Meditation on Interdependence

From the book, The Sun My Heart by Thich Nhat Hanh.

Meditation is not imitation, but creation. Meditators who only imitate their instructors cannot go far. The same is true of cooking, or anything. A good cook is someone with a creative spirit. You can enter the Meditation on the Interdependence of All Phenomena through many different doors -- observing your internal organs: blood, heart, intestines, lungs, liver, kidneys; or thousands of other means, including thoughts, feelings, images, poetry, dreams, or a river, a star, a leaf, and so on.

A good practitioner uses meditation throughout daily life, not wasting a single opportunity, a single event, to see deeply the nature of dependent coarising. All day long practice is carried out in perfect concentration. With eyes open or closed, the nature of meditation is no other than samadhi. You can discard the idea that you must close your eyes to look inside and open them to look outside. A thought is no more an inner object than a mountain an outer one. Both are objects of knowledge. Neither is inner or outer. Great concentration is achieved when you are fully present, in profound communion with living reality. At these times the distinction between subject and object disappears and you penetrate living reality with ease, are one with it, because you have set aside all tools for measuring knowledge, knowledge which Buddhism calls "erroneous knowledge."

Fearless in Life and Death

Continue to practice the meditation on interdependence for awhile and you will notice a change in yourself. Your perspective will widen, and you will find that you look at all living beings with compassion. The grudges and hatreds that you thought were impenetrable will begin to erode, and you will find yourself caring for each and every being. Most important, you will no longer be afraid of life and death.

To meditate means to observe.

The secret of meditation is to be conscious of each second of your existence and to keep the sun of awareness continually shining -- in both the physical and psychological realms, in all circumstances, on each thing that arises.

Meditation reveals not a concept of truth, but a direct view of truth itself. This we call Insight, the kind of understanding based on attention and concentration.

The notion of "not self" is a method, not a goal. If it becomes a concept, it must be destroyed along with all other concepts.

These four virtues: lovingkindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, and non-attachment are the fruits of the meditation on the principle of the interdependent co-arising of things.

Peace can exist only in the present moment. If you truly want to be at peace, you must be at peace right now.


Sunshine is Green Leaves.

There is Knowing in the Wind.

Forgiveness: How to Let Go of Grudges and Bitterness.


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