100+ Thich Nhat Hanh Quotes to Inspire You


David Em

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Thich Nhat Hanh was a prominent Vietnamese Buddhist monk and peace activist. Read profound Thich Nhat Hanh quotes for inspiration.

Headshot of Thich Nhat Hanh.
Photo by David Em/Relaxation Hero and Wikimedia Commons.

Thich Nhat Hanh was a positive force in the world.

He was a monk, author, activist, poet, and teacher. He was also known as the “father of mindfulness.”

The Zen master has said many profound and thought-provoking things.

The following are inspiring Thich Nhat Hanh quotes on life, healing, nature, and peace.

Wise Thich Nhat Hanh quotes

1. “There is no way to happiness – happiness is the way.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

2. “People deal too much with the negative, with what is wrong. Why not try and see positive things, to just touch those things and make them bloom?” -Thich Nhat Hanh

3. “We have more possibilities available in each moment than we realize.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

Thich Nhat Hanh quote about the possibilities in each moment.
Photo by David Em/Relaxation Hero.

4. “Many of us have been running all our lives. Practice stopping.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

5. “When you love someone, the best thing you can offer is your presence. How can you love if you are not there?” -Thich Nhat Hanh

6. “When we give ourselves the chance to let go of all our tension, the body’s natural capacity to heal itself can begin to work.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

7. “People sacrifice the present for the future. But life is available only in the present. That is why we should walk in such a way that every step can bring us to the here and the now.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

8. “It’s very important that we re-learn the art of resting and relaxing. Not only does it help prevent the onset of many illnesses that develop through chronic tension and worrying; it allows us to clear our minds, focus, and find creative solutions to problems.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

9. “The essential is that you are mindful why you do things, whether you do it slowly or quickly.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

10. “Our own life has to be our message.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

11. “Meditation is not to escape from society, but to come back to ourselves and see what is going on. Once there is seeing, there must be acting. With mindfulness we know what to do and what not to do to help.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

12. “Every breath we take, every step we make, can be filled with peace, joy and serenity.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

13. “We will be more successful in all our endeavors if we can let go of the habit of running all the time, and take little pauses to relax and re-center ourselves. And we’ll also have a lot more joy in living.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

14. “To meditate means to go home to yourself. Then you know how to take care of the things that are happening inside you, and you know how to take care of the things that happen around you.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

15. “If we are peaceful, if we are happy, we can smile, and everyone in our family, our entire society, will benefit from our peace.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

16. “To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

Thich Nhat Hanh quote about being yourself.
Photo by David Em/Relaxation Hero.

17. “Because you are alive, everything is possible.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

18. “The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

19. “If we do not know how to take care of ourselves and to love ourselves, we cannot take care of the people we love. Loving oneself is the foundation for loving another person.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

20. “Understanding someone’s suffering is the best gift you can give another person. Understanding is love’s other name. If you don’t understand, you can’t love.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

21. “If you touch one thing with deep awareness, you touch everything.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

22. “In mindfulness one is not only restful and happy, but alert and awake. Meditation is not evasion; it is a serene encounter with reality.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

23. “For things to reveal themselves to us, we need to be ready to abandon our views about them.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

24. “The past is gone, the future is not yet here, and if we do not go back to ourselves in the present moment, we cannot be in touch with life.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

25. “The best way to take care of the future is to take care of the present moment.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

26. “What you are looking for is already in you. You already are everything you are seeking.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

27. “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.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

28. “Each time we find ourselves dispersed and find it difficult to gain control of ourselves by different means, the method of watching the breath should always be used.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

29. “The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

30. “My actions are my only true belongings.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

31. “Waking up this morning, I smile. Twenty-four brand new hours are before me. I vow to live fully in each moment and to look at all beings with eyes of compassion.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

32. “Fearlessness is not only possible, it is the ultimate joy. When you touch nonfear, you are free.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

33. “Don’t do any task in order to get it over with. Resolve to do each job in a relaxed way, with all your attention. Enjoy and be one with your work.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

Thich Nhat Hanh quote about doing tasks.
Photo by David Em/Relaxation Hero.

34. “Be yourself. Life is precious as it is. All the elements for your happiness are already here. There is no need to run, strive, search, or struggle. Just be.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

35. “Letting go gives us freedom and freedom is the only condition for happiness.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

36. “Just by breathing deeply on your anger, you will calm it. You are being mindful of your anger, not suppressing it… touching it with the energy of mindfulness.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

37. “Even though things are not as we would like, we can still be content, knowing we are trying our best and will continue to do so.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

38. “Life is too precious for us to lose ourselves in our ideas and concepts, in our anger and our despair. We must wake up to the marvelous reality of life. We must begin to live fully and truly, every moment of our daily lives.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

39. “Once we recognize that all things are impermanent, we have no problem enjoying them. In fact, real peace and joy are only possible when we see clearly into the nature of impermanence.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

40. “When we feed and support our own happiness, we are nourishing our ability to love.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

41. “Be an island unto yourself. Take refuge in yourself and not in anything else.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

42. “The more you cultivate joy, the more joy you will feel and be able to share.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

43. “You already are everything you are seeking. Do not try to become something else.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

44. “All the wonders of life are already here. They’re calling you. If you can listen to them, you will be able to stop running. What you need, what we all need, is silence.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

45. “Buddhism teaches that joy and happiness arise from letting go. Please sit down and take an inventory of your life. There are things you’ve been hanging on to that really are not useful and deprive you of your freedom. Find the courage to let them go.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

46. “I promise myself that I will enjoy every minute of the day that is given me to live.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

Thich Nhat Hanh quote about enjoying every minute.
Photo by David Em/Relaxation Hero.

47. “We humans have lost the wisdom of genuinely resting and relaxing. We worry too much. We don’t allow our bodies to heal, and we don’t allow our minds and hearts to heal.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

48. “Anxiety, the illness of our time, comes primarily from our inability to dwell in the present moment.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

49. “Your purpose is to be yourself. You don’t have to run anywhere to become someone else. You are wonderful just as you are.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

50. “The roots of a lasting relationship are mindfulness, deep listening and loving speech, and a strong community to support you.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

51. “Live the actual moment. Only this actual moment is life.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

52. “Practicing conscious breathing, aware of each thought and each act, we are reborn, fully alive, in the present moment.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

53. “Life is both dreadful and wonderful. To practice meditation is to be in touch with both aspects.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

54. “We have a lamp inside us. The oil of that lamp is our breathing, our steps, and our peaceful smile. Our practice is to light up the lamp.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

55. “In true dialogue, both sides are willing to change.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

56. “You carry Mother Earth within you. She is not outside of you. Mother Earth is not just your environment. In that insight of inter-being, it is possible to have real communication with the Earth, which is the highest form of prayer.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

57. “Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

58. “I love to sit and eat quietly and enjoy each bite, aware of the presence of my community, aware of all the hard and loving work that has gone into my food.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

59. “Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

60. “I am determined to practice deep listening. I am determined to practice loving speech.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

61. “To meditate with mindful breathing is to bring body and mind back to the present moment so that you do not miss your appointment with life.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

62. “If you walk with true awareness of every step, without having a goal to get anywhere, happiness will arise naturally.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

63. “The soil of our mind contains many seeds, positive and negative. We are the gardeners who identify, water, and cultivate the best seeds.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

64. “The moment you wake up, right away, you can smile. That’s a smile of enlightenment.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

65. “Whether this moment is happy or not depends on you. It’s you who makes the moment happy, not the moment that makes you happy. With mindfulness, concentration, and insight, any moment can become a happy moment.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

66. “Be a friend to yourself. If you are a true friend to yourself, you can be a true friend to a loved one.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

67. “Calming allows us to rest, and resting is a precondition for healing.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

68. “Our capacity to make peace with another person and with the world depends very much on our capacity to make peace with ourselves.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

Thich Nhat Hanh quote about making peace.
Photo by David Em/Relaxation Hero.

69. “The most precious inheritance that parents can give their children is their own happiness.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

70. “The seed of suffering in you may be strong, but don’t wait until you have no more suffering before allowing yourself to be happy.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

71. “To dwell in the here and now does not mean you never think about the past or responsibly plan for the future. The idea is simply not to allow yourself to get lost in regrets about the past or worries about the future.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

72. “At any moment, you have a choice, that either leads you closer to your spirit or further away from it.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

73. “Every person is a world to explore.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

74. “Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child – our own two eyes. All is a miracle.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

75. “Life is a miracle, and being aware of simply this can already make us very happy.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

76. “You have an appointment with life, an appointment that is in the here and now.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

77. “Do not lose yourself in the past. Do not lose yourself in the future. Do not get caught in your anger, worries, or fears. Come back to the present moment, and touch life deeply. This is mindfulness.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

78. “The greatest miracle is to be alive. We can put an end to our suffering just by realizing that our suffering is not worth suffering for!” -Thich Nhat Hanh

79. “Love needs to be nurtured and fed to survive; and our suffering also survives because we enable and feed it.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

80. “Other people’s actions are the result of their own pain and not the result of any intention to hurt you.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

81. “In true love, there is no pride.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

82. “People talk about entering nirvana, but we are already there. Aimlessness and nirvana are one.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

83. “The only way to ease our fear and be truly happy is to acknowledge our fear and look deeply at its source.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

84. “To take good care of ourselves, we must go back and take care of the wounded child inside of us.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

85. “We have to learn how to embrace and cradle our own suffering and the suffering of the world, with a lot of tenderness.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

Thich Nhat Hanh quote about suffering.
Photo by David Em/Relaxation Hero.

86. “From time to time, to remind ourselves to relax and be peaceful, we may wish to set aside some time for a retreat, a day of mindfulness, when we can walk slowly, smile, drink tea with a friend, enjoy being together as if we are the happiest people on Earth.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

87. “Keeping your body healthy is an expression of gratitude to the whole cosmos.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

88. “Total relaxation is the secret to enjoying sitting meditation. I sit with my spine upright, but not rigid; and I relax all the muscles in my body.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

89. “Every thought you produce, anything you say, any action you do, it bears your signature.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

90. “Peace in the world starts with peace in oneself. If everyone lives mindfully, everyone will be more healthy, feel more fulfilled in their daily lives and there will be more peace.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

91. “Many people are alive but don’t touch the miracle of being alive.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

92. “Compassionate listening is to help the other side suffer less. If we realize that other people are the same people as we are, we are no longer angry at them.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

93. “Breathing in, I am aware of my heart. Breathing out, I smile to my heart and know that my heart still functions normally. I feel grateful for my heart.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

94. “True self is non-self, the awareness that the self is made only of non-self elements. There’s no separation between self and other, and everything is interconnected. Once you are aware of that you are no longer caught in the idea that you are a separate entity.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

95. “Let us fill our hearts with our own compassion – towards ourselves and towards all living beings.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

96. “If you abandon the present moment, you cannot live the moments of your daily life deeply.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

97. “Listening to and understanding our inner sufferings will resolve most of the problems we encounter.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

98. “People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

99. “Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

100. “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 are okay. Right now, today, we are still alive, and our bodies are working marvelously.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

101. “I try to live every moment like that, relaxed, dwelling peacefully in the present moment and respond to events with compassion.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

Thich Nhat Hanh quote about living relaxed.
Photo by David Em/Relaxation Hero.

102. “We have to walk in a way that we only print peace and serenity on the Earth. Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

103. “Our breath is something like a bridge linking body and mind. And as soon as you go back to your breath and breathing in and out mindfully, you bring your body and mind together. And there you are again, fully alive.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

Final thoughts

Thich Nhat Hanh made a significant impact on the world. He was an advocate for peace, mindfulness, and compassion.

By reading the best Thich Nhat Hanh quotes, you experience some of his powerful teachings.

Ponder on them and allow them to impact how you live.

Spread peace, love, and positivity everywhere you go.

Related: Sadhguru Quotes

Featured image by David Em/Relaxation Hero and Wikimedia Commons.

David Em.

David Em

David Em is the Founder of Relaxation Hero. He created this site to provide tips and resources to help you relax. Outside of Relaxation Hero, David is the CEO of Everyone Media Group. He also enjoys hiking, running, and traveling.