Saturday, September 7, 2013

Fragrant Palm Leaves

Fragrant Palm Leaves
Journals 1962-1966
by Thich Nhat Hanh

I still respond to the call of the cosmos, although the way I do has changed. The call is as clear and compelling as it was those many years ago. When I hear it now; I pause; and with all my body, with every atom of my being, every vein, gland, and nerve, I listen with awe and passion.

Buddhahood doesn't come from long hours of sitting.

...we respect Christ as a great teacher but don't look on him as a God. The same is true of Buddha. We respect him as a great teacher, but we don't worship him as a god.

It's funny how much our surroundings influence our emotions. Our joys and sorrows, likes and dislikes are colored by our environment so much that often we just let our surroundings dictate our course. We go along with 'public' feelings until we no longer even know our own true aspirations. We become a stranger to ourselves, molded entirely by society.

Freedom without responsibility is destructible to oneself and others.

Some life dilemmas cannot be solved by study or rational thought. We just live with them, struggle with them, and become one with them. Such dilemmas are not in the realm of the intellect. They come from our feelings and our will; and they penetrate our subconscious and our body, down to the marrow of our bones. I became a battlefield. I couldn't know until the storm was over if I would survive, not in the sense of my physical life, but in the deeper sense of my core self.

How could we continue to live if we were changeless? To live, we must die every instant. We must perish again and again in the storms that make life possible.

History teaches that we die if we oppose the system. Yet many individuals continue to challenge the darkness, despite the danger in doing so.

When we attain a new understanding of reality, it is impossible to accept things as we know to be false. Our actions will be based on our own understanding, and we will follow only those rules we have tested through our own direct experience. We will discard false rules and conventions of the current social order.

Every success contains some difficulties, and every failure contributes to increased wisdom or future success.

Most important is knowing how to ride the waves of impermanence, smiling as one who knows he has never been born and will never die.

For someone who has seen into the nature of things, knowledge gives rise to action. For those who have truly seen, there is no philosophy of action needed.

Life waits patiently for true heroes.

...all places on earth are, more or less, the same. It is our state of mind that ultimately determines things.

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


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