It is said that the right teacher comes to you at the right time. Three years ago, whilst in Saigon, my partner and I came across the books written by Thich Nhat Hahn (“Thay”), the Buddhist spiritualist. We found his books on the achingly quaint “Book Street” in the middle of the bustling city. I wrote about it here: ‘Book’ Street, Saigon.
From then on, Saigon has a special place in our hearts. Though we never desired to travel, preferring instead to be at home in our little eyrie, we made another visit to Saigon. One year on, Thay’s teachings had a profound impact on us. I wrote about it here:
This shared learning has made a difference in our relationship. We are learning together, learning something outside the scope of our normal lives. Wherever we were apart, we would often message each other short excerpts of Thay’s timeless words, and in troubled times, we would cast our eyes heavenwards to the (temporarily) stormy skies and find Thay’s words there. We stayed strong for each other, instead of drifting apart seeking easier pleasures.
Yesterday, October 11th, was Thay’s 92nd birthday. I thought long and hard about which of Thay’s many beautiful teachings that I would like to share. And this is the simple message:
We don’t need great intellect, difficult journeys or eye-watering sacrifices to be “spiritual” or to attain success in life. We simply have to make a commitment and stick to the path to get the true value out of being alive.
- With our partners, it means being there emotionally and mentally, and recognising the love they give us and being grateful for it.
- With our children, it means making time always to listen to the little things that is big deal to them. And allowing them to fly to their own destinies instead of clinging on out of our own fears, and being there for them to come home to always.
- With our family (in particular, parents), make the effort to forgive, to make peace, to bless for the role they have played in our (painful) growth, and to be there in absentia if being there physically is not possible.
- With our friends, it means not being too busy because we have other “imaginary” friends on Facebook or networking with those that are of use.
Thay’s book is “At Home in the World: Stories and Essential teachings from a Monk’s Life”. You can read an excerpt here. Please read the excerpt (free) by clicking on this link. It’s so beautiful. Thay made a difference in the life of this Catholic girl. I hope he will in yours too ❤