Our own life has to be our message.- Thich Nhat Hanh
Dear Thay, I bow in gratitude for your physical and spiritual existence.
"Man is not our enemy
Our enemy is hatred, anger, ignorance and fear.”
Dear Thay, Dear teacher:
You were not lost;
You were never found.
You continue on beautifully
in all of us, in me,
in all that ever was,
and all that ever will be.
I bow in loving gratitude,
for your light, your love,
your courage and determination;
for your gift of mindfulness,
of this precious moment,
of no birth, no death,
and no discrimination.
For your clear, flowing voice,
refreshing as a cool mountain stream.
For your slow, graceful movements,
your expressive gestures, your sweet smile.
For the lion's roar of your teachings.
For your fierce heart, beating for everyone.
For your fearless actions, born of love and stillness.
You will always be with me, dear Thay.
And I will always be with you.
"I have arrived, I am home, in the here and the now, in the ultimate I dwell."
Thay's gathas continue to be a part of my wonderful, ordinary life. ♥️
His dharma body is everywhere.
Thank you beloved Thay, for showing us The Way so beautifully. You have given us everything, and held nothing back, just like the Buddha. "Smile", "Breathe", "Let go"
When the moon and forest are together, they create a marvelous and mysterious atmosphere, unlike any other experience. The silence is total, yet the moon and the forest are speaking to each other. They are no longer two, but become one. If the forest is taken away, the moon would not be. You would not be standing in the moonlit grove if the moon and forest ceased to be.
Mesmerized in the moment. (Paraphrased from Fragrant Palm Leaves by Thay)
Dear brothers and sisters in Thay’s family: During the Vietnam War, in my early 20s, I first heard of Thich Nhat Han’s quiet courage and peaceful walking. Many years later, when I was looking for a spiritual path rooted in real life, the teachings of mindfulness reconnected me with Thay through his books and videos. His way of speaking, walking, and smiling made me able to believe him when he taught us that we are all interconnected, supported by and responsible for one another.
I was able to attend two retreats with Thay, in 2011 and 2013. During the second, I summoned up the courage to sit on stage with him during the Q &A, and ask him a question of the heart. I felt his silent attention to each person who asked a question, and saw how he let his answer rise up from the depth of his inner peace.
In the years that I’ve been walking on Thay’s path, my own understanding has deepened, and along with it, my awe and respect for what lies at the root of his teachings. At first, I was only capable of practicing mindfulness from the outside in. Little by little, i saw that Thay was giving us a way to touch Just This, in each moment of experience. He could do that because he lived from that depth of experience himself. Seeing that encouraged me to believe that I too could be truly alive in the here and now. Not just as a goal or an idea, but as a reality. “There is no way to peace; peace is the way.”
I feel so lucky to have met Thay and to have become part of his sangha family. I know that he is alive in us, and that gives me the desire to keep walking his path with you all.
I did not exactly meet Thây. I was in his presence at the opening of the Blue Cliff Monastery in NY. He and I were maybe ten feet apart - across a row of chairs. I looked at him, furrowing my brow and he looked at me in the same manner. I had not decided what to make of this shuffling brown-robed monk with his soft-spoken simple stories. I was impressed by the fact that he left the first ten rows open for children. I was puzzled by the frequent bells and how everyone, even people carrying heavy trays of food, just stopped, frozen. I was flummoxed by the slow walk in the forest - would we trample each other? We didn't - we flowed like a river. Thây walked with the children. At one point, he looked up and I did too. He seemed to be feeling what he was seeing. He invited us to feel the sky, the clouds - we were all one. And later, he offered us the gift of the three jewels - I could have taken transmission of vows or even just watched. Instead I told myself my young daughter needed me and I went home. Years later, when life became complicated, I found the simplicity of Thây's teachings the only thing that got through to me. Also, I found they were not so simple! There he had been - all along. The day after Thây left his body, I followed the Plum Village instructions on how to make a simple altar for him with candles, fruit, a flower - I chose a white chrysanthemum. I even had a cushion set out for him and one for me. I read his teachings, his poems, I watched videos of his talks and listened deeply to his words. I felt surrounded by so much love. I knew he was with me and always would be. Thây IS. It's that simple.
to abide in the
original unborn mind -
happily, taught Thay
My lasting impression of being with Thay is his love for us, for all beings, for this life, for every small thing, and how he had such humility.
How lucky are we to have walked the earth in this time and place when such a man, such a bodhisattva, graced our world. How lucky to have received such beautiful, accessible, loving, and compassionate teachings from such a master as this, and to have been left a legacy of countless books, Dharma talks, monks and nuns, and sisters and brothers also committed to walking this path together.
"The tears I shed yesterday have become rain."
Dear Thich Nhat Hanh, I miss you already.
I miss seeing your body alive peacefully, walking, sitting, face always smiling.
I miss watching you floating like a cloud, walking on this earth.
The miracle of mindfulness manifest.
Being in Community with brothers and sisters, who have learned to listen deeply to the sounds of the earth, of our ancestors, of our teachers, friends and family.
Being in Community with brothers and sisters who have learned to be alive in our bodies and aware in this present moment, help me to continue on the road.
Learning to dwell happily in this moment where sadness and joy are one, I bow ingratitude.
Thank you Thich Nhat Hanh for manifesting in this life time!
Walking peacefully, walking joyfully, smiling, Thay is within and all around.
Florida Community of Mindfulness, Tampa Center
6501 N. Nebraska Avenue
Tampa, FL 33604
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St Petersburg Friends on the Path