The Best Gift

By Chan Ngo (Vinh Nguyen) mb26-TheBestMy mother was a wonderful person, very devoted to her three children. She worked extremely hard to nourish us and provide us with whatever we needed to study and succeed in our lives. When she passed away, I was studying in a foreign country far from home, following her wishes. Knowing that her time had come, my mother told my brother and sister not to tell me immediately of her death. She feared that the bad news would disturb my study. So I did not learn the sad news until a year later, after I had finished my second engineering degree. You can see how thoughtful and wonderful my mother was. But since that day, I kept regretting that I was so far away from her for all those years. I felt remorse about not being able to fulfill my duties as a good son. My sadness, motivated by remorse and regret, became a habit energy—one that did not bring happiness to me or to others.

Then one day, I received a booklet by Thay, A Rose for Your Pocket. Reading it brought tears to my eyes. I wanted so much to meet the author of this poignant essay. When I finally met Thay, my view was opened with his teachings. As I learned to come back to myself through the practice of mindful breathing, I started to gain some sovereignty over my own house—my own body and mind. Mindfulness allows me to see my mother in me, and. in my children. I learned that the best way to thank my mother is to take care of myself. To let myself be carried away by sadness, regret, and remorse is to go against her love, her will, and her devoted hardship. With time and practice, my sadness has been washed away and I can smile each time the image of my mother appears in my memory. With prudent steps and profound gratitude for all the wonderful things I encounter, I walk forward in life.

Dharma teacher Chan Ngo (Nguyen Duy Vinh) practices with the Ottawa and Maple Village Sanghas.

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