Returning Home

The wind still continues its course, my child,while the faraway rain tries to connect with the nearby clouds. Drops of sunlight are falling down so that Earth can see the blue sky.

As for myself, I am still coming and going with ease, being and non-being, coming and going are not my concern. On your way home, my child, let your steps be solid and free. There is no waxing, no waning, there is only a moon.

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"On your way home, my child, let your steps be solid and free." This is your practice. In Vietnamese we use the word, ve, meaning, "coming home" or "returning." The way of practice lies within this word, "returning home." Returning here means to give up your wandering and searching. Returning here means that we have seen our path. Returning here is to return home, to come home to the island of yourself, to come home to your true nature. Returning here means to come home to our ancestors, to our homeland, to our parents, to our teachers, to the true Dharma, to the Sangha. The homeland is where there is love, understanding, warmth, and peace. Returning here also means to return to our descendants. If we don't return to our children and our grandchildren they will feel abandoned. We ourselves will also feel abandoned. My child, you can read the chapter speaking of the King Tran Thai Tong, the Bamboo Forest Master, in the first volume of The History of Vietnamese Buddhism. The King described his practice as returning home, "coming back to myself in freedom." You don't have to hurry because according to our practice each step can bring us home. We only need to make one step in order to arrive home.

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"We have been going against the stream of our true nature for a long time. We have been floating on the sea of suffering, drifting on the river of illusion." These two phrases are from the sutra Quy Mang. These two phrases call us to wake up, to return home to ourselves. With each step taken in freedom you return home, in each minute, in each second. This practice brings happiness, peace, joy and freedom. These elements are nourishing you, are nourishing the Sangha, are nourishing Thay, are nourishing our parents, our ancestors and our descendants.

The practice of Thay is no different. "As for myself, I am still coming and going with ease." As long as Thay is still coming, going and moving around with freedom, then Thay is still a place of refuge for all of you. Wllen you are still coming back to yourself with each step taken in freedom then you are still a place of refuge and you are still Thay's continuation. Looking outside we may be caught in the play of light and shadow on the moon, making it appear to wax and to wane. But seeing into its true nature, we know the moon is always full. The concepts of appearance and disappearance do not affect the moon. "There is no waxing, no waning, there is only a moon."

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