Virtual meanderings

Tag Archives: puppet theatre

Hanoi | Master(s) of Puppets

Now that I started writing about my stay in Vietnam, I’ll begin with a quote from the book “Old Path White Clouds” by the Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thích Nhất Hạnh.

“Contemplate the nature of dependent co-arising during every moment. When you look at a leaf or a raindrop, meditate on all the conditions, near and distant, that have contributed to the presence of that leaf or raindrop. Know that the world is woven of interconnected threads. This is, because that is. This is not, because that is not. This is born, because that is born. This dies, because that dies. [..] The one contains the many and the many contains the one. […] A chief cause is the first condition necessary to give rise to a phenomenon. For example, a grain of rice is the chief cause necessary to give rise to a rice plant. Contributory causes are supportive conditions. In the case of grain of rice, these include sun, rain, and earth which enable the seed to grow into a rice plant”.

The book attributes the quote to Buddha (from a lecture to his disciples on the nature of “co-arising”). I thought it was a good start for this blog entry, but I also like to check my sources (a habit from my university days). Thus I tried to find the particular sutra from where the text originated and use it directly. Despite all my efforts searching online I could not. The concept of “co-arising” is discussed in a number of sutras, but nowhere is any mentioning of raindrops or rice. In fact, the style of the quote is so different than the usual exposition in any Buddhist sutra that it led me to the conclusion that Thich Nhat Hanh extended the original sutra with his own additions (very much in the Eastern tradition which to this day considers the concepts of intellectual property and plagiarism somewhat exotic). Read more of this post