|Bat Nha: a Koan|
I AM A MONASTIC FROM THE BAT NHA COMMUNITY. Bat Nha is my koan and I have the opportunity to look deeply into it in every moment of my daily life. Every day I contemplate the koan of Bat Nha – I sit with it in meditation, I walk with it in mindfulness, I am with it when I cook, when I wash my clothes, peel vegetables or sweep the floor; in every moment Bat Nha is my koan. I must produce mindfulness and concentration, because for me it is a matter of life and death, of my ideals and my future.
We know we’ve been successful in our practice, because despite all the oppression and harassment, many of us in our community can still laugh and be fresh as flowers. We are still able to generate peace and love, and not be dragged down by worries, fears or hatred. Yet there are those of us who are still suffering, weighed down by the trauma of the days when Bat Nha and Phuoc Hue Temple were attacked. One of the nuns offered an insight poem to our teacher. She wrote, “The Bat Nha of yesterday has become rain, falling to the earth, sprouting the seed of awakening.” This nun is barely 18 years old, not even two years ordained, but she has successfully penetrated the koan of Bat Nha.
All we want is to practice – why can’t we? The senior monks of Vietnam want to protect and sponsor us – so why does the government stop them? We don’t know anything about politics, it doesn’t interest us at all – so why do they keep accusing us of meddling in politics and saying Bat Nha is a threat to national security? Why was dispersing Bat Nha so important that they had to resort to using hired mobs, slander, deceit, beatings and threats? The attackers were the age of our fathers and uncles; how could they have done that to us? If the government forbids us from living together and forces us, down to the last person, to scatter in all directions, how will our community ever be reunited? Why is it that in other countries people can practice this tradition freely, and we can't?” These questions come up relentlessly and will not go away. They yearn to be answered.
During the time of sitting meditation, walking meditation, or listening to a Dharma talk; while cooking, gardening, or doing other work in mindfulness, we generate the energy of mindfulness and concentration. This energy is like fire that burns away all the haunting thoughts and questions.
The Bat Nha of yesterday was happiness. We could be true to ourselves and live the way we wanted to live. For the first time in our lives we were in an environment where we could speak openly and share our deepest thoughts and feelings with our brothers and sisters – without suspicion, without fear of betrayal. We had the opportunity as young people to serve the world, in the spirit of true brotherhood and sisterhood. This was the greatest happiness. Then Bat Nha became a nightmare, but no-one will ever take from us the inner freedom we discovered there. I have found my path. Whether or not Bat Nha exists, I am no longer afraid. I can see that Bat Nha has become rain, helping the indestructible diamond seed of awakening to sprout within us. Even though we were forced from Phuoc Hue, and Bat Nha is no more, the seeds of awakening that have been planted in our hearts can never be taken away. Thay has taught each one of his students to become a Bat Nha, a Phuong Boi. We are Thay's continuation and we know that we will make many more Bat Nha’s and Phuong Boi’s in the future.
We already have the seed and we already have our path, so we are no longer afraid for the future – our own, or that of our country. Tomorrow we will have the chance to help those who persecute us today. They may not see that now, but later they will understand. We know that many of those who attacked us and made us suffer have already begun to see the truth. Prejudices and wrong perceptions like those that built the Berlin Wall eventually collapse and disintegrate. There is no need to worry or despair. We can laugh as brightly as the morning sun.
- 23/06/2011 05:44 - 100 Days Tsunami
- 23/01/2010 08:35 - The Indestructible Seed of Awakening
- 12/11/2009 00:00 - Rekindling the Sacred Fire: Thay’s letter to the Bat Nha monastic brothers and sisters
- 17/10/2009 12:53 - Magical Sound of the Sitar: Thay’s letter to the Bat Nha monastic brothers and sisters
- 10/10/2009 12:01 - Diamond Body: Thay’s letter to the Bat Nha monastic brothers and sisters
- 01/09/2009 06:01 - A Young Monastic’s Dream
Last Updated (Monday, 25 January 2010 01:53)