"Our mind is a field in which every kind of seed is sown--seeds of compassion, joy, and hope, seeds of sorrow, fear, and difficulties," Thich Nhat Hanh writes. "Every day our thoughts, words, and deeds plant new seeds in the field of our consciousness, and what these seeds generate becomes the substance of our life" (p. 21). This book is a compilation of dharma teachings given by Thich Nhat Hanh between 1989 and 1998 on Buddhist psychology. The teachings here are subtle, complex, and look deeply into the nature of consciousness. "One could spend an entire lifetime looking deeply into them," Thay writes in the book's Introduction. "Please do not be daunted by their complexity. Go slowly," he encourages us (p. 4). When put into practice, they point the way to transformation, bringing life into "sharp, clear focus" (p. 141).
This book shows we can cultivate paradise or hell in our own minds (p. 54), turning our inner garbage into flowers (p. 218). Thay writes, "when we are able to touch our habit energies and transform the roots of violence, despair, fear, and anger in our store consciousness, transformation occurs. We begin by recognizing the internal knots and latent tendencies in order to transform them. We have to train ourselves in the way of looking with the insights of nonself and interbeing. Day and night we have to water the seeds of understanding in our store consciousness so that it will grow and help us to see the nature of interbeing in every thing we see and touch. We have to bring this understanding into our daily life" (pp. 224-5).
Not an easy read, this insightful book is highly recommended for any reader interested in Buddhist transformational psychology or the interdependence of all things.