(Photo by Ariel Poster: Women tend trees with the Green Belt Movement in Kenya)

Friday, July 17, 2009

Bat Nha Monastery

I am in this world to offer you peace;

you are in this world to bring me joy.

(Thich Nhat Hanh, from

“Interrelationship”, 1989.)

Condemned by Communists and non-Communists,

barraged with lies and half-truths,

at last the young people got to meet him.

Thay, “teacher”, came to Viet Nam, and true words were told and heard.

Four hundred young men and women came to build anew their sanctuary,

the place of the Buddha, the sangha.

And now, the mob. Angry thugs,

believing who-knows-what,

come in while the government and police

avert their eyes,

letting the mob do their dirty work,

cutting water lines, befouling the walls,

reaping destruction.

Here, here, are those we have been taught not to hate.

Here, here within our walls is our reminder, “see only love,”

walk in Peace with whatever the Earth brings you.

With no power, no water, no certainty of the future,

the young practitioners remember their sutras,

practice and chant, dig deep for the very core of what is true,

smile, and find the flower abloom once again.

Annelinde Metzner, July 2009

(Photo, young nuns of the Bat Nha monastery in Viet Nam.)

Go to to sign a petition to the Vietnamese consulate to end violence in Bat Nha.

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