Saturday, October 11, 2008

Angel Dream No. 4 (Tom Petty)

From today's Writer's Almanac:

It's the birthday of Vietnamese monk, writer, and activist Thich Nhat Hanh, born in 1926 in Tha Tien, Vietnam. He became a Buddhist monk when he was 16 years old. During the Vietnam War, he decided that monks shouldn't just stay in monasteries and meditate all day long while a war was going on. So he founded an organization that helped rebuild bombed villages, set up schools and medical centers, and organize agricultural cooperatives. He traveled to the United States to urge the American government to withdraw its troops, and he persuaded Martin Luther King Jr. to publicly oppose the Vietnam War. But both the non-Communist and Communist governments banned him from Vietnam in 1966, and it was just a few years ago, in 2005, that he was finally allowed to return for a visit. Since he was banned from Vietnam, he set up a monastic community in southern France, called Plum Village.

Thich Nhat Hanh has published more than 100 books, books of poetry and Buddhist thought. About 40 of them are in English, and many of those have been best-sellers, including Peace Is Every Step (1991), Call Me by My True Names (1993), and Living Buddha, Living Christ (1995).

P.S. Thanks to Sam Pacetti for the inspiration, and dedication, of today's song... <3

Do not say that I'll depart tomorrow
because even today I still arrive.

Look deeply: I arrive in every second
to be a bud on a spring branch,
to be a tiny bird, with wings still fragile,
learning to sing in my new nest,
to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower,
to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone.

I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry,
in order to fear and to hope.
The rhythm of my heart is the birth and
death of all that are alive.

I am the mayfly metamorphosing on the surface of the river,
and I am the bird which, when spring comes, arrives in time
to eat the mayfly.

I am the frog swimming happily in the clear pond,
and I am also the grass-snake who, approaching in silence,
feeds itself on the frog.

I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones,
my legs as thin as bamboo sticks,
and I am the arms merchant, selling deadly weapons to

I am the twelve-year-old girl, refugee on a small boat,
who throws herself into the ocean after being raped by a sea
and I am the pirate, my heart not yet capable of seeing and

I am a member of the politburo, with plenty of power in my
and I am the man who has to pay his "debt of blood" to, my
dying slowly in a forced labor camp.

My joy is like spring, so warm it makes flowers bloom in all
walks of life.

My pain if like a river of tears, so full it fills the four oceans.
Please call me by my true names,
so I can hear all my cries and laughs at once,
so I can see that my joy and pain are one.

Please call me by my true names,
so I can wake up,
and so the door of my heart can be left open,
the door of compassion.

QUOTE: "My actions are my only true belongings. I cannot escape the consequences of my actions. My actions are the ground upon which I stand." ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

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