The best of Thich Nhat Hanh’s works.—Sulak Sivaraksa
This profound look at Buddhist psychology offers important insights into how Buddhism’s ancient teachings apply to the modern world. Basing his work on the writings of the great fifth-century Buddhist master Vasubandhu and the teachings of the Avatamsaka Sutra,Thich Nhat Hanh focuses on the direct experience of recognizing the true nature of consciousness. Presenting the basic teachings of Buddhist applied psychology, he shows how the mind is like a field, where every kind of seed is planted—seeds of suffering, anger, happiness, and peace. The quality of life, he writes, depends on the quality of the seeds. By learning how to water seeds of joy and transform seeds of suffering, understanding, love, and compassion can flower. Includes a new introduction by Reb Anderson, author of Being Upright.
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The way to train our mind consciousness in correct perception is through mindfulness. This is the most important contribution of the mind consciousness. When we are mindful, when we are aware of all our actions of body, speech, and mind, we can choose to act, speak, and think in wholesome ways rather than in harmful ways. With the energy of mindfulness generated by our mind consciousness, we can avoid watering seeds of anger, craving, and delusion in our store consciousness and we can water the seeds of joy, peace, and wisdom. This is why it is so important to train our mind consciousness in the habit of mindfulness.
Each of our afflictions, our unwholesome mental formations, contains Buddha nature and liberation. Our anger includes all the factors that brought it about. If our anger did not contain liberation, how could we transform it into non-anger? In our compost are many fragrant flowers. A skillful gardener does not get rid of kitchen garbage but turns it into compost. In the course of time, the garbage will turn into a basket of fresh, green vegetables. If we know how to compost our afflictions of greed, hatred, ignorance, pride, doubt, views, agitation, torpor, and forgetfulness, we can transform them into peace, joy, liberation, and happiness. When we are able to touch our habit energies and transform the roots of violence, despair, fear, and anger in our store consciousness, transformation at the base occurs.