an unripe plum.
Your teeth have left their marks on it.
The tooth marks still vibrate.
I remember always,
Since I learned how to love you,
the door of my soul.has been left wide open
to the winds of the four directions.
Reality calls for change.
The fruit of awareness is already ripe,
and the door can never be closed again.
Fire consumes this century,
and mountains and forests bear its mark.
The wind howls across my ears,
while the whole sky shakes violently in the snowstorm.
Winter’s wounds lie still,
Missing the frozen blade,
Restless, tossing and turning
in agony all night.
When I was young, I wrote this poem. I penetrated the heart of the Buddha with a heart that was deeply wounded.
I grew up in a time of war. There was destruction all around – children, adults, values, a whole country. As a young person, I suffered a lot. Once the door of awareness has been opened, you cannot close it. The wounds of war in me are still not all healed. There are nights I lie awake and ebmrace my people, my country, and the whole planet with my mindful breathing.
Without suffering you cannot grow. Without suffering cannot get the peace and joy you deserve. Please don’t run away from your suffering. Embrace it and cherish it. Go to the Buddha, sit with him, and show him your pain. He will look at you with loving kindness, compassion, and mindfulness, and show you ways to embrace your suffering and looking deeply into it. With understanding and compassion, you will be able to heal the wounds in your heart, and the wounds in the world. The Buddha called suffering a Holy Truth, because our suffering has the capacity of showing us the path to liberation. Embrace your suffering, and let it reveal to you the way to peace.
by Thich Nhat Hanh – ‘Call Me By My True Names – Collected Poems of Thich Nhat Hanh’, from “The heart of Buddha’s Teaching” by Thich Nhat Hanh