I remember the first time Thay’s words went right to my heart.
I had just moved to Berlin, and the rush of the city kept trying to swallow me alive.
I felt the speediness wherever I went. People rushing to the metro, riding past me on their bikes, being impatient when waiting in line.
And I was looking for ways to become calm—ways to become present.
I had downloaded a few of Thich Nhat Hanh’s lectures on my mp3 player to listen to on my bike rides in Berlin.
And a wonderful thing happened. As I listened to his words, my mind became calm, my breath slowed down. I let whatever happened around me pass me by like a cloud.
It wasn’t only what he said, but his whole presence that had an immediate effect on me. Eventually, just hearing his voice would bring me into this space of balance.
Today, people around the world are grieving the loss of a great teacher.
On this day, his friend, the Dalai Lama offered a beautiful condolence message that describes Thay’s achievements:
“In his peaceful opposition to the Vietnam war, his support for Martin Luther King, and most of all, his dedication to sharing with others not only how mindfulness and compassion contribute to inner peace, but also how individuals cultivating peace of mind contributes to genuine world peace, the Venerable lived a truly meaningful life.”
I believe that while our physical body dies at one point, our soul stays with those we touched throughout our lives.
Thay said it best himself:
“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. Since before time, I have been free. Birth and death are only doors through which we pass, sacred thresholds on our journey.”
Thay keeps living through everyone he touched during his truly meaningful life, and he can keep living through us.
I believe the best way to celebrate his life today is by applying his teachings in our own lives.
His words and the wisdom he shared can be of benefit to many of us.
So, join me today in remembering this great teacher by practicing what he taught us: