asking for/giving help

Invoking the Name of Avalokitesvara

By Sister Giac Nghiem

Before l was a nun, I found Avalokitesvara one day at my acupuncturist's office. He had a beautiful statue of Avalokitesvara and told me that she has the same energy as Mother Mary. I felt I had met Mother Mary in another form, with the same energy of love and understanding.

I ask for help from Avalokitesvara in this way: when someone close to me is suffering, asking me for advice I say "Oh my friend Avalokita, I know you are everywhere. I need your help because I am so small and so young on the path. I do not know how to answer those who are close to me and need help." Always I have faith that she is here and helping me. I have never seen or heard her, but in my heart I know that she is here.

At the beginning of my nun's life I cried a lot. Sometimes I felt that Avalokitesvara helped me come out of my suffering by becoming a drowning mouse or an abandoned cat by the side of the road or a snail about to be crushed under someone's feet. I took care of every animal or plant I found that had a problem. l said to her, "Oh today you have turned yourself into a mouse drowning in the water because you know that l am drowning in my suffering and you are giving me something to do. You put the mouse that is nearly dead into my hand to help my compassion to grow." My only prayer is to say to her, "Avalokitesvara, my beloved, please put me exactly where someone needs me and help me to be your hands, to be your eyes, to be your ears, to be your body.  Please help me to open my heart and I am sure I can help."

Excerpted from an interview with Sister Giac Nghiem by Sister Steadiness, September 2002.

Sister Giac Nghiem, True Adornment with Awakening, ordained as a nun in 1999. She is French and has helped for many years with the Hungry Children programs in Vietnam as a lay­woman and now as a nun.

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