How to See

Thich Nhat Hanh

Finished Reading:
Oct 2, 2019

Edition Publisher:
Parallax Press

Edition Release:
Jul 30, 2019

Purchase Search via DuckDuckGo:
ISBN 9781946764331

Highlights & Annotations

“Impermanence means transformation at every moment. Therefore we can say, ‘Thanks to impermanence, everything is possible.’” (24)

“No matter how well we describe it, we cannot give someone else the direct experience. They have to taste it for themselves. As soon as we say a single word, they are already caught. Right View cannot be described. We can only point in the correct direction.” (45)

  • People will not grasp until they come into contact with a situation or concept; cognitive shift

“When you believe something to be the absolute truth, we cannot be open to new ideas. Even if the truth comes knocking at our door, we will not let. We need to remain open so that the truth has a chance to enter. Our wrong perceptions can be very costly. They bring about suspicion, fear, anger, hatred, and despair, which can give rise to actions based on that wrong perception. When the wrong perception is removed, suspicion, fear, anger, hatred, and despair are also removed, and happiness is possible again. When conflicts arise between two people, we need to stop and question our perceptions. Was the practice of good communication, deep listening, and loving speech, we can help each other remove wrong perceptions. This is also true for conflicts between groups of people and Nations.” (49)

“When we look deeply out of flower, we can see the non-flower elements that help it to manifest – the clouds, the earth, the gardener, and the soul. When we look deeply at are paying, we see that are suffering is not ours alone. It is also made of many non-self elements. Many seeds of suffering have been handed down to us by our ancestors, our parents, and our society. Being aware of the seeds of our sufferings is the first step in their transformation.” (50).

“Looking deeply into yourself you may notice some strengths that you have inherited from your parents. You are there continuation; they've passed these things on to you. They're not yours alone. We don't need to be too proud. Your fear, anger, and discrimination have also been transmitted to you by parents, ancestors, and society. We don't need to judge. Your parents and ancestors weren't able to transform all their shortcomings, so they have passed their difficulties on to you. Now you have a chance to transform so that you will not transmit them to your children. This way of looking at yourself and others will give rise to understanding, compassion, and a desire to transform.” (53)

“Our family members and friends are like mirrors. Practicing with humility and openness, we can make great progress by making use of the mirrors that are held up to us.” (54)

  • Ask people for support
  • Have people comfortable with calling you out

“When we grow lemon tree, we want it to be vigorous and beautiful. But if it doesn't Thrive, we don't blame the tree. We observe it in order to understand why it isn't growing well. Perhaps we have not taken care of it well enough. We know it would be odd to blame a lemon tree and yet we blame human beings when they are not growing well. The human beings are not very different than lemon juice. If we take good care of them, they will grow well. Blaming never helps.” (57)

“Understanding the essential nature of interbeing is to see that this is like this because that is like that. Everything comes to be because of causes and conditions. This arises because that arises. For there to be a mother, there has to be a child; and if there is a child, there has to be a mother. We only exist in this interconnected way. With this inside, we see clearly and we can be more effective. This is because that is; this is not because that is not. This is the inside of interbeing. Nothing can exist on its own. Everything in the world is interrelated.” (62)

“ We have an idea of Happiness. We may believe that only certain conditions will make us happy. But it is often or very idea of happiness that prevents us from being happy. The conditions for happiness are already there, available inside and around us. We have eyes I can see, like so I can walk, long as I can breathe. All the wonders of Life are available in the present moment – the sunshine, the fresh air, the trees, the multitude of colours and forms all around us. The essential thing is to be aware. If we open our eyes, we will see.” (64)

“ We have to look deeply in order to see the true nature of the object of our craving. When are you recognize it clearly, it will lose its appeal, and we will be free.”

  • What is the feeling behind your desire?
    • What is the why?

“Sometimes people have a certain idea or way of looking at things, and they want to put you in a box. But what happens if you don't belong in any of their categories? it's the reality of the thing that matters, and not the word we use to describe it. My name is merely a conventional designation, it's not the reality in itself. We must train yourself to look at each other Beyond labels to see each other's true nature.” (72)

“...we often feel attachment or version based on prior experience. We classify what we perceive according to the boxes we already have in our store Consciousness. We compare the present with what we have experienced in the past and we seem to recognize that. We paint the new information with the old colours we already have inside us. This is why most of the time we don't have direct access to reality, to things as they are.” (73)

“ we usually discriminate between humans and non-humans, thinking that we are more important than other species. We humans are made entirely of non-human elements, such as plants, minerals, Earth, clouds, and sunshine. When we see that humans have no self, we see that to take care of the environment( the non-human elements) is to take care of humanity. Ferrar practice to be deep and true, we must include the ecosystem. If the environment is destroyed, humans will be destroyed, too. The best way to take good care of human beings so they can be truly healthy and happy is to take care of the environment. Protecting human life is not possible without also protecting the lives of animals, plants, and minerals –  the rocks, the soil, the rivers, and the oceans.” (106)