Thich Nhat Hanh – in gratitude for a life well spent.


The internet is currently flooded with tributes and reminiscences of his life, so I will not try to recreate them here. Suffice to say, I feel drawn to reread some of his books and, having lost six people from my life, during these past pandemic years, this quotation, posted by a Buddhist friend to Facebook, this morning, lifted me out of a fog of melancholy and raised my eyes to the sky. Thank you!

“One day as I was about to step on a dry leaf, I saw the leaf in the ultimate dimension. I saw that it was not really dead, but that it was merging with the moist soil in order to appear on the tree, the following spring, in another form. I smiled to the leaf and said, ‘You are pretending’. Everything is pretending to be born and pretending to die, including the leaf.

The Buddha said, “When conditions are sufficient, the body reveals itself, and we say the body exists. When conditions are not sufficient, the body cannot be perceived by us, and we say the body does not exist.” The day of our death is the day of our continuation in many other forms. If you know how to touch your ancestors in the ultimate dimension, they will always be there in you, smiling. This is a deep practice.

The ultimate dimension is a place of coolness, peace and joy. It is not a state to be attained after you “die”. You can touch the ultimate dimension right now by breathing, walking and drinking your tea in mindfulness.

Everything and everyone is dwelling in Nirvana, in the Kingdom of God,”

Professor Thich Nhat Hanh – Living Buddha, Living Christ (1995)

Thich Nhat Hanh

6 Replies to “Thich Nhat Hanh – in gratitude for a life well spent.”

  1. Fragrant Palm Leaves was one of the first of Thich Nhat Hanh’s many books I was fortunate to read. It is the name of the monastery founded by him and fellow sangha members in the highlands of central Vietnam. It covers his journals from the U.S. 1962-1963 and in Vietnam 1964-1966, I was struck by the heartfelt way his skilful writings portrayed the life and cultures from those times and illustrates how to live wholeheartedly, with awareness, in extremely challenging times. His unique way of living Buddhism during those times has sown seeds of compassion and wisdom which are very much alive and appropriate today. A truly inspirational writer, poet, philosopher, religious and spiritual master. With Gratitude & Bows, Mo
  2. “Everything is pretending to be born and pretending to die, including the leaf.” Such profound teaching. Thank you for sharing Karen.

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