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At Home in the World

Stories and Essential Teachings from a Monk's Life

Illustrated by Jason DeAntonis
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Hardcover
$24.95 US
5.75"W x 8.78"H x 0.63"D   | 13 oz | 32 per carton
On sale Nov 01, 2016 | 192 Pages | 9781941529423
This collection of 81 dharma stories illustrate Thich Nhat Hanh’s essential teachings on mindfulness, peace, and social engagement.

Collected here for the first time, these personal, autobiographical stories from peace activist and Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh perfectly illustrate his most essential teachings. The beauty of these simple lessons is that readers do not need to be versed in meditation or Buddhist practices to find peace, sanctuary, and sustenance here.
 
Told with his signature clarity and humor, these stories are drawn from the long span of Thich Nhat Hanh's life, from his childhood in rural Vietnam to his years as a teenaged novice, and as a young teacher and writer in his war-torn home country. Readers will also join Nhat Hanh on his later travels around the world teaching mindfulness, making pilgrimages to sacred sites, and meeting with world leaders.

This inspiring read follows in the tradition of Zen teaching stories—dharma—that goes back at least to the time of the Buddha. Thich Nhat Hanh uses storytelling to share important teachings, insights, and life lessons. Despite his passing in 2022, hunger for his writing continues to widen and deepen as the benefits of mindfulness continue to seep into the global zeitgeist.
"Thich Nhat Hanh shows us the connection between personal inner peace and peace on earth."—His Holiness the Dalai Lama 

"Beneath Thich Nhat Hanh's serene demeanor lies a courageous warrior."—Oprah Winfrey

"Followers and newcomers to Nhat Hanh’s teaching alike will find this collection inspiring for everyday practice and for social engagement in the world."—Publishers Weekly

Thich Nhat Hanh was a world-renowned spiritual teacher and peace activist. Born in Vietnam in 1926, he became a Zen Buddhist monk at the age of sixteen. Over 7 decades of teaching, he published more than 100 books, which have sold more than 4 million copies in the United States alone. Exiled from Vietnam in 1966 for promoting peace, his teachings on Buddhism as a path to social and political transformation are responsible for bringing the mindfulness movement to Western culture. He established the international Plum Village Community of Engaged Buddhism in France, now the largest Buddhist monastery in Europe and the heart of a growing community of mindfulness practice centers around the world. He passed away in 2022 at the age of 95 at his root temple, Tu Hieu, in Hue, Vietnam.
The Leaf

One day when I was a child, I looked into the water container in the front yard and I saw a very beautiful leaf at the bottom. It had so many colors. I wanted to take the leaf out and play with it. But my arm was too short to reach the bottom of the water container. So I used a stick to try to take it out. It was difficult and I became impatient. I stirred and stirred twenty or thirty times, and yet the leaf didn’t come to the surface. So I gave up and I threw away the stick. When I came back a few minutes later the leaf had come to the surface of the water, and I picked it up easily. In the few moments I had been away, the water had continued to swirl and had brought the leaf up to the surface.



This is how our unconscious mind works. When we have a problem or difficulty to solve or when we want to have more insight into a situation, our conscious mind has to entrust to the unconscious mind the task of finding the insight. The unconsciousness mind knows how to listen and collaborate with us and with our intentions. Sometimes before going to sleep you might tell your store consciousness: "Tomorrow I want to wake up at 4:30"; and tomorrow you will wake up at 4:30. To meditate you don’t only use your conscious mind, what we call in Buddhism "mind consciousness"; you also need to know how to use and trust your unconscious mind, called "store consciousness" in Buddhism. When we plant a seed in the soil, we trust the soil. Mind consciousness should plant the object of meditation into the soil of store consciousness and not wrestle with it superficially on the level of mind consciousness.



When a peace conference takes place, it must be organized in that spirit. We have to rely on the collective insight offered by the collective store consciousness of all those who are in the conference. We should know the techniques of taking care of our collective store consciousness in order to have the greatest insight possible. If we can become more civilized, our legislature will operate like that. Every member will know how to practice so that store consciousness can offer the best insight.



During the day, mind consciousness creates all the conditions for store consciousness to be able to do it; it’s by the practice of deep breathing, calming, looking deeply, and allowing ourselves to be, that we can help our store consciousness to offer the best. Not only psychotherapists, but also members of government should learn how to make good use of our unconscious mind to serve our people in our country and our world. We should all know how to practice to have more insight and to have the best kind of insight. When you offer this way to others, it needs to be based on your own experience of practice.



Kaleidoscope

When I was a child I used to enjoy playing with a kaleidoscope that I made from a tube and a few pieces of ground glass. Whenever I turned it a little bit, I saw many wonderful sights. Every time I made a small movement of my fingers, one sight would disappear and another would appear. I didn’t cry at all when the first spectacle disappeared, because I knew that nothing was lost; another beautiful sight always followed.



When we look into a kaleidoscope, we see a beautiful symmetrical image; and whenever we turn the kaleidoscope, the image disappears. Can we describe this as a birth or a death? Or is the image only a manifestation? After this manifestation there’s another manifestation that’s equally beautiful—nothing is lost at all. I have seen people die very peacefully, with a smile, because they see that birth and death are only waves on the surface of the ocean, just like the spectacle in the kaleidoscope.

About

This collection of 81 dharma stories illustrate Thich Nhat Hanh’s essential teachings on mindfulness, peace, and social engagement.

Collected here for the first time, these personal, autobiographical stories from peace activist and Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh perfectly illustrate his most essential teachings. The beauty of these simple lessons is that readers do not need to be versed in meditation or Buddhist practices to find peace, sanctuary, and sustenance here.
 
Told with his signature clarity and humor, these stories are drawn from the long span of Thich Nhat Hanh's life, from his childhood in rural Vietnam to his years as a teenaged novice, and as a young teacher and writer in his war-torn home country. Readers will also join Nhat Hanh on his later travels around the world teaching mindfulness, making pilgrimages to sacred sites, and meeting with world leaders.

This inspiring read follows in the tradition of Zen teaching stories—dharma—that goes back at least to the time of the Buddha. Thich Nhat Hanh uses storytelling to share important teachings, insights, and life lessons. Despite his passing in 2022, hunger for his writing continues to widen and deepen as the benefits of mindfulness continue to seep into the global zeitgeist.

Praise

"Thich Nhat Hanh shows us the connection between personal inner peace and peace on earth."—His Holiness the Dalai Lama 

"Beneath Thich Nhat Hanh's serene demeanor lies a courageous warrior."—Oprah Winfrey

"Followers and newcomers to Nhat Hanh’s teaching alike will find this collection inspiring for everyday practice and for social engagement in the world."—Publishers Weekly

Author

Thich Nhat Hanh was a world-renowned spiritual teacher and peace activist. Born in Vietnam in 1926, he became a Zen Buddhist monk at the age of sixteen. Over 7 decades of teaching, he published more than 100 books, which have sold more than 4 million copies in the United States alone. Exiled from Vietnam in 1966 for promoting peace, his teachings on Buddhism as a path to social and political transformation are responsible for bringing the mindfulness movement to Western culture. He established the international Plum Village Community of Engaged Buddhism in France, now the largest Buddhist monastery in Europe and the heart of a growing community of mindfulness practice centers around the world. He passed away in 2022 at the age of 95 at his root temple, Tu Hieu, in Hue, Vietnam.

Excerpt

The Leaf

One day when I was a child, I looked into the water container in the front yard and I saw a very beautiful leaf at the bottom. It had so many colors. I wanted to take the leaf out and play with it. But my arm was too short to reach the bottom of the water container. So I used a stick to try to take it out. It was difficult and I became impatient. I stirred and stirred twenty or thirty times, and yet the leaf didn’t come to the surface. So I gave up and I threw away the stick. When I came back a few minutes later the leaf had come to the surface of the water, and I picked it up easily. In the few moments I had been away, the water had continued to swirl and had brought the leaf up to the surface.



This is how our unconscious mind works. When we have a problem or difficulty to solve or when we want to have more insight into a situation, our conscious mind has to entrust to the unconscious mind the task of finding the insight. The unconsciousness mind knows how to listen and collaborate with us and with our intentions. Sometimes before going to sleep you might tell your store consciousness: "Tomorrow I want to wake up at 4:30"; and tomorrow you will wake up at 4:30. To meditate you don’t only use your conscious mind, what we call in Buddhism "mind consciousness"; you also need to know how to use and trust your unconscious mind, called "store consciousness" in Buddhism. When we plant a seed in the soil, we trust the soil. Mind consciousness should plant the object of meditation into the soil of store consciousness and not wrestle with it superficially on the level of mind consciousness.



When a peace conference takes place, it must be organized in that spirit. We have to rely on the collective insight offered by the collective store consciousness of all those who are in the conference. We should know the techniques of taking care of our collective store consciousness in order to have the greatest insight possible. If we can become more civilized, our legislature will operate like that. Every member will know how to practice so that store consciousness can offer the best insight.



During the day, mind consciousness creates all the conditions for store consciousness to be able to do it; it’s by the practice of deep breathing, calming, looking deeply, and allowing ourselves to be, that we can help our store consciousness to offer the best. Not only psychotherapists, but also members of government should learn how to make good use of our unconscious mind to serve our people in our country and our world. We should all know how to practice to have more insight and to have the best kind of insight. When you offer this way to others, it needs to be based on your own experience of practice.



Kaleidoscope

When I was a child I used to enjoy playing with a kaleidoscope that I made from a tube and a few pieces of ground glass. Whenever I turned it a little bit, I saw many wonderful sights. Every time I made a small movement of my fingers, one sight would disappear and another would appear. I didn’t cry at all when the first spectacle disappeared, because I knew that nothing was lost; another beautiful sight always followed.



When we look into a kaleidoscope, we see a beautiful symmetrical image; and whenever we turn the kaleidoscope, the image disappears. Can we describe this as a birth or a death? Or is the image only a manifestation? After this manifestation there’s another manifestation that’s equally beautiful—nothing is lost at all. I have seen people die very peacefully, with a smile, because they see that birth and death are only waves on the surface of the ocean, just like the spectacle in the kaleidoscope.