Here are the best Thich Nhat Hanh quotes.
But before the quotes, here’s some context…
I discovered Thich Nhat Hanh back in 2004.
I had just lost my girlfriend in a car accident and I started exploring mindfulness authors.
Then, I stumbled upon the book Peace Is Every Step, in which Thich Nhat Hanh talked about
- Letting go of anger and fear
- Finding joy in simple things
- Being mindful in daily activities (like walking, cleaning, eating, etc.)
All aspects that helped me deal with feelings of burnout and depression.
Then I discovered his other book, The Art Of Power, in which I learned to find contentment internally and not externally.
And this lesson has stayed with me since then.
As you’ll find in our modern world, it’s a trap to seek happiness outside.
Everything you need is already inside…
Now, you’ll find below 60 of the best Thich Nhat Hanh quotes I’ve collected over the years.
But who was Thich Nhat Hanh exactly (1926-2022)?
- A Buddhist monk
- The father of the mindfulness movement
- A peace activist, teacher, and prolific author (he wrote more than 100 books)
I hope you’ll learn as much as I did from Thich Nhat Hanh.
He’s the author you need if you want to live a happy, calm, and peaceful life.
Thich Nhat Hanh On Peace
Aimlessness, nonattainment, is a wonderful practice. Thich Nhat Hanh
Sit just to enjoy your sitting; you don’t need to attain any goal. Thich Nhat Hanh
People talk about entering nirvana, but we are already there. Aimlessness and nirvana are one. Thich Nhat Hanh
Life is both dreadful and wonderful. To practice meditation is to be in touch with both aspects. Thich Nhat Hanh
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. Thich Nhat Hanh
Wherever we are, any time, we have the capacity to enjoy the sunshine, the presence of each other, even the sensation of our breathing. Thich Nhat Hanh
The bad things, don’t do them. The good things, try to do them. Try to purify, subdue your own mind. Thich Nhat Hanh
Relax. It’s only a game. Thich Nhat Hanh
Our own life has to be our message. Thich Nhat Hanh
Many people think excitement is happiness…But when you are excited you are not peaceful. True happiness is based on peace. Thich Nhat Hanh
Other people’s actions are the result of their own pain and not the result of any intention to hurt you. Thich Nhat Hanh
Each thought, each action in the sunlight of awareness becomes sacred. Thich Nhat Hanh
We are very good at preparing to live, but not very good at living. Thich Nhat Hanh
We need the mud in order to make the lotus. Thich Nhat Hanh
Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet. Thich Nhat Hanh
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Thich Nhat Hanh On Happiness And Suffering
People should learn how to just be there, doing nothing. Thich Nhat Hanh
Knowing what not to think about. What to ignore and not to do. It’s your first and most important job. Thich Nhat Hanh
People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar. Thich Nhat Hanh
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
Finding a moment to sit and just do nothing can be very healing, transforming, and nourishing. Thich Nhat Hanh
To bring happiness to others, we must be happiness. And this is why we always train ourselves to first take care of our own bodies and minds. Only when we are solid can we be our best and take good care of our loved ones. Thich Nhat Hanh
Anxiety, the illness of our time, comes primarily from our inability to dwell in the present moment. Thich Nhat Hanh
Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy. Thich Nhat Hanh
Happiness does not come from consumption of things. Thich Nhat Hanh
We have the tendency to run away from suffering and to look for happiness. But, in fact, if you have not suffered, you have no chance to experience real happiness. Thich Nhat Hanh
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. Thich Nhat Hanh
There is no way to happiness — happiness is the way. Thich Nhat Hanh
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. Thich Nhat Hanh
Many of us have been running all our lives. Practice stopping. Thich Nhat Hanh
Thich Nhat Hanh On Love (And Self-Love)
If our love is only a will to possess, it is not love. Thich Nhat Hanh
We are here to awaken from our illusion of separateness. Thich Nhat Hanh
No one is more worthy of your kindness and compassion than you are. Thich Nhat Hanh
You must love in such a way that the person you love feels free. Thich Nhat Hanh
Go back and take care of yourself. Your body needs you, your feelings need you, your perceptions need you. Thich Nhat Hanh
To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself. Thich Nhat Hanh
Fearlessness is not only possible, it is the ultimate joy. When you touch nonfear, you are free. Thich Nhat Hanh
Love is the capacity to take care, to protect, to nourish. Thich Nhat Hanh
In true love, there is no pride. Thich Nhat Hanh
Because you are alive, everything is possible. Thich Nhat Hanh
If you love someone but rarely make yourself available to him or her, that is not true love. Thich Nhat Hanh
The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers. Thich Nhat Hanh
Love has no meaning without understanding. Thich Nhat Hanh
Keeping your body healthy is an expression of gratitude to the whole cosmos—the trees, the clouds, everything. Thich Nhat Hanh
In true love, you attain freedom. Thich Nhat Hanh
What you are looking for is already in you…You already are everything you are seeking. Thich Nhat Hanh
Every person is a world to explore. Thich Nhat Hanh
Thich Nhat Hanh on Mindfulness
Only the present moment is real. Thich Nhat Hanh
Breathing and smiling is a deep practice to bring us back to the present moment. Thich Nhat Hanh
If you miss the present moment, you miss your appointment with life. Thich Nhat Hanh
Many people are alive but don’t touch the miracle of being alive. Thich Nhat Hanh
Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the whole earth revolves — slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future. Live the actual moment. Only this moment is life. Thich Nhat Hanh
Mindfulness is the kind of light that shows us the way. It is the living Buddha inside of each of us. Mindfulness gives birth to insight, awakening, compassion, and love. Thich Nhat Hanh
The present moment is the only time we have dominion. Thich Nhat Hanh
The best way to take care of the future is to take care of the present moment. Thich Nhat Hanh
The secret of Buddhism is to remove all ideas, all concepts, in order for the truth to have a chance to penetrate, to reveal itself. Thich Nhat Hanh
Awareness is like the sun. When it shines on things, they are transformed. Thich Nhat Hanh
In mindfulness one is not only restful and happy, but alert and awake. Meditation is not evasion; it is a serene encounter with reality. Thich Nhat Hanh
There is no need to run, strive, search or struggle. Just be. Just being in the moment in this place is the deepest practice of meditation. Most people cannot believe that just walking as if you have nowhere to go is enough. Thich Nhat Hanh
When you practice meditation or walking meditation, don’t make any effort. Allow yourself to be like that pebble at rest. The pebble is resting at the bottom of the river and the pebble does not have to do anything. While you are walking, you are resting. While you are sitting, you are resting. Thich Nhat Hanh
Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor. Thich Nhat Hanh
5 Key Takeaways From Thich Nhat Hanh
- Be mindful: Thich Nhat Hanh taught people to be more aware and to live in the present moment. The less you focus on the past or the future, the more peaceful you can be. So when you drink your tea, only drink your tea. When you listen to your friend, only listen to your friend.
- Practice compassion: Compassion, understanding, and kindness (to yourself and others) are key to creating a better world. So before reacting, stop, and ask yourself how a truly loving person would react.
- Be grateful: Thich Nhat Hanh taught people to be happy for simple things in life. So take a moment each day and reflect on 3 things you are grateful for. It can be walking outside, a sunset, a delicious meal, or a conversation with your friend.
- Think globally: Thich Nhat Hanh reminded people that we are all connected. So take a moment today to help someone, to volunteer, to call a friend, or to give something to your neighbor.
- Find inner peace: What activities bring you joy and help you relax? Write 3-5 of them and try to integrate them more often into your days. It could be drawing, reading, walking in nature, meditating, etc.
- Topic: Life
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