Thich Nhat Hanh On Seeing Ourselves In All Beings and All Beings In Us
An excerpt from his book "No Death, No Fear."
Thich Nhat Hanh On Seeing Ourselves In All Beings and All Beings In Us
By Thich Nhat Hanh / spiritualityandpractice.com
Mar 9, 2016

Strengthened by the love of bodhisattvas, I am able to see myself in all the beings who suffer. I am one with those who were born disabled or who have become disabled because of war, accident or illness. I am one with those who are caught in a situation of war or oppression. I am one with those who find no happiness in family life, who have no roots or peace of mind, who are hungry for something beautiful and wholesome to embrace and to believe in. I am someone at the point of death who is very afraid, who does not know what is going to happen and fears being destroyed. I am a child who lives in a place where there is miserable poverty and disease, whose legs and arms are sticks, and who has no future. I am also the manufacturer of bombs, which are sold to poor countries. I am the frog swimming in the pond and I am also the snake who needs the body of the frog to nourish its own body. I am the caterpillar or the ant that the bird is looking to eat, but I am also the bird that is looking for the insect to eat. I am the forest that is being cut down. I am the rivers that are being polluted, and I am the person who cuts down the forest and pollutes the rivers and the air. I see myself in all beings and I see all beings in me.

BECOMING THE PIRATE

In touching the earth, we touch the great beings, and we also touch all the suffering beings. We must be in touch with both. We must remember that there are beings caught in the deepest kind of suffering, like war, oppression and injustice. They have no way to speak out about the suffering and injustice that they have to bear. There are pirates who are raping young girls. There are rich merchants selling arms to poor nations where children do not have food to eat or schools to attend. There are factory owners who use children as their workforce. There are people who are dying in prisons and reeducation camps. In leprosy camps there are children and adults without limbs, illiterate and without hope. These hell realms need bodhisattvas.

When we stand before the mountain or flower and visualize just before we touch the earth the second time, we see that we are not only bodhisattvas but we are also the victims of oppression, discrimination and injustice. With the energy of the bodhisattvas we embrace victims everywhere. We are the pirate about to rape the young girl and we are the young girl who is about to be raped. Because we have no separate selves, we are all interconnected and we are with all of them.

How we live our life affects everything. So we must think, How have we lived our life so that that young man in Thailand has been able to become a rapist? We have only looked to our own material needs. The family into which that young man was born has been stuck in miserable poverty for many generations. His father was a fisherman who only knew one way to forget his troubles and that was by drinking. He did not know how to bring up his sons, and he beat them often. His mother did not know how to provide education for her children. At thirteen years old he had to accompany his father on the boat and learn to be a fisherman. When his father died he continued in his father's place. He had no resources of understanding and love. He was tempted to become a pirate because in just one day a pirate can have real gold, which could lift him out of his miserable state that he feared would go on forever. On the ocean there was no police force, so why not follow the example of the other pirates and rape the young girls on the boat they plundered?

If we had a gun we could shoot that young man, and he would die, but would it not have been better to help him to understand and to love? Where were the politicians, the statesmen and the educators to help him?

Last night on the shores of Thailand hundreds of babies were born to fishing families. If those children are not properly cared for, brought up and educated, some of them will become pirates. Whose fault is that? It is our fault: statesmen, politicians, the electorate who puts them in power and the educators. We cannot blame only that young man. If I had been born a poor child who was never educated, who had a mother and a father who were illiterate, who had been poor all their lives and did not know how to bring me up, I could have become a pirate. If you were to shoot me dead, would it solve anything? Who is that pirate? He could be me, and the child he raped could also be me.

All the suffering of living beings is our own suffering. We have to see that we are they and they are us. When we see their suffering, an arrow of compassion and love enters our hearts. We can love them, embrace them and find a way to help. Only then are we not overwhelmed by despair at their situation. Or our own.

Read a review of this book.

3.5 ·
1
Trending Today
10 Words Every Girl Should Learn
Soraya Chemaly · 14,615 views today · "Stop interrupting me."  "I just said that." "No explanation needed." In fifth grade, I won the school courtesy prize. In other words, I won an award for being polite. My...
How Norway Avoided Becoming a Fascist State
George Lakey · 12,768 views today · Instead of falling to the Nazi party, Norway broke through to a social democracy. Their history shows us polarization is nothing to despair over.
What Happens When You Rebel Against the Herd
Sofo Archon · 7,419 views today · Are You Truly Living Your Life? You live, but are you living the way you want to live, or the way others want you to live? You choose, but are your choices based on...
Where the Term "Redneck" Came From
15 min · 7,291 views today · If you don't know this story, you'll never look at the word the same again.  This is just a window into the sometimes shocking, subversive and untold history of the United...
Without Saying a Word This 6 Minute Clip From Samsara Will Make You Speechless
6 min · 7,233 views today · Can you put this video into words? It's a clip from the phenomenal documentary Samsara, directed by Ron Fricke, who also made Baraka.  If you're interested in watching...
Everything We Think We Know About Addiction Is Wrong
6 min · 5,748 views today · What causes addiction? Easy, right? Drugs cause addiction. But maybe it is not that simple. This video is adapted from Johann Hari's New York Times best-selling book 'Chasing...
Artificial Ethics and the Search for Intelligence
5 min · 3,487 views today · How to stop a robot turning evil.  It's 2027 and Mental Endeavours Ltd has a problem with their flagship robot Günther. How do you program an intelligent machine not to...
How a Lack of Touch Is Destroying Men
Mark Green · 2,547 views today · Why Men Need More Platonic Touch in their Lives
Two Ways to Build Global Community
Dan Hind · 1,613 views today · A platform co-operative approach to information, rather than the models of Facebook and legacy media, provide reason for optimism, writes Dan Hind.
Philippine Vigils Against Vigilantes - The Reign of Terror in the President's War on Drugs
7 min · 1,502 views today · The war on drugs waged by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has taken more than 7,000 lives since its inception. It took the killing of a South Korean businessman by police...
Charles Eisenstein: The Two Great Stories That Give Meaning to Our Lives
6 min · 1,402 views today · What matters in life? Who are we? Every culture has answers to these questions. And the way we answer them has profound effects on the health of people and planet. This is a...
Films for Action's Public Film Screening Guide
Tim Hjersted and Matt Toplikar · 1,288 views today · This guide will give you step by step instructions on how to host Films For Action sponsored film screening events in your city. It is intended primarily for people who have...
System Change Will Not Be Negotiated
Nnimmo Bassey · 1,153 views today · We frequently hear calls for system change, at public mobilisations, in conference halls and even in negotiation halls. The calls come as slogans, they come in anger and they...
The Coming War on China
John Pilger · 1,067 views today · A major US military build-up – including nuclear weapons – is under way in Asia and the Pacific with the purpose of confronting China. John Pilger raises the alarm on an...
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 1,023 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed (The Real Reason For The Forty-Hour Workweek)
David Cain · 994 views today · Well I’m in the working world again. I’ve found myself a well-paying gig in the engineering industry, and life finally feels like it’s returning to normal after my nine months...
Real Underground Kingdom That Has Existed for Millions of Years Went Unnoticed, Until Recently...
Kid Krunk · 899 views today · 28 Stunning Photos Of The World’s Largest Cave
Murdoch and Trump, Sitting at the Tee, S-C-H-E-M-I-N-G
Frankie Boyle · 820 views today · Say what you like about Donald Trump but he's already done things people said were impossible, like made Twitter worse. Looking back, the Harambe situation is the closest...
A Hauntingly Beautiful Short Film About Life and Death
5 min · 681 views today · The Life of Death is a touching handdrawn animation about the day Death fell in love with Life.
What Makes Call-Out Culture So Toxic
Asam Ahmad · 664 views today · Call-out culture refers to the tendency among progressives, radicals, activists, and community organizers to publicly name instances or patterns of oppressive behaviour and...
Load More
What's Next
Like us on Facebook?
Thich Nhat Hanh On Seeing Ourselves In All Beings and All Beings In Us