P A R T O N E Breathe! You AreAl .

the only moment there is for us to be alive. we have twenty-four brandnew hours to live. What a precious gift! We have the capacity to live in a way that these twenty-four hours will bring peace. and so on. in ourselves and in everything we do and see. joy. We are very good at preparing to live. every step we make. and eat our meals in a way that allows us to be in touch with the abundance of happiness that is available. We don't have to travel far away to enjoy the blue sky. and serenity. a house. alive in the present moment. We can smile. but not very good at living. and we are willing to work very hard to get a job.Twenty-Four Brand-New Hours Every morning. can be filled with peace. Even the air we breathe can be a source of joy. We don't have to leave our city or even our neighborhood to enjoy the eyes of a beautiful child. when we wake up. a reminder . The question is whether or not we are in touch with it. But we have difficulty remembering that we are alive in the present moment. Peace is present right here and now. We know how to sacrifice ten years for a diploma. breathe. joy. and happiness to ourselves and others. a car. This small book is offered as a bell of mindfulness. We need only to be awake. walk. Every breath we take.

I know immediately that he or she to find peace. The source of a true smile is an awakened mind. Peace is every step. or some inspiring words—in your window or from the ceiling I f you have lost your smile and yet are still capable of seeing that a dandelion is keeping it for you. I t returns to us the peace we thought we had The Dandelion Has My Smile lost. a painting. nothing we buy could give them as much happiness as the gift I f a child smiles. This book is an invitation minder. I f we really know how to live. How can you remember to smile when you wake up? You might hang a reminder—such as a branch. our smile. Even i f we spend a lot of money on gifts for everyone in our family. Yet even a smile like that is enough to relax all the muscles in our face. how many artists have labored to bring it to the lips of countless statues and paintings? I am sure the same smile must have been on the faces of the sculptors and painters as they worked. O f course. I f in of our awareness. not A t the end of a retreat in California. that is very important. Peace and happiness are available in every moment. but don't worry. A tiny bud of a smile on our lips nourishes awareness and calms us miraculously. i f an adult smiles. i f we can be peaceful and happy. above your bed. a leaf. the situation is not too bad. 7 . what better way to start the day than with a smile? Our smile affirms our awareness and determination to live in peace and joy. But please do not wait until finishing this book approach the day with gendeness and understanding. just a hint of a smile. When I see someone smile. Bon voyage. Smiling helps you fer some of my experiences and a number of techniques that may be of help. our daily lives we can smile. you may not need a re- only take place in the present moment. And this precious gift costs nothing. I of- the sunlight streaming through the window. but everyone will profit from it. so that you notice it when you wake up.T H I C H N H A T H A N H P E A C E I S E V E R Y S T E P that happiness is possible only in the present moment. We shall walk hand in hand. to banish all worries and fatigue. You will smile as soon as you hear a bird singing or see to come back to the present moment and find peace and joy. The dandelion has it. 6 You still have enough mindfulness to see that the smile is there. is dwelling in awareness. But even planning can you develop the practice of smiling. Can you imagine an angry painter giving birth to such a smile? Mona Lisa's smile is light. I have lost my smile. a friend wrote this poem: only we. Once planning for the future is a part of life. This half-smile. Our smile will bring happiness to us and to those around us.

The dandelion is one member of your meditation." This technique can help you keep your mind on your breath. Conscious Breathing There are a number of breathing techniques you can use to make life vivid and more enjoyable. and your mind and body will also become peaceful and gentle. Breathing in and out is very important. Every day. because when we breathe consciously we recover ourselves completely and encounter life in the present moment. Present Moment. In just a few minutes you can realize the fruit of will recover your smile. everything around you is keeping your smile for you. and in my small meditation room.T H I C H N H A T H A N H P E A C E I S E V E R Y S T E P You only need to breathe consciously one or two times and you exercise. "In" and "Out. It is there. This is not a difficult In our busy society." we bring body and mind back together. I practice conscious breathing. I know that I am breathing out. You only have to open yourself to the support that is all around you. Conscious breathing is an important bridge. and in you. your breath will become peaceful and gentle. say. We can practice conscious breathing not only while sitting in a meditation room. community of friends. you can breathe in awareness." Just that." And as you breathe out. and become whole again. quite faithful. it is a great fortune to breathe consciously from time to time. "Breathing out. I have calligraphed this sentence: "Breathe. you say to yourself. I know that I am breathing in. The first exercise is very simple. and mind and body are not unified. you can use just two words: "In" and "Out. You don't even need to recite the whole sentence. By concentrating on our breathing. breathing is a joy that I cannot miss. keeping your smile for you. "Breathing in. To me. Our breathing is the link between our body and our mind. and your smile will return. and it is enjoyable. You recognize your in-breath as an in-breath and your out-breath as an out-breath. Like the friend who saw that her smile was being kept by the dandelion. As you practice. As you breathe in. but also while working at the 8 9 Wonderful Moment . In fact. You don't need to feel isolated. Sometimes our mind is thinking of one thing and our body is doing another. you are alive!" Just breathing and smiling can make us very happy.

" While I sit here. With a cassette." It is a joy to sit. and mindful breathing helps us to be calm." This exercise is not just for beginners. It is as if. our smiling.T H I C H N H A T H A N H P E A C E I S E V E R Y S T E P office or at home. "Calming. Besides the simple "In-Out" exercise. Wearing a smile on your face is a laxed. I smile. and I know exactly where I am. or after tomorrow? What is preventing us from being happy right now? As we follow our breathing. we do not have any button. I f we go to the doctor for some sleeping pills or tranquilizers. But with our thinking. but quite a lot of our thinking is useless. we can just press the stop button. because this kind of exercise is so important and so easy. " I know this is a wonderful moment. I sit here. because we do not really rest during that kind of sleep." You know a smile can relax hun- think too much. years continue to practice in this same way. I f we do not have peace and joy right now. day and night. O f course. Our appointment with life is in the present moment. and we can give ourselves a real rest. while driving our car. we "Breathing out. 11 . each of us has a cassette tape that is always running. and peaceful. in our head. I don't think of anything else. We think of this and we think of that. It helps us stop thinking so much and stop sign that you are master of yourself. down. these may make the situation worse. when will we have peace and joy—tomorrow. Smiling. Present moment. or sitting on a bus. Most of the time. There are so many exercises we can do to help us breathe consciously. and return to our breathing. wher- practiced meditation and conscious breathing for forty or fifty ever we are. and it is difficult to stop. Dwelling in the present moment. I calm my body. It enables us to be in touch with life. our thinking will slow line. Many of us who have IO ture. thinking is important. 1 smile. simply. our true nature." Reciting this line is like Thinking Less drinking a glass of cool lemonade on a hot day—you can feel the coolness permeate your body. I know this is a wonderful moment I "Breathing in. Breathing out. stable and at ease. re- dreds of muscles in your face. which is wonderful in the present moment. we can recite these four lines silently as we breathe in and out: Breathing in. at any time throughout the day. We may think and worry so much that we cannot sleep. I actually feel my breath calming my body and mind. and i f we continue using these drugs. being possessed by sorrows of the past and worries about the fu- "Dwelling in the present moment. When I breathe in and recite this While we practice conscious breathing. I calm my body. Wonderful moment. we can say.

and arranged them neatly on my desk. because saying "In" and room. and lonely. cold. so why do we open our windows to bad T V programs made by sensationalist producers in search of easy money. lit a lamp. and sometimes the wind blows through them and disturbs everything within us. and scattered the papers from my desk all over the breathe in and out. as around us in the present moment. Our senses are our windows to the world. I f we keep breathing in and out this way for a few minutes. lonely. we become quite refreshed. feel so cold. Why do you torture yourself in this way? Don't you want to close your windows? Are you frightened of solitude—the emptiness and the loneliness you may find when you face yourself alone? Nourishing Awareness in Each Moment Watching a bad T V program. peaceful. and heal- I did when I closed the windows and sat by the fire. The past is gone. Do you ever find yourself watching an awful T V program. "Out" is not thinking—"In" and "Out" are only words to help us concentrate on our breathing. and expose our sad. When I had left earlier. I f we are angry. These elements of peace are available to us anytime. Sometimes in a crowd we feel tired. Some of us leave our windows open all the time. we are love. unable to turn it off? The raucous noises. I f we do not go back to ourselves in the present moment. programs that make our hearts pound. are upsetting. and we them. when we ing elements within ourselves and around us. and a cold wind had blown through the house. I hadn't secured want. picked up the papers. cold wind. we are the mountain. and I found that all the doors and windows in my hermitage had blown open. winter evening I returned home from a walk in the hills. I f we look at a snow-covered mountain peak. We continue to live tensely.T H I C H N H A T H A N H P E A C E I S E V E R Y S T E P we may become addicted. We are what we feel and perceive. and afraid. I closed the doors and windows.We can be anything we One cold. I f we are in love. and leave us 12 13 . Immediately. When we are in touch with the refreshing. protected from the damp. opened the may have nightmares. allowing the sights and sounds of the world to invade us. our fists tighten. We recover ourselves. we cannot be in touch with life. we are the anger. We According to the method of conscious breathing. we become the T V program. we stop thinking. and soon the crackling logs brought warmth back to the room. windows. the future is not yet here. and we can encounter the beautiful things Then I started a fire in the fireplace. we learn how to cherish and protect these things and make them grow. We may wish to withdraw to be by ourselves and become warm again. troubled selves. penetrate us. explosions of gunfire. Yet you don't get up and turn it off.

We can continue to be aware of ourselves and our breathing. and we have to find the refreshing and who may not be acting responsibly. how many times do we become lost and scattered be- Whether we are in the city. too the chaos of the "outside world. We turn on the T V and leave it on. we cause of them? We must be very careful to protect our fate and our peace. even while sitting beside a clear. help us remain in awareness. or the wilderness. gle day. lazy. lives. As beginning meditators. I am not talking only about television. us. flowing stream. You can visible. how many lures are set by our fellows and ourselves? In a sin- need to sustain ourselves by choosing our surroundings carefully and nourishing our awareness in each moment. just sitting on your chair at the office or sitting in your automobile. we may want to leave the city and go off to the countryside to help close those windows that trouble our spirit. if you begin to feel de- '4 •5 . the countryside.T H I C H N H A T H A N H P E A C E I S E V E R Y S T E P exhausted ? Who allows such T V programs to be made and seen rediscover and restore ourselves. less troubled. we need not lose ourselves entirely in the stream." We can open our windows to these miracles and look at any one of them with awareness. With the sun of awareness shining in us. and breathe anywhere. we can avoid most dangers. We must be aware of which peaceful elements that can heal us right in the midst of our busy programs do harm to our nervous systems. This way. you do not need to rush home to your meditation cushion or to a meditation center in order to practice conscious breathing. There we can become one with the quiet forest. All around go for a walk in a park and enjoy the trees and the cool breeze. we may wish to return to the city and remain there. listening to beautiful music. Losing ourselves in this way is leaving our fate in the hands of others rooted and we can maintain it without faltering. or watching an excellent movie. and hearts. and the soul of the filmmaker completely Sitting Anywhere When you need to slow down and come back to yourself. shape us. O f course." The fresh and silent woods ready to watch whatever is on the screen. We may wish to visit a good friend who can comfort us. I am not suggesting that we just shut all our windows. the music more harmonious. and destroy us. or bored to create our own lives. without being swept away by by even the very young? We do! We are too undemanding. the music. But sometimes we cannot leave the city. too lonely. Even i f you are at a shopping center filled with people or waiting in line at a bank. for there are many miracles in the world we call "outside. or the film. minds. or and which programs benefit us. and when our awareness is well- allowing someone else to guide us. The stream will be purer.

not to endure physical strain or to injure our bodies. 16 '7 . feel free to adjust your position.T H I C H N H A T H A N H P E A C E I S E V E R Y S T E P pleted and need to return to yourself. walk slowly and mindfully. I f the pain is severe. like a rabbit going back to his hole. Choose a cushion that is the right thickness to support you. on your back. Or you can lie on the floor. We all need to both feet (for the full-lotus) on the opposite thighs. preferably palms up. you can breathe mindfully. There was no place to rest. following your breathing and each movement of your body. joy. and nonviolence. I f the lotus go back to ourselves from time to time. People looked at me curiously. sit down again. I f you can sit down. Doing this. or walking. stand up. Wherever you are. prefer. the airport was full of people. it is fine just to sit cross-legged or in any comfortable position. To sit in the lotus position. a cushion. The half-lotus and full-lotus positions are excellent for establishing stability of body and mind. with your legs straight out. and we should listen to it. and it can help us a lot. lying down. after a while they ignored me. the sitting position is the most stable. To change the position of our feet or do a little The most stable posture for meditation is sitting cross-legged on walking meditation will not disturb others very much. and I enjoyed sitting cross- your arms at your sides. We can do this in any position— half closed. legged right in the waiting area. it is telling us something. a few inches apart. we can use meditation as a way of hiding from ourselves and from life. but breathing mindfully in any position at any time can help you recover yourself. We sit in meditation to help us cultivate Sitting Meditation peace. we may be able to avoid some problems for a while. you can practice conscious gendy cross your legs by placing one foot (for the half-lotus) or breathing and smiling just standing there. When a part of our body is numb or in pain. you can sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor and however. so I just made myself comfortable where I was. you will not lose a single moment of concentration. To me. and I sat. One time. and fold your hands comfortably on your lap. and I sat in peace. sitting. this seems unnatural. I f you do this slowly and attentively. Sometimes. I f you standing. I was waiting for a plane that was four hours late at your hands resting on your lap. In some meditation centers. You may not want to meditate so conspicuously. They often have to endure great discomfort. Allow your back to be straight. keep your eyes front the difficulties of life. but I f your legs or feet fall asleep or begin to hurt during sitting meditation so that your concentration becomes disturbed. and when you are ready. in order to be able to con- position is difficult. I just rolled up my sweater and used it as a cushion. and Kennedy Airport in New York. practitioners are not permitted to move during periods of sitting meditation.

I deeply into the true nature of life. sound of the bell. if we practice our meditation very intensely. but steadily. we dwell in profound communion When the bell rings. Practicing in this way. There do not seem to be as many in the United States. breathe in and out." we may feel a kind of relief as we exhaust ourselves and divert our energy from confronting our difficulties. "Listen. there are church bells all over Europe. (I think it is better than ergy returns. the professors and students should pause in order to breathe consciously. Everyone should take the time to enjoy being alive! We should not just be rushing around all day. we pause for a moment and just enjoy our breathing. and all of us listen to the full with life. we say. have to learn to really enjoy our church bells and our school bells. we say. buzzer that goes off when you forget to fasten the seat belt in verse: 18 19 . We Listen. The This wonderful sound brings me bac\ to my true self.T H I C H N H A T H A N H P E A C E I S E V E R Y S T E P but when we leave our "hole. the lecture!) When we hear the bell. the children. you can practice breathing and smiling with its lovely sound." and when we again. But fortunately. not wasting a single opportunity or event to see think that is a pity. stop our thinking. and return to ourselves. Sometimes we also recite this One day in Berkeley. listen. We enjoy it so much. For example. Bells are beautiful." we will have to confront them When we breathe in. But when our enWe need to practice meditation gently. including our everyday prob- always make use of the church bells to practice mindfulness. I proposed to professors and students at the University of California that every time the bell on the campus sounds. "This wonderful sound brings me back to my true self. the conditions become favorable for us to encounter life in the present moment. You can use any sound to remind you to pause. we can pause and enjoy our breathing and get in touch with the wonders of life that are around us—the flowers. lems. breathing in and out. and smiling. through- Since I have come to the West. Every time we get back in touch with ourselves. the beautiful sounds. we use the temple bells to remind us to come back to the present moment. breathe out. But you do not have to carry a bell into your office or factory. I out daily life. we stop talking. and enjoy the present moment. listen. our problems will return with them. and they can wake us up. I stop talking. Bells of Mindfulness In my tradition. I f you have a bell at home. Every time we hear the bell. I have not heard many Buddhist temple bells. Whenever I give a lecture in Switzerland. Whatever we are doing.

I f you are attentive. the dog. the cat. The basket was passed around. It is possible to eat our meals as slowly and joyfully as I ate the cookie of my childhood. After seeing this. look up at the sky. Now someone has picked it. the earth. but I am sure it is still there. Even non-sounds. the flowers. We can eat in a way that we re- rays of sunlight coming through the window. Tangerine Meditation Cookie of Childhood I f l offer you a freshly picked tangerine to enjoy. noticing the mist and the fragrance of the tangerine.T H I C H N H A T H A N H P E A C E I S E V E R Y S T E P your car is a bell of mindfulness. with my cookie. Eating mindfully is a most im20 tangerines. They saw not only their tangerine. The sunshine and the rain continued. the bamboo thickets. I always went to the you are free of worries and anxiety. are bells of mind- store the cookie of our childhood. the bamboo thickets. I was entirely in the present moment. you can find it. and each child took one tangerine and put it in his or her palm. each child was invited to peel the tangerine slowly. I f you front yard and took my time eating it. We each looked at our tangerine. and if you really want it. but also its mother. somewhere in your heart. you will see it. with joy and happiness. and everything. you will enjoy it more. I would take a small bite and are possessed by anger or fear. the tangerine tree. smile. with the sky. and the tangerine is here. I think the deWhen I was four years old. and live fully in the present moment. sometimes half an hour or forty-five minutes for one cookie. the dog. I was able to do that because I did not have much to worry about. The present moment is filled fulness that can remind us to return to ourselves. my mother used to bring me a cookie gree to which you enjoy it will depend on your mindfulness. such as the portant practice of meditation. I offered a number of children a basket filled with take another small bite. Everything is still there. they began to visualize the blossoms in the sunshine and in the rain. I did not think of the future. and then bring it up to his or 21 . and the tiny tangerine grew. With some guidance. Maybe you have the impression that you have lost the cookie of your childhood. Then I would touch the dog with my feet and One day. the cat. I just enjoyed being there. the tangerine may not be very real to you. Then they saw petals falling down and the tiny green fruit appear. I f every time she came home from the market. I did not regret the past. and the children were invited to meditate on its origins. breathe.

Jesus tried to wake up his disciples. we look at each person as we breathe in and out in order eating bread. setting the table and finishing whatever needs to be done. This is my flesh. We don't 2 22 3 . I f we are really settled within ourselves." three times. it was a ghost. You can take your time eating a tangerine and be very happy." Another said. "To get energy for the day. ture and taste of the fruit and the juice coming out. they would have real life. In a drastic way. when we are mindful. or a cookie is the same. To me." I think the second child is more correct. Eating Mindfully A few years ago. like that. The practice of turn off the TV. The purpose of eating is to eat. put down our newspaper. so the bread was not bread at all. and life is present in all its richness. When we breathe. and we ourselves are also ghosts. Each time you look at a tangerine. it's wonderful. "The purpose of eating breakfast is to eat break- The practice of the Eucharist is a practice of awareness. Then. I calm my body. they may have eaten their bread in forgetfulness. During these few minutes. When fast. need two hours to see another person. You can see everything in the universe in one tangerine. and work together for five or ten minutes. he said. "What is the purpose of The Eucharist eating breakfast?" One boy replied. Jesus broke the bread and shared it with his disciples. When the food is on the table and everyone is seated. We can recover ourselves completely after three breaths like this. you can see deeply into it. we only need to look for one or two seconds. Eating a meal in mindfulness is an important practice. In their daily lives. not real people. When you peel it and smell it. Practicing mindfulness enables us to become a real person. I smile. when we look to be in touch with ourselves and everyone at the table. we can be very happy. we may see the people around us. in full awareness of the tex- deeply at our food. We "Eat this. Breathing out. life becomes real at that very moment. I asked some children." He knew that if his disciples would eat one piece of bread in mindfulness. When we are a real person. we practice breathing: "Breathing in. We ate slowly the rite of the Eucharist is a wonderful practice of mindfulness. they are just phantoms. we see real people around us.T H I C H N H A T H A N H P E A C E I S E V E R Y S T E P her mouth and have a mindful bite. In our daily lives. but i f we lack mindfulness. a tangerine.

Sitting at the table with other . people. you can notice i f other people are also enjoying it. we cultivate the kind of happiness that is of bread! Contemplating our food for a few seconds before eat- necessary for us to grow. This is a very deep practice. Each bite contains the life of the sun we let this kind of talk dominate our meal. 24 realize that the awareness of the piece of bread in our mouth is much more nourishing. Many people in the world are hungry. I think that i f a family has five mem- In order to aid mindfulness during meals. we should refrain from discussing subjects that can destroy our awareness of our family and the food. Breathing and smiling together is a very important practice. When instead we and the earth. we can "turn off" the talking in order to enjoy the food and the presence of one another. can bring us much happiness." silently from time to time. he is losing the present mo25 . When I hold a bowl of rice or a piece of bread. I do not recommend silent meals every day. It brings life in and makes life real. Some subjects can separate us: for instance. We can see and taste the whole universe in a piece our being together. We can practice it right at our dinner table. I f the people in a household cannot smile at each other. experience of talking about other people's shortcomings. The extent to which our food reveals itself de- speak about things that nourish our awareness of the food and pends on us. We look at each person and smile at him or her. So. But we have to distinguish among different kinds of talk. The carefully prepared food will have no value i f connection with the earth. you can help him or her appreciate the wonderful dish prepared with loving care. such as his difficulties in the office or with friends. if there is a dish that you like very much. you will realize that meals in silence bring much peace and happiness. the situation is very dangerous. This food reveals our shortcomings. we smile. we have a chance to offer an authentic smile of friendship and understanding. I f we compare this experience with the ing. and eating in mindfulness. To me.T H I C H N H A T H A N H P E A C E I S E V E R Y S T E P and that is enough to see. but once you become used to it. For instance. After breathing and smiling. this is the most important practice. only about five or ten seconds are needed to practice this "looking and seeing. we will Having the opportunity to sit with our family and friends and enjoy wonderful food is something precious. I know that I am fortunate. Just as we turn off the T V before eating. i f we talk about other people's way that allows the food to become real. We do not need to go to a temple or a church in order to practice this. while eating. I f someone is thinking about something other than the good food on the table. Mindful eating can cultivate seeds of compassion and understanding that will strengthen us to do something to help hungry and lonely people be nourished. and I feel compassion for all those who have no food to eat and are without friends or family. It is very easy. But we should feel free to say things that can nourish awareness and happiness. you may like to eat bers. Talking to each other can be a wonderful way to be together in mindfulness. we look down at the food in a to feel a little uncomfortable. and if one of them is not. Your first silent meal may cause you After breathing. something not everyone has. but not many people do it.

each action in the sunlight of awareness becomes sacred. and I am happy. enjoying you. in particular. not thinking of the past. and each movement of my hands. and the texture and the flavor 26 Walking Meditation Walking meditation can be very enjoyable. P E A C E I S E V E R Y S T E P of the dessert. being fully aware of the dish. In this light. but just to walk. to live fully in each moment while washing them. I will be equally incapable of enjoying my dessert. You can say. i f possible in some beautiful place. the time of washing dishes will be unpleasant and not worth living. will be lost. Therefore we have to shake off all worries and anxieties. Children. not thinking of the future. each second of life is a miracle. You become a bodhisattva. I will always be dragged into the future. I will be thinking about what to do next. I must confess it takes me a bit longer to do the dishes. Washing the dishes is at the same time a means and an end—that is. we also do the dishes just to do the dishes. alone or with friends. never able to live in the present moment. not only do we do the dishes in order to have clean dishes.T H I C H N H A T H A N H ment and the food. for each minute. helping a living being become enlightened. the idea that doing dishes is unpleasant can occur only when you aren't doing them. The purpose is to be in the present moment and. I enjoy taking my time with each dish. if I want to finish them quickly so I can go and have dessert. are very capable of practicing mindfulness and reminding others to do the same. together with the pleasure of eating it. enjoying the wonderful dish. Walking meditation is really to enjoy the walking—walking not in order to arrive. Once you are standing in front of the sink with your sleeves rolled up and your hands in the warm water. no boundary exists between the sacred and the profane. it is really quite pleasant. We can take the hand of a child as 27 . aware of our breathing and our walking. don't you agree?" to draw him out of his thinking and worries and bring him back to the here and now. Washing Dishes To my mind. With the fork in my hand. just enjoying the present moment. Each thought. to enjoy each step. "This dish is wonderful. That would be a pity. the water. I know that i f I hurry in order to eat dessert sooner. The dishes themselves and the fact that I am here washing them are miracles! I f I am incapable of washing dishes joyfully. We walk slowly. but I live fully in every moment.

peaceful. our walking is usually more want to stop and look at it—a tree. Each step we peace and serenity on the Earth. please give The telephone is very convenient. Out. I f you feel happy. When we do walking meditation outside. refreshing our body and mind. Be aware of the contact between your feet and the Earth. When we are able to take one step peacefully and happily. we may Although we walk all the time. We may find its ring disturbing or feel interrupted by too lengths of your in-breath and out-breath do not have to be the same. wasting precious time (and money). Walking meditation is a wonderful practice. give them two. I f we can take one step like this. three. When we want to resume walking. we can take two. We are victims of our own telephone. four. we are working for the cause of peace and happiness for the whole of humankind. we just start again. you can take three steps with each inhalation and four with each exhalation. We walk in that spirit. and five. and joyful while you are walking. We can all do this. Any child can do it. Often we talk about things that are not that important. but we can be tyrannized by them four steps. like saying the name of a friend. Now it is time for us to take good care of her. we make steps as i f we are the happiest person the Earth and share the lesson of love. We have caused a lot of damage to the Earth. slower than our normal pace. we print anxiety and sorrow on the Earth." "In" is to help us to identify the inbreath. Walk as i f you are kissing the Earth with your feet. The it. and we cannot resist. provided that we want it very much. For example. So we can say. We walk.T H I C H N H A T H A N H P E A C E I S E V E R Y S T E P we do it. in. I f they want only two steps. you are practicing correcdy. we may take three steps with each in-breath and three steps with each out-breath. As we look. We can do it only i f we do not think of the future or the past. From time to time. "In. some children play- like running. on Earth. i f we know that life can only be found in the present moment. we walk a little take will create a cool breeze. and we coordinate our breathing with our steps. lest we lose the beautiful flower and get caught up in our thoughts. Every time we call something by its name. we may forget that we 28 29 are talking on the telephone. we continue to follow our breathing. when we see something beautiful. We bring our peace and calm to the surface of many calls. For example. we make it Telephone Meditation more real. a flower. and maybe some anxiety: "Who is calling? Is it good news or bad news?" Yet some force in us pulls us to the phone. When we walk like that. When we talk on the phone. out. in. We have to walk in a way that we only print ing. I f your lungs want four steps instead of three. Every step makes a flower bloom under our feet. . out. How many times have we received our phone bill and winced at the amount of it? The telephone bell creates in us a kind of vibration.

and your smile will be even more solid. as you walk to the phone slowly. just operators to practice telephone meditation. If the cargoesfast. When the phone rings for the third time. This wonderful sound brings me back to my true self. but because we want to get away from ourselves. breathe in and out consciously. You can afford to practice breathing and smiling like this. The car and! are one.That's very beautiful! You don't have to go into a meditation hall to do this wonderful practice of meditation. because i f the person calling has something important to say. Either 3° 3i . we are afraid of being alone with ourselves. she will certainly wait for at least three rings. but every time we have a spare moment. three times. you can repeat the verse. forty years ago. smile to your- are not operators have the right to three breaths. so I have written a simple verse you can recite before starting your car. I rely on you to find a way for Sometimes we don't really need to use the car. You are your own master. "She is breathing. At that time. I go fast. So you tell yourself. We feel that there is a vacuum in us and we don't want to confront it. But those of us who stay where you are. But because you have been breathing consciously and smiling. and when you pick up the phone. When you hear the other phone ring. listen.T H I C H N H A T H A N H P E A C E I S E V E R Y S T E P I recommend that the next time you hear the phone ring. We don't like being so busy. you are dwelling in mindfulness. with all your sovereignty. you know that your friend is practicing breathing and smiling and will not pick it up until the third ring. But today. We want to escape. you can continue to practice breathing and smiling. and recite this verse: "Listen. and your tension quickly vanishes. monks ride motorcycles and drive cars. you can also breathe in and out Before starting the car. why not me?" You practice breathing in and out. I know where I am going." When the bell rings for the second time. and she does too. I f you are irritated or angry. but also for the sake of the other person. When you smile. I was the first monk to ride a bicycle. Driving Meditation I n Vietnam. Practicing telephone meditation can counteract stress and depression and self. how fortunate for the person calling you! bring mindfulness into our daily lives. it was not considered a very "monkish" thing to do. You can do it in your office and at home. I hope you find it helpful: Before making a phone call. the muscles of your face relax. the other person will receive your negativity. we go for a drive. I don't know how phone operators can practice while so many phones ring simultaneously. then dial. You know that you are smiling not only for your own sake. We have to keep our meditation practices up to date and respond to the real situation in the world.

we humans are going to die also. two million square miles of forest land have been destroyed by acid rain. When we use any instrument or machine. A man with a gun becomes very dangerous. it was very easy to practice in Paris. Therefore. "There are red lights and stop signs everywhere in Paris. through Paris. Where shall we go? To our own destruc- lives. You will return to yourself and make friends with the trees again. I am not suggesting you stop driving." is a very deep question.T H I C H N H A T H A N H P E A C E I S E V E R Y S T E P we turn on the television. Why don't you practice with them ?" After he went back to Montreal. and the car is only an instrument. While we are driving. The next time you see a red light. it can be like a torch. I calm Wherever we go. Driving is a daily task in this society. read a novel. we are ourselves and the car. I f the journey you are making is necessary. because in Paris. A violinist with his violin becomes very beautiful. Our civili- emy that prevents us from attaining our goal. reminding us to return to things we can use to lose touch with ourselves. But if you see that it is not really important. light. helping us re- It is said that in the last several years. you can remove the key from the ignition and go instead for a walk along the riverbank or through a park. tion? I f the trees die. It means " I remember. pick up the telephone. smile at it and go back to your breathing. it becomes different. perhaps their French origins. You will have many opportunities to breathe and smile as you drive through Montreal." I told him. "Before starting the car. he told me that it was more difficult to practice in Paris than in Montreal. Breathing out. Every time a car stopped in front of me. a friend drove me across the city to go to the mountains. I know where I am going. when he visited me in France. we think only about arriving. and he shared the practice with his friends." I was "The car and I are one. I smile. I saw the eyes of the 33 . we cannot escape. It becomes a friend." It is easy to transform a feeling member that it is only in the present moment that we can live our When I was in Montreal several years ago to lead a retreat. just that you do so consciously. I noticed that every time a car stopped in front of me. and more pleasant. "Every time l you see a car with that sentence. It is a bell of mindfulness. he wrote me a very nice letter: "Thay. we are not very happy. When we use a car. "Breathing in. every time we see 32 my body. we change. but I told my friend that I had a gift for him." We have the impression that we are the boss. souviens" was on the license plate. go a red light. Later. and we may see that we don't need to go anywhere. So of irritation into a pleasant feeling. please do not hesitate to go." He was delighted. Although it is the same red it may be better. But we can also see zation teaches us to act this way and provides us with many the red light as a bell of mindfulness. there is no "Je me souviens. Je me souviens] remember to breathe and smile. partly because of our cars. or take the car and go somewhere. our "self" will be with us. The red light is a kind of en- out with a friend. please poem as we are about to turn the ignition key of our car. but that is not true. to leave the engine off and go out for a walking meditation. the sentence "Jeme not sure what they wanted to remember. I f we recite this the present moment.

and not just be a description of something far away. Enjoy the present moment. should be for the benefit of the whole day. Happiness is there i f you know how to breathe and smile. walking mindfully between buildings in downtown Denver. We must practice in a way that removes the barrier The next time you are caught in a traffic jam. Sit back and smile to yourself. each hour of our daily life. not just for smiling.T H I C H N H A T H A N H P E A C E I S E V E R Y S T E P Buddha blinking at me. a smile of compassion and loving kindness. and make the other people in your car happy. We need to discuss among ourselves how to do it. not only your arm but your whole body benefits from it. we make careful steps. 34 have a tremendous effect on social concerns. When you practice half an hour of sitting meditation a day. don't fight. even with difficult persons. and his meetings. and very successful. I f Decompartmentali^ation you know how to apply meditation to dinner time. that time should be for all twenty-four hours. there was no better answer than that. breathing and smiling. But when we go to the airport or the supermarket. Passersby smile at him. 35 . it will penetrate your daily life. I had to answer him by breathing and one breath." that moment. sleeping time. and it helps her very much. the blue sky. and try to be aware of each breath. we become quite another person. very slowly. We should be able to bring the practice from the meditation hall into our daily lives. the child. less mindfully. each minute. and it will also We have so many compartments in our lives. Happiness is available. between practice and non-practice. How can we bring meditation out of the meditation hall and into the kitchen. and not just for that half-hour. How can we practice mindfulness at the airport and in the supermarket? I have a friend who breathes between telephone calls. often turn out to be quite pleasant. Practicing meditation is to go back to the present moment in order to encounter the flower. Mindfulness can penetrate the activities of everyday life. and the office? In the meditation hall we sit quietly. How can our sitting influence our nonsitting time? When a doctor gives you an injection. because happiness can always be found in the present moment. It's useless to fight. We walk very quickly. Do you practice breathing between phone calls? Do you practice smiling while cutting carrots? Do you practice relaxation after hours of hard work? These are practical questions. One smile. I had a wonderful time driving in Paris. Another friend does walking meditation between business appointments. When we walk in the meditation hall. leisure time.

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