14 Verses on Meditation by Thich Nhat Hanh

 Thich Nhat Hanh
Plum Village Chanting Book


  1. Like the two wings of a bird,
    the practices of stopping (Shamatha)
    and looking deeply (vipashyana)
    rely upon each other
    and belong together, side by side.

  2. The practice of shamatha is to stop, 
    so that I may recognize and touch,
    nourish and heal,
    settle down and concentrate. 

  3. The practice of vipashyana is to look deeply
    into the nature of the five skandhas,
    so that I may develop understanding
    and transform suffering.  

  4. My breathing and my steps
    enable me to generate the energy of mindfulness,
    so that I can be aware of and touch
    the wonders of life within and around me.

  5. Calming body and mind,
    receiving nourishment and healing,
    protecting my six senses,
    I maintain concentration. 

  6. Looking deeply into the heart of reality 
    to see the true nature of things,
    practicing vipashyana enables me to let go
    of everything I am searching for, my desires, and my fears.

  7. Dwelling peacefully in the present moment,
    transforming habit energies 
    gives rise to understanding,
    freeing me from afflictions and pain. 

  8. Impermanence is one with non-self,
    Non-self is one with interdependent origination, 
    is one with emptiness, is one with conventional designation,
    is one with the middle way, is one with interbeing.

  9. Emptiness, signlessness, and aimlessness
    liberate me from suffering, 
    so that in my daily practice
    I am not caught in mere intellectual understanding. 

  10. Nirvana is nonattainment.
    Sudden or gradual enlightenment are not different.
    True realization is to live in freedom
    right now in this moment.

  11. The essential sutras, such as the
    Discourses on the Full Awareness of Breathing
    and the Four  Establishments of Mindfulness,
    show me the path to transform body and mind, step by step.

  12. The Mahayana sutras and teachings
    open many fresh, wide gateways 
    allowing me to enter the depths of the stream
    of meditation flowing from the Original Source of the Buddha’s teachings.

  13. Not discriminating
    between the practice offered by the 
    Tathagata and that of the ancestral teachers,
    the Four Noble Truths perfectly interwoven
    should serve as the foundation of an authentic transmission.

  14. Supported by the Sangha Body
    my practice flows easier, 
    allowing me to swiftly realize
    my great determination to love and understand all beings.