The Tangerine of Mindfullness

FROM THICH NATH HANH’S BOOK: OLD PATH WHITE CLOUDS

Siddhartha quietly gestured for the children to sit back up and he said,

“You are all intelligent children and I am sure you will be able to understand and practice
the things I will share with you. The Great Path I have discovered is deep and subtle, but
anyone willing to apply his or her heart and mind can understand and follow it.

“When you children peel a tangerine, you can eat it with awareness or without awareness.
What does it mean to eat a tangerine in awareness? When you are eating the tangerine,
you are aware that you are eating the tangerine. You fully experience its lovely fragrance
and sweet taste. When you peel the tangerine, you know that you are peeling the
tangerine; when you remove a slice and put it in your mouth, you know that you are
removing a slice and putting it in your mouth; when you experience the lovely fragrance
and sweet taste of the tangerine, you are aware that you are experiencing the lovely
fragrance and sweet taste of the tangerine.

The tangerine Nandabala offered me had nine sections. I ate each morsel in awareness
and saw how precious and wonderful it was. I did not forget the tangerine, and thus the
tangerine became something very real to me. If the tangerine is real, the person eating it
is real. That is what it means to eat a tangerine in awareness.

“Children, what does it mean to eat a tangerine without awareness? When you are eating
the tangerine, you do not know that you are eating the tangerine. You do not experience
the lovely fragrance and sweet taste of the tangerine. When you peel the tangerine, you
do not know that you are peeling the tangerine; when you remove a slice and put it in
your mouth, you do not know that you are removing a slice and putting it in your mouth;

when you smell the fragrance or taste the tangerine, you do not know that you are
smelling the fragrance and tasting the tangerine.

Eating a tangerine in such a way, you cannot appreciate its precious and wonderful
nature. If you are not aware that you are eating the tangerine, the tangerine is not real. If
the tangerine is not real, the person eating it is not real either. Children, that is eating a
tangerine without awareness.

“Children, eating the tangerine in mindfulness means that while eating the tangerine you
are truly in touch with it. Your mind is not chasing after thoughts of yesterday or
tomorrow, but is dwelling fully in the present moment. The tangerine is truly present.
Living in mindful awareness means to live in the present moment, your mind and body
dwelling in the very here and now.

“A person who practices mindfulness can see things in the tangerine that
others are unable to see. An aware person can see the tangerine tree, the tangerine
blossom in the spring, the sunlight and rain that nourished the tangerine. Looking deeply,
one can see ten thousand things that have made the tangerine possible. Looking at a
tangerine, a person who practices awareness can see all the wonders of the universe and
how all things interact with one another”.

“Children, our daily life is just like a tangerine. Just as a tangerine is comprised of
sections, each day is comprised of twenty-four hours. One hour is like one section of
tangerine. Living all twenty-four hours of a day is like eating all the sections of a
tangerine. The path I have found is the path of living each hour of the day in awareness,
mind and body always dwelling in the present moment. The opposite is to live in
forgetfulness. If we live in forgetfulness, we do not know that we are alive. We do not fully
experience life because our mind and body are not dwelling in the here and now.”

You May Also Like

A Journey through palpation

A DIALOGUE WITH THE TISSUES Palpation is the pilar of osteopathic medicine as envisioned from the earlyyears by founder Dr. A.T. Still.The mission is to

Read More »

The PRM

THE PRIMARY RESPIRATORY MECHANISM The study, evaluation and clinical application of the primaryrespiratory mechanism is specific to the manual practice ofosteopathy. Discovered by William Garner

Read More »
×