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This book was discussed in the Quantum Leap Book Club

in Law of attraction radio network with Host PaRisHa

From June 14 to August 09, 2019

 

At first, I thought this is a simple book.

But I found this book far more rewarding than I expected.

The most well-known Zen master in the West, Thich Nhat Hanh, writes here in a simple, almost poetic language and gives many examples and practical hints. He avoids Buddhist terminology so that even the beginner can learn much about Buddhism.

The Honorable Thich Nhat Hanh (Thich is his title, not his name)

writes for example about,

how to bring peace to yourself and to the world  practice,

how to practice  as an active Buddhism,

how to develop compassion 

and about Interbeing/  the interconnectedness of all beings.

I received many new insights and a deeper understanding of Buddhism.

Above all, he asks me to implement them in everyday life. The book is full of exercises and methods. This makes it no longer an easy read as it can be  challenging for me to integrate some. Here is a practice from the first chapter:

Simply smile!

“Smiling is mastering yourself”

Bring your smile to the kitchen, to the car, to the office….

That sounds crazy, but that’s exactly what Thich Nhat Hanh asks us to do. There are certain activities in my work that have become routine. This time I use specially to familiarize myself with the Smile. Initially, I deliberately moved my mouth to a big smile, it seemed immediately I felt better.

With more practice, I began to express a gentler smile that radiated from within, much as we see it in the Buddha statues. I recognized the miracle of smiling: it immediately lifts my vibrations, lets me feel content and inner peace without any specific reason. I can generate joy in the present moment with this.  At the same time, I was also more tranquil and felt more often peace in other situations.

Take care of my frequencies only

He writes that, if I make sure that I am happy and peaceful in the moment, my fellow human can relax and choose to be at peace also. I I just clean in front of my own door …everything else will follow my higher vibrations.

This is basic peace work.…and my smile can open the way to it.

I am not separate from the world and the world is not separate from me. All beings are interwoven, he calls that Interbeing. The better I manage to resolve my inner personal conflicts in peace and acceptance and transform them, the more the conflicts in the world can transform themselves into peaceful coexistence, the Zen-master teaches.

 

Engaged Buddhism – practice it everywhere, at all times

This is one of the challenges for me in the book

How can I bring my meditation, my practice, to the kitchen, to the office, in a way that removes the barrier between practice and nonpractice, asks Thich Nhat Hanh?

Concentrating on breathing on the phone, mindful walking when I leave the house, deliberate relaxation after work, simply smile when cutting vegetables are some examples, he gives in the book.

Today I was doing some routine work and I remembered to Simply Smile. I took a few breaths and smiled while I also stepped outside for a moment enjoying the sun. I connected with my Buddha nature/my Inner Being. I realized that one needs to be present and aware all the time during the day to shift into engaged Buddhism, to breath, to smile, to walk mindfully.

An important aspect of engaged Buddhism by Thich Nhat Hanh is that I also become aware of conflicts and problems in society. More about that part of engaged Buddhism in a separate article.

Listen to the episodes in the Quantum Leap Book Club with host PaRiSha:

https://www.loaradionetwork.com/quantum-leap

then scroll down to episodes