Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Existential angst, Thich Nhat Hanh & Lettuce

I've been cruising Cyberspace this morning, looking for a relevant quote attributed to Thich Nhat Hanh, an old friend from my Zen Lutheran days who popped up unexpectedly in the "rough cut" of another friend's documentary about U.S. military veterans that I've watched during the course of two evenings.

The documentary isn't mine to write or talk about at the moment, although it's powerful stuff, but anyone can write or talk about Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk, teacher, author and peace activist who gained worldwide attention first in the 1960s, now in his 88th year.

At the time, I was struggling a little to make sense of Vietnam --- as veterans of it did then, and still do --- and realizing that the right-beliefs of various Christian expressions I'd explored had little personal relevance.

But that perhaps there was relevance in the right-actions --- principally unconditional love and service --- prescribed by the man generally acknowledged as the source of Christianity --- to which I was culturally drawn in the search for community (and still am).

Thich Nhat Hanh has written now and then about parallels between the mind of Christ and the mind of the Buddha. But that's too complicated a topic for a Tuesday morning.


Also this week, I've been attending to what's blooming in the garden --- including that pink blossom at the top. God, if anywhere or everywhere, is in the details.

 And to all the angst out there --- Facebook is an amazing place to explore angst. Somebody should write a book. And when you tire of that, there's always the news: Deluded people shooting police officers in Las Vegas; five NATO troops dead in Afghanistan.

Golly, I'd forgotten there was a war in Afganistan. How did that happen?


Here's the quote I picked:

“When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you don't blame the lettuce. You look for reasons it is not doing well. It may need fertilizer, or more water, or less sun. You never blame the lettuce. Yet if we have problems with our friends or family, we blame the other person. But if we know how to take care of them, they will grow well, like the lettuce. Blaming has no positive effect at all, nor does trying to persuade using reason and argument. That is my experience. No blame, no reasoning, no argument, just understanding. If you understand, and you show that you understand, you can love, and the situation will change” 

Make of it what you will.

1 comment:

Brenda said...

Your quote is simple and profound. Thanks.