Part 1: Who is Tired? (Two Stories for children, and adults)
Brother Phap Ung begins by telling two stories that help us to touch the insight of interbeing. The first story tells of our teacher Thay (zen master Thich Nhat Hanh) as a young monk, working in the garden with his teacher in the heat of summer. Thay’s teacher suddenly looks at Thay in the eyes and says: “I feel so hot and tired. When I die, I will not have to endure such feelings anymore”. Then seeing that Thay doesn’t understand, he asks again: “But who is it that won’t be tired?”.
The second story invites us to look deeply at a tree branch. On this branch, there are old leaves, younger leaves, very tiny leaves and leaves still to sprout. Are these leaves separate from each other or are they all connected? And once a leaf goes back to the Earth, does it actually die?
Part 2: You are wonderful as you are
Br. Phap Ung continues by sharing his experiences and insights on the deep teaching on no-birth and no-death. What we have received from our teacher Thay representing our ancestral lineage is so precious. We are shown how to live with birth and death but at the same time touch the dimension of the unborn and undying.
In everyone of us, there is a desire to continue, as an individual or a species, as well as a fear of death. This creates a vicious circle that gives rise to a lot of suffering and difficulties. It is the insight of interbeing that can help us to break through this circle. This insight leads to peace and happiness and these two energies embrace the fear and the struggle, and take care of the desire to continue. It is also the insight of interbeing that helps us to be there for Mother Earth in this difficult moment.
Practicing to dwell happily in the present moment is part of our path to touch interbeing. This practice helps us to see that life is wonderful as it is. We don’t need to wait until we have transformed all of our suffering to be happy. We ourselves are part of the wonderful manifestation of life. We allow ourselves to be happy by taking good care of ourselves. That way, we strengthen our immune system and it will take care of our suffering. We need to go step by step on the path of practice.
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