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Lions Roar : September 2007
SHAMBHALA SUN SEPTEMBER 2007 103 As the days of waiting pass, it begins to feel like the film Waiting for Fidel, about a documentary crew that goes to Cuba to interview Castro. They’re always told, “Tomorrow for sure.” The crew turns the camera on themselves, and they slowly start to go crazy, drinking way too much Cuban rum, arguing all the time, combus- ting in real time. They never do get their interview, but they wind up with a hilari- ous and an instructive film. Something al- ways emerges. We’re not hitting the booze here, though on occasion we do sneak out of the monastery for an ice cream. What emerges is a time of quiet reflec- tion and gentle patience. A chance to let the teachings soak in. There is a monastic retreat on, all soft and silent, a sea of end- less smiles. All month I’ve been smiling and bowing like crazy. If I keep doing this back home, people will think I’m nuts. One morning, as I am walking up the path from my favorite little valley, who should I run into but Thich Nhat Hanh, alone with his two attendants. I stop and bow, and he gives me a great big beaming smile. I am a little awestruck, because nor- mally when I see him he is sitting in front of 10,000 people or leading a walking meditation with thousands behind him. I beam back and am about to continue on, but he says, “I think today we can do the interview. I’ll let you know.” “Thank you so much!” I eagerly reply. We bow, trade smiles, and I continue down the path. A few hours later, the in- terview is confirmed. I go down to the kitchen and meet Sister Chan Khong. “Are you ready? Do you have your camera?” “Right here.” I pat my monk’s bag, camera stowed away inside. “First get some food and bring it down with you.” So we are having dinner with Thay first. My producer, Cher, and I fill up our bowls with the simple vegetarian food—rice, jackfruit, a little tofu, and some steamed water spinach. Sister Chan Khong leads us down the path to Thay’s house, a simple, • Therapy • Eidetic Image Therapy • Counseling & Coaching • By phone and on line Toni D. Nixon, Ed.D., L.L.C. Therapist, Buddhist Practitioner Finding calm in the midst of change: integrating spiritual practice with therapeutic goals 1.843.682.3198 1.732.539.2927