Poem: Full Moon Festival

By Thich Nhat Hanh


This poem was written in response to Vietnamese Dhyana master Lieu Quan (1670–1742), whose poem of insight has this sentence: “If I had realized that the lamp is fire itself, the rice would have been cooked for a long time already!” The insight poem was presented to his teacher, Master Tu Dung, in 1708.

What will happen when form collides with emptiness, and what will happen when perception enters non-perception? Come here with me, friend. Let’s watch together. Do you see the two clowns, life and death setting up a play on a stage? Here comes Autumn. The leaves are ripe. Let the leaves fly. A festival of colors, yellow, red. The branches have held on to the leaves during Spring and Summer. This morning they let them go. Flags and lanterns are displayed. Everyone is here at the Full Moon Festival.

Friend, what are you waiting for? The bright moon shines above us. There are no clouds tonight. Why bother to ask about lamps and fire? Why talk about cooking dinner? Who is searching and who is finding? Let us just enjoy the moon, all night.

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