Our teacher has said that the Dharma seal of Plum Village is I have arrived, I am home.
Now, after thirty-nine years in exile, Thich Nhat Hanh has been invited to return to Vietnam. When I heard this news, my eyes ﬁlled with tears of gratitude. I can only imagine what it must mean to be able to see the landscape, to smell the ﬂowers, and to hear the birds of your native land after such a long time.
And yet, I know that our teacher goes in freedom, because he has found his true home. As he says, this journey is an offering to the ancestors, to the land and the people, given in generosity from an already full heart.
In a Dharma talk given at the Colors of Compassion retreat last March at Deer Park Monastery, Thay spoke about how so many of us have not been able to ﬁnd a home in this world, reminding us that ﬁnding our true home depends on the simple practice of coming to rest in each breath.
Thay says: “Our true home is life, our true home is the present moment, whatever is happening right here and right now. Our true home is the place without discrimination, the place without hatred. Our true home is the place where we no longer seek, no longer wish, no longer regret.”
An article about a couple who escaped from Vietnam as boat people exempliﬁes how to live with courage and compassion. Also featured in this issue are stories and poems from participants at the Colors of Compassion retreat. Sr. Chau Nghiem, coordinator for the retreat, offers her understanding of the blessings and challenges growing up as a person of color in an interview with Larry Ward.
The section “Practice in the World” offers examples of committing to and offering the mindfulness trainings in a nonsectarian way. We hear wisdom from Thay on the roots of violence and abuse in times of war. Also included are stories and poems from monks who participated in an ancient, indigenous people’s ceremony.
In a rich variety of daily practice tips, Sangha members offer concrete teachings on eating, being in touch with the moon, making soymilk, and sweeping. The practice of mindfulness is for each moment of our lives, from bathroom activities in the morning to lying down to sleep at night. May we make each moment count, may we be fully alive to each precious breath.