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Call Me By My True Names by Thich Nhat Hanh by FretsMakesMusic

Call Me By My True Names by Thich Nhat Hanh

Call Me By My True Names by Thich Nhat Hanh


18 February 2018 at 23:40:03 MST

Content warning: Reference to rape

I came across this poem today because it was referenced in this Dharma talk given by Ajahn Brahm
The poem itself is by another great monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, of the Vietnamese zen tradition. In this talk, Ajahn Brahm gives a little bit of the context for the poem in this talk, which is also on a related subject matter to the poem, which is true compassion. The transcript I am reading from can be found here:
For a non-furry link to my reading, click here:

Do not say that I'll depart tomorrow
because even today I still arrive.

Look deeply: I arrive in every second
to be a bud on a spring branch,
to be a tiny bird, with wings still fragile,
learning to sing in my new nest,
to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower,
to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone.

I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry,
in order to fear and to hope.
The rhythm of my heart is the birth and
death of all that are alive.

I am the mayfly metamorphosing on the surface of the river,
and I am the bird which, when spring comes, arrives in time
to eat the mayfly.

I am the frog swimming happily in the clear pond,
and I am also the grass-snake who, approaching in silence,
feeds itself on the frog.

I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones,
my legs as thin as bamboo sticks,
and I am the arms merchant, selling deadly weapons to Uganda.

I am the twelve-year-old girl, refugee on a small boat,
who throws herself into the ocean after being raped by a sea pirate,
and I am the pirate, my heart not yet capable of seeing and loving.

I am a member of the politburo, with plenty of power in my hands,
and I am the man who has to pay his "debt of blood" to, my people,
dying slowly in a forced labor camp.

My joy is like spring, so warm it makes flowers bloom in all walks of life.
My pain is like a river of tears, so full it fills the four oceans.

Please call me by my true names,
so I can hear all my cries and laughs at once,
so I can see that my joy and pain are one.

Please call me by my true names,
so I can wake up,
and so the door of my heart can be left open,
the door of compassion.

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