Hair which is the color of precious wood
is now offered as incense.
Beauty becomes eternity.
How wonderful the awareness of impermanence!
Since everything is as a dream,
the true mind is determined to lead the way.
After listening to the voice of the rising tide,
steps are made in the direction of the unconditioned.
The winds chant this morning on the slope of Gridhrakuta.
The mind is no longer bound to anything.
The song now is that of the lovely teaching;
its fragrance is the essence of truth.
In times past, it was with boket water
that her hair was washed,
then dried in the fragrant breeze of the late afternoon.
This morning it is the bodhi nectar that she receives
for the mind of enlightenment to appear in its wholeness.
For twenty-five years
she has made daily offerings
of loving kindness with her hands.
Compassion has never ceased to grow in her heart.
This morning her hair is shed,
and the Way becomes wide open.
Suffering and illusion, though limitless,
are entirely ended.
A heart can touch the ten directions.
This poem was written by Thick Nhat Hanh for Sister Chan Khong the day she shed her hair on Gridhrakuta Mountain to become a nun.