Contemplation on No-Coming and No-Going
This body is not me.
I am not limited by this body,
I am life without boundaries.
I have never been born,
and I have never died.
Look at the ocean and the sky filled with stars,
manifestations from my wondrous true mind.
Since before time, I have been free.
Birth and death are only doors through which we pass, sacred thresholds on our journey.
Birth and death are a game of hide-and-seek.
So laugh with me,
hold my hand,
let us say goodbye,
say goodbye to meet again soon.
We meet today.
We will meet again tomorrow.
We will meet at the source every moment.
We meet each other in all forms of life.
by Thich Nhat Hanh
One of the well-known contemplation-poems by the wonderful Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh, who died on the 22nd of January of this year after a generously long life of teaching in many forms. A couple of years ago, one of his senior disciples was interviewed about how Thay, as he is known to his students, was using the last years of his life to teach about how to die peacefully.
I am once again struck by how teachings about death also are profound invitations to live fully and to cherish this aliveness. In the week where our dear friend and colleague Chloe Homewood-Allen suddenly died, this feels extra poignant in the midst of the heartbreak and disbelief and wanting to argue with reality. For alongside all that, the wish that my heart breaks open into full aliveness so we may ‘meet each other in all forms of life’…
Calligraphy by Thich Nhat Hanh