Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Some Wise Words

A post by James over at The Buddhist Blog caught my attention today and directed me to an interview between Oprah and Thich Nhat Hanh, an 85 year old Zen Master from Vietnam.

James posts his own favourite quote from the interview which you can find in it's entirety here, but I'd like to post my own favourite, one that resonated quite strongly with me:

'I know that we do not know enough. We have to continue to learn. We have to be open. And we have to be ready to release our knowledge in order to come to a higher understanding of reality. When you climb a ladder and arrive on the sixth step and you think that is the highest, then you cannot come to the seventh. So the technique is to abandon the sixth in order for the seventh step to be possible. And this is our practice, to release our views. The practice of nonattachment to views is at the heart of the Buddhist practice of meditation. People suffer because they are caught in their views. As soon as we release those views, we are free and we don't suffer anymore.'

I've always been a judgemental person with strongly held views, I've identified it in myself as I've grown up and I try VERY hard to recognise those times when I'm leaping to judge, and to stop. However, it'll take time because it's so ingrained, often you're not even conscious of it. I'll keep working at that.

I also love his illustration of the leap of faith it sometimes takes to push yourself past your comfort zone, past the boundaries that you've built up for yourself. You have to let go of what you know in order to discover what you don't.

So much in buddhism is common sense, if only we'd stop to think about it for a second.


  1. THAT GUY IS 85???
    The Razor's Edge is the best book I ever read. It turned me on to Buddhism.

  2. Ha ha!! I suspect this photo was taken a while ago, but when I saw the pic of him with Oprah I did think '85??!!'

    All that chilling out and meditation does wonders it seems...all the more reason to get in there! I'll have to check out that book.

    Thanks hetbook :)

  3. Agree with the other posters - nice post. One thing I would say is that I learned the hard way that part of the struggle is to find the thing that you are suited for. In many ways, I think stand-up comedy fulfills a deep need for me. That thing you are suited for can surprise you and that you should not give up the search for it, however long it might take. When I was growing up, my parents pressured me to take a safe path. There was nothing unusual in that but it was only when I started to follow my own natural instincts that my life started to really improve.

    The other thing that I lately realised is that the magic happens when you're not looking. That what we take to be the boring bits of what we do are really the fallow periods when things are processed deep in your subconscious..

    In other words, hang in there, keep on going, and take the risks. That's the only way to grow.

  4. Thanks Norm, there's a lots of good advice there.

    It's funny actually, there's a high risk of redundancy going on at the moment at work. Far from being worried about the situation, it's actually opened my mind up to all the things I'd like to do....exciting.

    Moving awn up!