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Religion and Public Speaking of a Famous Buddhist Monk

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The story of Nhat Suu Hanh

Nhat Suu Hanh was born in Vietnam in 1926 and became a monk at the age of 16. Just eight years later, he co-founded an Open Zen-Buddhist Institute, the center of spiritual life in South Vietnam. Nhat Suu Hanh traveled to the United States in 1961 to teach Comparative Religious Studies at Columbia and Preston Universities, but soon left for his homeland to confront the outbreak of war with Vietnamese monks.

Nhat Suu Hanh was the leader of the peaceful resistance movement and the founder of the “Vietnamese Peace Corps”. He led the Vietnamese Buddhist delegation to the Paris talks and secured the signing of a peace treaty. Even though he was banned from visiting Vietnam after that, the copies of his books continued to be distributed throughout the country and globally. Nhat Suu Hanh devoted his life to enlightenment and continued his peacekeeping mission.

Below are a few timeless pearls of wisdom from Nhat Suu Hanh.

The path to awareness

Dirty dishes, red lights, traffic jams, and a ringing phone – all of these and other everyday events can help you walk the path to awareness – a true conscious presence in the moment and reality.

Remember that feelings of happiness, harmony, and fullness of life are literally at arm’s length, they are always with us.

Conscious breathing

This exercise is easy for anyone to learn and repeat. Like any breathing exercise, it is important for achieving awareness, happiness, and harmony with yourself and the world around you.

As you inhale, concentrate on the inhalation and tell yourself, “As I inhale, I know that I am inhaling.” As you exhale, concentrate on the exhalation and say, “As I exhale, I know that I am exhaling.”

This exercise will clear your mind and soul of negativity, your anger will go away, you will become a more conscious person. An additional effect will be a clearer concentration on one thing – what you always do at the same time without losing the coherence of words, actions, and thoughts, as is often the case with a modern person.

Start your day with a smile

Nhat Suu Hanh claims that the one who starts his day with a smile is not only able to make himself happy but the whole world around him. After all, a smile for a person is one of the greatest values, which does not have a “tangible price” – it costs a lot and nothing at the same time.

This exercise, like the previous one, is fairly easy to complete. It aims to get you used to starting your day with a smile. To make it a habit, do the following.

Find out how

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Hang an encouraging picture or piece of encouraging words in a prominent place. Soon, only one awakening, the gentle rays of the sun or the flooded trill of birds will make you smile.

If your smile is gone, know that everything around, including a simple dandelion, can bring it back. You only need to notice that it is being kept for you.

Meditate while walking

Nhat Suu Hanh’s next lesson for achieving awareness and happiness is a walking meditation. Meditation itself is a way to restore inner balance, to enjoy the silence in your head (and not the buzzing of thoughts swarming in it).

Mindful meditation is able to focus your attention on a beautiful, important moment: the beautiful singing of a nightingale, the laughter of children on the playground, and the endlessly beautiful landscape of a sunset. Walking meditation will allow you to penetrate deep into yourself and give Mother Earth your peace and harmony.

Don’t blame others

If you planted a plant and it didn’t grow, you won’t blame it, will you? You understand the reasons for the failure: perhaps the leaves did not have enough sun or the soil was not fertilized. But it never occurs to you to blame the plant itself.

Then why, when you have problems with family or friends, the first thing you do is blame them? This approach will never lead to good results. Stop blaming others! Instead, learn to take care of people.

Look at the person to see and understand him. What are his needs, problems? What are his desires and dreams? When you understand why a person is behaving in one way or another, you will be less susceptible to negative emotions.

Look at all living things with compassion. This is how you will develop the ability to understand others, and your relationships with people will improve.

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