The Teachings of Master Thich Nhat Hanh

Master Thich Nhat Hanh believes in internal transformation. In this article, discover some of his teachings on this subject.
The Teachings of Master Thich Nhat Hanh
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 15 November, 2021

Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh is 92 years old. He’s a prolific writer, poet, and advocate for internal transformation through meditation. This kind, peaceful, and inspiring man has been a very active advocate for peace and human rights.

If you haven’t read any of his books, you might think he’s just another Buddhist guru. However, master Hanh is so much more than that. He’s a courageous man who embodies the traditional wisdom and values of Buddhism but also uses modern Western psychological methods to teach them.

“The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they’ll bloom like flowers.”

-Thich Nhat Hanh-

Thich Nhat Hanh teaches a simpler and more concise Zen mindfulness to the Western world. Eastern concepts such as mindfulness are known because people like Hanh have translated and refined ancient teachings and turned them into an accessible and useful philosophy for everybody.

Apart from his inspiring work, his life is also endearing. He’s practiced what he calls Engaged Buddhism. Also, the monk took part in the Vietnam War by tending to his people and has founded schools and helped rebuild towns and villages.

A young Thich Nhat Hanh.

Thich Nhat Hanh and His Teachings

A tireless writer and spokesman of Buddhist Zen philosophy, his simple message has reached many people. Author of Peace is Every Step, his book transmits concepts, ideas, and principles of wisdom and psychology.

Here are a few of his teachings that’ll inspire you to live a better life.

1. Kindness Can Change the World

“The source of love is deep in us and we can help others realize a lot of happiness. One word, one action, one thought can reduce another person’s suffering and bring that person joy.”

A study by the University of Michigan and Tohoku University proves this connection. People with a positive attitude who champion acts of kindness in their inner circle are always good to have around. Kindness can boost your mood, improve your trust, and relieve you from sadness.

According to Thich Nhat Hanh, if you’re capable of being kind to others and respecting them, you could change the world.

2. Conscious Love, A Love Based on Freedom

“‘You must love in such a way that the person you love feels free.”

-Thich Nhat Hanh-

Loving someone means giving them attention and helping them blossom into the most beautiful flower. The attention you give your loved ones must help them grow. Your affection should lead them to freedom.

The master explains this in his books and lectures. The best thing we can do is love, care, and respect everything; be noble and well-intended.

Thich Nhat Hanh sitting in class.

3. Be Aware of Other People’s Suffering

“Don’t avoid contact with suffering or close your eyes before suffering. Don’t lose awareness of the existence of suffering in the life of the world. Find ways to be with those who are suffering by all means, including personal contact and visits, images, and sounds.”

-Thich Nhat Hanh-

These words reflect the master’s commitment to helping those in pain. He asks you to be conscious of other’s pain in every sense.

Sometimes, people can be in pain without you realizing it. Pain can be written on people’s faces, their actions, or can be felt in their voice. Be aware of this every day.

4. Deal with Your Fears

“Fear keeps us focused on the past or worried about the future. If we can acknowledge our fear, we can realize that right now we’re okay. Right now, today, we’re still alive, and our bodies are working marvelously. Our eyes can still see the beautiful sky. Our ears can still hear the voices of our loved ones.”

-Thich Nhat Hanh-

This quote is very wise and beautiful. It’s not only about fear but also about facing them. Thich Nhat Hanh believes this poorly managed emotion can limit your life. Although fear is necessary for your survival, it shouldn’t hinder your life.

That’s why there’s nothing better than living the moment and realizing you’re alive and that you can move on with the help of those you love.

Thich Nhat Hanh smiling.

In short, Thich Nhat Hanh embodies different schools of thoughts. Although it might be a bit difficult to understand his teachings at first, you should try to apply them to your life to become a better version of yourself.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.