Sunday 30 January 2022


This morning, a huge procession left Tu Hieu temple in Hue, Vietnam… thousands of people had traveled from all over the country, lining the path around the half moon pond where Thây had washed his feet as a young novice after taking care of the buffalo in the fields. The great temple gates were opened for the funeral cortège to pass through, and almost thirty pall bearers lifted and carried the heavy chrysanthemum laden casket on to the streets. The crematorium was miles away, so across the world, thousands of us witnessed the greenery and local scenery of Thây’s hometown, as the walking procession took to cars and motorcycles. I was filled with writerly thoughts, which I hope to make sense of someday.

But for now, I wanted to share a little book of poems I wrote for Thây one night, many years ago, when my dear friend and acupuncturist, Dr. Ly, told me that the Plum Village entourage were arriving the next day. I worked all night to put together some of my poems, flowers, leaves and bark from the Silver birch tree in our garden, while my mother sketched Thây as a boy. Dr. Ly told me later that Thây read my poems out loud to the monastics and lay friends at the table, and then seemed so surprised to see himself as a boy, ‘How did she know I looked like that?’ 


Sherry Blue Sky said...

Such a lovely book and what a wonderful thing to do. To have one's words read aloud by Thay must feel like such an honour. And your mother's portrait of him is so beautiful. I loved watching the procession too, the selfless teacher, so long in exile, finally going home.

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