To develop understanding, you have to practice looking at all living beings with the eyes of compassion.
Thich Nhat Hanh
With the Eyes of Compassion
Topic: Love, Compassion, & Kindness
The root-word “budh” means to wake up, to know, to understand. A person who wakes up and understands is called a Buddha. It is as simple as that. The capacity to wake up, to understand, and to love is called Buddha nature…
When you understand, you cannot help but love… To develop understanding, you have to practice looking at all living beings with the eyes of compassion. When you understand, you love. And when you love, you naturally act in a way that can relieve the suffering of people.
Early Life and Education: Thich Nhat Hanh was born on October 11, 1926, in Thừa Thiên-Huế Province, Vietnam. At the age of 16, he entered the monastery at nearby Từ Hiếu Temple, where he was ordained as a monk. He then went on to study both Vietnamese traditions of Buddhism and Western philosophy at the Báo Quốc Buddhist Academy and the University of Saigon. His synthesis of Eastern and Western thought led him to develop a unique approach to mindfulness and Zen practice, which he shared with people from different walks of life.
Activism and Teachings: During the Vietnam War, Thich Nhat Hanh was a strong advocate for peace and reconciliation. He founded the School of Youth for Social Service, training young activists in Buddhist principles and nonviolent resistance. His efforts to end the violence and his calls for peace drew international attention. Martin Luther King Jr. nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1967. Thich Nhat Hanh authored numerous books, teaching mindfulness and compassion, and founded the Plum Village Tradition, a network of monasteries and practice centers around the world.
Later Life and Legacy: In his later years, Thich Nhat Hanh continued to travel, write, and teach, spreading the message of mindfulness and love. He suffered a severe stroke in 2014 that limited his ability to communicate but remained an inspiring figure. After spending some years in France at Plum Village, he returned to Vietnam in 2018 to spend his remaining years at his root temple, Từ Hiếu. Thich Nhat Hanh passed away on January 22, 2022, leaving behind a legacy of profound teachings that continue to inspire individuals and communities across the globe to live with understanding, compassion, and interconnectedness. His life's work serves as a beacon for those seeking a path of peace and love in the world.
Hạnh Thich Nhất. Being Peace. Edited by Rachel Neumann, Parallax Press, 1987 [Thich Nhất Hạnh, Being Peace] pp. 18, 21-24.
Thich Nhat Hanh
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