“If you have stopped, you will know it, and if you have not fully stopped you will also know it,” advised Thay, “so stay in your position until you have fully arrived. Smile, when you have fully arrived and tell yourself that you are home. Use walking meditation to practice arriving, and remember to celebrate life with each step.” Thay warned that the habit energy of running is very strong in all of us, but that the reward for stopping and arriving in the present moment is to be fully in touch with the joy of life.
Contradicting the well established example of the ubiquitousness of suffering– particularly in the face of one’s inevitable aging and dying–Thay shared a secret with us: “Don’t believe it! If you are mindful and have understanding, you can happily grow old, and experience joy even as you die.”
Thay closed his talk by repeating his often quoted mantra, that “the miracle is not to walk on water… the miracle is to walk on the beautiful green earth, dwelling deeply in the present moment and feeling truly alive.”
Next and final stop on this Path of Awakening Journey in India is Rajgir, home of the Vulture Peak, where the Buddha gave many important teachings, and Nalanda, the site of a great Buddhist university dating back to the 5th century and one of the first institutions of higher learning in the world.