by Christina Sarich; UPLIFT

There is no way to happiness; happiness is the way. – Thich Nhat Hanh

Nobel Peace Prize nominee and Zen Buddhist master, Thich Nhat Hanh has a very different theory about why our ecosystems are dying and our financial systems are crumbling. The Vietnamese monk credited with bringing mindfulness to the West believes that our desperation to succeed at all costs fuels our voracious economic system. An innumerable number of worldly “sicknesses” come from this singular philosophical vice.

On one of Hanh’s Facebook posts he said:

Each one of us has to ask ourselves, What do I really want? Do I really want to be Number One? Or do I want to be happy? If you want success, you may sacrifice your happiness for it. You can become a victim of success, but you can never become a victim of happiness.

Striving to be Number One

Thay – as his followers call him, is no stranger to the ideology of the movers and shakers in our world economy. He was invited to speak in Silicon Valley by Steve Jobs once, and has met with the World Bank president Jim Yong Kim. He has also met with senior Google engineers to discuss how they could develop technologies which could be more compassionate and bring about positive change, instead of increasing people’s stress and isolation, taking them away from nature, and one another.

He recently explained his concern with how people pin their happiness on success in an interview with the Guardian:

If you know how to practice mindfulness you can generate peace and joy right here, right now. And you’ll appreciate that and it will change you. In the beginning, you believe that if you cannot become number one, you cannot be happy, but if you practice mindfulness you will readily release that kind of idea. We need not fear that mindfulness might become only a means and not an end because in mindfulness the means and the end are the same thing. There is no way to happiness; happiness is the way.

Thich Nhat Hanh met with The World Bank to discuss the state of the economy.

The True Purpose of Mindfulness

Thay warns, however, that practicing mindfulness just to be more productive at work, or only to enjoy more material success will leave the practitioner with a pale shadow of awareness compared to what true mindfulness can provide. He suggests:

If you consider mindfulness as a means of having a lot of money, then you have not touched its true purpose. It may look like the practice of mindfulness but inside there’s no peace, no joy, no happiness produced. It’s just an imitation. If you don’t feel the energy of brotherhood, of sisterhood, radiating from your work, that is not mindfulness.

As company executives in banking, oil production, agriculture, manufacturing, tech, and other fields strive to be successful, are they missing out on the true peace that might come from preserving an ecosystem, or helping to protect biodiversity? Are these titans of industry reflective of our social and political slant toward ever-increasing spending, a lack of accountability fiscally and environmentally, and the disassociation workers feel from their families and friends while constantly trying to work harder and earn more?

There is a true difference between a full mind and being mindful.

A Lack of Balance

Thay says that all businesses should be conducted in such a way that all the employees can experience happiness. He says that helping to change society for the better can fill us with a sense of accomplishment that doesn’t come from focusing purely on profits.

When top CEOs make 300% more than their workers, and include stock incentives, luxury cars, and healthy expense accounts, how can balance truly be upheld?

When the world’s top 3,000 firms are responsible for over $2.2 trillion in environmental damage, how can we find joy from nature?

When even Facebook cofounder Dustin Moskovitz, who now heads up the software firm Asana calls out the tech industry for a lack of work-life balance, how can anyone find time to practice mindfulness or meditation?

Finding balance between work and life can be challenging.

The Bottom Line

Furthermore, even loss of life is acceptable in the name of profits. The “business” of war has allowed the 100 largest contractors to sell more than $410 billion in arms and military services. Just 10 of those companies sold over $208 billion – while providing the means to kill millions.

Is it any wonder employees are broke, stressed out, and burned out from a lack of balance, no connection with other people, and an incessant work flow that promises very little reward, either financial or otherwise, from their toil?

Then there is the debt-based financial system of the Federal Reserve, propping up this entire show.

It is no wonder that people at work are stressed and burned out.

A False Way to Happiness

But the truth is that we don’t actually need the Federal Reserve. In fact, the greatest period of economic growth in United States history happened during the decades before the Federal Reserve was created.

We also don’t need CEOs who make 300 times what their employees do, or ridiculous government policies which allow the notion of corporations as people, while ignoring the basic needs of real people.

Our courts have extended constitutional protections to the most unconscious among us, preserving a way of life that does not allow true happiness. Our constant aim for success has warped our original goal – to be happy. Isn’t that why people want more money, more power, and more “things”. But as Thay says, this is a false way to attain happiness.

Getting success at any cost is a false way to achieve happiness.

An Upside Down Society

What this quiet Zen monk is trying to tell us is that our entire society is upside down. Our economic system protects mindlessness, not mindfulness.

He says that the primary affliction of our modern civilization is that we don’t know how to handle the suffering inside us and so we attempt to cover it up with all kinds of consumption.

What this quiet Zen monk is trying to tell us is that our entire society is upside down. Our economic system protects mindlessness, not mindfulness.

Retailers peddle a host of devices to help us cover up the suffering inside. But unless and until we’re able to face our suffering, we can’t be present and available to life, and happiness will continue to elude us.

Our entire society is upside down with its focus on mindless achievement.

A New Definition of Success

How do we change our economic policies so that all employees can be happy? It might help to look at our true goals. It might help to acknowledge the pain we’ve caused thousands of people by perpetuating war for the sake of profit. Success doesn’t automatically equal happiness, not if the definition of success only includes the bottom line.

We can measure success by our fulfilment in life, by the people we’ve been able to touch with our good deeds, or a mindful interaction, by having friends, experiencing love, being able to walk in a forest, or learn how to play a musical instrument.

The true goal of success is finding happiness in your work and life.

Finding True Fulfilment

Perhaps the true goal should be peacefulness instead of happiness, even. As Hanh has said:

If we are peaceful, if we are happy, we can smile and blossom like a flower, and everyone in our family, our entire society will benefit from our peace.

This could be our new definition of success.



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  1. Unconditioned Dharma? What’s a statement and how about dogma? Another lecture of Thay. Simple wisdom.
    It’s now 05.38 am Jan 11th and there’s a lot of rumbling, seemingly of thunderbolts in the sky.

  2. Her fb page last year begining showed pictures of a puppet mast / thing of heat…I font click till she stooped me heart in March kadt year after I tried to help a demsil an avian you don’t where her words

    After putting me in a patients body in Nov 2014… Shebsaid your spirit is strong.. Cure her uncle if cancer in 3 day he had a week to live why I blocked her in fb originally

    All end of last year was hiring getting her manifestations dispelled…many lost souls were floating around due to her…so call black magic way of healing people

    Drains masses…power hungry etc

    Look at my Facebook page
    Who’s who???

  3. Died in one week end of the year

    Yes a healer

    Remevers Christ around 2004

    Worked out how life works manifests van do anything

    Then wanted to share that life with a girl make heaven in earth ended up being a healer if many kinds even down to perspective healer by power of judgenebt. .spent last 6 years trying to teach it by reverse engineering what I just did . aka shephears of fire on fb a page I can’t access now last year people have caught on but she put me into a patients body..etc all posted before Oct last year she went with the man of heat and stuck me in his body

    I can tell more but hopes the point has comes across ..

    I pushed her away in Nov 2015 and taught peeps in us …till Feb/march when I foolishly let her in as a friend. .hurts the heart chakra

  4. 15 dethas from drowning in NSW when I went to the beach cause she tried to drain me and thought I would drow so many did uses my energy to manifest her fears.
    And sleeps with one of pure heat

  5. I’m in the corporal here in Melbourne… But soul is being captive in Colombia by her what is happening there is reflecting here around me or anyone I contact in Facebook and she does what she does. Its messed up

    The event should have happened already…I see the experiende events the. The literature always. Everything is reflecting this in the world

    I peaked my energy but being masked by the heat of who she is with and herself is the Jezebel

    I can write an experience novel starting from Nov 2015 … And this year is same as last but excelrates

  6. Sorry I wrote that wrong. How can she be my twin and also a Jezebel …. Feels everything that is happening either to her or the people she puts me in …has me on a leash…

  7. I can’t tell the difference between signs / thoughts of the Jezebel / the internet trying to stop me. From doing the wrong thing or her fucking with things

  8. You guys out Jesus into me and allow jezebel woman Diana Vasquez control and manipulate me… My twin a Jezebel… All I am seeing is death and destruction…
    She prays for him sucks me into her world plays mind games on me. Noe Jesus being controled and manipulated by this Jezebel women people are dying not ascending I know I have made mistakes but she is inside me puts me into a demon… I want to go with a Buddhist girl and everything I do is a mistake and make it worse and what do you guys do…allow it to occur…

    She puts me into one body into the next a truamtises me a Jesus I am not skilled in mind games with the Jezebel woman I am in Melbourne and she is in Colombia. I need to start work tomorrow and don’t see me making the right choices to stop her …its getting words looks like history is going to repeat. .

    Can you please do something about this
    I don’t know what to think to get her to release truamtises me / Jesus by putting Mr into people who are dying at her hands

    I am not getting any help with this

    My name is peter Michael tom Firlejczyk

    And very concerned what’s going to happen with the world due to this who is actually going to get to ascend before the end of times

    Truamtises me / holds Jesus captive

    Can you please intervene somehow

    I work at Skycomms

    My phone number is 0422280007

    I need / Jesus needs deliverance from the Jezebel woman so Jesus can unite with a Buddhist and can actual make people and be able to sort things out in the world instead of her creating hell on earth
    Yes size 10 shoes but she pulled me into her world with her

    So please…for the sake of love

    This is the only action or can do

    Everything else is a mistake…

    I can’t work even and all its doing is fueling her me making mistakes by being in her world and the negativity and heat and desperate to fix this but by any action or thought I take makes it worse. To have someone fuck me or feel someone fucking someone else or the anger and the depression is putting me through truama …second coming of Jesus is going to fail as she just pulls more and more people into the underworld

    Everyone I free. I end up being put through more and more making me try and fix it

    She bares the mark if the crow and gets at me through every means of social media… I need her separated from me and protected from me as this is endless

    I need to be with a Buddhist girl a twin so love can rain over the world not list Mani pulatiob death and destruction. You guys can see what was and what is. Please I know I made mistakes as you guys have guided me

    People at work are Buddhist / Hindi …only one Christian. As it is I have the issue that I have to start work and can’t work alone but my role is as such ..I need as much define intervention…

    She tried a soul swap or something witchcraft but prays for Jesus to help her but is all signs of a Jezebel woman…I am doing my vest not to do anything to intervene but I can’t control my thoughts or actions so please

    For the sake of humanity

    Light forces of light. Acturians. …half paladian I am and my power abilities and being used and abused by this Jezebel woman

    I can’t keep my sanity here …please….

    You knows who I am

    How is Jesus meant to deliver her from the Jezebel. Many have committed suicide / dies controlled and manipulated. ..feel like Daniel. In a manner of speaking sending a Buddhist her way won’t help if I am and Jesus is being stuck under her grasp 98% percent of the time

    Bares the mark of the crow

  9. Thank you Edward.
    So: the same message as the one after the Hiroshima drama: there is no way to Peace. Peace is the way. And then of course automaticcally: there is no way to Love. Love is the way.

    • I think I can read between the lines of your message, Love. Edward Morgan, I don’t disagree with the content of the articles to be clear, he seems to favour sharing quite some tough love. At times, I’m pretty much done with painful and dramatic subjects he presents, for I feel often that almost our whole world is about that and it’s because of this harshness that I long for not such tough love 😉 I tend to feel more for moving towards what is good, kind, beautiful and loving in the world, to balance it with the world in turmoil around us. The gentleness in this article, the energy of Thich Nhat Hanh is a balm to my heart.

      • Yes Maria, tough Love is not such a bad thing when done with the right intention; because “to know the truth first you must know the lie” but unfortunately often this “humble messenger” gets shot in the process…

        • The name is Marian, I’m not that holy poly Edward Morgan 😉 I totally agree with you. I’m a tough love practitioner, at times. “Don’t shoot the messenger” is a wise advise and be assured, I appreciate your stance. Thank you!

  10. Beautiful, thank you! I’m touched by this teacher living in Plum Village in France.
    He’s recently returned to the main hall to be present with all who are living in Plum Village,
    after about 1 year of reclusive living after a stroke. He doesn’t speak words, but his presence speaks.
    Several friends of mine made the journey to that place, returning grateful for what they experienced.

    Thay, in a lecture of 2005, speaking about living in the present moment:


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