Thich Nhat Hanh on Clouds, Paper and Poets

book clouds

“If you are a poet, you will see clearly that there is a cloud floating in this sheet of paper.

Without a cloud, there will be no water; without water, the trees cannot grow; and without trees, you cannot make paper.

So the cloud is in here. The existence of this page is dependent on the existence of a cloud. Paper and cloud are so close.
Let us think of other things, like sunshine. Sunshine is very important because the forest cannot grow without sunshine, and we as humans cannot grow without sunshine.

So the logger needs sunshine in order to cut the tree, and the tree needs sunshine in order to be a tree.

Therefore, you can see sunshine in this sheet of paper.

And if you look more deeply, with the eyes of a bodhisattva, with the eyes of those who are awake, you see not only the cloud and sunshine in it, but that everything is here, the wheat that became the bread for the logger to eat, the logger’s father—everything is in this sheet of paper. . . .

[This paper is] empty of an independent self.

Empty, in this sense, means that the paper is full of everything, the entire cosmos.

The presence of this tiny sheet of paper proves the presence of the whole cosmos.”

~ Thich Nhat Hanh, Being Peace

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