Sep 27, 2009


No one at home – yet no vacancy!

Soen Nakagawa

Endless Vow – The Zen Path of Soen Nakagawa (Shambala Publications, Boston/London, 1996)

Sep 23, 2009

what am I doing?

Do you think I know what I’m doing?

That for one breath or half-breath I belong to myself?

As much as a pen knows what it’s writing,
Or the ball can guess where it’s going next.


Open Secret: Versions of Rumi

Sep 16, 2009

Que Será, Será - Plum Village version

When I was just a little girl,
I asked my mother what will I be?
Will I be pretty?
Will I be rich?
This’s what she said to me:

Que Será, Será
Whatever will be, will be?
The future’s not ours to see
Que Sera, Sera,
What’s will be, will be.

When I was just a novice monk
I asked my teacher, what will I be?
Will I be enlighten?
Will I be free?
This’s what Thay said to me:

Que Será, Será,
What ever will be, will be?
The Sangha will let you know,
Within ten years or so.

When I was just a novice nun
I tried my best to be near Thay
But everybody did the same thing,
How could I be near to Thay

Sit next to me my child,
Every Thursday at lunch,
Love your brothers and yours sisters,
You’re always close to me.

I’ve been a nun for 5 years now,
I ask my teacher, where is my (Dharma) Lamp?
I’ve tried my best, done everything.
Will I get it this time?

Sit, stand, talk and walk,
Do everything in mindfulness
And have a pleasant smile
The light will shine from there.

I’ve been a monk for 10 years now
I ask my teacher, what should I do?
Should I go out?
Have a temple of my own,

Que Será, Será,
Whatever will be, will be.
Be a river my child
Don’t be a drop of water.

Photo: Plum Village Novice Brothers and Sisters during Winter Retreat 2008.

Sep 4, 2009

a child learns to stand

In spite of the scientific knowledge that is steadily growing, the people of the world are restless and racked with fear and discontent. They are intoxicated with the desire to gain fame, wealth, power and to gratify the senses. To this troubled world still seething with hate, distrust, selfish desire and violence, most timely is the Buddha's Message of love and understanding, the Noble Eightfold Path, leading to the realization of Nibbana. A mere knowledge of the Path, however complete, will not do. In this case, our function is to follow it and keep to it.

The path is indeed difficult, but if we, with constant heedfulness, and complete awareness, walk it watching our steps, we will one day reach our destination. A child learns to stand and walk gradually and with difficulty. So too have all great ones moved from stage to stage through repeated failure to final success. It is a Path leading to the realization of Ultimate Reality, to complete freedom, happiness and peace through moral, spiritual and intellectual perfection.

From this brief account of the Path, one may see that it is a way of life to be followed, practised and developed by each individual. It is self-discipline in body, word and mind, self-development and self-purification. It has nothing to do with belief, prayer, worship or ceremony.

The Path to Supreme Bliss, in Gems of Buddhist Wisdom, The Corporate Body of the Buddha Educational Foundation, 1996