I was recently asked to describe the life of Thich Nhat Hanh and the core purpose of his work. I would have no idea how to answer a question that’s as wide as the Hudson River is long if I’d not been such a student of his writing and spent so much time in contemplation with the essence of his teaching.
I’ve concluded, Thich nhat Hanh’s life was that of a bridge builder. He forged with hearts of steel and connected things that oppose. The bridge of understanding he build between the teachings of great masters are revolutionary… opening doors and removing the obstacles that divide us.
As he stripped away the parts of faith that are so easily condemnable, Thich Nhat Hanh revealed to us the common thread in Jesus, Buddha and all the masters who’ve influenced our world consciousness. Without this work I can’t imagine how I would have gotten to know the teachings of Jesus… my literal mind and common sense judgment of things prohibited me from seeing the real message. In reverse, so many people would never have access to the teachings of Buddha had Thich Nhat Hanh not stripped away the nonsense that hinders deep understanding and appreciation.
When we really get that we are all one, no bridge will be needed– however until then, it’s with deep gratitude we walk THich Nhat Hanh’s bridge and find each other.
“Twenty years ago at a conference I attended of theologians and professors of religion, an Indian Christian friend told the assembly, “We are going to hear about the beauties of several traditions, but that does not mean that we are going to make a fruit salad.” When it came my turn to speak, I said, “Fruit salad can be delicious! I have shared the Eucharist with Father Daniel Berrigan, and our worship became possible because of the sufferings we Vietnamese and Americans shared over many years.” Some of the Buddhists present were shocked to hear I had participated in the Eucharist, and many Christians seemed truly horrified. To me, religious life is life. I do not see any reason to spend one’s whole life tasting just one kind of fruit. We human beings can be nourished by the best values of many traditions.”
Please pause from your day just briefly and send Thich Nhat Hanh all the loving-kindness you can muster, he needs us all right now and considering who he’s been for all of us it seems the least we can do.
“The Buddha and Jesus have to meet every moment in each of us. Each of us in our daily practice needs to touch the spirit of the Buddha and the spirit of Jesus so that they manifest. These energies are so crucial for us to embrace our fear, our despair, and our anxiety.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh
“When our beliefs are based on our own direct experience of reality and not on notions offered by others, no one can remove these beliefs from us.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh