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Stranger by Les Baynton
October 28, 2011 07:41 AM PDT

You looked so sad when you came to us,
From a land so faraway.
You left your friends, your favourite foods,
The language that you spoke so well.
But you came to us with a lovely smile,
A beautiful dress, and a small soft voice,
Sometimes I know you felt so lost,
In the street of unfriendly noise.
And your mother smiled too,
She couldn’t say much.
But I didn’t need words to speak to you,
I knew from your smile
And the touch of your hand,
That we wouldn’t be strangers
… for long.

Anger by Marie Thom
October 28, 2011 07:38 AM PDT

I’m wanting to punch the world into pieces,
Lie back on the grass and scream,
Wipe the smiles off everyone’s faces,
Banish them into a dream.

The red hot feeling inside me is growing,
The hatred I have makes me cry.
I want to kick out, to hurt them real bad,
Calm down, calm down you reply.

My stomach is twisting and turning around,
My face is flushed bright with the strain.
Trying to keep it all locked within,
When I want to lash out with the pain.

The heart is now rising, spitting and crackling,
I’m needing to yell and to shout.
I can’t re-find peace until it’s all gone,
Oh please let my anger come out.

Marie Thom

CALL ME BY MY TRUE NAMES, by Thich Nhat Hanh
October 22, 2011 06:45 AM PDT

"1 wrote this poem in 1965 especially for the young people in the School of Youth for Social Service who risked their lives every day during the war, recommending them to prepare to die without hatred. Some had already been killed violently, and I cautioned the others against hating. Our enemy is our anger, hatred, greed, fanaticism, and discrimination against men. If you die because of violence, you must meditate on compassion in order to forgive those who kill you. When you die realizing this state of compassion, you are truly a child of the Awakened One. Even if you are dying in oppression, shame, and violence, if you can smile with forgiveness, you have great power.... On our path of service, there are moments of pain and loneliness, but when we know that the Buddha sees and knows us, we feel a great surge of energy, and firm determination to carry on." —Thich Nhat Hanh

Promise me,
promise me this day,
promise me now, while the sun is overhead
exactly at the zenith,
promise me:

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,
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, untroubled
(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.

Alone again,
I will go on with bent head,
knowing that love has become eternal.
On the long, rough road, the sun and the moon
will continue to shine.

— Call Me by My True Names

One word can reduce a person's suffering ... (2'04)
October 12, 2011 07:07 AM PDT

From Thich Nhat Hanh: Essential Writings, p. 101:

Many people think that if they do not have influence and money, they cannot realize love and compassion. In fact, the source of love and compassion is in us, and we can help many people suffer less and realize a lot of happiness without being rich or influential. One word, one action, or one thought can reduce another person's suffering and bring him joy. One word can give comfort and confidence, destroy doubt, help someone avoid a mistake, reconcile a conflict, open the door to liberation, or show him the way to success and happiness. One action can save a person's life, or help him take advantage of a rare opportunity. One thought can do the same, because thoughts lead to words and action. If love and compassion are in our hearts, every thought, word, and deed can bring about a miracle. Because understanding is the very foundation of love and compassion, the words and actions engendered by love and compassion will be ones that are helpful. When we want to help, we know how to avoid the kind of love that does more harm than good. We must always remember that love is none other than understanding.

I have no enemies: My final statement; Part 4: To my wife
December 16, 2010 06:09 AM PST

I have no enemies: My final statement; Part 3: Treatment in jail
December 16, 2010 06:07 AM PST

I have no enemies: My final statement; Part 2: Mentality of hatred
December 16, 2010 06:06 AM PST

I have no enemies: My final statement; Part 1: My life journey
December 16, 2010 05:52 AM PST

My readaloud of Liu Xiaobo's 'I have no enemies: My final statement", Part 1.

To see the text, go to:

To see the Nobel Peace Prize 2010 Award Ceremony:

On letting things alone
July 28, 2010 06:18 PM PDT

(from ‘On letting things alone’, A HIDDEN WHOLENESS: THE JOURNEY TOWARD AN UNDIVIDED LIFE, by Parker J. Palmer, pp. 52-4)

But we can learn a more creative way to be present to each other, as the following story shows. It is the story of a conflicted person who was transformed because the people around her chose to trust her inner teacher, overcoming their longtime habit of pulling everything into themselves.

It happened in a long-term circle of trust I facilitated for public school teachers. One of them, Linda, was a woman at the end of her rope. After fifteen years of teaching, she had nothing good to say about her supervisors, her colleagues, or her students--all of them, by her account, were misguided and sometimes malevolent. She felt certain that she would be a happier person and a better teacher if only she could replace all these annoying aliens with actual human beings.

The teachers who sat with Linda listened to her receptively and respectfully. Occasionally, they asked an honest, open question to help her say, and hear, more deeply what was troubling her. But guided by the ground rules of this form of community, they offered no commentary, no argument, and no advice. Instead, they held her in a space where Linda was compelled to listen to herself. This turned out to be a revolutionary experience for someone whose cynical view of humanity had continually been reinforced by the people to whom she complained. I do not mean the few who agreed with her. I mean those who told her she was wrong and tried to talk her out of her cynicism, as well as those who turned their backs in disgust and walked away. See, Linda would say to herself, I was right about people. No one gets it, and no one cares. Like most of us, Linda knew how to use rejection to reinforce her view of the world.

I learned how revolutionary it had been for Linda to listen to herself when she told me, after several retreats, that she intended to drop out. "It's not that I don't appreciate the group," she said. "In fact, being here has helped me understand that I don't belong in teaching anymore. The problem is not my students and colleagues; they're decent people doing the best they can. The problem is me. I've burned out on teaching, and I'm harming myself as well as others by sticking with it. I've decided to quit at the end of this year and find a different kind of job. So I guess I shouldn't be taking up space in this circle anymore."

In fact, Linda had made courageous use of her space in the circle. She had seen her shadow, stopped projecting it onto others, come to grips with her own reality, and taken a step toward wholeness. I told her she was welcome to stay.

A circle of trust, I said, has no agenda except to help people listen to their own souls and discern their own truth. Its purpose is not to help people recommit to a particular role or even become better at it, though one or both may happen. The fact that Linda had seen her shadow and now felt led to leave teaching was no less
important than the vocational renewal that was happening for others in the group.
Linda stayed and continued to make good use of this com-munity. She emerged more fully from her shadow, grieved the loss of her longtime calling, and found clues to a new vocational path that fit her gifts. She was able to listen to herself because she was with people who knew how to let her alone without abandoning her—let her be alone, that is, wither inner teacher.

The Mystery of the Unlucky Undertaker, by Gareth Chan (age 9), Hong Kong; 10'1
April 29, 2010 06:23 AM PDT


You have undoubtedly picked out this story by mistake, so I advise you forcefully to please put it down. In this story, all the mischief of men has been faithfully and dreadfully recorded in these few pages. I cannot think of a single reason why anyone would dare enter into a world of criminals filled with misery, mischief, and despair. Every time you come to a paragraph, all I can do is to warn you to think twice. My solemn and sacred occupation is to write this story but it is NOT made to be read.
Now, the story finally begins …

A mortuary quietly stood on the edge of one of the most expensive suburbs in Singapore, along the South China Sea. John Bellamy, the owner of the mortuary, spent his life among the dead. As an undertaker, he did not enjoy his job. His mind became a bit twisted since he spent his days with corpses.

To be precise, he was an embalmer. He embalmed bodies, treating them well by not letting them decay. His face was drawn and pale, while his white hair seemed to stick out all over his head. His nose looked broken in three places. He always wore a sad expression on his face, showing sympathy for the miserable people who had died.

One night he went out for dinner at a local Singaporean restaurant. When he came back he found his mortuary sabotaged. A number of bodies were stolen, the papers were messed up, and his desk was nowhere to be seen. He felt a mixture of anger, curiosity, fear, and confusion. He just did not understand what anyone would want with a dead body.

Just as Bellamy was about to report the robbery, an intruder with a mask on walked in unexpectedly. All of a sudden he realized that he was being watched. Immediately he felt his first stirrings of fear. Completely startled, the old man gulped and slowly walked towards the direction of the mysterious stranger. “Who are you?” he challenged. “People who are not members of the mortuary are not permitted in here.”

The strange-looking intruder covered his face with the mask. He seemed to enjoy his menace by not answering, leaving Bellamy more and more frightened. After a few moments of silence, the trespasser reached in his pocket for a knife and hurled it at Bellamy’s chest. As the knife pierced into the undertaker’s heart, the killer’s mask fell off. In the last moment of life, Bellamy recognized his murderer. Then, his mind closed down for eternity.

Sergeant Murphy, the Singaporean Chief Inspector, walked into the Bellamy mortuary right after he had heard the terrifying news that an undertaker had been murdered. The moment the policeman walked in the mortuary, he gasped with surprise. The mortuary was clearly sabotaged, with some files that seemed to appear missing, and some of the bodies stolen.

He frowned. If there was something he detested, it was murder. Fortunately, he had two secret “weapons”, Steven and Fernando, who simply loved murder cases. And because of this, he knew that this case could be easy to solve.

A few hours later, Steven and Fernando arrived at the police headquarters. As the two incredible detectives listened carefully to the murder, Steven, aka Encyclopedia, took notes.

Encyclopedia and Fernando decided to visit the scene of the crime. They walked to the mortuary, and when they arrived they saw a parrot.
“Hi, I’m Encyclopedia,” Steven greeted the bird.
‘Encyclopedia! Encyclopedia! ” squawked the parrot.

After their visit, Encyclopedia’s notebook was full. When he reviewed all the facts, he let out an outburst of excitement. “Sergeant,” Encyclopedia said breathlessly. “I’ve solved the case!”

Sergeant Murphy could not believe how anyone could solve a mystery in such a quick time. As Encyclopedia shared the facts, told him who the suspect was, why he was the suspect, and how a trap could be set, Sergeant Murphy congratulated him.

The next day, Sergeant Murphy took the only suspect to the location where Bellamy had been murdered. When they arrived, Encyclopedia and the others were already there.
Fernando, dressed as Bellamy, was facing Encyclopedia. Encyclopedia held a knife in his hand and pretended to stab Fernando.
“Alvin! Alvin! Don’t stab me!” squawked the parrot loudly.
For a long awkward silence, nobody said a word.
Then the bird repeated its message.
Encyclopedia beamed. “The only witness to the murder has spoken,” he said cheerily. He added, “Sergeant, you’ve got your proof and can make your arrest now.”
The man called Alvin flared up. “Proof of WHAT?” he screamed. “That dumb bird hasn’t proved anything!” Grabbing a knife from his pocket, he did not give a moment’s thought to what he would do. He shoved the knife right into the parrot’s throat to see the bird die of accusing him of murdering his own father, spilling the bird’s blood on his clothes.

“Alvin,” Encyclopedia paced the park as he said this. “It’s very clear. You’re the one who murdered your own father. Your father threatened not to let you inherit his wealth, and you were mad. So you decided to assassinate him. You wore a mask, disguised yourself, and stabbed him to death.”

Encyclopedia explained everything, until Alvin was lost for words. Finally, Sergeant Murphy put the handcuffs on Alvin’s wrist. There was a noise when the police chief put the cuffs around the killer’s hands. Ignoring the blood that had accidentally dropped on his blonde hair, Sergeant Murphy forced the cold-blooded murderer into the police van.

Encyclopedia and Fernando watched the police van drive away. “I’m glad we solved this case,” grinned Encyclopedia. “But I wish this gruesome case wouldn’t appear in the newspaper.”

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