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Excerpted from Going Home: Jesus and Buddha as Brothers by Thich Nhat Hanh. Copyright 1999 by Thich Nhat Hanh. Excerpted by permission of Penguin Putnam, Inc.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. HTML and web pages copyright by SpiritSite.com.
 

"Meditation means to look deeply, to touch deeply so we can realize we are already home."

  Thich Nhat Hanh, Going Home, Part 3

We are people, but we are also more than just people. Are you only a person? Or at the same time are you also a tree and a rock? You only need to look deeply to discover that you are a person and at the same time you are a rock and a tree. In the Buddhist circle, people believe that in former lives they were human beings, animals, plants, and minerals. This is scientifically true. If we look deeply into the evolution of our species, we see that in former times we have been a rock, a tree, and an animal. Humans are very young creatures. We have evolved over many years to become what we are today. It is scientifically proven that we have been a rock, a cloud, a tree, a rabbit, a deer, a rose, and a single-cell being.

If you continue to look deeply, you will see that in the present moment, you continue to be a rose, a rabbit, a tree, and a rock. This is the truth of interbeing. You are made of non-you elements. You can touch the cloud within you. You can touch the sunshine within you. You can touch the trees and the earth within you. You know that if these elements were not in you, you could not be here at this very moment. Not only in former lives were you a tree, but sitting here, right now, you are a tree. That is why I say that the trees are your home. Recognize your home, your home sweet home.

Cultivating Our Home, Cultivating the Holy

In East Asia, we speak of the human body as a mini-cosmos. The cosmos is our home, and we can touch it by being aware of our body. Meditation is to be still: to sit still, to stand still, and to walk with stillness. Meditation means to look deeply, to touch deeply so we can realize we are already home. Our home is available right here and now.

Jesus Christ practiced meditation. When John baptized Jesus, he made it possible for the Holy Spirit to be born, or manifested, in Jesus the human being. Then Jesus went to the mountain to spend forty days in retreat. He practiced meditation and strengthened that Spirit in order to bring about a total transformation. Although it's not recorded in what position he practiced, I am sure he did sitting and walking meditation, and that he practiced looking deeply, touching deeply, and nourishing the energy of the Holy Spirit in him. Maybe he sat under a Bodhi tree like the Buddha.

Jesus had the power to bring joy, happiness, and healing to others because the energy of the Holy Spirit was full inside him. We have the seed of the Holy Spirit in us. In the Buddhist circle we speak of Buddhahood. We speak of mindfulness. Mindfulness is the energy that helps us be still; to be present to look deeply and touch deeply so that we begin to understand and realize that we are home.

The image of Jesus that is presented to us is usually of Jesus on the cross. This is a very painful image for me. It does not convey joy or peace, and this does not do justice to Jesus. I hope that our Christian friends will also portray Jesus in other ways, like sitting in the lotus position or doing walking meditation. Doing so will allow us to feel peace and joy penetrating into our hearts when we contemplate Jesus. This is my suggestion.

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