You Are Here
Thich Nhat Hanh
Peace activist and Zen monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, is a revered teacher and well known for his ability to make the principles of Buddhism accessible to a wide audience. You Are Here is a wonderful book that highlights the primary messages of Buddhist thought in an easy to follow text. With a heavy emphasis on mindfulness and meditation, this book is ideal for someone who wants to learn more about Buddhist practices, or just wants to bring a greater sense of calm and mindfulness into their lives. The beauty of his teachings is in the simplicity. One suggestion that he offers for breathing mindfully is to say during breath, "Breathing in, I know I am breathing in. Breathing out, I know I am breathing out." His work is a reminder to get back to simplicity, and can be soothing and calming during difficult times.
"Some people live as though they are already dead. There are people moving around us who are consumed by their past, terrified of their future, and stuck in anger and jealousy. They are not alive; they are just walking corpses. If you look around yourself with mindfulness, you will see people going around like zombies. Have a great deal of compassion for the people around you who are living like this. They do not know that life is accessible only in the here and now."
"Many people aspire to go to a place where pain and suffering do not exist, a place where there is only happiness. This is a rather dangerous idea for compassion is not possible without pain and suffering. It is only when we enter into contact with suffering that understanding and compassion can be born."
"The Buddha said, 'The past no longer exists, and the future is not yet here.' There is only a single moment in which we can truly be alive, and that is the present moment. Being present in the here and now is our practice."
"There is a lot that needs to be done in society – work against war, social injustice, and so on. But first we have to come back to our own territory and make sure that peace and harmony are reigning there. Until we do that, we cannot do anything for society. Let us begin immediately."