Memorial Pins to Commemorate Thich Nhat Hanh

Memorial pins are often worn in Asian countries when someone in our family has passed away. It also allows others to recognize that we have lost someone dear to us.

Monastics in Tu Hieu Temple, Hue, are offering memorial pins to those who come to pay respects to our teacher, Thay.

Den di thong dong” means “Coming and going in freedom”.

We are offering a graphic of the memorial pin for you to print out at home so that you can make your own pin. You may like to print it out on yellow coloured paper. You can wear it over your heart in remembrance of our teacher.

You can also download the image here.

Coming and Going in Freedom

The phrase “Den di thong dong” originates in a letter Thay wrote to his students in 2001. We invite you to come back to your breathing and to read the letter below with an open heart.

April 22, 2001

“Still I come and go freely
Unconcerned with being or non-being
With mindful steps you arrive in freedom
Neither waxing or waning is the moon.”

With mindful steps you arrive in freedom — this is your practice. The guiding principle for the practice lies entirely in the word “arrive.” To arrive means to no longer run, to no longer strive. To arrive means to have found a path for ourselves. To arrive means to come back to your true home. To arrive means to come home to our Ancestors, our country, our parents, our Teacher, to the Dharma, to the Sangha. Our true home means there is warmth, peace and happiness. To arrive also means to come home to our descendants. If we are not present for our descendants, how lost they must feel, and we ourselves also feel lost. Please read the chapter on King Trần Thái Tông in The History of Vietnamese Buddhism. (Việt Nam Phật Giáo Sử Luận, Book 1) The King had also described his practice as one of coming home.

“Arriving in freedom” means we don’t need to rush, because according to our practice, we can already arrive at each step. With only one step we arrive, we are home. And so, the word freedom here is very important.

For a long time, we have gone against the stream of our true nature,
floundering in the ocean of sorrows and the river of confusion,
unable to see a way out or a path to our true home.

These lines in the chant “Repentence and Taking Refuge for Life” also call us to come back to our true nature. With each step taken in freedom, you arrive at every moment, at every second. This practice can bring us happiness, peace and relaxation. These elements can nourish you, the sangha, Thay, your parents, your ancestors and descendants.

Thay’s practice is no different. “Still, I come and go freely.” So long as Thay is coming and going, moving around with freedom, Thay remains a refuge for you, for all of you. And as long as you still come back to your steps in freedom, you remain a place of refuge and continuation of Thay. And although in the outer appearance we may see a form waning and waxing, in essence, the moon is still the moon: It is not obscured by notions of round or crescent. “Neither waning or waxing is the moon.”


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What is Mindfulness

Thich Nhat Hanh January 15, 2020

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