Archive for the ‘Thich Nhat Hanh’ Category


As a free person I can always come and go,
Not caught in ideas of is and is not.
Not caught in ideas of being and non-being
Let your steps be leisurely.
Waxing or waning the moon is always the moon
The wind is still flying. Can you feel it my dear?
Bringing the rain from afar to nourish the nearby cloud
Drops of sunshine fall from no high to earth below
And the lap of earth touches the clear vault of the sky.



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It’s been a busy week. Late nights and early mornings. Tonight we sit by the Hudson and enjoy a beautiful meal and then head across the street to the Downing Film Center to see SILK. Lovely.

My cell phone rings on the way home. The nursing home calling to say that Dad has fallen out of his wheel chair in his bathroom. “He’s in bed now. He’s not complaining of any pain.”

At home, I pick up my messages…the last one is Dad: “Sandy, dear, I went AWOL. I left down home–it was a tangled up mess, there was an accident. I wasn’t in it but I got stranded and finally got a ride home. I got a car and I’m going back right away tomorrow morning. Let them know the circumstances of my departure. I think things are well, but this mess is going to make it difficult. Stay with me and hope for the best. Know I love you and always will, no matter what my actions have been.”

FROM THE SUTRA “Given to the Dying” in the Anguttara Nikaya

This body is not me; I am not caught in this body,
I am life without boundaries,
I have never been born and I have never died.
Over there the wide ocean and the sky with many galaxies
All manifests from the basis of consciousness.
Since beginningless time I have always been free.
Birth and death are only a door through which we go in and out.
Birth and death are only a game of hide-and-seek.
So smile to me and take my hand and wave good-bye.
Tomorrow we shall meet again or even before.
We shall always be meeting again at the true source,
always meet again on the myriad paths of life.

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My Dad always gets a little silly on his birthday…this was probably his 66th and he’s getting some help from his pal Grace.

Yesterday Grace and I stopped in to see him. It was a beautiful day–sunny, crisp. We wheeled him outside and once around the building. He was in his glory…nothing like a granddaughter with creme soda and some cheesecake to make his day!

Of course, he asks the usual questions…”Where’s Lynn? (my mother) I never hear from her anymore.” I explain that she died and he looks perplexed…”Was I there?” he asks.

As we are leaving, he says casually, “Oh, and when am I getting out of here?”

Grace is teary-eyed when we reach the car and when she asks me, “Mom, how can you take it?” I realize how much I’ve compartmentalized my feelings. This morning, I take comfort in remembering the practice as I read No Death, No Fear by my dear teacher, Thay (Thich Nhat Hanh)…


“When you look at the surface of the ocean, you can see waves coming up and going down. You can describe these waves in terms of high or low, big or small, more vigorous, more beautiful or less beautiful. You can describe a wave in terms of beginning and end, birth and death. That can be compared to the historical dimension. In the historical dimension, we are concerned with birth and death, more powerful, less powerful, more beautiful, less beautiful, beginning and end and so on.

Looking deeply, we can also see that the waves are at the same time water. A wave may like to seek its own true nature. The wave might suffer from fear, from complexes. A wave may say, “I am not as big as the other waves,” “I am oppressed,” “I am not as beautiful as the other waves,” “I have been born and I have to die.” The wave may suffer from these things, these ideas. But if the wave bends down and touches her true nature she will realize that she is water. Then her fear and complexes will disappear.

Water is free from the birth and death of a wave. Water is free from high and low, more beautiful and less beautiful. You can talk in terms of more beautiful and less beautiful, high or low, only in terms of waves. As far as water is concerned, all these concepts are invalid.

Our true nature is the nature of no birth and no death. We do not have to go anywhere in order to touch our true nature. The wave does not have to look for water because she is water. We do not have to look for God, we do not have to look for our ultimate dimension or nirvana, because we are nirvana, we are God.

You are what you area looking for. You are already what you want to become. You can say to the wave, “My dearest wave, you are water. You don’t have to go and seek water. Your nature is the nature of nondiscrimination, of no birth, of no death, of no being and of no non-being.”

Practice like a wave. Take the time to look deeply into yourself and recognize that your nature is the nature of no-birth and no-death. You can break through to freedom and fearlessness this way. This method of practice will help us to live without fear, and it will help us to die peacefully without regret.”


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Let us be at peace with our bodies and our minds.
Let us return to ourselves and become wholly ourselves.

Let us be aware of the source of being,
common to us all and to all living things.

Evoking the presence of the Great Compassion,
let us fill our hearts with our own compassion—
towards ourselves and towards all living beings.

Let us pray that we ourselves cease to be
the cause of suffering to each other.

With humility, with awareness of the existence of life,
and of the suffering that are going on around us,
let us practice the establishment of peace in our hearts and on earth.


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