Dear Mother, there are those of us who walk on Earth but still wish to seek a Promised Land elsewhere, not knowing that you are the wondrous Pure Land, present in this moment. They are not able to see that the Kingdom of Heaven exists in their own hearts. They are not able to see that if their minds are calm and peaceful, then the very ground they are walking on becomes the Pure Land. We are able to play and enjoy this Pure Land day and night thanks to that insight, thanks to the practice of dwelling peacefully with mindfulness in the here and now. We have the Kingdom here and are no longer searching for it elsewhere. You have the capacity to carry us hundreds of millions of years into the future, after which you may manifest as another planet and we as other wonderful forms on you.

Respected Mother, you have children who are proud of themselves as brilliant mathematicians, skilled artisans, gifted architects, but few are able to see that you are the greatest mathematician, the most accomplished artisan, and the most talented architect. We only need to look at a branch of cherry blossoms, the shell of a snail, or the wing of a bat to see this truth. We have talented artists, but how can our paintings be compared to the works of art that you reveal to us in the four seasons? How can we paint such compelling dawns or create such radiant dusks? Our musicians are geniuses, but how can our songs measure up to your wondrous orchestra of Earth and Sky, or the magnificent sound of the rising tide? We have brave soldiers, knights, and heroes who have endured extreme heat and cold and traversed mountains and rivers, but how many of us have your patience and capacity to embrace? We have great love stories, but who among us has your immense love that includes all beings without discrimination?

Adapted from Love Letter to the Earth by Thich Nhat Hanh © 2013. Reprinted with permission of Parallax Press.

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