From his book, True Love:
To love, in the context of Buddhism, is above all to be there. Being there is very much an art.
In true love, you attain freedom. When you love, you bring freedom to the person you love. If the opposite is true, it is not real love.
The most precious gift you can give to the one you love is your true presence. In our daily life, our mind and body are rarely together. Our body might be there, but our mind is somewhere else.
Caring for yourself, reestablishing peace in yourself, is the basic condition for helping someone else.
Loving-kindness is not only the desire to make someone happy, to bring joy to a beloved person; it is the ability to bring joy and happiness to the person you love, because even if your intention is to love this person, your love might make him or her suffer.
To give happiness and joy, you must practice deep looking directed toward the person you love.
Without understanding, love is an impossible thing.
Love is a true thing if it is made up of a substance called understanding.
To love is to be; to be loved is to be recognized by the other.
We must bring about a revolution in our way of living our everyday lives, because our happiness, our lives, are within ourselves.
We are surrounded by miracles, but we have to recognize them; otherwise there is no life.
When you touch a flower, you can touch it with your fingers, but better yet, you can touch it mindfully, with your full awareness.
Breathing in—I know that the flower is there; breathing out—I smile at the flower.
The moment of awareness is mindfulness: suddenly you are able to touch life.
Recognizing what is there in the present moment is attention. That is the energy of mindfulness.
The past is no longer there, the future is not here yet; there is only one moment in which life is available, and that is the present moment. ~ The Buddha
In true love, there is no place for pride.
If you think your love for this person is true love, and you are suffering because of their actions, you must overcome your pride; you must always go to him or her.
When the energy of compassion and love touches us, healing establishes itself.
Buddha taught us to invite fear into our mindful consciousness and care for it every day.
Our consciousness is a living thing, something organic in nature. There are always waste materials and flowers in us.
The gardener who is familiar with organic gardening is constantly on the alert to save the waste materials because he knows how to transform them into compost and then transform that compost into flowers and vegetables. So be grateful for your pains, be grateful for suffering—you will need them. Suffering nurtures compassion.
We have to learn the art of transforming compost into flowers. Look at a flower: it is beautiful, it is fragrant, it is pure; but if you look deeply you can already see the compost in the flower.
Our mental formations include flowers like faith, hope, understanding, and love; but there is also waste material like fear and pain.
We must know how to learn from suffering, we must know how to make use of it to gather the energy of compassion, of love, of understanding.
Nothing is forced on you; it is your own understanding, your wisdom, that tells you how to behave that tells you how to conduct your everyday life.
What is our final destination? The cemetery, perhaps? In that case, why are we in a hurry to get there? Life does not lie in that direction. Life is here, in each step. For this reason, we must walk in such a way that life arises out of each step.
Thinking prevents us from living deeply in the present moment in our everyday life. I think, therefore I am really not there.
Fear is born from our ignorance, from our concepts regarding life, death, being, and nonbeing. If we are able to get rid of these concepts by touching the reality within ourselves, then nonfear will be there and the greatest relief will become possible.
For the Buddhist, to be or not to be is not really the question. The true question is whether we have enough concentration, enough mindfulness, enough practice to touch the foundation of being that is nirvana, nonfear. Nirvana is not something that we should search for, because we are nirvana, just as the wave is already water. Living deeply makes it possible to touch nirvana, our ultimate reality, the world of no-birth and no-death.
Through my love for you, I want to express my love for the whole cosmos, the whole of humanity, and all beings. By living with you, I want to learn to love everyone and all species. If I succeed in loving you, I will be able to love everyone and all species on Earth... This is the real message of love.
Letting go gives us freedom and freedom is the only condition for happiness.
Quotes from Thich Nhat Hanh