Nhất Hạnh is a Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk, teacher, author, poet and
peace activist. He lives in the Plum Village Monastery in the Dordogne
region in the South of France, travelling internationally to give retreats
Thich Nhat Hanh:Deep
listening is the kind of listening that can help relieve the suffering
of another person. You can call it compassionate listening. You listen
with only one purpose: to help him or her to empty his heart. Even if he
says things that are full of wrong perceptions, full of bitterness, you
are still capable of continuing to listen with compassion. Because you
know that listening like that, you give that person a chance to suffer
less. If you want to help him to correct his perception, you wait for
another time. For now, you don't interrupt. You don't argue. If you do,
he loses his chance. You just listen with compassion and help him to
suffer less. One hour like that can bring transformation and healing.
Oprah: I love this idea of deep listening, because often
when someone comes to you and wants to vent, it's so tempting to start
giving advice. But if you allow the person just to let the feelings out,
and then at another time come back with advice or comments, that person
would experience a deeper healing. That's what you're saying.
Nhat Hanh: Yes. Deep listening helps us to recognize the existence of
wrong perceptions in the other person and wrong perceptions in us. The
other person has wrong perceptions about himself and about us. And we
have wrong perceptions about ourselves and the other person. And that is
the foundation for violence and conflict and war. The terrorists, they
have the wrong perception. They believe that the other group is trying
to destroy them as a religion, as a civilization. So they want to
abolish us, to kill us before we can kill them. And the antiterrorist
may think very much the same way—that these are terrorists and they are
trying to eliminate us, so we have to eliminate them first. Both sides
are motivated by fear, by anger, and by wrong perception. But wrong
perceptions cannot be removed by guns and bombs. They should be removed
by deep listening, compassionate listening, and loving space. "
Conversations on Compassion with
James Doty, MD, and Thich Nhat Hanh
"The Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE)
is honored to host a discussion with Thich Nhat Hanh about his life
experiences and the role compassion has played throughout them. Thich
Nhat Hanh is an internationally renowned Zen master, prolific author,
and teacher on the subjects of peace, mindfulness, and meditation. He
became a monk at the age of sixteen and went on to help found the
"engaged Buddhism" movement. His life's work has been dedicated to
"inner transformation for the benefit of individuals and society" and he
was nominated by Nobel Laureate Martin Luther King, Jr. for the Nobel
Peace Prize in 1967."
makes us feel better.
lowers our blood pressure
makes us a deep level of
increases our life span
How did you overcome fear?
Buddhism has ways to learn awareness
see the suffering and want to do
use Buddhism to solve problems
What about getting overwhelmed with
need way to handle your own suffering
learn to suffer less with mindfulness
generate joy and happiness
get into the present here and now
get in contact with the pain within
love yourself - compassion
suffering - happiness - compassion
non-violence - do not suppress
a person suffers and doesn't know how
to deal with it
understand your own suffering, begin
compassion can not be by itself - needs
Not running away from the suffering.
How to practice mindfulness?
courage to go back to ourselves, to our
we cover up the suffering
have a community of practice
embrace your suffering
compassion fatigue - run out off
compassion, need to nourish yourself
get in touch with the body in the here
and now - to get the nourishment
Compassionate listening for groups in
talk about your suffering
correct the wrong perceptions of the
see other suffers as well
dialog removes fear
Mindfulness to bring you back to
various mindfulness practices
a merging in true love -
inclusiveness - no discrimination
an opening of the hearth
a big compassionate heart embraces
Q and A
Compassion may seem weak, especially
compassion is very powerful
various compassion benefits
Blessed to be in your presence?
How to extended compassion to violent
root of war is fear
How to extended compassion to those I
can not understand, bigoted?
sit down together - help these people
Friend who is depressed, has compassion
need a community of practice, people
to support them
various practices mentioned to
restore themselves, breathing, looking at suffering
"Each person is an island. If no one has the capacity to listen to
another person, everyone feels very alone.
You get sick.
No communication is possible.
You cannot tell anyone about your pain.
That is why psychotherapists have become important in our society. They
are supposed to be people who will sit and listen to us. The first task
of psychotherapists is to sit quietly and listen; they are not supposed
to talk back. If they argue with us, if they talk back, then they are
not psychotherapists. We don’t need them and we will not pay them! I
need you to sit and listen. I don’t need your advice. I don’t need your
The psychotherapist should practise listening with empathy. The question
here is: Is the psychotherapist happy or not? If she or he is filled
with internal formations, then even if he pretends to sit quietly to
listen to you, he will not really be listening and you will not feel
relieved. That you can see very well.
When someone is truly listening,you feel it; and when someone pretends
Psychotherapists, therefore, are those who have to practise, first. They
are supposed to be bodhisattvas helping others, but in order to be able
to listen, one should empty oneself; one"
Without fear, we are
able to see more clearly our connections to others. Without fear, we
have more room for understanding and compassion. Without fear, we are
truly free. Thich Nhat Hanh
We are here to
awaken from the illusion of our separateness. Thich Nhat Hanh
You can practice
deep listening in order to relieve the suffering in us, and in the other
person. That kind of listening is described as compassionate listening.
You listen only for the purpose of relieving suffering in the other
person. Thich Nhat Hanh