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No Mud, No Lotus: The Art of Transforming Suffering No Mud, No Lotus: The Art of Transforming Suffering by Thich Nhat Hanh
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“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.”
Thích Nhất Hạnh, No Mud, No Lotus: The Art of Transforming Suffering
“The main affliction of our modern civilization is that we don’t know how to handle the suffering inside us and we try to cover it up with all kinds of consumption.”
Thích Nhất Hạnh, No Mud, No Lotus: The Art of Transforming Suffering
“Breathing in, I’m aware of the painful feeling in me. Breathing out, I’m aware of the painful feeling in me.” This is an art. We have to learn it, because most of us don’t like to be with our pain. We’re afraid of being overwhelmed by the pain, so we always seek to run away from it. There’s loneliness, fear, anger, and despair in us. Mostly we try to cover it up by consuming. There are those of us who go and look for something to eat. Others turn on the television. In fact, many people do both at the same time. And even if the TV program isn’t interesting at all, we don’t have the courage to turn it off, because if we turn it off, we have to go back to ourselves and encounter the pain inside. The marketplace provides us with many items to help us in our effort to avoid the suffering inside.”
Thích Nhất Hạnh, No Mud, No Lotus: The Art of Transforming Suffering
“Without suffering, there's no happiness. So we shouldn't discriminate against the mud. We have to learn how to embrace and cradle our own suffering and the suffering of the world, with a lot of tenderness.”
Thích Nhất Hạnh, No Mud, No Lotus: The Art of Transforming Suffering
“Most people are afraid of suffering. But suffering is a kind of mud to help the lotus flower of happiness grow. There can be no lotus flower without the mud.” —THICH NHAT HANH”
Thích Nhất Hạnh, No Mud, No Lotus: The Art of Transforming Suffering
“Love needs to be nurtured and fed to survive; and our suffering also survives because we enable and feed it. We ruminate on suffering, regret, and sorrow. We chew on them, swallow them, bring them back up, and eat them again and again. If we’re feeding our suffering while we’re walking, working, eating, or talking, we are making ourselves victims of the ghosts of the past, of the future, or our worries in the present. We’re not living our lives.”
Thích Nhất Hạnh, No Mud, No Lotus: The Art of Transforming Suffering
“The function of mindfulness is, first, to recognize the suffering and then to take care of the suffering. The work of mindfulness is first to recognize the suffering and second to embrace it. A mother taking care of a crying baby naturally will take the child into her arms without suppressing, judging it, or ignoring the crying. Mindfulness is like that mother, recognizing and embracing suffering without judgement.

So the practice is not to fight or suppress the feeling, but rather to cradle it with a lot of tenderness. When a mother embraces her child, that energy of tenderness begins to penetrate into the body of the child. Even if the mother doesn't understand at first why the child is suffering and she needs some time to find out what the difficulty is, just her acto f taking the child into her arms with tenderness can alreadby bring relief. If we can recognize and cradle the suffering while we breathe mindfully, there is relief already.”
Thích Nhất Hạnh, No Mud, No Lotus: The Art of Transforming Suffering
“NO MUD, NO LOTUS Both suffering and happiness are of an organic nature, which means they are both transitory; they are always changing. The flower, when it wilts, becomes the compost. The compost can help grow a flower again. Happiness is also organic and impermanent by nature. It can become suffering and suffering can become happiness again.”
Thích Nhất Hạnh, No Mud, No Lotus: The Art of Transforming Suffering
“One way of taking care of our suffering is to invite a seed of the opposite nature to come up. As nothing exists without its opposite, if you have a seed of arrogance, you have also a seed of compassion. Every one of us has a seed of compassion. If you practice mindfulness of compassion every day, the seed of compassion in you will become strong. You need only concentrate on it and it will come up as a powerful zone of energy. Naturally, when compassion comes up, arrogance goes down. You don’t have to fight it or push it down. We can selectively water the good seeds and refrain from watering the negative seeds.”
Thích Nhất Hạnh, No Mud, No Lotus: The Art of Transforming Suffering
“It is possible of course to get stuck in the “mud” of life. It’s easy enough to notice mud all over you at times. The hardest thing to practice is not allowing yourself to be overwhelmed by despair. When you’re overwhelmed by despair, all you can see is suffering everywhere you look. You feel as if the worst thing is happening to you. But we must remember that suffering is a kind of mud that we need in order to generate joy and happiness. Without suffering, there’s no happiness. So we shouldn’t discriminate against the mud. We have to learn how to embrace and cradle our own suffering and the suffering of the world, with a lot of tenderness.”
Thích Nhất Hạnh, No Mud, No Lotus: The Art of Transforming Suffering
“the art of happiness is also the art of suffering well.”
Thích Nhất Hạnh, No Mud, No Lotus: The Art of Transforming Suffering
“The first definition of love is to be there. This is a practice. How can you love if you are not there? In order to love you have to be there, body and mind united. A true lover knows that the practice of mindfulness is the foundation of true love.”
Thích Nhất Hạnh, No Mud, No Lotus: The Art of Transforming Suffering
“Then meditate on your perceptions. The Buddha observed, “The person who suffers most in this world is the person who has many wrong perceptions, and most of our perceptions are erroneous.” You see a snake in the dark and you panic, but when your friend shines a light on it, you see that it is only a rope. You have to know which wrong perceptions cause you to suffer. Please write beautifully the sentence, “Are you sure?” on a piece of paper and tape it to your wall. Love meditation helps you learn to look with clarity and serenity in order to improve the way you perceive.”
Thich Nhat Hanh, No Mud, No Lotus: The Art of Transforming Suffering
“We can condition our bodies and minds to happiness with the five practices of letting go, inviting positive seeds, mindfulness, concentration, and insight.”
Thích Nhất Hạnh, No Mud, No Lotus: The Art of Transforming Suffering
“The soil of our mind contains many seeds, positive and negative. We are the gardeners who identify, water, and cultivate the best seeds.”
Thích Nhất Hạnh, No Mud, No Lotus: The Art of Transforming Suffering
“Nonhuman animals instinctively know that stopping is the best way to get healed.”
Thích Nhất Hạnh, No Mud, No Lotus: The Art of Transforming Suffering
“We ruminate on suffering, regret, and sorrow. We chew on them, swallow them, bring them back up, and eat them again and again. If we’re feeding our suffering while we’re walking, working, eating, or talking, we are making ourselves victims of the ghosts of the past, of the future, or our worries in the present. We’re not living our lives.”
Thích Nhất Hạnh, No Mud, No Lotus: The Art of Transforming Suffering
“Everyone knows we need to have mud for lotuses to grow. The mud doesn’t smell so good, but the lotus flower smells very good. If you don’t have mud, the lotus won’t manifest. You can’t grow lotus flowers on marble. Without mud, there can be no lotus.”
Thích Nhất Hạnh, No Mud, No Lotus: The Art of Transforming Suffering
“There is no birth and death; everything dies and renews itself all the time. When you get that kind of insight, you no longer tire yourself out with anxiety and aversion.”
Thich Nhat Hanh, No Mud, No Lotus: The Art of Transforming Suffering
“According to the creation story in the biblical book of Genesis, God said, “Let there be light.” I like to imagine that light replied, saying, “God, I have to wait for my twin brother, darkness, to be with me. I can’t be there without the darkness.” God asked, “Why do you need to wait? Darkness is there.” Light answered, “In that case, then I am also already there.”
Thích Nhất Hạnh, No Mud, No Lotus: The Art of Transforming Suffering
“the first mindfulness training: reverence for life Aware of the suffering caused by the destruction of life, I am committed to cultivating the insight of interbeing, compassion, and learning ways to protect the lives of people, animals, plants, and minerals. I am determined not to kill, not to let others kill, and not to support any act of killing in the world, in my thinking, or in my way of life. Seeing that harmful actions arise from anger, fear, greed, and intolerance, which in turn come from dualistic and discriminative thinking, I will cultivate openness, nondiscrimination, and nonattachment to views in order to transform violence, fanaticism, and dogmatism in myself and in the world.”
Thích Nhất Hạnh, No Mud, No Lotus: The Art of Transforming Suffering
“The French have a song they like to sing, “Qu’est-ce qu’on attend pour être heureux?” (What are you waiting for in order to be happy?) You can be happy right here and right”
Thich Nhat Hanh, No Mud, No Lotus: The Art of Transforming Suffering
“If you can recognize and accept your pain without running away from it, you will discover that although pain is there, joy can also be there at the same time. Some”
Thich Nhat Hanh, No Mud, No Lotus: The Art of Transforming Suffering
“Happiness is impermanent, like everything else. In order for happiness to be extended and renewed, you have to learn how to feed your happiness. Nothing can survive without food, including happiness; your happiness can die if you don’t know how to nourish it. If you cut a flower but you don’t put it in some water, the flower will wilt in a few hours. Even if happiness is already manifesting, we have to continue to nourish it.”
Thích Nhất Hạnh, No Mud, No Lotus: The Art of Transforming Suffering
“Many of us slog through life without conscious awareness or intention. We set ourselves a course and we barrel ahead, without stopping to ask whether this path is fulfilling our most important goals. That's partly because many of us believe that happiness is not possible in the here and now. We think we need to struggle now so that we will be happy in the future. So we postpone happiness and try to run into the future and attain the conditions of happiness that we don't have now.”
Thich Nhat Hanh, No Mud, No Lotus: The Art of Transforming Suffering
“The way to suffer well and be happy is to stay in touch with what is actually going on; in doing so, you will gain liberating insights into the true nature of suffering and of joy. NO”
Thich Nhat Hanh, No Mud, No Lotus: The Art of Transforming Suffering
“Suffering has its beneficial aspects. It can be an excellent teacher.”
Thich Nhat Hanh, No Mud, No Lotus: The Art of Transforming Suffering
“...The miracle is not to walk on water or in thin air, but to walk on Earth. Walk in such a way that you become fully alive and joy and happiness are possible. That is the miracle that everyone can perform.... If you have mindfulness, concentration, and insight then every step you make on this Earth is performing a miracle.”
Thích Nhất Hạnh, No Mud, No Lotus: The Art of Transforming Suffering
“EMBRACING SUFFERING If we let the suffering come up and just take over our mind, we can be quickly overwhelmed by it.”
Thích Nhất Hạnh, No Mud, No Lotus: The Art of Transforming Suffering
“the second mindfulness training: true happiness Aware of the suffering caused by exploitation, social injustice, stealing, and oppression, I am committed to practicing generosity in my thinking, speaking, and acting. I am determined not to steal and not to possess anything that should belong to others; and I will share my time, energy, and material resources with those who are in need. I will practice looking deeply to see that the happiness and suffering of others are not separate from my own happiness and suffering; that true happiness is not possible without understanding and compassion; and that running after wealth, fame, power, and sensual pleasures can bring much suffering and despair. I am aware that happiness depends on my mental attitude and not on external conditions, and that I can live happily in the present moment simply by remembering that I already have more than enough conditions to be happy. I am committed to practicing Right Livelihood so that I can help reduce the suffering of living beings on Earth and reverse the process of global warming.”
Thích Nhất Hạnh, No Mud, No Lotus: The Art of Transforming Suffering

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