Thich Nhat Hanh
I became aware of Thich Nhat Hanh when his book, Heart of Buddha's Teaching, was used as the textbook for a program I was enrolled in at Zen center I attend. Hanh's writings about Buddhism and life are different than most I've experienced. They are very alive. I feel like I've gotten more out of his books than most others I've read. His writings have made me aware that although I have read philosophical books that were intellectually stimulating, in most cases, they didn't cause a significant change to occur in my thoughts, behavior, or life.. They simply informed me of things I was not aware of and reviewed what I already knew. Now I realize that just being informed didn't necessarily cause me to change my behavior or outlook on life. Hanh has a gift for words that seems to stimulate powers of true internal change. He seems to spark an internal movement that I continue to work with after I'm done reading him. If you are interested in finding out more about Buddhism, or just how to handle this precious life and don't care about Buddhism at all, I highly recommend that you read Thich Nhat Hanh.
The following paragraphs are excerpts from Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames
"All plants are nourished by sunshine. All of them are sensitive to it. Any vegetation that is embraced by the sunshine will under go a transformation. In the morning, the flowers have not yet opened. but when the sun comes out, the sunshine embraces the flowers and tries to penetrate them. The sunshine is made of tiny particles, photons. The photons gradually penetrate the flower one by one until there are a lot of them inside. At that point the flower cannot resist any longer and had to open herself to the sunshine. In the same way, all mental formations and all physiological formations in us are sensitive to mindfulness. If mindfulness is there, embracing your body, your body will transform. If mindfulness is there, embracing your anger or despair, then they too will be transformed. According to the Buddha and according to our experience, anything embraced by the energy of mindfulness will undergo a transformation." p.28
"You have to be like a mother listening for the cries of her baby. If a mother is working in the kitchen and hears her baby crying, she puts down whatever she is doing, and goes to comfort her baby. She may be making a very good soup; the soup is important, but it's much less important than the suffering of the baby. She has to put down the soup, and go to the baby's room. Her appearance in the room is like sunshine because the mother is full of warmth, concern, and tenderness. The first thing the mother does is pickup the baby and embrace him tenderly. When the mother embraces the baby, her energy penetrates him and soothes him. This is exactly what you have to learn to do when anger begins to surface. You have to abandon everything that you are doing, becasue your most important task is to go back to yourself and take care of your baby; your anger. Nothing is more urgent than taking good care of your baby." p.32