Love as an offering… 

To love is not to possess the other person or to consume all their attention and love. To love is to offer the other person joy and a balm for their suffering. This capacity is what we have to learn to cultivate.

~Thich Nhat Hanh

Someone who is angry is someone who doesn’t know how to handle their suffering. They are the first victim of their suffering, and you are actually the second victim. Once we can see this, compassion is born in our heart and anger evaporates. We don’t want to punish them any more, but instead we want to say something or do something to help them suffer less.
—  Thich Nhat Hanh
Deep listening is a wonderful practice. If you can listen for thirty minutes with compassion, you can help the other person suffer much less. If you don’t practice mindfulness of compassion, you can’t listen long. Mindfulness of compassion means you listen with only one intention—to help the other person suffer less. Your intention may be sincere, but if you haven’t first practiced listening to yourself, and you don’t practice mindfulness of compassion, you may rather quickly lose your ability to listen.
The other person may say things that are full of wrong perceptions, bitterness, accusation, and blaming. If we don’t practice mindfulness, their words will set off irritation, judgment, and anger in us, and we will lose our capacity to listen compassionately. When irritation or anger arises, we lose our capacity to listen. That’s why we have to practice, so that during the whole time of listening, compassion can remain in our hearts. If we can keep our compassion alive, the seeds of anger and judgment in our hearts will not be watered and spring up. We have to train ourselves first so we’re able to listen to the other person.
—  Thich Nhat Hanh, in “The Art of Communicating”
When you are washing the dishes, washing the dishes must be the most important thing in your life. Just as when you are drinking tea, drinking tea must be the most important thing in your life. Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the whole world revolves—slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future. Live the actual moment. Only this actual moment is life.
—  Thich Nhat Hanh
When you are washing the dishes, washing the dishes must be the most important thing in your life. Just as when you are drinking tea, drinking tea must be the most important thing in your life. Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the whole world revolves—slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future. Live the actual moment. Only this actual moment is life.
—  Thich Nhat Hanh

Do not avoid contact with suffering or close your eyes before suffering. Do not lose awareness of the existence of suffering in the life of the world. Find ways to be with those who are suffering by all means, including personal contact and visits, images, sounds. By such means, awaken yourself and others to the reality of suffering in the world. If we get in touch with the suffering of the world, and are moved by that suffering, we may come forward to help the people who are suffering.

- Thich Nhat Hanh
“The Fourteen Precepts of Engaged Buddhism”

TO THE PEOPLE OF NEPAL
(Photo: David Stubbs/Aurora Photos)