who i am

Svein Myreng was a dharma teacher ordained by Thich Nhat Hanh in 1994.  He lead a sangha in Oslo, Norway, and through the marvel of technology he shared his wisdom with us across the ocean.  Svein died unexpectedly in April 2007.  Ironically, he died in Boston while I was at a retreat at the Insight Meditation Center in Barre MA.  So close.  This poem is one of the many reminders from my dear dharma friend of what it means to be who I am.

Tender grasses made me.
Summer breeze and stars made me.
A mother’s gentle hands made me.
Sharp pains and fevers made me.
Noble dreams and friends’ love
made me who I am.

What made you, my friend?
What were the steps
that brought you here?

Please tell me your story, friend.

Tell me your fears,
your cries for help
that no one heard,
your hopes,
and the laughter deep in your eyes.

Joining hands
in a wide circle,
we reach out together
towards the bird’s clear song.
The soil, the wind,
a thousand generations’ knowledge
live in your body.

In your heart,
the Sangha dreams.
Across the widest ocean
We still see each other.
Within the world’s noise
we can hear the silent bell.

Svein Myreng

Thank you for practising,


Oh Friend

Had I known you are in the breeze

I would have walked more

Had I known you are in the stillness of now

I would have sat more

Had I known you are everywhere in everything

I would have lived more

Had I known you are eternal

I would have died more.


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