Book speaks of the need to be mindful

Published 5:00 pm Saturday, January 22, 2011

“Buddhists are as concerned with power as anyone else, but we are interested in the kind of power that brings happiness and not suffering.”—Thick Nhat Hanh

In “The Art of Power” by Thich Nhat Hanh he tells us “three virtues are required if we are to be true leaders: the virtue of cutting off, the virtue of loving, and the virtue of insight.”

Natalie Goldberg used to talk about Thich Nhat Hanh when she hung out in Minnesota and had writing classes. Natalie spent time, if I remember righ,t in his village in France where people came for his schooling.

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In the book Thich Nhat Hanh tells of his life as a 16-year-old novice monk, and how his teacher taught him to open the door and close the door with 100 percent of himself. One day, his teacher asked him to get something for him and because he loved him very much, he was eager to do it, so he rushed to this task and closed the door quickly.

His teacher called him back: “Novice, come back here.” He went back. He joined his palms and looked at him. His teacher said, “Novice, this time go out mindfully and close the door behind you mindfully.” This was the first lesson his teacher gave him on the practice of mindfulness. At that moment, he began to walk mindfully and became aware of every step he took. He touched the doorknob mindfully. He opened the door mindfully. He went out and closed the door behind him mindfully. His teacher didn’t have to teach him a second time how to close the door.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama states on the cover of “The Art of Power,” “Thich Nhat Hanh shows us the connection between personal, inner peace, and peace on earth.”

Thich Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese Buddhist Zen master, poet, scholar and peace activist. During the war in Vietnam, he worked tirelessly for reconciliation between North and South Vietnam. His efforts to generate peace moved Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to nominate him for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1967.