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January 17, 2017
Thich Nhat Hanh is one of the world’s most renowned Zen teachers, second only to the Dalai Lama in fame and influence.With his 100+ books, he’s been an advocate for mindfulness at some of the most fractious moments of the past 50 years. He cut his teeth doing human rights and reconciliation work during the Vietnam War, and then was nominated for a Nobel Prize by Martin Luther King Jr. These days, he’s considered the father of “engaged Buddhism.”
One of the questions that Eliza Barclay from Vox asked Br Phap Dung was. " Many people feel very fearful and uncertain about what the future will hold. What is the best way to manage deep uncertainty and fear in a moment like this?"
Br Phap Dung says "We see the mind like a house, so if your house is on fire, you need to take care of the fire, not to go look for the person that made the fire. Take care of those emotions first; it’s the priority. Because anything that comes from a place of fear and anxiety and anger will only make the fire worse. Come back and find a place of calm and peace to cool the flame of emotion down.
As a collective energy, fear and anger can be very destructive. We make the wrong decisions if we base it on fear, anger, and wrong perception. Those emotions cloud our mind. So the first thing in the practice that we learn from the Buddhist tradition is to come back and take care of our emotion. We use mindfulness to recognize it."
"People are so convinced that anger and all this energy will produce change. But in fact it’s very destructive, because you’re opposing. Opposition wastes energy. It’s not healing. Emotions can be good. Passion can be good, and compassion is very passionate. But compassion doesn’t waste energy. It includes and it understands; it’s more clear.
Our minds and hearts need food. And meditation is a kind of food. So we feed ourselves like that. You need to eat, your peace, kindness, and clarity need to eat as well. Meditation is not just praying; no, you’re cultivating this so you can offer it to others. When you sit with someone who’s calm, you can become calm. If you sit with someone who’s agitated and hateful, you can become agitated and hateful.
Wishing you the balance of peace, health and understanding, I send love, a lotus and a smile,
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