Archive for July, 2012

Separation by death must finally be choked down,
but separation in life is a long anguish,

Chiang-nan is a pestilential land;
no word from you there in exile.

You have been in my dreams, old friend,
as if knowing how much I miss you.

Caught in a net,
how is it you still have wings?

I fear you are no longer mortal;
the distance to here is enormous.

When your spirit came, the maples were green;
when it went, the passes were black.

The setting moon spills light on the rafters;
for a moment I think it’s your face.

The waters are deep, the waves wide;
don’t let the river gods take you.


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7 March 2011

Dear Friends

in Japan,

As we contemplate the great number of people who have died in this tragedy, we may feel very strongly that we ourselves, in some part or manner, also have died.

The pain of one part of humankind is the pain of the whole of humankind. And the human species and the planet Earth are one body. What happens to one part of the body happens to the whole body.

An event such as this reminds us of the impermanent nature of our lives. It helps us remember that what’s most important is to love each other, to be there for each other, and to treasure each moment we have that we are alive. This is the best that we can do for those who have died: we can live in such a way that they continue, beautifully, in us.

Here in France and at our practice centers all over the world, our brothers and sisters will continue to chant for you, sending you the energy of peace, healing and protection.

Our prayers are with you.

Thich Nhat Hanh

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When I was young, I wrote this poem. I penetrated the heart

of the Buddha with a heart that was deeply wounded


“My youth,

an unripe plum.

Your teeth have left their marks on it.

The tooth marks still vibrate.

I remember always,

remember always.


Since I learned how to love you,

the door of my soul has been left wide open

to the winds of the four directions.

Reality calls for change.

The fruit of awareness is already ripe,

and the door can never be closed again.


Fire consumes this century,

and mountains and forests bear it’s mark.

The wind howls across my ears,

while the whole sky shakes violently in the snowstorm.


Winter’s wounds lie still,

Missing the frozen blade,

Restless tossing and turning,

in agony all night.”


I grew up in a time of war. There was destruction all around – children, adults, values, a whole country.

As a young person, I suffered a lot. Once the door of awareness has been opened, you cannot close it.

The wounds of war in me are still not all healed. There are nights I lie awake and embrace my people,

my country, and the whole planet with my mindful breathing.

(From “The Heart of Buddha’s Teachings”

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