一行禪師開示選譯 Selected Teachings from Thich Nhat Hanh
1. 一行禪師：空性之萬有The Fullness of Emptiness (一) ~ 「在」就等於「相互而在」
The Fullness of Emptiness
BY THICH NHAT HANH| AUGUST 6, 2012
Emptiness is not something to be afraid of, says Thich Nhat Hanh. The Heart Sutra teaches us that form may be empty of self but it’s full of everything else.
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. 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.”
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. 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 that 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 in 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 coexists 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.
2. 一行禪師：空性之萬有The Fullness of Emptiness (二) ~ 空性不應令人畏懼
The word “emptiness” should not scare us. It is a wonderful word.
Suppose we return the sunshine to the sun. Do you think that this sheet of paper would 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.
But the Heart Sutra seems to say the opposite. Avalokiteshvara tells us that things are empty. Let us look more closely.
Empty of What?
The Bodhisattva Avalokita,
while moving in the deep course
of Perfect Understanding,
shed light on the five skandhas and
found them equally empty.
Bodhi means being awake, and sattva means a living being, so bodhisattva means an awakened being. All of us are sometimes bodhisattvas, and sometimes not. Avalokita is the shorter name of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara. Avalokita is neither male nor female and sometimes appears as a man and sometimes as a woman. In Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, and Japanese, this bodhisattva’s name is sometimes translated as Guanyin, Quan Am, Gwaneum, and Kannon, which means “the one who listens and hears the cries of the world in order to come and help.” Avalokiteshvara also embodies the spirit of non-fear, as he himself has transcended fear. The Prajnaparamita Heart Sutra is his wonderful gift to us.
3.一行禪師：「慈悲」是個動詞 “Compassion is a verb.”
What Gift Do You Give a Zen Master?
On Wednesday, October 11, 2017, it will be Thich Nhat Hanh's 91st birthday –or as our beloved teacher likes to call it, his Continuation Day!
You may wonder, “What kind of gift can I give to a Zen master? A person who already practices to have all the conditions of happiness? What would be meaningful for Thay?”
We would like to offer this response: We can give Thay the gift of compassion.
Compassion contains a deep concern for the suffering of others, and Thay has often said, “Compassion is a verb.”
Thay aspired to bring mindfulness into the world in order to help relieve suffering. Amidst the devastation of the Vietnam War, Thay and his colleagues actively helped those in need while remaining grounded in their own mindfulness practice. From this work, “Engaged Buddhism” was born—a new kind of Buddhism that is fully present with the challenges of our time, and where spiritual growth and service to society go hand in hand.
The foundation of happiness is mindfulness. The basic condition for being happy is our consciousness of being happy. If we are not aware that we are happy, we are not really happy. When we have a toothache, we know that not having a toothache is a wonderful thing. But when we do not have a toothache, we are still not happy. A non-toothache is very pleasant. There are so many things that are enjoyable, but when we don't practice mindfulness, we don't appreciate them. When we practice mindfulness, we come to cherish these things and we learn how to protect them. By taking good care of the present moment, we take good care of the future. Working for peace in the future is to work for peace in the present moment.
Thich Nhat Hanh (Peace is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life)
Often we tell ourselves, "Don't just sit there, do something!" But when we practice awareness, we discover something unusual. We discover the opposite may be more helpful" "Don't just do something, sit there!" We must learn to stop from time to time in order to see clearly. At first, "stopping" may look like a kind of resistance to modern life, but it is not. It is not just a reaction; it is a way of life. Humankind's survival depends on our ability to stop rushing. We have more than 50,000 nuclear bombs, and yet we cannot stop making more. "Stopping" is not only to stop the negative, but also to allow positive healing to take place. That is the purpose of our practice -- not to avoid life, but to experience and demonstrate that happiness in life is possible now and also in the future.
People say walking on the water is a miracle, but to me walking peacefully on earth is the real miracle. By Thich Nhat Hanh