Home Consciousness Practising Happiness within the Face of Dying 

Practising Happiness within the Face of Dying 

Practising Happiness within the Face of Dying 


Practising Happiness within the Face of Dying

By Anne von er Lühe 

Excerpted from the ebook, Tears Grow to be Rain: Tales of Therapeutic and Transformation Impressed by Thích Nhât Hạnh, edited by Jeanine Cogan and Mary Hillebrand

Driving down the street sooner or later, I heard a radio program in regards to the Vietnamese Zen grasp Thích Nhất Hạnh, who had opened a observe heart in Germany. Retreats had been deliberate there for the approaching summer season. Though I knew nothing about Buddhism or Vietnamese tradition, I had the sensation that this data would change my life. Not figuring out what to anticipate at a Zen heart, I used to be afraid of creating all kinds of embarrassing errors. However, I had nothing holding me down — no job, no household obligations — and a retreat appeared like the best option to spend what turned out to be the following two years of my life.

The European Institute for Utilized Buddhism (EIAB) in Waldbröl was certainly one of a number of retreat facilities Thầy [the name used by his followers] created all over the world to facilitate the research and observe of mindfulness. As a resident there, I put my skilled expertise to make use of by instructing German to the Vietnamese sisters and brothers, who had been very desperate to be taught, and by translating numerous paperwork and dharma talks to assist develop the neighborhood. I taught the monks and nuns a brand new language, and so they taught me a brand new option to see the world and my place in it. I began with one sentence: “I’m conscious that being completely satisfied comes from my internal angle and doesn’t rely upon exterior circumstances.” The monastics taught me to give attention to dwelling fortunately within the current second by remembering that I have already got greater than sufficient situations to be completely satisfied.

…I used to be constructing a brand new household, a Sangha of monastic sisters and brothers who in each light and energetic methods helped me notice that I had all of the situations inside myself to be completely satisfied. They held my hand when my tears flowed and helped me remodel super unhappiness. We shared many completely satisfied moments — light smiles; lovely, calm walks within the forest; energetic moments enjoying ball collectively; wild adventures sledding down the hill within the apple orchard.

…Residing and practising on the EIAB, I centered on mindfulness expertise — merely making an attempt to see issues as they’re and checking if I might be utterly open to no matter bodily feeling or psychological formation arises. Once I was ordained as a member of the Order of Interbeing, Thầy’s neighborhood of individuals dedicated to mindfulness and compassionate motion in society, I obtained the dharma title True Inclusiveness of the Ocean. There’s a instructing of the Buddha that in the event you pour a handful of salt right into a glass filled with water, the water shall be undrinkable. If you pour a handful of salt into the ocean, nonetheless, the water will not be affected in any substantial manner. I didn’t know the way important such a profound understanding of being current can be for my life. I turned as spacious and open because the ocean.

Seven years later, that’s how I obtained the information that I had metastatic pancreatic most cancers. The most cancers had already unfold to my liver, and my scenario was a lot direr than my first analysis had been. Listening to this information, I used to be capable of settle for it with out resistance. In my thoughts I felt sturdy just like the mountains and agency just like the earth. I used to be calm, I felt room inside, and I used to be not crowded by despair or uneasiness. I used to be open just like the ocean.

Now I skilled first-hand what I had realized: in the event you can settle for sick well being in your physique, you endure a lot much less. I believed to myself, That’s it, and there’s nothing else to do however breathe.

The night time following the analysis, I lay awake for some time. I recalled how I had been confronted with demise fourteen years earlier, and the way alone I had felt then. At the moment, I had thought to myself, If I die, I’m utterly alone; I’ve to undertake this journey all on my own. This time, after years of finding out and practising Thầy’s teachings, was completely different. In simply the identical manner that I felt the tender, agency mattress on which I used to be mendacity within the darkness, I additionally felt union with all dwelling creatures, with mom earth, with my family members, and specifically with my Sangha.

In my thoughts’s eye I noticed my mom, my youngsters, and my companion. Alongside them I noticed my beloved academics and dharma sisters and brothers to whom I felt so carefully certain via our journey on the identical path, our shared observe, and the deep expertise of interbeing.

I expertise day-after-day that when the considered demise is absent, worry can be absent: no demise, no worry. This doesn’t imply that I deny my very own mortality. I’m conscious of it each second. That is exactly what makes life so lovely.

I don’t inform myself tales about how dramatic my scenario is. I don’t go on the lookout for data on the web; that motion will not be healthful or useful for me. As an alternative, I’ve full belief in my physician, who’s a really competent and compassionate particular person. On this second, I’m totally conscious that demise is simply a thought. In the future this physique will cease respiratory, this coronary heart will beat its last beat. However that isn’t now; on this second I’ve all of the situations essential to stay a very fantastic life.


—Anne von der Lühe lives in Germany and practices with the Fourfold Sangha in Waldbröl and the Clouds and Sunshine Sangha in Cologne. In her skilled life, she was a highschool trainer of German, French, and Spanish.

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Jeanine Cogan, Ph.D., is a mindfulness meditation trainer and government guide. Mary Hillebrand is a former journal editor and author, and is now a trainer who enjoys sharing mindfulness with youngsters and adults in therapeutic settings. Their new ebook, Tears Grow to be Rain: Tales of Transformation and Therapeutic Impressed by Thích Nhât Hạnh (Parallax Press, Oct. 10, 2023), provides intimate encounters with the knowledge of essentially the most influential monk and peace activist of the previous century. Study extra at parallax.org/product/tears-become-rain/.



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