Thich Nguyen Kim about 2006 at Lien Hoa Temple, Olympia, Wash.
The realm of return is still there
where human love is built.
Allow me to give the gift of a happy and cheerful smile in the foreign land.
Watching the autumns go by, the devastated forest,
leaf-filled familiar and deserted roads.
But, I feel the warmth of human love in my soul
People remain simple in a complex samsara (earth)
Past gratitude and love fills the immense heaven and earth
Love remains, it is not lost, it has been indestructible for thousands of years
Walking in silence, surrounded by a shining bright light -
Life is a Dream
Life is Poetry…
We come closer to the Departure Day
Every day, every minute, every second
The end of Autumn, leaves are falling everywhere
Clouds flying back to the mountains looking for their native land
This lonely body has been traveling rivers and oceans
Wondering when it can rejoin his Father Amitabha’s land
People suffer by clinging tight to the “I” (ego)
Here is my son, here is my property
My descendants, my ancestor’s heritage,
When Impermanence comes, the “I” no longer is
The body is returned to the land
The marvelous mind remains a thousand autumns
Where do Udumbara( flowers) blossom?
Let me (your teacher) know, as I become forgetful with old age
Presently I am still safe
In Seattle, it is continuously cold and foggy
With dark gray clouds in the sky
Rains and winds everywhere on this earth prison
My heart can’t be at peace from nostalgia for the homeland
Wishing to return to the Amitabha Happy State.
The rich and the intellectual also leave home to cultivate themselves
In order to escape the prison Earth
One would rather bear the sufferings and hardships of self cultivation
in one lifetime
So that the soul can be light and free
Walking on the sidewalk of life
The cycle of birth and death is a normal, natural law
Life still retains the image and the remaining scent
Escaping the extraordinary dream I am leaving...
That’s all, there is no attachment of any kind...
A time for life’s hardships, rain and shine are trivial matters.
(Having been through many of life's hardships I don’t worry about the pouring rain and scorching sun)
It is only a smile. Why be so stingy
as to not gift it to people on earth?
Life has enough grief and sorrows,
A blossomed smile adds fragrance to life.
Thich Nguyen Kim ordained in Vietnam and graduated from Quoc Hoc National College in Hue City. For most of his monastic life, Ven. Kim has served as a dhamma teacher in monasteries and high schools. Three years ago Master Thich Nguyen An invited Ven. Kim to come to Seattle from Chua Nhan Qua Temple in Vietnam. Ven. Kim teaches dhamma to the laity, especially children, at Chua Co Lam Vietnamese Buddhist Temple in Seattle.
Poetry translated from the Vietnamese by Bill Hirsch, a Northwest Dharma Association board member, and an ordained priest in the White Cloud Buddhist Society.
Photo: Ven. Thich Giac Hanh