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From A Guide to Walking Meditation, by Thich Nhat Hahn

Your Ste! Are Mo!t "mortant


What acti#ity i! mo!t imortant in your li$e% To a!! an e&am, get
a car or a hou!e, or get a romotion in your career% There are !o
many eole 'ho ha#e a!!ed e&am!, 'ho ha#e bought car! and
hou!e!, 'ho ha#e gotten romotion!, but !till $ind them!el#e!
'ithout eace o$ mind, 'ithout (oy, and 'ithout haine!!) The
mo!t imortant thing in li$e i! to $ind thi! trea!ure, and then to
!hare it 'ith other eole and 'ith all being!)
"n order to ha#e eace and (oy, you mu!t !ucceed in ha#ing eace
'ithin each o$ your !te!) Your !te! are the mo!t imortant thing)
They decide e#erything) " am lighting a !tick o$ incen!e and
(oining my alm! together a! a lotu! bud to ray $or your !ucce!!)
You *an +o "t
Walking meditation i! racticing meditation 'hile 'alking) "t can
bring you (oy and eace 'hile you ractice it) Take !hort !te! in
comlete rela&ation, go !lo'ly 'ith a !mile on your li!, 'ith your
heart oen to an e&erience o$ eace) You can $eel truly at ea!e
'ith your!el$) Your !te! can be tho!e o$ the healthie!t, mo!t
!ecure er!on on earth) All !orro'! and 'orrie! can dro a'ay
'hile you are 'alking) To ha#e eace o$ mind, to attain !el$-
liberation, learn to 'alk in thi! 'ay) "t i! not di$$icult) You can do
it) Anyone can do it 'ho ha! !ome degree o$ mind$ulne!! and a
true intention to be hay)
Going Without Arri#ing
"n our daily li#e!, 'e u!ually $eel re!!ured to mo#e ahead) We
ha#e to hurry) We !eldom a!k our!el#e! 'here it i! that 'e mu!t
hurry to)
When you ractice 'alking meditation, you go $or a !troll) You
ha#e no uro!e or direction in !ace or time) The uro!e o$
'alking meditation i! 'alking meditation it!el$) Going i!
imortant, not arri#ing) Walking meditation i! not a mean! to an
end, it i! an end) .ach !te i! li$e, each !te i! eace and (oy) That
i! 'hy 'e dont ha#e to hurry) That i! 'hy 'e !lo' do'n) We
!eem to mo#e $or'ard, but 'e dont go any'here, 'e are not
dra'n by a goal) Thu! 'e !mile 'hile 'e are 'alking)
Trouble-Free Ste!
"n our daily li$e, our !te! are burdened 'ith an&ietie! and $ear!)
/i$e it!el$ !eem! to be a continuou! chain o$ in!ecure $eeling!, and
!o our !te! lo!e their natural ea!ine!!)
0ur earth i! truly beauti$ul) There i! !o much grace$ul, natural
!cenery along ath! and road! around the earth1 +o you kno' ho'
many dirt lane! there are, lined 'ith bamboo, or 'inding around
!cented rice $ield!% +o you kno' ho' many $ore!t ath! there are,
a#ed 'ith color$ul lea#e!, o$$ering cool and !hade% They are all
a#ailable to u!, yet 'e cannot en(oy them becau!e our heart! are
not trouble-$ree, and our !te! are not at ea!e)
Walking meditation i! learning to 'alk again 'ith ea!e) When you
'ere about a year old, you began to 'alk 'ith tottering !te!)
No', in racticing 'alking meditation you are learning to 'alk
again) Ho'e#er, a$ter a $e' 'eek! o$ ractice, you 'ill be able to
!te !olidly, in eace and com$ort) " am 'riting the!e line! to
a!!i!t you in doing that) " 'i!h you !ucce!!)
Shaking 0$$ the 2urden o$ Worrie!
"$ " had the 2uddha! eye! and could !ee through e#erything, "
could di!cern the mark! o$ 'orry and !orro' you lea#e in your
$ootrint! a$ter you a!!, like the !cienti!t 'ho can detect tiny
li#ing being! in a dro o$ ond 'ater 'ith a micro!coe) Walk !o
that your $ootrint! bear only the mark! o$ eace$ul (oy and
comlete $reedom) To do thi!, you ha#e to learn to let go 3 let go
o$ your !orro'!, let go o$ your 'orrie!) That i! the !ecret o$
'alking meditation)
Thi! World *ontain! All the Wonder! o$ the 4ure /and
To ha#e eace and (oy and inner $reedom, you need to learn ho' to
let go o$ your !orro'! and 'orrie!, the element! that create
unhaine!!) Fir!t o$ all, notice that thi! 'orld contain! all the
'onder! you could e&ect to $ind in the 2uddha /and) "t i! only
becau!e o$ our #eil o$ !orro'! and 'orrie! that 'e cannot al'ay!
!ee the!e 'onder!)
" al'ay! think that " like thi! 'orld e#en better than " 'ould the
4ure /and becau!e " like 'hat thi! 'orld o$$er!5 lemon tree!,
orange tree!, banana tree!, ine tree!, aricot tree!, and 'illo'
tree!) Some eole !ay that in the 4ure /and there are #aluable
lotu! ond!, !e#en-gem tree!, and road! a#ed 'ith gold, and that
there are !ecial cele!tial bird!) " dont think " 'ould like the!e
#ery much) " 'ould rather not 'alk on road! a#ed 'ith gold and
!il#er) " 'ouldnt e#en u!e road! that 'ere lined 'ith marble here
on earth) +irt road! 'ith meado'! on both !ide! are my $a#orite, "
lo#e ebble! and lea#e! co#ering the ground) " lo#e bu!he!,
!tream!, bamboo $ence!, and $errie!)
When " 'a! a young no#ice, " told my Ma!ter, "$ the 4ure /and
doe!nt ha#e lemon tree!, then " dont 'ant to go) He !hook hi!
head and !miled) Maybe he thought " 'a! a !tubborn young!ter)
Ho'e#er, he did not !ay that " 'a! right or 'rong) /ater 'hen "
reali6ed that both the 'orld and the 4ure /and come $rom the
mind, " 'a! #ery hay) " 'a! hay !ince " kne' that lemon tree!
and !tar-$ruit tree! e&i!t al!o in the 4ure /and, 'ith dirt road! and
green gra!! on all !ide!)
" kne' that i$ " ket my eye! oen in mind$ulne!! and my !te! at
ea!e, " could $ind my 4ure /and) That i! 'hy " do not let a !ingle
day a!! 'ithout racticing 'alking meditation)
The Seal o$ an .meror
*hoo!e a nice road $or your ractice, along the !hore o$ a ri#er, in
a ark, on the $lat roo$ o$ a building, in the 'ood!, or along a
bamboo $ence) Such lace! are ideal, but they are not e!!ential) "
kno' there are eole 'ho ractice 'alking meditation in
re$ormation cam!, e#en in !mall ri!on cell!)
"t i! be!t i$ the road i! not too rough or too !tee) Slo' do'n and
concentrate on your !te!) 2e a'are o$ each mo#e) Walk !traight
ahead 'ith dignity, calm, and com$ort) *on!ciou!ly make an
imrint on the ground a! you !te) Walk a! the 2uddha 'ould)
4lace your $oot on the !ur$ace o$ the earth the 'ay an emeror
'ould lace hi! !eal on a royal decree)
A royal decree can bring haine!! or mi!ery to eole) "t can
!ho'er grace on them or it can ruin their li#e!) Your !te! can do
the !ame) "$ your !te! are eace$ul, the 'orld 'ill ha#e eace) "$
you can take one eace$ul !te, you can take t'o) You can take
one hundred and eight eace$ul !te!)
A /otu! Flo'er 2loom! 2eneath .ach Ste
When an arti!t or a !cultor create! a icture or a !tatue o$ 2uddha
!itting uon a lotu! $lo'er, it i! not (u!t to e&re!! hi! re#erence
to'ard! the 2uddha) The arti!t mu!t abo#e all 'ant to !ho' the
2uddha! !tate o$ mind a! he !it!5 the !tate o$ comlete eace,
comlete bli!!) We all !it !e#eral time! a day, but $e' o$ u! can !it
in eace and 'ith ea!e, $e' o$ u! can !it ma(e!tically like the
2uddha) Mo!t o$ u! get re!tle!! a$ter a 'hile, a! i$ 'e 'ere !itting
on hot coal!) The 2uddha may !it on the gra!! or on a rock, but he
look! a! !erene a! he 'ould look !itting on a lotu! $lo'er)
When " $ir!t entered the mona!tery, my ma!ter taught me to
ob!er#e thi! thought (u!t be$ore !itting5 Sitting 'ith my back
!traight, " 'i!h all being! may be !eated on the lat$orm o$
enlightenment, their heart! $reed $rom all illu!ion and mi!taken
#ie'!) 0nly a$ter " !aid that 'ould " !lo'ly !it do'n) That i! the
'ay to learn to !it like a 2uddha)
" ha#e a me!!age $or !tudent! o$ 4ure /and 2uddhi!m5 Sit on a
/otu! Throne right no', at thi! moment, do not 'ait until you get
to the 4ure /and) 2e reborn on a lotu! $lo'er in each re!ent
moment) +ont 'ait until you $ace death) "$ you can e&erience
rebirth on a lotu! $lo'er no', i$ you can !it on a lotu! $lo'er no' 3
then you 'ont ha#e any doubt about the e&i!tence o$ the 4ure
/and) The !ame i! true $or 'alking) The "n$ant 2uddha i! o$ten
ortrayed taking hi! $ir!t !e#en !te! on earth, cau!ing a lotu!
$lo'er to aear in each o$ hi! $oot!te!) We !hould all cau!e a
lotu! $lo'er to bloom 'ith each o$ our eace$ul !te!) Ne&t time
you ractice 'alking meditation, lea!e try #i!uali6ing a lotu!
$lo'er oening a! your $eet touch the ground, like a ne'born
2uddha) +ont $eel un'orthy o$ thi! #i!ion) "$ your !te! are
!erene, they are 'orthy o$ thi! $lo'ering) You are a 2uddha, and
!o i! e#eryone el!e) " didnt make that u) "t 'a! the 2uddha
him!el$ 'ho !aid !o) He !aid that all being! had the otential to
become a'akened) To ractice 'alking meditation i! to ractice
li#ing in mind$ulne!!) Mind$ulne!! and enlightenment are one)
.nlightenment lead! to mind$ulne!! and mind$ulne!! lead! to
enlightenment)
The Miracle i! Walking on .arth
Walking 'ith ea!e and 'ith eace o$ mind on the earth i! a
'onder$ul miracle) Some eole !ay that only 'alking on burning
coal! or 'alking on !ike! or on 'ater are miracle!, but " $ind that
!imly 'alking on the earth i! a miracle) Neige Marchand, 'hen
tran!lating The Miracle o$ Mind$ulne!! into French, entitled the
book /a Miracle, *e!t de Marcher !ur Terre) " like that title #ery
much)
"magine that you and " 'ere t'o a!tronaut!) We ha#e landed on
the moon, and 'e $ind that 'e cannot return to earth becau!e the
engine o$ our !hi i! broken beyond reair) We 'ill run out o$
o&ygen be$ore the control center on earth can !end another !hi u
to re!cue u!) We kno' that 'e ha#e only t'o more day! to li#e)
What 'ould you and " think o$, other than going back to our dear
green lanet and 'alking !ide by !ide, in eace and 'ithout
'orrie!% 0nly 'hen con$ronted 'ith death do 'e kno' the
reciou! #alue o$ our !te! on the green lanet)
No' let! imagine our!el#e! a! tho!e a!tronaut! 'ho ha#e
!omeho' !ur#i#ed their e&erience) /et! celebrate our haine!!
and our (oy at being able to 'alk on our dear earth again) We
mani$e!t thi! miracle in each o$ our !te!) /otu! $lo'er! bloom a!
'e 'alk)
Maintain your ractice, a'are that your !te! are creating miracle!)
The earth aear! be$ore your eye! a! !omething miraculou!) With
that correct under!tanding, 'ith that meditati#e thought, you 'ill
achie#e bli!!$ul !te! on thi! lanet earth)
Stand on one $oot, and be a'are that it i! re!ting uon the earth,
!ee the great !here uon 'hich it re!t!) See it clearly 3 ho'
'onder$ully round it i!) While 'alking, look do'n and anticiate
the ground 'here you are about to lace your $oot, and 'hen you
do, mind$ully e&erience your $oot, the ground, and the connection
bet'een your $oot and the ground) Think o$ your $oot a! an
.meror! !eal)
"n the meditation hall, 'hile doing kinhin 7'alking meditation8
remember The .meror! Seal, or /otu! $lo'er! blooming, or
The earth aear! a! theme! o$ your 'alking meditation)