“Recommendation” is one of my favorite poems by Thich Nhat Hanh. so relevant to our times and our place in all of this. Thay wrote this poem in 1965 while in Vietnam during the war, when everyday theirs lives were being risked as they served the people.
Thay is so well celebrated for his teachings on mindfulness and interdependence, for his peace activism and engaged Buddhism. however, he is also a profound poet, and in his poetry he captures all of it – the dharma and his embodiment of the practice and the heart of peace and love. there’s a beautiful collection of his poetry titled, “Call Me By My True Names: The Collected Poems of Thich Nhat Hanh”
promise me this day,
promise me now,
while the sun is overhead
exactly at the zenith,
Even as they
strike you down
with a mountain of hatred and violence;
even as they step on you and crush you
like a worm,
even as they dismember and disembowel you,
remember brother, remember:
man is not our enemy.
The only thing worthy of you is compassion –
invincible, limitless, unconditional.
Hatred will never let you face
the beast in man.
One day, when you face this beast alone
with your courage intact, your eyes kind,
(even as no one sees them),
out of your smile
will bloom a flower.
And those who love you
will behold you
across ten thousand worlds of birth and dying.
I will go on with bent head,
knowing that love has become eternal.
On the long, rough road
the sun and moon will continue to shine.
~ Thich Nhat Hanh