11/13/2014 05:18 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

A Song and Prayer for My Teacher, Thích Nhất Hạnh


Calligraphy, Breathe, by Thích Nhất Hạnh

FOR MY beloved teacher, Thích Nhất Hạnh, who is battling from a massive brain hemorrhage, I bow deeply in gratitude and profound love. Please recover and lead us again to the heart of compassion and light.

Thay was the first few spiritual teacher who came to us after 9/11 during our time of great despair and sorrow and he told me that like two palms of a single person, one should not strike the other hand out of anger even as that hand had hurt us. And then he lead us in a meditation of songs, breathing in and breathing out... Now, my beloved teacher, it is our term to come to you in your time of danger, fighting for your life. Please breathe and let the light of love enter your heart, your brain and dispelling all shadows from your body. You who has carried so much sadness and burden of humanity's atrocity, please take care yourself and come back. We still sorely need you. And I know what you would have done, using even this to teach us about non-attachment. But even the Buddha's half-brother, Ananda had beseech the Buddha to stay in the earth for a few more years. So, I apologize for my un-enlighten clingingness, for unlike you, my teacher, I am a mere mortal, a turtle in the mud.

For my beloved teacher, Thay,

In an old bamboo grotto, I come upon an old friend standing still
and I pose him a question
and he whispers
Fish are sleeping in the dark spring
so I waited

it is a question about the moon
about my breath
my mouth my heart
my love the earth with its four seasons
my feet where I stand and the soft moss beneath
where my life will flow
It drains through my fingers
as thought it were amber honey
into the stream
it runs under the trees
it surges against coral reefs far away
and is gone without me
then where I stand night falls
in the heaven a splash of brazen stars appears
I've forgotten what were the questions
then as he turns toward me
His eyes luminous reflecting the moon and he smiles
And whispers breathe
I understand that I am to stay and have a cup of tea

-- by Sat Hon