You would think by now that we would all be mega-experts on matters of love. In our day to day life, we can hardly escape it. The endless streams of television soap operas and films deal with issues of the heart and the complexity of human relationships. Endless pop, rock, R&B, rap, and all the other forms of music sing about love. Poetry, novels, plays and the arts are all about love. Love, love, love… (more…)

I watch occasionally on YouTube a TED (Technology, Education, Design) talk which claims to “challenge our core beliefs in search of deeper truth, while we celebrate the thinkers, dreamers and mavericks who dare to offer bold new alternatives.” (more…)

March 8, 2015 marks International Women’s Day. The UN and the majority of the nations of the world need to co-operate together to place pressure on the United States to pass laws to give women in the US a real voice in the running of America. (more…)

I recall in the late 1970s reading the Poem Call Me by My True Names by the beloved Buddhst monk, Venerable Thich Nhat Hahn. The poem has perhaps became the best loved  poem in the Buddhist world in recent generations.

The poem reminds readers that the self of one is the self of all. In one verse, he wrote:

I am the twelve-year-old girl, refugee on a small boat,

who throws herself into the ocean after being raped by a sea

pirate,

and I am the pirate, my heart not yet capable of seeing and

loving.

To put it another way.

Je Suis Charlie

Je Suis Cherif and Je Suis Said (the brothers who committed murder in Paris)

Originally from Vietnam, Thich Nhat Hahan (often referred to as Thay – Teacher) wrote the poem in response to pirates in the Sea of Siam who routinely robbed, raped and murdered refugees fleeing from Vietnam in the late 1970s. Thay commented on his poem that touched the hearts of many worldwide.

On his poem, Thay, 88,  who lives in France, wrote:

“There are many young girls, boat people, who are raped by sea pirates. Even though the United Nations and many countries try to help the government of Thailand prevent that kind of piracy, sea pirates continue to inflict much suffering on the refugees. One day we received a letter telling us about a young girl on a small boat who was raped by a Thai pirate. She was only twelve, and she jumped into the ocean and drowned herself.

“When you first learn of something like that, you get angry at the pirate. You naturally take the side of the girl. As you look more deeply you will see it differently. If you take the side of the little girl, then it is easy. You only have to take a gun and shoot the pirate. But we cannot do that. In my meditation, I saw that if I had been born in the village of the pirate and raised in the same conditions as he was, there is a great likelihood that I would become a pirate.”

Call Me by My True Names

Do not say that I’ll depart tomorrow

because even today I still arrive.

 Look deeply: I arrive in every second

to be a bud on a spring branch,

to be a tiny bird, with wings still fragile,

learning to sing in my new nest,

to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower,

to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone.

 

I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry,

in order to fear and to hope.

The rhythm of my heart is the birth and

death of all that are alive.

 

I am the mayfly metamorphosing on the surface of the river,

and I am the bird which, when spring comes, arrives in time

to eat the mayfly.

 

I am the frog swimming happily in the clear pond,

and I am also the grass-snake who, approaching in silence,

feeds itself on the frog.

 

I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones,

my legs as thin as bamboo sticks,

and I am the arms merchant, selling deadly weapons to

Uganda.

 

I am the twelve-year-old girl, refugee on a small boat,

who throws herself into the ocean after being raped by a sea

pirate,

and I am the pirate, my heart not yet capable of seeing and

loving.

 

I am a member of the politburo, with plenty of power in my

hands,

and I am the man who has to pay his “debt of blood” to, my

people,

dying slowly in a forced labor camp.

 

My joy is like spring, so warm it makes flowers bloom in all

walks of life.

My pain if like a river of tears, so full it fills the four oceans.

 

Please call me by my true names,

so I can hear all my cries and laughs at once,

so I can see that my joy and pain are one.

 

Please call me by my true names,

so I can wake up,

and so the door of my heart can be left open,

the door of compassion.

 

Let us remember what Thich Nhat Hanh wrote.

 “In my meditation I saw that if I had been born in the village of the pirate and raised in the same conditions as he was, there is a great likelihood that I would become a pirate.”

 MAY ALL BEINGS KNOW THE SELF OF ONE IS THE SELF OF ALL

MAY ALL BEINGS LIVE WITH COMPASSION

MAY ALL BEINGS LIVE WITH WISDOM

 

We have seen countless numbers of Western citizens in the last week or so proudly hold up a “Je Suis Charlie” sign to express their identity with Charlie Hebdo, the Parisian magazine whose cartoonists and others were mercilessly gunned down this month. (more…)

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