My Teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh

“I will continue to be. But you have to be very careful to see me. I will be a flower or a leaf. I will be in those forms and send you a greeting. If you are aware enough, you will recognize me, and you will be smiling at me. I will be very happy about it.”

Thich Nhat Hanh

Dear Thay, who you are and all that you have offered this world have served as deep inspirations for me for so many years. This morning, my heart broke into a million pieces. My tears won’t stop falling all day, even though you have reassured us that you will continue on in this life after the dissolution of your body. Words cannot express how your presence on this Earth has touched and penetrated my life. I am so grateful for you, your teachings, our sangha, and our practices. I do not consider myself a good practitioner yet but I try.. and will continue to do so, especially with the support and strength of our loving community.
Your words seem simple enough yet they are profound and full of insight: “Breathe and smile,” “No mud, no lotus,” “I have arrived, I am home,” “Present moment, wonderful moment.” They have become ingrained in my cells that, without planning to, I blurted out “Breathe and smile” to my grandmother two years ago when she was in pain. They were simple words, yet they were effective. She came back to the present moment and looked at me and smiled, as if to thank me for the reminder, but really, we were both thanking you.
I know that you continue in me and I can still find solace in you. Truly, from the bottom of my heart, I bow in reverence and gratitude to your strength, dedication, compassion, and love for all beings. You are not only our teacher, you are our inspiration, our friend, our breath. I always dreamed of meeting you in person one day and for a while, I grieved the loss of that dream. But I know you are still in this world, continuing in another form, and I know one day, when I am present enough, I will finally meet you in my lifetime. Thank you for awakening love, freedom, peace, and joy within all of us. I love you so very much, dear Thich Nhat Hanh. *bowing out*

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