It is in our basic nature as human beings to gravitate toward joy and happiness and move away from sadness and suffering. But what exactly is happiness? Is a permanent state of happiness possible? What are the basic conditions to be happy and how can we create more happiness in our lives?
The following collection of quotes by Buddhist Monk Thich Nath Hanh will answer all these questions and completely shift your perspective of happiness. These happiness quotes have been taken from various books written by Thich Nath Hanh and also from several of his talks and interviews. The quotes have been divided into various categories for easy understanding.
1. Happiness is in the here and now
Many of us believe that happiness is possible when we have a lot of money, power or success. But happiness is possible in the hear and now. That is why it is important to bring our mind back to the present and to recognize all the conditions of happiness that are already there.
You have to realize that happiness is not something you find at the end of the road. You have to understand that it is here, in the now.
The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.
There is no way to happiness, happiness is the way.
2. Self love brings happiness
When you are able to forgive, to accept, to love, you are a happy person and you make the other person, happy also.
Happiness and true power lie in understanding yourself, accepting yourself, having confidence in yourself.
3. Letting go of false ideas helps us find happiness
Our idea of happiness may be the very thing that’s preventing us from being happy.
Happiness can be attained by letting go, including letting go of your ideas about happiness.
Our notions about happiness entrap us. We forget that they are just ideas. Our idea of happiness can prevent us from actually being happy. We fail to see the opportunity for joy that is right in front of us when we are caught in a belief that happiness should take a particular form.
Happiness arrives from many directions. If you have a notion that it comes only from one direction, you will miss all of these other opportunities because you want happiness to come only from the direction you want.
4. Happiness expands through mindfulness and concentration
Suppose you are offered a cup of tea, very fragrant, very good tea. If your mind is distracted, you cannot really enjoy the tea. You have to be mindful of the tea, you have to be concentrated on it, so the tea can reveal its fragrance and wonder to you. That is why mindfulness and concentration are such sources of happiness.
Meditation consists of generating three kinds of energy: mindfulness, concentration, and insight. These three energies give us power to nourish happiness and take care of our suffering. Suffering may be there. But with the energy of mindfulness, concentration, and insight, we can embrace and take care of that suffering and nourish happiness at the same time.
5. A simple smile can bring joy and happiness
Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.
Ask yourself, “Who can I make smile this morning?” This is the art of creating happiness.
6. Happiness thrives in freedom
Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness. If, in our heart, we still cling to anything – anger, anxiety, or possessions – we cannot be free.
According to the Buddha’s teachings, the most basic condition for happiness is freedom. Here we do not mean political freedom, but freedom from the mental formations of anger, despair, jealousy, and delusion. These mental formations are described by the Buddha as poisons. As long as these poisons are still in our heart, happiness cannot be possible.
Letting go takes a lot of courage sometimes. But once you let go, happiness comes very quickly. You won’t have to go around searching for it.
7. Happiness comes with inner peace
Many people think excitement is happiness, but when you are excited you are not peaceful. True happiness is based on peace.
If we are peaceful, if we are happy, we can smile and blossom like a flower, and everyone in our family, our entire society, will benefit from our peace.
8. Understanding deepens happiness
When we are mindful, deeply in touch with the present moment, our understanding of what is going on deepens, and we begin to be filled with acceptance, joy, peace and love.
When we have the insight of impermanence, the insight of no self, the insight of non-discrimination, the insight of interbeing, we can undo the suffering within us, we can overcome our fear, anger, and help others do the same.
The way to suffer well and be happy is to stay in touch with what is actually going on; in doing so, you will gain liberating insights into the true nature of suffering and of joy.
9. You are happy when you are being yourself
To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.
When you are born a lotus flower, be a beautiful lotus flower, don’t try to be a magnolia flower. If you crave acceptance and recognition and try to change yourself to be what other people want you to be, you will suffer all your life. True happiness and true power lie in understanding yourself, accepting yourself, having confidence in yourself.
Be Yourself. Life is precious as it is. All the elements for your happiness are already here. There is no need to run, strive, search, or struggle. Just Be.
10. Suffering brings forth happiness
Most people are afraid of suffering. But suffering is a kind of mud to help the lotus flower of happiness grow. There can be no lotus flower without the mud.
If you know how to make good use of the mud, you can grow beautiful lotuses. If you know how to make good use of suffering, you can produce happiness. We do need some suffering to make happiness possible. And most of us have enough suffering inside and around us to be able to do that. We don’t have to create more.
There are those who say that in their heaven there is no suffering. But if there is no suffering, how can there be happiness? We need compost to grow flowers, and mud to grow lotuses.
11. Contentment brings happiness
Learn to love, enjoy and embrace what you have in the here and now. That’s all you really need to be happy.
Aimlessness does not mean doing nothing. It means not putting something in front of you to chase after. When we remove the objects of our craving and desires, we discover that happiness and freedom are available to us right here in the present moment.
Simplicity means to have few desires, to be content with a simple life and just a few possessions. Desirelessness is the basis of true happiness, because in true happiness there must be the elements of peace, joy, and ease.
12. Happiness is impermanent but can be renewed
Happiness is impermanent, but it can be renewed. You are also impermanent and also renewable, like your breath, like your steps. You are not something permanent experiencing something impermanent. You are something impermanent experiencing something impermanent.
13. You can find happiness in the simplest of things
Each time you look at a tangerine, you can see deeply into it. You can see everything in the universe in one tangerine. When you peel it and smell it, it’s wonderful. You can take your time eating a tangerine and be very happy.
We need the insight that position, revenge, wealth, fame, or possessions are, more often than not, obstacles to our happiness. We need to cultivate the wish to be free of these things so we can enjoy the wonders of life that are always available — the blue sky, the trees, our beautiful children.
Life is a miracle, and being aware of simply this can already make us very happy.
14. Happiness lies within you
Don’t think that happiness will be possible only when conditions around you become perfect. Happiness lies in your own heart.
You are what you want to become. Why search anymore? You are a wonderful manifestation. The whole universe has come together to make your existence possible. There is nothing that is not you. The kingdom of God, the Pure Land, nirvana, happiness, and liberation are all you.
Don’t look outside yourself for happiness. Let go of the idea that you don’t have it. It is available within you.
I am aware that happiness depends on my mental attitude and not on external conditions, and that I can live happily in the present moment simply by remembering that I already have more than enough conditions to be happy.
We Hope these quotes on happiness by Thich Nhat Han, filled your heart with happiness and helped you look at happiness from an entirely different perspective. Let’s end this article with another beautiful quote from this renowned Buddhist monk, “ENJOY BEING ALIVE. To breathe and know you are alive is wonderful. Because you are alive, everything is possible.”