Thich Nhat Hanh Quotes

Mart Luther King, Jr. nominating Thich Nhat Hanh (right) for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1967

“When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over. He does not need punishment; he needs help. That’s the message he is sending.”

“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”

“People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child — our own two eyes. All is a miracle.”

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

“Because you are alive, everything is possible.”

“Smile, breathe and go slowly.”

“Waking up this morning, I smile. Twenty-four brand new hours are before me. I vow to live fully in each moment and to look at all beings with eyes of compassion.”

“The seed of suffering in you may be strong, but don’t wait until you have no more suffering before allowing yourself to be happy.”

“Life is available only in the present moment.”

“We are here to awaken from our illusion of separateness.”

“Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today.”

“My actions are my only true belongings.”

“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.”

“Our own life has to be our message.”

“If you suffer and make your loved ones suffer, there is nothing that can justify your desire.”

“The past is gone, the future is not yet here, and if we do not go back to ourselves in the present moment, we cannot be in touch with life.”

“When you say something really unkind, when you do something in retaliation your anger increases. You make the other person suffer, and he will try hard to say or to do something back to get relief from his suffering. That is how conflict escalates.”

“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.”

“Suffering is not enough. Life is both dreadful and wonderful…How can I smile when I am filled with so much sorrow? It is natural–you need to smile to your sorrow because you are more than your sorrow.”

“We have more possibilities available in each moment than we realize.”

“I have noticed that people are dealing too much with the negative, with what is wrong. … Why not try the other way, to look into the patient and see positive things, to just touch those things and make them bloom?”

“For things to reveal themselves to us, we need to be ready to abandon our views about them.”

“Root out the violence in your life, and learn to live compassionately and mindfully. Seek peace. When you have peace within, real peace with others is possible.”

“I promise myself that I will enjoy every minute of the day that is given me to live.”

“It is said that God has created man in his own image. But it may be that humankind has created God in the image of humankind.”

“Until there is peace between religions, there can be no peace in the world.”

“Attachment to views is the greatest impediment to the spiritual path.”

“It is my conviction that there is no way to peace – peace is the way.”

“Every thought you produce, anything you say, any action you do, it bears your signature.”

“To be loved means to be recognized as existing.”

“My actions are my only true belongings. I cannot escape the consequences of my actions. My actions are the ground on which I stand.”

“If our love is only a will to possess, it is not love.”

“Because of your smile, you make life more beautiful.”

To learn more about Thich Nhat Hanh, read my article honoring him.

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