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.