Academic journal article Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge

The Flesh of Our Children: Two Letters and Five Contemplations on Food from Thich Nhat Hanh

Academic journal article Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge

The Flesh of Our Children: Two Letters and Five Contemplations on Food from Thich Nhat Hanh

Article excerpt

Letter from Thich Nhat Hanh

   Blue Cliff Monastery
   October 12, 2007

   Dear spiritual family:

Blue Cliff in autumn is very beautiful. Forests are adorned by the ripening leaves. Today, starting at 11 a.m., retreatants from everywhere will come to attend a retreat with the topic Sitting in the Autumn Breeze. A great number of people signed up, but we could not accommodate all of them, so we had to turn down many people. Our monastic brothers and sisters and lay friends feel very bad about this, but there is no other way. This is the first largest retreat in Blue Cliff. Everyone wants to come practice with the Sangha and, at the same time, "check out" the new monastery.

On the afternoon of October 9th 2007, Time Magazine came to interview Thay about the events that have been taking place in Burma and about the issue on global warming. The interview will be online. About Burma, Thay said that the Burmese monks have been courageous in standing up to show the people the way to human rights and democracy. They prove to be worthy spiritual leaders of the country. A country and a nation cannot be without a spiritual dimension. A human life must also have a spiritual dimension. Without a spiritual dimension, we will not have the capacity to confront suffering, to transform suffering and to offer anything to life. A person without a spiritual path is a person walking in darkness. With a path, we are no longer afraid or worried.

The Burmese monks have shown the way to their country and their nation. Even though they face oppression, imprisonment and even death, their minds are at peace, because they have been able to do what they have vowed to do: to provide their country and their nation spiritual leadership. They have fulfilled their responsibility. Every time people of every social class in Burma think about these monks, they will feel touched: this energy of love and faith that will be their motivating force, nourishing actions that bring human rights and democracy to their country. The world is supporting Burma, just as the world supported the struggle for human rights and freedom of the Buddhist and Vietnamese people in the 1960s under the Ngo Dinh Diem regime. It was not one Buddhist practitioner who stood up but all Buddhist practitioners stood up together at the same time. Now it is the same thing in Burma. It is not one monk that has stood up, but all the monks have stood up. This is true spiritual leadership.

Thay also told Time Magazine: All over the world we are also waiting for the spiritual leaders in the United States to stand up to provide that spiritual leadership, in order to end quickly the suffering and loss of lives in Iraq. Spiritual leaders should stand up simultaneously with a clear voice to help wake the people up and show them the way. When the people have a clear vision, and the people have made up their minds, then the government has no choice but to follow. The war in Vietnam ended because of the awakening of the American people at the time.

On October 6th 2007, when we had a day of mindfulness for 1,800 psychotherapists in the University of California in Los Angeles, the monks and nuns of Deer Park and Plum Village put on the Sanghati robes after the Dharma talk, chanted May the Day Be Well and evoked the name of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara to send energy to the monks and lay practitioners in Burma. The governor of California and his wife also came to attend that whole day of mindfulness. Before chanting, the monks and nuns declared that Plum Village and Deer Park communities wanted to express our solidarity with monastic and lay practitioners in Burma. Afterwards, a motion with two points was read out loud to the audience. The first point is that, we proposed the United Nations to send immediately to Burma a fact finding mission consisting of members of different countries, like the one the U.N. sent to Vietnam in September 1963. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.