Every Tết, Thay is always delighted to offer “parallel verses” to inspire the community’s practice and welcome the New Year. Practitioners from around the world can print out the calligraphies and post them in our home or at work, as a small reminder of our aspiration. (It is nice to print them out on red paper!) The verses invite reflection and offer at least one small thing we can do to add wellbeing and happiness to the coming year.
This year, our community is offering the phrase:
Harmony in our home
Joy in the world
Is there something we can do, right now, to bring a little more harmony to our home? That home may be within our heart or body, or in our physical home and close relationships. One calming in-breath or out-breath may be enough. Or perhaps a word or gesture of loving kindness to those around us.
The calligraphy challenges us. Do we have faith that there can be joy in the world, in the heart of the present moment? Can we look deeply to see how joy begins with harmony within? In his later years of teaching, Thay would always remind us to come back to ourselves, our loved ones and the Earth. And from that solid ground of connection, we will know what to do and what not to do in order to help the situation.
If we would like harmony in our society, nation and world, then we also need harmony in our hearts and homes. There is joy in doing our best, to cultivate harmony and touch the wonders of life that are available to us, even in this very moment - our two eyes, the presence of our loved one, or even the little miraculous flower by the path. Collective peace and joy are possible in each little wakeful moment. As Thay would say, “It is not enough just to suffer!” in the midst of the challenges faced by humankind and our Earth; if we want to avoid burning out, we also have to nourish and nurture our peace and joy.