The followings are key phrases excerpted from the article.
We see the mind like a house, so if your house is on fire, you need to take care of the fire, not to go look for the person that made the fire. Take care of those emotions first; it’s the priority. Because anything that comes from a place of fear and anxiety and anger will only make the fire worse. Come back and find a place of calm and peace to cool the flame of emotion down.
As a collective energy, fear and anger can be very destructive. We make the wrong decisions if we base it on fear, anger, and wrong perception. Those emotions cloud our mind. So the first thing in the practice that we learn from the Buddhist tradition is to come back and take care of our emotion. We use the mindfulness to recognize it.
People are so convinced that anger and all this energy will produce change. But in fact it’s very destructive, because you’re opposing. Opposition wastes energy. It’s not healing.
In a way, we Buddhists look more at energy than personality. That helps us be wiser.
Compassion is not sitting in your room; it’s actually very active and engaging.
We produced Trump, so we are co-responsible. Our culture, our society, made him. ... We have to see him inside of us.
You cannot end discrimination by calling the other names. All the people who voted for him are not bigots and racists and women haters. We are all judgmental, sometimes even a bit racist.
Our society is very vulnerable to being very polarized and that’s what the media is taking advantage of. We have to be really careful. ... I’m not fooled by the media anymore.
I was child in Vietnam. I lived with this stuff, a divided system like this. They divided us, they called us north and south. All we wanted was independence and to determine our own livelihood. We think democracy is the highest thing; it is not democracy, come on. We impose it on others and create division.
Go take refuge in nature, and find a cause where your heart doesn’t feel inactive and in despair. This is the medicine.
Don’t allow hate and anger to take over your world.
You can only be there to offer them that kindness if you are stable. You cannot help them if you are filled with hate and fear. What people need is your non-fear, your stability, solidity, clarity. This is what we can offer.
Our minds and hearts need food. And meditation is a kind of food. So we feed ourselves like that. You need to eat, and your peace, kindness, clarity need to eat as well. Meditation is not just praying; no, you’re cultivating this so you can offer it to others.
When you sit with someone who’s calm, you can become calm. If you sit with someone who’s agitated and hateful, you can become agitated and hateful.
Meditation is not an esoteric practice; it’s not something you do only in a meditation hall or Buddhist retreat center. It can happen right in whatever activity you’re doing — while walking, in the office. It means you are there, present with calm and peace.
With a breath, you can bring calm, clarity and rest your thinking.
When we engage with worldly politics, we try not to take sides. It’s easy to choose a side, but as Buddhist practitioners we try to have more inclusiveness to intervene.
With meditation we learn to touch our own deep suffering.
Stopping is a requirement before deep listening.
When there is discrimination, you can use the opportunity to increase understanding. ... You have to find also the good qualities in them. Don’t focus on wrong views because that makes you angry.
Only when you can be a good listener and be nonjudgmental, is a dialogue possible.
I heard that he took his left hand; he went like this (opens palm). You can interpret that all you want. (I understand that Thay's message is "Just bloom like a lotus flower without thinking".) ... He is totally aware of it, but his mind is in trying to recover and heal and be present with his community than with political things.
The future is built with the present moment and how we take care of it. If you are fearful, the future will be fearful. If you are uncooperative, the future will be divisive. This is very important.
The future is not something that will come to us; the future is built by us, by how we speak and what we do in the present moment.
If you blame Trump, you are Trump. That's because the way you see depends on the way you think. You are actually seeing yourself through Trump as a mirror. What you see is the object of your mind, namely your mind. So, you are actually blaming yourself. You have to reflect on yourself a lot. If you accept yourself unconditionally, you don't need to criticize others. Instead, you can accept all unconditionally. Non-separation, non-discrimination, non-duality, or the wholeness is the ultimate truth.
Thay Phap Dung