51 Thich Nhat Hanh Quotes on Mindfulness

  • By: Ryan Kane
  • Updated: April 26, 2022
  • Time to read: 10 min.

Thich Nhat Hanh was a Buddhist monk, teacher, and writer who taught extensively on the subject of mindfulness. When he passed away in 2022, he was rightfully celebrated as one of the most influential promoters of mindfulness in the world. Through his books and teachings, he reached millions of people with a message of compassion and peace.

Thich Nhat Hanh’s writings have a unique ability to bring simplicity to the practice of mindfulness. These three quotes are probably my favorites:

“We have a lamp inside us. The oil of that lamp is our breathing, our steps, and our peaceful smile. Our practice is to light up the lamp.”


“The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green earth, dwelling deeply in the present moment and feeling truly alive.”


“There is no need to run, strive, search or struggle. Just be. Just being in the moment in this place is the deepest practice of meditation. Most people cannot believe that just walking as if you have nowhere to go is enough.”

I felt inspired to explore his teachings more deeply, and did so, rounding up a number of quotes that ring true to me. Most are from his books, like Peace Is Every Step and The Miracle of Mindfulness.

Below, I’ve included more Thich Nhat Hanh quotes that ring most true to me.

Thich Nhat Hanh quotes about mindfulness

Thich Nhat Hanh quote about mindfulness B

“People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child—our own two eyes. All is a miracle.”


“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.”


“Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future.”


“The mind can go in a thousand directions, but on this beautiful path, I walk in peace. With each step, the wind blows. With each step, a flower blooms.”


“Life is available only in the present moment.”


“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.”


“The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.”


“Awareness is like the sun. When it shines on things, they are transformed.”


“To meditate with mindful breathing is to bring body and mind back to the present moment so that you do not miss your appointment with life.”


“Don’t do any task in order to get it over with. Resolve to do each job in a relaxed way, with all your attention. Enjoy and be one with your work.”


“Breathing in, repeat, ‘in the here, in the here.’ Breathing out, ‘in the now, in the now.’ Although these are different words, they mean exactly the same thing. I have arrived in the here, I have arrived in the now. I am home in the here. I am home in the now.”

Mindfulness Thich Nhat Hanh Quotes
“Awareness is like the sun. When it shines on things, they are transformed.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

Thich Nhat Hanh quotes on compassion

Thich Nhat Hanh quote about compassion B

“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.”


“When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you don’t blame the lettuce. You look for reasons it is not doing well. It may need fertilizer, or more water, or less sun. You never blame the lettuce. Yet if we have problems with our friends or family, we blame the other person. But if we know how to take care of them, they will grow well, like the lettuce. Blaming has no positive effect at all, nor does trying to persuade using reason and argument. That is my experience. No blame, no reasoning, no argument, just understanding. If you understand, and you show that you understand, you can love, and the situation will change.”


“Waking up this morning, I smile. Twenty-four brand new hours are before me. I vow to live fully in each moment and to look at all beings with eyes of compassion.”


“Those who are without compassion cannot see what is seen with the eyes of compassion.”


“To take good care of ourselves, we must go back and take care of the wounded child inside of us. You have to practice going back to your wounded child every day. You have to embrace him or her tenderly, like a big brother or a big sister. You have to talk to him, talk to her. And you can write a letter to the Little child in you, of two or three pages, to that you recognize his or her presence, and will do everything you can to heal his or her wounds.”


“When we recognize that we have a habit of replaying old events and reacting to new events as if they were the old ones, we can begin to notice when that habit energy comes up. We can then gently remind ourselves that we have another choice. We can look at the moment as it is, a fresh moment, and leave the past for a time when we can look at it compassionately.”

Thich Nhat Hanh Quotes on Compassion
“Twenty-four brand new hours are before me. I vow to live fully in each moment and to look at all beings with eyes of compassion.”

Thich Nhat Hanh gratitude quotes

Thich Nhat Hanh quote about gratitude B

“I promise myself that I will enjoy every minute of the day that is given me to live.”


“Around us, life bursts with miracles–a glass of water, a ray of sunshine, a leaf, a caterpillar, a flower, laughter, raindrops. If you live in awareness, it is easy to see miracles everywhere. Each human being is a multiplicity of miracles. Eyes that see thousands of colors, shapes, and forms; ears that hear a bee flying or a thunderclap; a brain that ponders a speck of dust as easily as the entire cosmos; a heart that beats in rhythm with the heartbeat of all beings. When we are tired and feel discouraged by life’s daily struggles, we may not notice these miracles, but they are always there.”


“When we walk like (we are rushing), we print anxiety and sorrow on the earth. We have to walk in a way that we only print peace and serenity on the earth… Be aware of the contact between your feet and the earth. Walk as if you are kissing the earth with your feet.”


“When we live in the spirit of gratitude, there will be much happiness in our life. The one who is grateful is the one who has much happiness while the one who is ungrateful will not be able to have happiness.”


“The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green earth, dwelling deeply in the present moment and feeling truly alive.”

Thich Nhat Hanh Gratitude Quotes
“If you live in awareness, it is easy to see miracles everywhere.”

Thich Nhat Hanh quotes on happiness

Thich Nhat Hanh quote about happiness B

“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”


“It is possible to live happily in the here and now. So many conditions of happiness are available—more than enough for you to be happy right now. You don’t have to run into the future in order to get more.”


“When you hold a child in your arms, or hug your mother, or your husband, or your friend, if you breathe in and out three times, your happiness will be multiplied at least tenfold.”


“The art of happiness is also the art of suffering well.”


“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.”


“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.”


“Many people think excitement is happiness…. But when you are excited you are not peaceful. True happiness is based on peace.”


“Life is a miracle, and being aware of simply this can already make us very happy.”


“Worrying does not accomplish anything. Even if you worry twenty times more, it will not change the situation of the world. In fact, your anxiety will only make things worse. Even though things are not as we would like, we can still be content, knowing we are trying our best and will continue to do so. If we don’t know how to breathe, smile, and live every moment of our life deeply, we will never be able to help anyone. I am happy in the present moment. I do not ask for anything else. I do not expect any additional happiness or conditions that will bring about more happiness. The most important practice is aimlessness, not running after things, not grasping.”

Thich Nhat Hanh Quotes about Mindfulness 1
“Life is a miracle, and being aware of simply this can already make us very happy.”

Thich Nhat Hanh quotes about life

Thich Nhat Hanh quote about life B

“Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today.”


“In modern society most of us don’t want to be in touch with ourselves; we want to be in touch with other things like religion, sports, politics, a book – we want to forget ourselves. Anytime we have leisure, we want to invite something else to enter us, opening ourselves to the television and telling the television to come and colonize us.”


“When you feel overwhelmed, you’re trying too hard. That kind of energy does not help the other person and it does not help you. You should not be too eager to help right away. There are two things: to be and to do. Don’t think too much about to do—to be is first. To be peace. To be joy. To be happiness. And then to do joy, to do happiness—on the basis of being. So first you have to focus on the practice of being. Being fresh. Being peaceful. Being attentive. Being generous. Being compassionate. This is the basic practice. It’s like if the other person is sitting at the foot of a tree. The tree does not do anything, but the tree is fresh and alive. When you are like that tree, sending out waves of freshness, you help to calm down the suffering in the other person.”


“My actions are my only true belongings.”


“We are here to awaken from our illusion of separateness.”


“It is possible to live twenty-four hours a day in a state of love. Every movement, every glance, every thought, and every word can be infused with love.”


“The past is gone, the future is not yet here, and if we do not go back to ourselves in the present moment, we cannot be in touch with life.”


“Your purpose is to be yourself. You don’t have to run anywhere to become someone else. You are wonderful just as you are.”


“We have more possibilities available in each moment than we realize.”


“If we are not fully ourselves, truly in the present moment, we miss everything.”


“There is no enlightenment outside of daily life.”


“Every one of us is trying to find our true home. Some of us are still searching. Our true home is inside, but it’s also in our loved ones around us. When you’re in a loving relationship, you and the other person can be a true home for each other.”


“Peace can exist only in the present moment. It is ridiculous to say “Wait until I finish this, then I will be free to live in peace.” What is “this”? A di­ploma, a job, a house, the payment of a debt? If you think that way, peace will never come. There is always another “this” that will follow the present one. If you are not living in peace at this moment, you will never be able to. If you truly want to be at peace, you must be at peace right now. Otherwise, there is only “the hope of peace some day.”

Thich Nhat Hanh Quotes on Life
“If you truly want to be at peace, you must be at peace right now.”

Thich Nhat Hanh suffering quotes

Thich Nhat Hanh quote about suffering B

“When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over. He does not need punishment; he needs help. That’s the message he is sending.”


“The seed of suffering in you may be strong, but don’t wait until you have no more suffering before allowing yourself to be happy.”


“There is the mud, and there is the lotus that grows out of the mud. We need the mud in order to make the lotus.”


“When a person’s speech is full of anger, it is because he or she suffers deeply.”


“The main affliction of our modern civilization is that we don’t know how to handle the suffering inside us and we try to cover it up with all kinds of consumption.”


“If you take a handful of salt and pour it into a small bowl of water, the water in the bowl will be too salty to drink. But if you pour the same amount of salt into a large river, people will still be able to drink the river’s water. If your heart is small, one unjust word or act will make you suffer. But if your heart is large, if you have understanding and compassion, that word or deed will not have the power to make you suffer.”


“We have the tendency to run away from suffering and to look for happiness. But, in fact, if you have not suffered, you have no chance to experience real happiness.”

Thich Nhat Hanh Quotes on Suffering
“The seed of suffering in you may be strong, but don’t wait until you have no more suffering before allowing yourself to be happy.”

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