Sunday, 19 May 2013


This week many Buddhists throughout the world will be celebrating Wesak, a special day to celebrate the Buddha's birth, enlightenment and parinirvana (giving up of the human body). The particular day is the full moon day at the end of this week. Tomorrow night I am facilitating for my Sangha and in deliberating what I will choose to read I remember it is Wesak, and whilst each evening the Sangha sits together is always special it seems important to choose something extra-special for this week of Wesak.
Here are my reflections from two years ago about Sangha which seems entirely appropriate for tomorrow.

Passing on the candle flame

Our teaching comes to us
from echoes way back in time,
before Lin Chi and Van Hanh*
walked the earth,
when Gautama found the answers
to his perplexing questions
and rested in peacefulness
under the Bodhi tree.

The candle flame has been kept
alive for us by many ancestors and teachers,
and now we find it in our guardianship.
How is it passed on?

Through the gentle rustling of whispering leaves,
In the determined curl of the snail clinging to the twig,
through the smile of recognition in a flower,
in the golden glow of a decaying beech leaf,
through the reflections in the single raindrop suspended from a branch,
in the breath-taking beauty of the pink sunrise,
through the suspended life beneath the frozen lotus pond,
in the acknowledging bow from my sister,
through the delighted laugh of my brother,
in the deeply nourishing smile from you,
through the mutual silence of the Sangha,
sitting peacefully and harmoniously together,
in the flickering candle flame
that is lit each time the Sangha sits.

* Lin Chi (Chinese) and Van Hanh (Vietnamese) were teachers that Thich Nhat Hanh regularly refers to in his own teaching.
© 19 May 2013

May this be an auspicious week for all, and to conclude with an ancient Sanskrit prayer, which reflects the loving kindness meditation often used in Buddhist practice,
May all be happy
may all be without dis-ease
may all creatures have well-being
and none be in misery of any sort.
May peace and peace and peace be everywhere.

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