Leaves of Faith

Whoever has come to understand the world

Jesus said, "Whoever has come to understand the world has found only a corpse, and whoever has found a corpse is superior to the world."

Thomas 42: 30-33

May all beings be happy

May all beings be happy. May they be joyous and live in safety. All living beings, whether weak or strong, in high or middle or low realms of existence, small or great, visible or invisible, near or far, born or to be born, may all beings be happy. Let no one deceive another, nor despise any being in any state; let none by anger or hatred wish harm to another. Even as a mother, at the risk of her own life, watches over and protects her only child, so with a boundless mind should one cherish all living things, suffusing love over the entire world -- above, below, and all around without limit.

- from the Metta Sutta

Leaves of Grass

This is what you shall do: Love the earth and the sun and the animals; despise riches, give alms to everyone who asks; stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others; hate tyrants; argue not concerning God; have patience and indulgence toward the people. ... re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book; dismiss what insults your soul, and your very flesh shall become a great poem. - Walt Whitman

Call Me by My True Names

Do not say that I'll depart tomorrow -
even today I am still arriving.

Look deeply: every second I am arriving
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,
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 the grass-snake who, approaching silently,
feeds 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 my cries and laughs all 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.

- Thich Nhat Hanh

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Acknowledgments

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