich Nhat Hanh Click To Tweet

7. Do not avoid contact with suffering or close your eyes before suffering. Do not lose awareness of the existence of suffering in the life of the world. Find ways to be with those who are suffering by all means, including personal contact and visits, images, sounds. By such means, …awaken yourself and others to the reality of suffering in the world. If we get in touch with the suffering of the world, and are moved by that suffering, we may come forward to help the people who are suffering.”

8. “We will not just say, “I love him very much,” but instead, “I will do something so that he will suffer less.” The mind of compassion is truly present when it is effective in removing another person’s suffering.”

9. “People suffer because they are caught in their views. As soon as we release those views, we are free and we don’t suffer anymore.”

10. “When you begin to see that your enemy is suffering, that is the beginning of insight.”

11. “The fact is that when you make the other suffer, he will try to find relief by making you suffer more. The result is an escalation of suffering on both sides.”

12. “People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.”

Related: Quotes to Overcome Fear Of The Unknown (Out Of Your Comfort Zone!)

 

On Smile

13. “Smile, breathe and go slowly.”

“Smile, breathe and go slowly.” Thich Nhat Hanh

14. “Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”

15. “Waking up this morning, I smile. Twenty-four brand new hours are before me. I vow to live fully in each moment and to look at all beings with eyes of compassion.”

16. “If a child smiles, if an adult smiles, that is very important. If in our daily lives we can smile, if we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone will profit from it. If we really know how to live, what better way to start the day than with a smile? Our smile affirms our awareness and determination to live in peace and joy. The source of a true smile is an awakened mind.”

17. 'Breathing in, I calm body and mind. Breathing out, I smile.' Thich Nhat Hanh Click To Tweet

18. “Life is both dreadful and wonderful… How can I smile when I am filled with so much sorrow? It is natural–you need to smile to your sorrow because you are more than your sorrow.”

19. “Smiling is very important. If we are not able to smile, then the world will not have peace. It is not by going out for a demonstration against nuclear missiles that we can bring about peace. It is with our capacity of smiling, breathing, and being peace that we can make peace.”

20. “If in our daily life we can smile, if we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone will profit from it. This is the most basic kind of peace work.”

21. “Because of your smile, you make life more beautiful.”

Related: Robin Williams Quotes on Love, Life, Happiness (LAUGHTER)

 

On Gratitude

22.  “Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.”

"Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet." Thich Nhat Hanh

23. “You have enough.”

24. “Keeping your body healthy is an expression of gratitude to the whole cosmos—the trees, the clouds, everything.”

25. “When we live in the spirit of gratitude, there will be much happiness in our life. The one who is grateful is the one who has much happiness while the one who is ungrateful will not be able to have happiness.”
“The true miracle is not walking on water or walking in air, but simply walking on this earth.”

26. “Learn to love, enjoy and embrace what you have in the here and now. That’s all you really need to be happy.”

Related: 160+ Unique Ways to Say “You Are Amazing” (Sweet and Funny)

 

On Love and Compassion

27. “If you love someone but rarely make yourself available to him or her, that is not true love.”

"If you love someone but rarely make yourself available to him or her, that is not true love." Thich Nhat Hanh

28. “In true love, you attain freedom.”

29. “If our love is only a will to possess, it is not love.”

30. “Those who are without compassion cannot see what is seen with the eyes of compassion.”

31. “When you love someone, you have to offer that person the best you have. The best thing we can offer another person is our true presence.”

32. “If you do not know how to take care of yourself, and the violence in you, then you will not be able to take care of others. You must have love and patience before you can truly listen to your partner or child. If you are irritated you cannot listen. You have to know how to breath mindfully, embrace your irritation and transform it. Offer ONLY understand and compassion to your partner or child – This is the true practice of love.”

33. “To be loved means to be recognized as existing.”

34. 'A true partner or friend is one who encourages you to look deep inside yourself for the beauty and love you’ve been seeking.' Thich Nhat Hanh Click To Tweet

35. “In true love, there is no pride.”

36. “Other people’s actions are the result of their own pain and not the result of any intention to hurt you.”

37. “To take good care of ourselves, we must go back and take care of the wounded child inside of us. You have to practice going back to your wounded child every day. You have to embrace him or her terderly, like a big brother or a big sister. You have to talk to him, talk to her. And you can write a letter to the Little child in you, of two or three pages, to that you recognize his or her presence, and will do everything you can to heal his or her wounds.”

38. “To love without knowing how to love wounds the person we love.”

39. “The roots of a lasting relationship are mindfulness, deep listening, and loving speech, and a strong community to support you.”

40. “Love has no meaning without understanding.”

Related: Tara Brach Quotes on Radical Acceptance, Love & Compassion

 

On Mindfulness

41.  “Life is available only in the present moment.”

"Life is available only in the present moment." Thich Nhat Hanh

42. “Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.”

43. “To think in terms of either pessimism or optimism oversimplifies the truth. The problem is to see reality as it is.”

44. “Dwelling in the present moment I know this is the only moment.”

45. “I promise myself that I will enjoy every minute of the day that is given me to live.”

46. “I promise myself that I will enjoy every minute of the day that is given me to live.”

47. 'Awareness is like the sun. When it shines on things, they are transformed.' Thich Nhat Hanh Click To Tweet

48. “Understanding means throwing away your knowledge.”

49. “Freedom is not given to us by anyone; we have to cultivate it ourselves. It is a daily practice… No one can prevent you from being aware of each step you take or each breath in and breath out.”

50. “Breathing in, I calm body and mind. Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment I know this is the only moment.”

51. “Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future.”

52. “The mind can go in a thousand directions, but on this beautiful path, I walk in peace. With each step, the wind blows. With each step, a flower blooms.”

53. “When we are mindful, deeply in touch with the present moment, our understanding of what is going on deepens, and we begin to be filled with acceptance, joy, peace and love.”

Related:  101 Eckhart Tolle Quotes on Happiness and Inner Peace (POWER OF NOW)

 

On Life and Present Moment

54. “Thanks to impermanence, everything is possible.”

"Thanks to impermanence, everything is possible." Thich Nhat Hanh

55. “Only the present moment contains life.”

56. “The best way to take care of the future is to take care of the present moment.”

57. “Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today.”

58. “If we are not fully ourselves, truly in the present moment, we miss everything.”

59. 'Know that life can only be found in the present moment.' Thich Nhat Hanh Click To Tweet

60. “Life is available only in the present. That is why we should walk in such a way that every step can bring us to the here and the now.”

61. “Touching the present moment, we realize that the present is made of the past and is creating the future.”

62. “Because you are alive, everything is possible.”

Related: Beautiful Quotes to Enjoy Little Things and Moments in Life

 

On True Happiness

63. 'Many people think excitement is happiness…. But when you are excited you are not peaceful. True happiness is based on peace.' Thich Nhat Hanh Click To Tweet

64. “The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.”

65. “Our notions about happiness entrap us. We forget that they are just ideas. Our idea of happiness can prevent us from actually being happy. We fail to see the opportunity for joy that is right in front of us when we are caught in a belief that happiness should take a particular form.”

66. “Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness. If, in our heart, we still cling to anything—anger, anxiety, or possessions—we cannot be free.”

67. “Mindfulness helps you go home to the present. And every time you go there and recognize a condition of happiness that you have, happiness comes.”

68. “What you are looking for is already in you…You already are everything you are seeking.”

69. 'Happiness does not come from consumption of things.' Thich Nhat Hanh Click To Tweet

70. “Each moment is a chance for us to make peace with the world, to make peace possible for the world, to make happiness possible for the world.”

71. “Be Yourself. Life is precious as it is. All the elements for your happiness are already here. There is no need to run, strive, search, or struggle. Just Be.”

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On Peace

72. “It is my conviction that there is no way to peace—peace is the way.”

73. “When you say something really unkind, when you do something in retaliation your anger increases. You make the other person suffer, and he will try hard to say or to do something back to get relief from his suffering. That is how conflict escalates.”
“Root out the violence in your life, and learn to live compassionately and mindfully. Seek peace. When you have peace within, real peace with others is possible.”

74. “Until there is peace between religions, there can be no peace in the world.”

75. “Each moment is a chance for us to make peace with the world, to make peace possible for the world, to make happiness possible for the world.”

76. “We often think of peace as the absence of war, that if powerful countries would reduce their weapon arsenals, we could have peace. But if we look deeply into the weapons, we see our own minds- our own prejudices, fears and ignorance. Even if we transport all the bombs to the moon, the roots of war and the roots of bombs are still there, in our hearts and minds, and sooner or later we will make new bombs. To work for peace is to uproot war from ourselves and from the hearts of men and women. To prepare for war, to give millions of men and women the opportunity to practice killing day and night in their hearts, is to plant millions of seeds of violence, anger, frustration, and fear that will be passed on for generations to come.”

Related:  Eckhart Tolle Quotes on Death to Help you Find Peace

Featured image credit: Duc (i.e. pixiduc) Paris, France, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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