Sunday, January 23, 2022

A Breathing Room

Texted from my mother to my sister in 2015

Thich Nhat Hanh,
Peace Is Every Step (1992)
Maxine Wolf,
Photo of Book Sent to Daughter (2015)

A Breathing Room - An Embassy of the Kingdom of Peace

I recommend that we set up a small room in our homes and call it a "breathing room," where we can be alone and practice just breathing and smiling, at least in difficult moments. That little room should be regarded as an Embassy of the Kingdom of Peace. It should be respected, and not violated by anger, shouting, or things like that. When a child is about to be shouted at, she can take refuge in that room. Neither the father nor the mother can shout at her anymore. She is safe within the grounds of the Embassy. Parents sometimes will need to take refuge in that room, also, to sit down, breathe, smile, and restore themselves. Therefore, that room is for the benefit of the whole family.

Invite The Bell To Sound 

I suggest that the breathing room be decorated very simply, and not be too bright. You may want to have a small bell, one with a beautiful sound, a few cushions or chairs, and perhaps a vase of flowers to remind us of our true nature. You or your children can arrange flowers in mindfulness, smiling. Every time you feel a little upset, you know that the best thing to do is to go to that room, open the door slowly, sit down, invite the bell to sound -- in my country we don't say "strike" or "hit"a bell -- and begin to breathe. The bell will help not only the person in the breathing room, but the others in the house as well.

Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace Is Every Step

Thich Nhat Hanh

11 October 1926 -- 22 January 2022

Ocean Vuong, Instagram Post (2022)

Ocean Vuong, Instagram Post (2022)


Thank you, teacher, for being. How proud I am to come from the land you come from, how proud I am to call myself Vietnamese. And Buddhist. And prouder still to know these labels are not fixed, are but merely shells, upturned rafts we use to make it ashore. Thank you for helping us ashore. But most of all, thank you for preparing us for us.

Nam-mô A-di-đà Phật

"This body is not me.
I am not limited by this body. 
I am life without boundaries. 
I have never been born,
and I have never died. 
Look at the ocean and the sky filled with stars, manifestations from my wondrous true mind. Since before time, I have been free. Birth and death are only doors through which we pass, sacred thresholds on our journey. Birth and death are a game of hide-and-seek.
So laugh with me,
hold my hand,
let us say good-bye,
say good-bye, to meet again soon.

We meet today.
We will meet again tomorrow.
We will meet at the source every moment. We meet each other
in all forms of life." 

Thich Nhat Hanh

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