On Januray 22 the Vietnamese Buddhist teacher, Thich Nhat Hahn, died in Hue.
He was a friend of Martin Luther King, Jr. and he came to the U.S. in 1965 after a Buddhist monk in Vietnam burned himself to death protesting the war in Vietnam. It was that sacrificial suffering that turned King against the war.
It was Tich’s teaching that there is no birth and no death, according to the heart of Buddhist teaching that made the monk’s immolation a sacrifice like Christ’s, and not a simple suicide. Tich taught that our awareness of life is eternal, had no beginning and has no end. Thus he can end with:
This body is not me. I am not limited by this body. I am life without boundaries. I have never been born, and I have never died.
Here is the direct quote from Thich Nhat Hahn:
“The Buddha has a very different understanding of our existence. It is the understanding that birth and death are notions. They are not real. The fact that we think they are true makes a powerful illusion that causes our suffering. The Buddha taught that there is no birth; there is no death; there is no coming; there is no going; there is no same; there is no different; there is no permanent self; there is no annihilation. We only think there is. When we understand that we cannot be destroyed, we are liberated from fear. It is a great relief. We can enjoy life and appreciate it in a new way.”
This body is not me. I am not limited by this body. I am life without boundaries. I have never been born, And I have never died.