A Rose for Your Pocket: An Appreciation of Motherhood

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In order to help us cultivate our understanding, love, and gratitude for our mothers, our teacher Thich Nhat Hanh wrote A Rose for Your Pocket.

In recognition of Mother's day, we hope this writing will lead you to a new and deeper appreciation of your mother whether she is still alive or has passed away. For those of us who have a challenging relationship with our mother, we may instead use this reflection to develop a deeper appreciation for our father, a teacher, or another loved one who has been a positive figure in our life.

The thought "mother" cannot be separated from that of "love. Without love, a child cannot flower, an adult cannot mature. Without love, we weaken, wither. The day my mother died, I made this entry in my journal: "The greatest misfortune of my life has come! He too has the impression that he is not yet ripe, that he is suddenly alone. He feels as abandoned and unhappy as a young orphan. All songs and poems praising motherhood are beautiful, effortlessly beautiful. Even songwriters and poets without much talent seem to pour their hearts into these works, and when they are recited or sung, the performers also seem deeply moved, unless they have lost their mothers too early even to know what love for mother is.

Writings extolling the virtues of motherhood have existed since the beginning of time throughout the world. When I was a child, I heard a simple poem about losing your mother, and it is still very important for me. If your mother is still alive, you may feel tenderness for her each time you read this, fearing this distant yet inevitable event. We swim in a world of tender love for many years, and, without even knowing it, we are quite happy there. Only after it is too late do we become aware of it. People in the countryside do not understand the complicated language of city people.

When people from the city say that mother is "a treasure of love", that is already too complex for them. Country people in Vietnam compare their mothers to the finest varieties of bananas or to honey, sweet rice, or sugar cane. They express their love in these simple and direct ways. For me, a mother is like a "ba huong" banana of the highest quality, like the best "nep mot" sweet rice, the most delicious "mia lau" sugar cane!

There are moments after a fever when you have a bitter, flat taste in your mouth, and nothing tastes good. Only when your mother comes and tucks you in, gently pulls the covers over your chin, puts her hand on your burning forehead - is it really a hand, or is it the silk of heaven? Her love is so fragrant, like a banana, like sweet rice, like sugar cane.

Father's work is enormous, as huge as a mountain. Mother's devotion is overflowing, like water from a mountain spring. Maternal love is our first taste of love, the origin of all feelings of love. Our mother is the teacher who first teaches us love, the most important subject in life. Without my mother I could never have known how to love.

Thanks to her I can love my neighbours. Thanks to her I can love all living beings.

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Through her I acquired my first notions of understanding and compassion. Mother is the foundation of all love, and many religious traditions recognise this and pay deep honour to a maternal figure, the Virgin Mary, the goddess Kwan Yin. Hardly an infant has opened her mouth to cry without her mother already running to the cradle. Mother is a gentle and sweet spirit who makes unhappiness and worries disappear. When the word "mother" is uttered, already we feel our hearts overflowing with love. From love, the distance to belief and action is very short. In the West, we celebrate Mother's Day in May.

I am from the countryside of Vietnam, and I had never heard of this tradition.

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One day, I was visiting the Ginza district of Tokyo with the monk Thien An, and we were met outside a bookstore by several Japanese students who were friends of his. One discretely asked him a question, and then took a white carnation from her bag and pinned it on my robe. I was surprised and a little embarrassed. I had no idea what this gesture meant, and I didn't dare ask. I tried to act natural, thinking this must be some local custom.

When they were finished talking I don't speak Japanese , Thien An and I went into the bookstore, and he told me that today was what is called Mother's Day. In Japan, if your mother is still alive, you wear a red flower on your pocket or your lapel, proud that you still have your mother. If she is no longer alive, you wear a white flower. I looked at the white flower on my robe and suddenly I felt so unhappy. I was as much an orphan as any other unhappy orphan; we could no longer proudly wear red flowers in our buttonholes.

Those who wear white flowers suffer, and their thoughts cannot avoid returning to their mothers.


They cannot forget that she is no longer there. Those who wear red flowers are so happy, knowing their mothers are still alive. They can try to please her before she is gone and it is too late. Or taken no pleasure from anything but the fact of their sustained lives. Which is to say it is all I can do, most days, not to swallowher up and curse her maker, I swear.

Like I have not sworn since the morning she was born. I see her doing something simple, paying bills, or leafing through a magazine or book, and wish that I could say, and she could hear, that now I start to understand her love for all of us, the fullness of it.

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It burns there in the past, beyond my reach, a modest lamp. My mother—my own mother, who died early, Was but the mother of myself; but you Are mother to the one I loved so dearly, And thus are dearer than the mother I knew By that infinity with which my wife Was dearer to my soul than its soul-life. I see your gray eyes Looking out to sea In those Rockport summers, Keeping a distance Within the closeness Which was never intrusive Opening out Into the world. And what I remember Is how we laughed Till we cried Swept into merriment Especially when times were hard.

And what I remember Is how you never stopped creating And how people sent me Dresses you had designed With rich embroidery In brilliant colors Because they could not bear To give them away Or cast them aside.

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I summon you now Not to think of The ceaseless battle With pain and ill health, The frailty and the anguish. No, today I remember The creator, The lion-hearted. Vincent Millay. The courage that my mother had Went with her, and is with her still: Rock from New England quarried; Now granite in a granite hill.

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The golden brooch my mother wore She left behind for me to wear; I have no thing I treasure more: Yet, it is something I could spare. Abortions will not let you forget. You remember the children you got that you did not get, The damp small pulps with a little or with no hair, The singers and workers that never handled the air. You will never neglect or beat Them, or silence or buy with a sweet. You will never wind up the sucking-thumb Or scuttle off ghosts that come. You will never leave them, controlling your luscious sigh, Return for a snack of them, with gobbling mother-eye.

wiki.archidelivery.ru/wp-includes/2021.php I have heard in the voices of the wind the voices of my dim killed children. I have contracted. I have eased My dim dears at the breasts they could never suck. I have said, Sweets, if I sinned, if I seized Your luck And your lives from your unfinished reach, If I stole your births and your names, Your straight baby tears and your games, Your stilted or lovely loves, your tumults, your marriages, aches, and your deaths, If I poisoned the beginnings of your breaths, Believe that even in my deliberateness I was not deliberate.

Though why should I whine, Whine that the crime was other than mine? Or rather, or instead, You were never made. But that too, I am afraid, Is faulty: oh, what shall I say, how is the truth to be said? You were born, you had body, you died. It is just that you never giggled or planned or cried. Category: Dharma talks -- posted at: am CDT.