Mindfulness is the most basic meditation practice—awareness of what is going on in the body, the feelings, the mind, and the world. Nhat Hanh explores three versions of the sutra and their differing implications for mindfulness and its application in daily life. His insightful commentary also includes a discussion of breathing techniques and 23 contemplations to aid in the daily practice of mindfulness.
Accessible to novice Buddhists as well as more advanced practitioners, this second edition features a new introduction by the author.
If you were to possess only one book on how to fare through this human existence with joy and self-knowledge, it should be this text.
Methods of practice
“We practice full awareness in order to realize liberation, peace, and joy in our everyday lives. Liberation and Happiness are linked to each other: if there is liberation, there is happiness, and greater liberation brings greater happiness. We know that if there is liberation, peace and joy exist in the present moment. We do not need to wait ten or fifteen years to realize them. They are available as soon as we begin to practice. However modest these elements may be, they form the basis for greater liberation, peace, and joy in the future.
To practice meditation is to look deeply in order to see into the essence of things. Due to our insight and understanding we can realize liberation, peace, and joy. Our anger, anxiety, and fear, for instance, are the ropes that bind us to suffering. If we want to be liberated from them, we need to observe their nature, which is ignorance, the lack of clear understanding. When we misunderstand a friend, we may become angry with him, and because of that, we may suffer. But when we look deeply into what has happened, we can end the misunderstanding. When we understand the other person and his situation, our suffering will disappear and peace and joy will arise. The first step is awareness of the object, and the second step is looking deeply at the object to shed light on it. Therefore mindfulness means awareness and it also means looking deeply.”