Breathing in, I know this is my in-breath. Breathing out, I know this is my out-breath. It's very simple, but very effective. When we bring our attention to our in-breath and our out-breath, we stop thinking of the past; we stop thinking of the future; and we begin to come home to ourselves... Don't think this practice doesn't apply to you. If we don't go home to ourselves, we can't be at our best and serve the world in the best way... Our quality of being is the foundation for the quality of our actions. Breathing in, I'm aware of my whole body. Breathing out, I'm aware of my whole body. Breathing mindfully brings us back to our bodies. We have to acknowledge our bodies first because tension and suffering accumulate in the body. Breathing in this way, we create a kind of family reunion between mind and body. The mind becomes an embodied mind... We can't do our best if we don't know to release the tension and pain in ourselves. Breathing in, I'm aware of the tension in my body. Breathing out, I'm aware of the tension in my body. When we look at the suffering around us, at poverty, violence, or climate change, we may want to solve these things immediately. We want to do something. But to do something effectively and ethically, we need to be our best selves in order to be able to handle the suffering... Breathing in, I am aware of a painful feeling arising. Breathing out, I release the painful feeling. This is a nonviolent and gentle way to help our bodies release tension and pain. It is possible to practice mindful breathing in order to produce a feeling of joy, a feeling of happiness. When we are well-nourished and know how to create joy, then we are strong enough to handle the deep pain within ourselves and the world.
-Thech Nháº¥t Háº¡nh
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Peace is present right here and now, in ourselves and in everything we do and see. Every breath we take, every step we take, can be filled with peace, joy, and serenity. The question is whether or not we are in touch with it. We need only to be awake, alive in the present moment.
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People kill and a re killed because they cling too tightly to their own beliefs and ideologies. [... ] The second precept of the Order of Interbeing, founded within the Zen Buddhist tradition during the was in Vietnam, is about letting go of views: "Do not think the knowledge you presently possess is changeless, absolute truth. Avoid being narrow-minded and bound to present views. Learn and practice nonattachment from views in order to be open to receive others' viewpoints.
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Interbeing: If you are a poet, you will see clearly that there is a cloud floating in this sheet of paper. Without a cloud, there will be no rain; without rain, the trees cannot grow; and without trees, we cannot make paper. The cloud is essential for the paper to exist. If the cloud is not here, the sheet of paper cannot be here either. So we can say that the cloud and the paper inter-are. 'Interbeing' is a word that is not in the dictionary yet, but if we combine the prefix 'inter-' with the verb 'to be, ' we have a new verb, inter-be. Without a cloud and the sheet of paper inter-are. If we look into this sheet of paper even more deeply, we can see the sunshine in it. If the sunshine is not there, the forest cannot grow. In fact, nothing can grow. Even we cannot grow without sunshine. And so, we know that the sunshine is also in this sheet of paper. The paper and the sunshine inter-are. And if we continue to look, we can see the logger who cut the tree and brought it to the mill to be transformed into paper. And we see the wheat. We know the logger cannot exist without his daily bread, and therefore the wheat that became his bread is also in this sheet of paper. And the logger's father and mother are in it too. When we look in this way, we see that without all of these things, this sheet of paper cannot exist. Looking even more deeply, we can see we are in it too. This is not difficult to see, because when we look at a sheet of paper, the sheet of paper is part of our perception. Your mind is in here and mine is also. So we can say that everything is in here with this sheet of paper. You cannot point out one thing that is not here-time, space, the earth, the rain, the minerals in the soil, the sunshine, the cloud, the river, the heat. Everything co-exists with this sheet of paper. That is why I think the word inter-be should be in the dictionary. 'To be' is to inter-be. You cannot just be by yourself alone. You have to inter-be with every other thing. This sheet of paper is, because everything else is. Suppose we try to return one of the elements to its source. Suppose we return the sunshine to the sun. Do you think that this sheet of paper will be possible? No, without sunshine nothing can be. And if we return the logger to his mother, then we have no sheet of paper either. The fact is that this sheet of paper is made up only of 'non-paper elements.' And if we return these non-paper elements to their sources, then there can be no paper at all. Without 'non-paper elements, ' like mind, logger, sunshine and so on, there will be no paper. As thin as this sheet of paper is, it contains everything in the universe in it.
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We know very well that we have ancestors. But our ancestors are not only human. We have animal ancestors; we have plant ancestors; and we have mineral ancestors. Our human ancestors are still very young. Human beings appeared very late in the history of life on Earth. Our animal ancestors are still there within us. The reptile, the fish, and the ape are still in our blood. Not only were they part of us in the past, but they continue to exist within us. Just look deeply into your cells. We see that we are the whole history of life.
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To dwell in the here and now does not mean you never think about the past or responsibly plan for the future. The idea is simply not to allow yourself to get lost in regrets about the past or worries about the future. If you are firmly grounded in the present moment, the past can be an object of inquiry, the object of your mindfulness and concentration. You can attain many insights by looking into the past. But you are still grounded in the present moment.
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Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful speech and failure to listen, I am committed to cultivating loving speech and compassionate listening to relieve suffering and promote reconciliation and peace in myself and among other people, ethnic and religious groups, and nations. Knowing that words can create happiness or suffering, I am committed to speaking truthfully using words that inspire confidence, joy, and hope. I am determined not to speak when anger manifests in me. I will practice mindful breathing and walking to recognize and look deeply into my anger. I know that the roots of anger can be found in my wrong perceptions and lack of understanding of the suffering in myself and the other person. I will speak and listen in such a way as to help myself and the other person to transform suffering and see the way out of difficult situations. I am determined not to spread news that I do not know to be certain and not to utter words that can cause division or discord. I will practice diligently with joy and skillfulness so as to nourish my capacity for understanding, love, and inclusiveness, gradually transforming the anger, violence, and fear that lie deep in my consciousness.
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Bhikkhus, the teaching is merely a vehicle to describe the truth. Don't mistake it for the truth itself. A finger pointing at the moon is not the moon. The finger is needed to know where to look for the moon, but if you mistake the finger for the moon itself, you will never know the real moon. The teaching is like a raft that carries you to the other shore. The raft is needed, but the raft is not the other shore. An intelligent person would not carry the raft around on his head after making it across to the other shore. Bhikkhus, my teaching is the raft which can help you cross to the other shore beyond birth and death. Use the raft to cross to the other shore, but don't hang onto it as your property. Do not become caught in the teaching. You must be able to let it go.
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