Tag Archives: thich nhat hanh

November 18 – Remembering A Deceased Loved One

Memorial site for a traffic accident on a country road

Remembering a loved one doesn’t necessarily need to end at the memorial service or the death site. Both of these actions are appropriate responses yet more may be desired to keep the loved one’s memory closer to home, closer to you on a daily basis.

Two writings offer some helpful advice. First is an article by Allison Grinberg-Funes (https://www.eterneva.com/resources/memorialize-loved-ones) in which she offers Ideas for Memorializing Deceased Loved Ones:

  1. Turn their ashes into a cremation diamond
  2. Visit their final resting place
  3. Do something they enjoyed or you did together
  4. Have a memorial release with balloons or butterflies
  5. Listen to their favorite songs or watch their favorite movies
  6. Look through old photos with friends and family
  7. Plant a tree, shrub, or flowers and visit it
  8. Create a memorial website or Facebook page
  9. Donate to their favorite charity
  10. Eat or cook their favorite food
  11. Write them a letter, poem or song.

The second writing is a section from Thich Nhat Hanh’s book How To Live When A Loved One Dies (c) 2020, Parallax Press called Making An Altar For Your Loved One:

“When we have lost someone we love, we often feel the need to express our deep love and gratitude to them…and we want to keep their memory alive…Making a shrine or altar is a concrete way of expressing our love and care, and of helping us feel connected to them. We can set up a small table and place a photograph of our loved one, a candle, some flowers, and other meaningful things on it.” p.133 http://www.parallax.org/product/how-to-live-when-a-loved-one-dies/

Check out both sources for more information.

In the meantime, here is today’s brief poem: Remembering A Deceased Loved One

our lives together

made great memories for us –

thank you forever


High Coo – Nov 17 – Losing My Attachment Figures


Attachment theory is a very popular concept among psychologists and has been for a few decades now. It states that humans – in fact, all mammals – have an innate drive to seek out close emotional relationships with other people, who can become our ‘attachment figures’. Humans seem to have developed a particularly flexible attachment system. By this, I mean that we can become emotionally attached to a wide number of other people, from relatives to friends to romantic partners. Even non-humans can be our attachment figures – think about the bond you might have with a beloved pet, for example. Even inanimate objects can be attachment figures – the notion of a child and their teddy is a common attachment bond in many Western countries.” Maddie Bleasdale, aka The Awkward Archaeologist (see link above).

A recent Animal Chaplaincy class discussed how a loved pet (aka companion animal) can be a traumatic event for someone, especially when that loved one was a “primary attachment figure.” The guest speaker, Janel Griffieth, a Senior Director for CARE (Companions and Animals for Reform and Equity (https://careawo.org/about-us/) gave a powerful presentation about her personal experiences and why knowing more about trauma, resiliency, hope and the Attachment Theory can help animal chaplains be more empathetic when humans are emotionally devastated by the loss of their trusted non-human companion.

Today’s poem: Losing My Attachment Figures

the moment you died

I was sad, lonely, bereft –

I walk with you now

The book below, by Thich Nhat Hanh, has been helpful for me, perhaps it may be helpful to someone you know. https://www.parallax.org/product/how-to-live-when-a-loved-one-dies/

High Coo – Nov 16 – 3 Questions at Rainbow Bridge

Today’s senryu: 3 Questions at Rainbow Bridge

Together again?

Secure attachment regained?

Trust in the Pure Land?

Today is one of those days when big questions collide for me. I’m trying to sort out a few of them and would appreciate your insights.

This bottle-fed young moose has developed an attachment to its caregiver (at Kostroma Moose Farm). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attachment_theory Might this attachment be mutual?


The human-animal bond is a mutually beneficial and dynamic relationship between people and animals that is influenced by behaviors essential to the health and wellbeing of both.” https://vetexplainspets.com/human-animal-bond/

The Rainbow Bridge is a meadow where animals wait for their humans to join them, and the bridge that takes them all to Heaven, together.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rainbow_Bridge_(pets)


“It is only because of our misunderstanding that we think the person we love no longer exists after they ‘pass away.’  This is because we are attached to one of the forms, one of the many manifestations of that person.  When that form is gone, we suffer and feel sad.  The person we love is still there.  He is around us, within us and smiling at us.  In our delusion we cannot recognize him, and we say: ‘He no longer is.’  We ask over and over, ‘Where are you?  Why did you leave me all alone?’  Our pain is great because of our misunderstanding.  But the cloud is not lost.  Our beloved is not lost.  The cloud is manifesting in a different form.  Our beloved is manifesting in a different form.  If we can understand this, then we will suffer much less.” Thich Nhat HanhNo Death, No Fear


High Coo – Nov 8 – What’s in a Number v2 or Looking for Hope


Woke up this morning and noticed the bedside clock read 2:22. I deliberately set this clock five minutes fast but never to seem to remember that until I reach the kitchen and notice that clock also reads 2:22.

No, I wasn’t time traveling.

Hmmm? Should I purchase a lottery ticket? Should I go back to bed? Should I research numerology again to discover if there is any significance to this number?

(Side note: Today is Election Day in the “good ole U.S. of A.” I’m proud of the fact that I’ve been voting for exactly 50 years now. I will vote again later this morning. I vote because it’s my civic duty … because it gives me the right to complain when the government elected fails to follow through on their promises … because I’d rather participate than be an apathetic whiner who sits on the sidelines … because I was trained to vote.)

I first wrote about numerology on 7.7.22 and a, much younger, sister blogger I admire a lot responded to my topic header/question. This is what C.J. (Crystal) Grasso said:

“The number 2 in spirituality means it is a number ruled by the moon, which also marks it as feminine energy. Which is connected to the emotional and nurturing realm. The moon also is related to one’s hidden aspects, which others do not see. The number 2 also symbolizes partnership and coming together, bringing in harmony and balance It could be an energy that brings up emotional wounds to work through with love and compassion. Balancing one’s inner and outer world…bringing in balance according to an angel numbers website. Which would be great for the world right about now. Numerology and spirituality are such interesting topics, I myself do not know much about them yet, but based on the things I’ve read these are my personal conclusions, though I could be totally wrong. I’m an observer of all this and try to keep an open mind. Numerology and spirituality interlink a lot.”

BTW: check out C.J.’s excellent blog at motivationalcopingandhealingcom.wordpress.com

FWIW: my Zen teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh, said we “go as a river.” Individually we are a single drop of water which can quickly dry up when times are difficult. Collectively, however, we can make a difference. We can form a stronger, more dynamic, flow of energy that makes an impact.

I hope this proves true today both in the “good ole U.S. of A.” and across this beautiful blue marble.

Today’s haiku: LOOKING FOR HOPE

Two plus two plus two

becomes significant when

we unite for GOOD


P.S. The clock now reads 3:33

High Coo – Oct 11 – Happy Birthday Thich Nhat Hanh

Thich Nhất Hạnh in Paris in 2006

Zen Master and peace activist, Thich Nhat Hanh, was born on this day in 1926. He died earlier this year, at the age of 95, January 22, 2022. Known mostly for his non-violent peace activism during the American/Vietnam War in the 1960s, he was lauded by such notables as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Father Thomas Merton.

Thich Nhất Hạnh, or Thay’ (which means “teacher” in Vietnamese), “published over 130 books, including more than 100 in English, which as of January 2019 had sold over five million copies worldwide. His books, which cover topics including spiritual guides and Buddhist texts, teachings on mindfulness, poetry, story collections, and scholarly essays on Zen practice, have been translated into more than 40 languages as of January 2022. In 1986 Nhất Hạnh founded Parallax Press, a nonprofit book publisher and part of the Plum Village Community of Engaged Buddhism.” See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thich_Nhat_Hanh

As one of his thousands of students, I have taken comfort especially in his books: Living Buddha, Living Christ, No Death, No Fear and No Mud, No Lotus published in 1995, 2002 and 2014 respectively. See https://www.parallax.org/authors/thich-nhat-hanh/ An inspiring quote from the first book mentioned is “Because you are alive, everything is possible.”

Today’s humble haiku: Happy Birthday Thich Nhat Hanh

Ev’ry moment counts,

relative and ultimate –

let’s pause, breathe and smile


Cole’s Book Review for: We Walk the Path Together

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I’ve been re-reading and re-enjoying a book written by Brian J. Pierce, OP called We Walk the Path Together (Learning from Thich Nhat Hanh & Meister Eckhart) © 2005, Orbis Books.  In preparation for a discussion with a Washington University Professor Emeritus, I have selected the sentences or phrases from each chapter that most “spoke to me.”  I thought my selections might encourage you to read the book and share your sentence/phrase selection.  I hope you join me on this mindful journey.

Introduction  Author Brian Pierce kicks off his book with a quote from Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh’s book Going Home, Jesus and Buddha as Brothers © 1999, Riverhead Books:  “If you love French cooking, it does not mean that you are forbidden to love Chinese cooking….you love the apple…but no one prevents you from also loving the mango.”  Pierce adds “The apple and the mango, Jesus and the Buddha.  So different, yet so much common ground between them….Meister Eckhart and Thich Nhat Hanh (their respective disciples) invite us into the dialogue.” p. xv.

Chapter 1 Magnanimity (Learning the Art of Dialogue) “Pope John Paul II wrote the following words, stressing that dialogue is another word for love: ‘We are all brothers and sisters and, as pilgrims on this earth, although on different paths, we are all on our way to the common Homeland which God, through ways known only to him, does not cease to indicate to us. The main road of mission is sincere dialogue’ p.13

Chapter 2 Mindfulness and the Eternal Now (Present Moment, Moment of Peace) “From the point of view of the Christian mystical tradition, eternity is not a future time out there in heaven….’What is today? Asks Eckhart, a question to which he gives his own answer, ‘Eternity’” p.21

Chapter 3 The Breath of the Holy Spirit (Learning to Breathe Again) “There is no doubt that the East is helping the West recover the simple art of breathing – that most basic of human actions, the one that will not let us escape from the present moment.  We cannot breathe yesterday or tomorrow. We can only breathe in the here and now.” p.35 “The breath symbolizes the living, divine Reality present in each of us and in all creation.” p.37 “We breathe in the gift, and we breathe it out again, through loving-kindness and service.” p39

Chapter 4 The Water and the Waves (Water-soaked Ground) “if what Eckhart and (Nhat Hanh) say is true – namely, that the drop of water or the wave ‘become the ocean’ – then what happens next? Do we just disappear? What happens when we merge into God? Eckhart smiles at the earnestness with which we ask the question, and then with the wit of a true master of wisdom, he replies: So, you want to know what happens with the drop of water? ‘It finds God; and the finding of herself and the finding of God is one and the same act.’” p.57  “The author of the Chinese Tao Te Ching has a similar insight:

There was something formless and perfect before the universe was born. It is serene. Empty. Solitary. Unchanging. Infinite. Eternally present. It is the mother of the universe. For lack of a better name, I call it Tao. It flows through all things, inside and out, and returns to the origin of all things.” p.58

Chapter 5 Jesus and God (“Coming Home”) “For Christians, the question inevitably arises: Then how do we get back home to God? For (Nhat Hanh) the answer is quite simple: through the practice of mindfulness. We Christians can find much to imitate in this teaching, for only through mindful spiritual practice does the Trinity move from the theology books to becoming a reality in our lives. p.84 “from T.S. Eliot’s The Four Quartets: ‘What we call the beginning is often the end, and to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from….we shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started, and know the place for the first time.’” p.85

Chapter 6 Christ (The Amazing Grace of God) “the reality of our true nature is that we are historical and eternal beings, human and divine, wave and water, heaven and earth. Or, in the image that St. Paul uses: ‘We hold the treasure of divine life within the earthen vessel of our humanity’ (Cor.4:7)…Says Eckhart, ‘The soul is created as if at the junction of time and eternity” p. 97 “from the well-known song ‘Morning Has Broken’: Mine is the sunlight! Mine is the morning. Born of the one light Eden saw play! Praise with elation, praise every morning, God’s re-creation of the new day.’” p.102 “It is heartening for both Buddhists and Christians to know that, in the absence of our respective teachers, the body of their teachings lives on, guiding us toward truth and life.” p.109

Chapter 7 Suffering “The Buddhist journey out of suffering and into freedom is a the heart of the Christian Gospels as well….The Book of Deuteronomy records this admonition from God: ‘I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life that you and your descendants my live. (Deut. 30:19)” p.114 “Spirituality is not primarily about following rules, but about living a life that generates happiness and well-being for oneself and for others.” p.116 “No one possesses the truth. On the contrary, we are possessed by the truth. Truth is the Ground upon which every this and that stands.” p. 120 “A person must be willing to stop trying to solve life’s aches and pains by placing one’s trust in the gods of money, power, prestige, relationships, spiritual pleasure, and the like and plunge into the naked, silent Ground of God within.” p. 125

Chapter 8 Compassion Born from Suffering (Looking Deeply) “The discipline of meditation slows us down and trains us to look at the world with understanding and compassion.  The result? We begin to see the world around us as it truly is. p.129 “Compassion is love that is willing to run the risk of suffering with and for the beloved….the risky business of loving, of course, requires great patience The two words, compassion and patience both come from the Latin root patior, meaning “to suffer.” p.132 Love is not generic; we do not love in general. Love is always concrete. It always involves real people….the only way we have to love God is by loving this person right here and right now….The ‘perfect’ relationship is not one that is free from suffering, but one that is full of compassion.” p.134 “Suffering is part of loving; it just is. There is nothing romantic or heroic about it.” p.135

Chapter 9 The Tree of the Cross (The Cross: Path to Freedom) “The cross…is more of a path to follow that something we are encouraged to imitate” p.144 “a lived response to the great question of life and death and inner freedom.  Do we answer the question and speak the truth – ready to pay the consequences – or do we remain silent and immobile, paralyzed and enslaved by fear?” p.147 Jesus, like the Zen masters, leads his disciples along the path of dying to the self-sufficient ego….He calls us to die to the illusion that we are separate from God, that death has any ultimate power over us.” p.149 “The cross is the Christian version of the Buddha’s Four Noble Truths.” p.159 “All of us who have chosen a spiritual path have, at one time or another, fallen short of the goal. We are all human beings in process, learning day by day to be more human….We learn from the mistakes of the past, so that today we can say yes once again to the journey.” p. 161

Chapter 10 Love in Full Bloom (Equanimity: What Is, Is) “Equanimity is …the calm, peaceful acceptance of the way things are in the present moment…..’if life hands you lemons, then make lemonade’….equanimity teaches us to smile and to laugh at life. We learn to accept each other and every situation just as it is and, to the best of our ability to do so with a sense of humor.” p.168 “Through the practice of equanimity, we lose nothing. What we gain, though, in inner peace and tranquility, is immeasurable.” p.171 “To grow in love, says (Nhat Hanh), requires that we develop the spiritual capacity to rise above the fray of life, to be able to observe any given situation without being attached to either this side or that side.” p.175   

CONCLUSION A Journey and a Begging Bowl “Thomas Merton wrote a prayer ‘My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.  I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end…I know that …you will lead me by the right road.” p. 179 “As spiritual practitioners of the twenty-first century, we, like our ancestors, are on a journey, walking a path that unfolds in each and every step. The practice of mindfulness teaches us to savor each step, to live the present moment in all its fullness, aware that the kingdom is either now or never. p.181 “Master Eckhart once said that if he had to summarize the entire spiritual life into a single word or phrase, it would be ‘Thank you.’….The journey, though different and unique for each practitioner and each tradition, is one, and the great joy is the discovery that we walk the path together.” p. 183

This 202 page book includes a lengthy final Notes section that provides detailed references for all the sources cited throughout. Surely, my brief recap does not do justice to this excellent comparison of the Christian and Zen Buddhist traditions.  Clearly your key passages would be different than mine.

I welcome your thoughts on the book, and more importantly, on your spiritual path.  Have you found inspiration from multiple traditions?

ISBN: 1570756139