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Thich Nhat Hanh with children at Plum Village, France.pho
C h i l d r e n h av e a s p e C i a l p l a C e in the plum Village tradition of Buddhist teacher thich nhat
hanh. there are special practices, vows, and programs designed especially for children and teens, and
thich nhat hanh often fashions the first part of his dharma talks with them in mind. he regularly takes
questions from children, and by and large adults can identify with what they ask. children may be smaller
and younger and they may have a funny way with words, but their questions reveal that they,
like adults, are grappling with the
human condition. what follows are
real questions from children and
thich nhat hanhs insightful an-
swers from a new illustrated book,
Is Nothing Something? i always try
to give an answer that offers the best
of myself, thich nhat hanh says.
i am much older than the children
who asked these questions, but
when we sit and breathe together,
it seems that we are the same.
a n d r e a M i l l e r
Is Nothing Something?ThiCh nhaT hanh answers childrens questions.
From is nothing something? by Thich Nhat Hanh, 2014 by Unified Buddhist Church. Reprinted by arrangement with Parallax Press, Berkeley, California.
I l lu s t r at I o n s b y
j e s s I c a m c c lu r e
SHAMBHALA SUN SepteMBer 2014 SHAMBHALA SUN SepteMBer 2014 3736
Mindfulness is energy. This energy helps us enjoy what is happening
right now. Mindful energy can bring us a lot of joy. It helps us suffer
less and learn from our suffering. A good way to get some mindful
energy is to close your eyes and breathe easily. Just pay attention to
your breath. If you can enjoy your in-breath and out-breath, you are
creating mindful energy.
Yes. Nothing is something. You have an
idea in your head of nothing. You have an idea in
your head of something. Both are things that can
create either suffering or happiness.
SHAMBHALA SUN SepteMBer 2014 SHAMBHALA SUN SepteMBer 2014 3938
Sometimes the people around you are distracted and may
forget to express their love. But if you feel like no one loves you,
you can always look outside at the natural world. Do you see a
tree out there? That tree loves you. It offers its beauty and
freshness to you and gives you oxygen so you can breathe. The
Earth loves you, offering you fresh water and delicious fruit for
you to eat. The world expresses
its love in many ways, not
just with words.
To love is to discover. If you keep on
loving another person, you will keep
discovering wonderful things about that
person. You can enjoy the differences
because it would be boring if everyone
were the same. Even if the other person
has a quality that doesnt seem lovable,
you can practice loving that person
anyway, just as they are, and not how
you wish they were.
SHAMBHALA SUN SepteMBer 2014 41
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