Jul 30, 2008

wake-up call

Heart to heart,
that is how I would speak with you.

Words are not necessary
in the language of the Heart.
And yet, the mind at times needs words
to understand what only the Heart knows
beyond words.

I would speak to the Totality of who you are,
mind and Heart, body and Spirit,
with words and in Silence.

Creature of the Earth,
you are not the self
you suppose yourself to be.
Child of the Cosmos,
you are more than the self
you think you are.


It is time to remember and awaken
to the Truth of Who You Are.

I Am
What You Will Be,
What You Are,
What You Have Always Been,
only you have forgotten,
only you have simply to remember.

I Am the Awakening.
I Am the Voice of your Heart.
My Word is the vibration of
every atom and every star,
the Light of all beings in the Universe.

Listen to the Voice of Awakening,
the Truth of your Heart.

It is time now,
time to listen and remember.

This is your Wake-Up Call:


A Message from the Buddha, by Br. Chi Sing - January 2005

Photo: Bell pagoda at Upper Hamlet, Plum Village, June 2006 ©Richard&Joanne Friday

Jul 26, 2008

awareness in the moment

"Every breath which is exhaled from within must be exhaled with awareness and presence of mind and so that the mind does not stray into forgetfulness."

Baha ad-din Naqshband said: "The foundation of our work is in the breath. The more that one is able to be conscious of one's breathing, the stronger is one's inner life. It is a must for everyone to safeguard his breath in the time of his inhalation and exhalation and further, to safeguard his breath in the interval between the inhalation and exhalation."

As the seeker becomes occupied with the exercise of the moment (i.e. remembering the breath), he turns his attention from remembering the past and thinking of the future, and focuses on each breath until it is expired.

Sa'd ud-din Kashghari added: "Hush dar dam is moving from breath to breath so there is no heedlessness but rather there is presence, and with each breath that we take should be the remembrance of the Real."

from Awareness in the Breath / Awareness in the Moment (Hush dar dam), The Eleven Principles of the Naqshbandi Path; if you'd like to read more please refer to:

Jul 21, 2008

the river and the clouds

a story by Thich Nhat Hanh

Once upon a time there was a beautiful river finding her way among the hills, forests, and meadows. She began by being a joyful stream of water, a spring always dancing and singing as she ran down from the top of the mountain. She was very young at the time, and as she came to the lowland she slowed down. She was thinking about going to the ocean. As she grew up, she learned to look beautiful, winding gracefully among the hills and meadows.

One day she noticed the clouds within herself. Clouds of all sorts of colors and forms. She did nothing during these days but chase after clouds. She wanted to possess a cloud, to have one for herself. But clouds float and travel in the sky, and they are always changing their form. Sometimes they look like an overcoat, sometimes like a horse. Because of the nature of impermanence within the clouds, the river suffered very much. Her pleasure, her joy had become just chasing after clouds, one after another, but despair, anger,and hatred became her life.

Then one day a strong wind came and blew away all the clouds in the sky. The sky became completely empty. Our river thought that life was not worth living, for there were no longer any clouds to chase after. She wanted to die. "If there are no clouds, why should I be alive?" But how can a river take her own life?

That night the river had the opportunity to go back to herself for the first time. She had been running for so long after something outside of herself that she had never seen herself. That night was the first opportunity for her to hear her own crying, the sounds of water crashing against the banks of the river. Because she was able to listen to her own voice, she discovered something quite important.

She realized that what she had been looking for was already in herself. She found out that clouds are nothing but water. Clouds are born from water and will return to water. And she found out she herself was also water.

The next morning when the sun was in the sky, she discovered something beautiful. She saw the blue sky for the first time. She had never noticed it before. She had only been interested in clouds, and she had missed seeing the sky, which is the home of all the clouds. Clouds are impermanent, but the sky is stable. She realized that the immense sky had been within her heart since the very beginning. This great insight brought her peace and happiness. As she saw the vast wonderful blue sky, she knew that her peace and stability would never be lost again.

That afternoon the clouds returned, but this time she did not want to possess any of them. She could see the beauty of each cloud, and she was able to welcome all of them. When a cloud came by, she would greet him or her with loving-kindness. When the cloud wanted to go away, she would wave to him or her happily and with loving kindness. She realized that all clouds are her. She didn't have to choose between the clouds and herself. Peace and harmony existed between her and the clouds.

That evening something wonderful happened. When she opened her heart completely to the evening sky she received the image of the full moon - beautiful, round, like a jewel within herself. She had never imagined that she could receive such a beautiful image. There is a very beautiful poem in Chinese: "The fresh and beautiful moon is traveling in the utmost empty sky. When the mind-rivers of living beings are free, that image of the beautiful moon will reflect in each of us."

This was the mind of the river at that moment. She received the image of that beautiful moon within her heart, and water, clouds, and moon took each other's hands and practiced walking meditation slowly, slowly to the ocean.

There is nothing to chase after. We can go back to ourselves, enjoy our breathing, our smiling, ourselves, and our beautiful environment.

Jul 17, 2008

the good news

They don't publish
the good news.
The good news is published
by us.
We have a special edition every moment
and we need you to read it.
The good news is that you are alive,
and the linden tree is still there,
standing firm in the harsh Winter.
The good news is that you have wonderful eyes
to touch the blue sky.
The good news is that your child is there before you,
and your arms are available:
hugging is possible.
They only print what is wrong.
Look at each of our special editions.
We always offer the things that are not wrong.
We want you to benefit from them
and help protect them.
The dandelion is there by the sidewalk,
smiling its wondrous smile,
singing the songs of eternity.
Listen! You have ears that can hear it.
Bow you head.
Listen to it.
Leave behind the world of sorrow
and preoccupation
and get free.
The lastest good news
is that you can do it.

Thich Nhat Hanh

Plum Village, March 1992

To see more photos by Zeynep Kanra please refer to:

Jul 6, 2008

turning into bodhisattvas

I ought not to turn back towards the past. My road always lies ahead of me.

“Thanks to you,” the Brahman said, “my eyes of crimson fire, my body of crimson fire and blood have at last found sleep. I could never have attained this purified body without you. Many, many thanks indeed.”

“Master, as I entered the flames, my body was filled with intense wellbeing!” Sudhana spoke in aew. Sacred bliss flowed from his penance. He no longer feared sword or fire. He knew that swords, fire, and evil spirits, too, were all love. All evil was Buddha. All fear was compassion.

“It is not possible to restrain what flows,” Prabhuta whispered in his dream. “You cannot restrain water, wind, or all the immensities of time. I couldn’t force you to stay here, even if I wanted to, just as I couldn’t command a bird to perch on a branch.”

“For me, things that stay in one place all part from me, as I flow on,” Sudhana replied. “If I decided to settle somewhere, everything else would flow away from me. There are people who live beneath trees that span a hundred and fifty generations, until the trunk rots into the ground, but that is not for me.”

“How could I ever experience unending bliss without undergoing the Eight Sufferings? Birth, age, disease, and death are the first four, of course. Then there are the last four: parting from what we love, meeting what we hate, failing to attain our aims, and all the ills of personality, the five skandhas. As I cut off my toes one by one I’m gaining my joy. You have to know that truth, don’t you?”

“Look! Fix your whole heart on the center of the empty air. See how all creatures become bodhisattvas in the empty air. Look! Look!”

[…] “Look, they are turning into bodhisattvas, then as bodhisattvas they are reborn and take on the sufferings of life again. It’s a life of greater suffering they take on now. There is no bodhisattva life without living creatures. Without sentient beings there can be no bodhisattva and no Buddha.”

“My path exists,” he thought, “even if no one tells me where it lies. I have to make my roads as I go. For me, every road is newly made.”

Ko Un, Little Pilgrim, Parallax Press, Berkley, 2005

drawing by Warwick Globe found at the marvelous blog Japonisme

Jul 2, 2008

why we walk

When we practice walking meditation we are walking without needing to arrive anywhere, walking just to walk, each step you take brings you back to life, because in Buddhism we say that life can only be found in the present moment. The past has already gone, the future has not yet come, there is only one moment to live, and that is the present moment. Therefore, you have an appointment with life. If you miss the present moment, you miss your appointment with life. Therefore, when you practice walking meditation, with each step you arrive in the present moment, and that is the address of our true home: life.

If someone asks you, "What is the Buddha’s address, what is the bodhisattvas’ address?" we say that the Buddha’s address is the here and the now. If you want to meet Buddhas, great beings, bodhisattvas, that is the address where you will meet them. Each brings you to the here and the now, so that you can be in touch with life as it really is. Everything you are looking for is to be found in the here and the now, because the here and now is the only place where life is available. Therefore, walking meditation is something very enjoyable to do. You can practice according to this formula: "I have arrived, I am home."

© from Mindful Consumption, Dharma Talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh on July 17, 1998 in Plum Village, France.

Photos: walking meditation led by Thich Nhat Hanh in Vietnam, 2005© Plum Village sites; if you'd like to see more pictures from this series, please refer to:

If you'd like to watch a walking meditation led by Thich Nhat Hanh (in Deer Park Monastery, Escondido, California, USA), please click bellow: