"Call Me By My Names" -Thich Nhat Hanh

Ahanu

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"Do not say that I'll depart tomorrow
because even today I still arrive.

Look deeply: I arrive in every second
to be a bud on a spring branch,
to be a tiny bird, with wings still fragile,
learning to sing in my new nest,
to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower,
to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone.

I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry,
in order to fear and to hope.
The rhythm of my heart is the birth and
death of all that are alive.

I am the mayfly metamorphosing on the surface of the river,
and I am the bird which, when spring comes, arrives in time
to eat the mayfly.

I am the frog swimming happily in the clear pond,
and I am also the grass-snake who, approaching in silence,
feeds itself on the frog.

I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones,
my legs as thin as bamboo sticks,
and I am the arms merchant, selling deadly weapons to Uganda.

I am the twelve-year-old girl, refugee on a small boat,
who throws herself into the ocean after being raped by a sea pirate,
and I am the pirate, my heart not yet capable of seeing and loving.

I am a member of the politburo, with plenty of power in my hands,
and I am the man who has to pay his "debt of blood" to, my people,
dying slowly in a forced labor camp.

My joy is like spring, so warm it makes flowers bloom in all walks of life.
My pain is like a river of tears, so full it fills the four oceans.

Please call me by my true names,
so I can hear all my cries and laughs at once,
so I can see that my joy and pain are one.

Please call me by my true names,
so I can wake up,
and so the door of my heart can be left open,
the door of compassion."
-Thich Nhat Hanh
 
In the poem above Thich Nhat Hanh does a lot of what's referred to as perspective-taking in psychology. How often do we try to see from another's perspective? How can we increase our ability in perspective-taking? Which skills are involved in perspective-taking? Is perspective-taking desirable? Is it the same as cognitive empathy or compassionate empathy?
 
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Is it about perspective or perception?

I.e. about breaking out a particular set of perceptions and calling them the vantage point of a specific perspective?

Or about not doing that?

Or something else I did nit think of, most likely...
 
Are.you the border patrol smashing gallons of water left in the desert by Samaritans?

Are you the judge denying counsel to a 3 year old separated from his parents who doesn't know your language and trying to explain the authorities no longer know who your parents are or where they are being held.

Are you the congressman voting to cut social security and medicare benefits for the elderly?

Perspective, schlemective, invictive
 
I.e. about breaking out a particular set of perceptions and calling them the vantage point of a specific perspective?

Perhaps. To briefly let go of our own perception and see from another's perspective.

Are.you the border patrol smashing gallons of water left in the desert by Samaritans?

Are you the judge denying counsel to a 3 year old separated from his parents who doesn't know your language and trying to explain the authorities no longer know who your parents are or where they are being held.

Are you the congressman voting to cut social security and medicare benefits for the elderly?

The answers are yes, yes, and yes.

invictive

Invective.
 
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Perhaps. To briefly let go of our own perception and see from another's perspective.

Or to see perspectives "in perspective", as it were, just occurred to me.

The poem's title is interesting. Names, or titles, of the Buddha include, in Theravada, Lokavidu "the seer/knower" of the world(s)" which plays into the theme of perspectives you brought up.

I like how the traditions and religions all have this dialectic between the names and titles of of their central figures and god(s) on one hand, and the many roles or functions or aspects or perspectives, on the other.
 
Or to see perspectives "in perspective", as it were, just occurred to me.

This thread is also a continuation of the issue involving sin (called "negative seeds" in Thich Nhat Hanh's view) and the environment. Thich Nhat Hanh believes divorcing the two variables completely doesn't make sense in his spiritual practice. In another place he recognizes the environment's role in making choices, saying:

There are many young girls, boat people, who are raped by sea pirates. Even though the United Nations and many countries try to help the government of Thailand prevent that kind of piracy, sea pirates continue to inflict much suffering on the refugees. One day we received a letter telling us about a young girl on a small boat who was raped by a Thai pirate.

She was only twelve, and she jumped into the ocean and drowned herself. When you first learn of something like that, you get angry at the pirate. You naturally take the side of the girl. As you look more deeply you will see it differently. If you take the side of the little girl, then it is easy. You only have to take a gun and shoot the pirate. But we cannot do that. In my meditation I saw that if I had been born in the village of the pirate and raised in the same conditions as he was, I am now the pirate. There is a great likelihood that I would become a pirate. I cannot condemn myself so easily. In my meditation, I saw that many babies are born along the Gulf of Siam, hundreds every day, and if we educators, social workers, politicians, and others do not do something about the situation, in twenty-five years a number of them will become sea pirates. That is certain. If you or I were born today in those fishing villages, we might become sea pirates in twenty-five years. If you take a gun and shoot the pirate, you shoot all of us, because all of us are to some extent responsible for this state of affairs.
The last sentence above is similar to the saying "a righteous man feels half-guilty for another's wrongdoing."
 
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