The Gift of Non-Fear

The day before yesterday, in Do You Believe in Miracles? we learned that Marianne Williamson says “a miracle is a shift in perception from fear to love.” Also, we learned that Dr. Jerry Jampolsky says that love is letting go of fear.

Today, we are going to learn the gift of non-fear from Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, known as Thay by his followers.

Fear is … a dominant internal formation in many of us. The ground of fear is ignorance, the failure to understand our ‘not-self’ nature. … In Mahayana Buddhism, the bodhisatva Avalokitesvara is described as the one who has transcended all fear. He offers all beings the gift of non-fear, which comes from the mindful observation of the no-birth, no-death, no-increase, and no-decrease nature of all that is.

—Thich Nhat Hanh

Avalokitesvara at Buddha Gate

Avalokitesvara at Buddha Gate

A few words of explanation might help you understand the quote a little better.

An “internal formation” is a mental construction that lives in our subconscious and only manifests when we lose site of what is going on in the present moment. It is sometimes called a “mental formation.”

Our “not-self” nature has been explained in many articles. See, for example, The Buddhist Teaching of Non-Self.

The bodhisattva Avalokitesvara has been presented in Bodhisattva of Compassion.

“The mindful observation of the no-birth, no-death, no-increase, and no-decrease nature of all that is” has been touched on in Birth and Death.

I hope this help you understand Thay’s quote a little better. As you see, the themes in the quote are part of Thay’s ordinary teachings. If you haven’t been exposed to them, this would be a good time to investigate the heart of Thay’s teachings.

What have you learned from the gift of non-fear? Please share.

The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching: Transforming Suffering into Peace, Joy, and Liberation

Thich Nhat Hanh

In The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching, Thich Nhat Hanh introduces us to the core teachings of Buddhism and shows us that the Buddha’s teachings are accessible and applicable to our daily lives. With poetry and clarity, Nhat Hanh imparts comfor… [Read More…]

Fear: Essential Wisdom for Getting Through the Storm

Thich Nhat Hanh

“Written in words so intimate, calm, kind, and immediate, this extraordinary book feels like a message from our very own heart….Thich Nhat Hanh is one of the most important voices of our time, and we have never needed to listen to him more tha… [Read More…]

These two books do justice to Thay’s teachings on non-fear. The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching is one of my favorite books of all time. The pages have faded and discolored, but I still consult it often. It has great teachings on the mental formations.

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