We’ve received sad news that our old friend, the Pure Land Master Nguyen Kim, died on July 30. Kim was born in Vietnam about 1943, survived the war and the 1968 Tet offensive in a temple in Hue, eventually coming to the U.S. about 2000, and living for many years at Co Lam Pagoda in south Seattle as well as at other temples, transmitting the Dharma, teaching Vietnamese and English, bringing together Asian and Western Buddhists of every tradition, visiting prisons, and sharing his humility and kindness. Kim poured his heart into poems, describing his experiences during the war, and his love of family and all humanity. Here is one:
The pitiful tragedy of war
That causes many miserable sights of death
Inflicts people with unlimited suffering
We pray all human beings awaken to this sight
Let us open our hearts to boundless love and compassion
To generate peace and happiness
Changing the world into paradise
In Memory of My Mother
Yellow autumn leaves falling to their origin,
A bird returns to its origin
To merge its spirit into eternity.
Day by day, the past becomes distant.
Today echoes the lullaby of my gentle mother,
Echoing to the Mother Earth of my homeland.
I offer this love to you, my mother.
Overwhelming menmory which we share,
I send my words of prayer through the wind, which moves the clouds to their origin.
This love warms and soothes the spirit, so that my mother will not suffer.
I chant for my mother so that she will stop worrying.
So that her spirit may be freed and filled with good karma.
At this moment my mother is freed from this life
To enter into the bliss of nirvana for eternity.
I will see you there, my mother! in that eternity where we shall gather in happiness.