life…manifesting again and again

do you also miss

your mother?

cicada ~Issa*

mom
Tulip

In Thich Nhat Hanh”s book, No Death No Fear,  he shares a personal experience associated with the passing away of his mother.

“The day my mother died, I wrote in my journal, ‘A  serious misfortune of my life has arrived.’  I suffered for more than one year after the passing away of my mother. But one night, in the highlands of Vietnam … I dreamed of my mother. …When I woke up…I felt very strongly that I had never lost my mother. The impression that my mother was still with me was very clear. I understood then that the idea of having lost my mother was just an idea. It was obvious in that moment that my mother is always alive in me.

I opened the door and went outside. …Walking slowly in the moonlight through the rows of tea plants, I noticed my mother was still with me. She was the moonlight caressing me as she had done so often, very tender, very sweet…wonderful! Each time my feet touched the earth I knew my mother was there with me. I knew this body was not mine alone but a living continuation of my mother and my father and my grandparents and great-grandparents. Of all my ancestors. These feet that I saw as ‘my’ feet were actually ‘our’ feet. Together my mother and I were leaving footprints in the damp soil.

From that moment on, the idea that I had lost my mother no longer existed. All I had to do was look at the palm of my hand, feel the breeze on my face or the earth under my feet to remember that my mother is always with me, available at any time.

When you lose a loved one, you suffer. But if you know how to look deeply, you have a chance to realize that his or her nature is truly the nature of no birth, no death. There is a manifestation and there is the cessation of manifestation in order to have another manifestation.

…If you can stop and look deeply, you will be able to recognize your beloved one manifesting again and again in many forms. You will again embrace the joy of life.” (pp. 4-5)

In remembrance of my mother’s birthday…who passed away April 19, 2016.

*cited: http://www.haikuguy

I have arrived …

Look straight ahead. What’s there?

If you see it as it is

You will never err. ~Bassui Tokusho (cited: Y Hoffmann, Japanese Death Poems)

I would like to share a few words out of Thich Nhat Hanh’s book, No Death, No Fear, that has invited me to contemplate how it feels to be in the present…now…this moment.

“Suppose someone was able to transport you by jet to the [K]ingdom of God or the Pure Land of the Buddha. When you arrive, how would you walk? In such a beautiful place, would you walk under pressure, running and anxious like we do so much of the time? Or would you enjoy every moment of being in paradise? In the [K]ingdom of God, or the Pure Land, people are free and they enjoy every moment. So they do not walk like we do.

I have arrive, I am home
In the here, in the now
I am solid, I am free
In the ultimate, I dwell

The Pure Land is not somewhere else; it is right here, in the present. It is in every cell of our bodies. When we run away from the present, we destroy the [K]ingdom of God. But if we know how to free ourselves from our habit energy of running, then we will have peace and freedom and we will all walk like a Buddha in paradise.

What we carry with us determines in which dimension we dwell. If you carry a lot of sorrow, fear and craving with you, then wherever you go you will always touch the world of suffering and hell. If you carry with you compassion, understanding and freedom, then wherever you go you will touch the ultimate, the [K]ingdom of God.” (pp. 108-109)

As I was reading these words, the above image of a dandelion’s parachutes being within moments of release – of journey’s beginning – came to me as it seems to illustrate how my life has been an series of transitions that required preparation; such as, graduation, marriage, motherhood, retirement, death.  As I read Thich Nhat Hanh’s words, I found an invitation to memorize his “I have arrived, I am home” poem and to practice and recall the feelings it evokes many times a day…even while being within a moment of transition…of release.