About fifteen years ago, I used to help a committee for orphans, victims of the war in Vietnam.From Vietnam, they sent out applications, one sheet of paper with a small picture of a child in the corner, telling the name, the age, and the condition of the orphan. We were supposed to translate it from Vietnamese into French, English, Dutch, or German in order to seek a sponsor, so that the child would have food to eat and books for school, and be put into the family of an aunt or an uncle or a grandpar­ent. Then the committee could send the money to the family member to help take care of the child.

Each day I helped translate about thirty applications into French. The way I did it was to look at the picture of the child. I did not read the application, I just took time to look at the picture of the child. Usually after only thirty or forty seconds, I became one with the child. I don’t know how or why, but it’s always like that. Then I could pick up the pen and translate the words from the application onto another sheet. Afterwards I realized that it was not me who had translated the application; it was the child and me, who had become one. Looking at his face or her face, I got motivated and I became him and he became me, and together we did the translation. It is very natural. You don’t have to practice a lot of meditation to be able to do that. You just look, you allow yourself to be, and then you lose yourself in the child, and the child in you. This is one example which illustrates the way of perception recommended by the Buddha. In order to understand something, you have to be one with that something.

–Thich Nhat Hanh (from being peace)


People cannot see anything that really is without becoming like it. It is not so with people in the world, who see the sun without becoming the sun and see the sky and the earth and everything else without becoming them.

          Rather, in the realm of truth,

you have seen things there, and have become those things,

you have seen the Spirit and become the Spirit,

            you have seen Christ and become Christ,

          you have seen the Father and will become Father.


Here in the world you see everything but do not see yourself, but there in that realm you see yourself, and you will become what you see.


–Gospel of Philip (Marvin Meyer translation)