I am not out there either

Ever since the recent not-really-death of Buddhist monk and author Thich Nhat Hanh I keep encountering his thoughts online which make me feel really good. Here is a selection of them equipped with some of my recent photos.

The first four quotes are from his Ten Love Letters to the Earth. Click and be transported:

To us:

We have never been born and we will never die.

We already are, and we already have, what we are looking for.

To Earth:

You are nothing less than myself.

We are proud of our powerful telescopes and ability to observe distant galaxies. But few of us realize that our consciousness is your own; you are deepening your understanding of the cosmos through us.

On dying:

I Am Not in Here

Excerpted from Thich Nhat Hanh “At Home in the World: Stories & Essential Teachings from a Monk’s Life” (2015):

I have a disciple in Vietnam who wants to build a stupa for my ashes when I die. He and others want to put a plaque with the words, “Here lies my beloved teacher.” I told them not to waste the temple land.

“Do not put me in a small pot and put me in there” I said. “I don’t want to continue like that. It would be better to scatter the ashes outside to help the trees to grow.”

I suggested that, if they still insist on building a stupa, they have the plaque say, “I am not in here.” But in case people don’t get it, they could add a second plaque, “I am not out there either.” If still people don’t understand, then you can write on the third and last plaque, “I may be found in your way of breathing and walking.

This body of mine will disintegrate, but my actions will continue me. In my daily life I always practice to see my continuation all around me. We don’t need to wait until the total dissolution of this body to continue—we continue in every moment.

If you think that I am only this body, then you have not truly seen me. When you look at my friends, you see my continuation. When you see someone walking with compassion, you know he is my continuation.

I don’t see why we have to say “I will die,” because I can already see myself in you, in other people, and in future generations.

Even when the cloud is not there, it continues as snow or rain. It is impossible for a cloud to die. It can become rain or ice, but it cannot become nothing. The cloud does not need to have a soul in order to continue. There’s no beginning and no end. I will never die. There will be a dissolution of this body, but that does not mean my death.

I will continue, always.

Thich Nhat Hanh: The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation

This post goes to Liz on her birthday with warmest wishes and hope for a reunion. There are two birthday posts below in my blogging history as well. Happy birthday, dear birdgirl!

This day in my blogging history

Published by Manja Maksimovič

A Slovenian in Italy for love. Blogger, photographer, translator and would-be writer who would be a writer if she wrote. Plus reluctant but emerging poet. Beware.

24 thoughts on “I am not out there either

  1. “Every day we are engaged in a miracle we don’t even recognize.” I love both the wonder in this and the reminder to pay attention. One of my favorite of his books is Be. Here. Now. Thich Nhat Hanh is so right: we do live on — the best parts of us most of all, I hope — in the good we do. Thank you for such an enriching post, beautifully illustrated with your photos.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love that you took his thoughts and put your photos to them. And what irony to hear him speak to you with is his wish. “I may be found in your way of breathing and walking”.

    “Every day we are engaged in a miracle we don’t even recognize”. I love your photos looking over the countryside. Donna

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “I am not in here.” That’s my favourite because it makes me laugh. I think his intent was that it is serious, but perhaps not. I’m glad Liz got the parakeet – I didn’t even see them, just heard them. I appreciate when things inspire us to be introspective. And Thich Nhat Hanh is one of those people who is more like an event, living each day with such intent that even his loss reminds us of how he will be forever embedded in humanity’s consciousness.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, this is my photo of the parakeet from last month. I’m not sure if Liz got lucky with them when she was in Rome. Yes, this line makes me chuckle too. I’d love it on my gravestone as well. I don’t know much about Buddhism but there is a line I have memorised and it goes something like: Creation is nothing else but a good joke. So yeah, let’s laugh. Thank you for your thoughts. We are all pretty cool events.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I love this post. I also read some poems by Thich Nhat Hanh recently, I can’t believe I’ve only just discovered his work. All the quotes you’ve chosen are wonderful. I love this one:

    “When you look at my friends, you see my continuation. When you see someone walking with compassion, you know he is my continuation.”

    And the symbiosis between the quotes and your photos are so harmonious, especially the lens shots.

    Liked by 2 people

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