A dream of my mother - Thich Nhat Hanh

Thich Nhat Hanh was a Buddhist monk from Vietnam was passed away last week. I know very little about him so I am looking forward to learning more about his life and work from Fran Bak, an ambassador of oneness at DhunAnand who happened to be at Thay’s monastery in Vietnam when this happened. We will likely get together on a zoom call for this on March 3 - the 40th day from his passing.

What I do find intriguing is why this Buddhist monk obtained initial fame. As an article in the economist says, “At a time when the Vietnamese Buddhist establishment was largely apolitical, he believed Buddhists had to engage directly with people’s suffering — and that meant getting involved in the political life of the nation.” The courage to stand against what was wrong was the lesson of his life.

This reminds me of Guru Nanak’s poem highlighting Babar’s torture, Jaisi Main Aveh. At a time when most Bhakti saints were largely apolitical, Guru Nanak included in his definition of singing of truth/remembrance of oneness, standing against atrocities.

The following is one of his writings that inspires a beautiful way of dealing with loss.

A dream of my mother - Thich Nhat Hanh.

The day my mother died I wrote in my journal, "A serious misfortune of my life has arrived." I suffered for more than one year after the passing away of my mother.

But one night, in the highlands of Vietnam, I was sleeping in the hut in my hermitage. I dreamed of my mother. I saw myself sitting with her, and we were having a wonderful talk. She looked young and beautiful, her hair flowing down. It was so pleasant to sit there and talk to her as if she had never died.

When I woke up it was about two in the morning, and I felt very strongly that I had never lost my mother. The impression that my mother was still with me was very clear.

I understood then that the idea of having lost my mother was just an idea. It was obvious in that moment that my mother is always alive in me.

I opened the door and went outside. The entire hillside was bathed in moonlight. It was a hill covered with tea plants, and my hut was set behind the temple halfway up. Walking slowly in the moonlight through the rows of tea plants, I noticed my mother was still with me. She was the moonlight caressing me as she had done so often, very tender, very sweet... wonderful!

Each time my feet touched the earth I knew my mother was there with me. I knew this body was not mine but a living continuation of my mother and my father and my grandparents and great-grandparents. Of all my ancestors. Those feet that I saw as "my" feet were actually "our" feet. Together my mother and I were leaving footprints in the damp soil.

From that moment on, the idea that I had lost my mother no longer existed. All I had to do was look at the palm of my hand, feel the breeze on my face or the earth under my feet to remember that my mother is always with me, available at any time.


  1. Dear Shivpreet ji
    I have been a devoted listener of the shabads and other music compositions performed by you and your colleagues for several years. Thank you for providing comfort and peace whenever I sought it.
    Just read this blog. I have enjoyed Thich Nhat Hanh's discourses and his thoughts resonate deeply with me. In commenting on your blog, I am taking the liberty of humbly attaching the link to my own blog on Ma (https://wealthisnotmoney.com/2016/05/07/ma/).
    Best wishes for a safe, healthy and peaceful 2023.