Ethan Nichtern quotes

Who the hell is Ethan Nichtern?

Ethan Nichtern is a Buddhist teacher, and the author of The Road Home: A Contemporary Exploration of the Buddhist Path.

Ethan Nichtern books

Ethan Nichtern quotes

“Here’s my personal definition of a Buddhist: someone who prioritizes cultivating her relationship to her own heartmind—and her relationship to other sentient beings—above whatever else she might achieve in life.”

Ethan Nichtern The Road Home

“I often find that when I fall into the trap of speaking too harshly, it is because I don’t have enough confidence in the power of my own voice to carry sufficient strength on its own. When you realize that your speech can be powerful, you don’t need to amplify that power by making personal attacks that overgeneralize the specific feedback you are trying to give.”

Ethan Nichtern The Road Home

“If we long to save the whole world but we can’t deal with our own family and friends, something has gone wrong in our understanding of what it means to be human.”

Ethan Nichtern One City

“One of the greatest lessons that comes from meditation is that a relaxed curiosity about life and sleepwalking through it are two radically different choices.”

Ethan Nichtern One City

“Our personal journey is rarely easy, and our global journey is even less so. Because everything is interdependent, we have to work on both of these levels at once. Trying to change society without deeply understanding our heartmind won’t work. Your own road home can never be separated from society’s journey. We need a unifying theory and language that allow us to link the lessons of our personal journey with the situation facing our world. The important question then, a question laced with a gorgeous irony, is, “How do we get home from here?” Or, maybe more appropriate, “How do we get here from here?”

Ethan Nichtern The Road Home

“Running for the hills is not the way to go. We live in a time where there are actually fewer and fewer places left to run away to. Therefore, it’s imperative to find ways to use your energy to dive into—not run from—existing paths of livelihood. A hip-hop mogul or an oil executive are powerful already. There’s no reason they couldn’t be powerfully selfless and compassionate as well.”

Ethan Nichtern One City

“The point of dharma practice is not to try to live without any narrative. The point is to see how all narratives have a holographic nature.”

Ethan Nichtern The Road Home

“There’s a bumper sticker that says, “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.” Anyone who never gets angry when he sees their friends and loved ones doing things that are harmful to themselves or others has to be pretty numb to the deep sadness of suffering. Anyone who just walks on by when she sees humans being treated like objects needs to take a second look. And a third one.”

Ethan Nichtern One City

“Thoughts aren't the problem. Problems only develop when thoughts no longer arise from or refer to actual experience. That's when thoughts start ossifying into their own bureaucratic institutions, becoming assumptions and dogma.”

Ethan Nichtern One City

“Visualization is not just some spiritual event—it’s a basic cognitive process.”

Ethan Nichtern The Road Home

“War doesn't end war any more than a heroin fix ends a heroin addiction.”

Ethan Nichtern One City

“When we are mindful, we experience our social presence as a series of momentary connections with one other being. These moments of interpersonal connection are like the Lego building blocks of our social awareness.”

Ethan Nichtern The Road Home

“When we get overwhelmed by the larger moral implications of our work, we overlook the smaller, more imperceptible effects of our labor. Interdependence is about the little things you do. It’s not just what you produce, but how you treat the people around you, who labor with you. And there is always something we can do that is positive. Always.”

Ethan Nichtern One City