Excerpt from “Together We are One”, page 213, Thich Nhat Hanh
Mindfulness is something we have to experience for ourselves. No one can give it to us; we must touch it for ourselves. This is the living Dharma. Buddhism is a path of awakening. Buddh means to wake up. Buddha means someone who has woken up. Sangha is a community that practices awakening. The Buddha is not a god. The Buddha is us. When we are mindful, when we are concentrated, when we practice awakening, we are the Buddha, and our Sangha is the Buddha. If we can touch that truth, we are no longer victims of despair. Despair is the worst thing that can happen to us. Awakening is our hope, and awakening is possible.
The solution is a Sangha. A true Sangha always carries within it the true Dharma and the true Buddha.The Buddha is someone inhabited by the energy of mindfulness, concentration, insight, compassion, and understanding, and we know that everyone one of us has these seeds in us. If we allow these seeds to be watered, then the Buddha is in us, the Buddha is us. When we touch the Buddha in ourselves, when we become the Dharma and embody the teachings, we won’t hate anymore. We will no longer consider ourselves victims. We’re happy because we no longer have enemies. We see people who suffer, and we would like to help them, not punish them. This kind of aspiration can be born in everyone, and when it is born in us, we don’t suffer anymore. Our lives will be transformed, and we will transform the lives of others. This is what I call the living Dharma. The living Dharma is the way out. The living Dharma is the ground, the foundation on which we can rebuild our lives and our communities and help others, even those who discriminate against us.