The wind’s words

Update: 01/09/2021
 

The wind’s words

 

The sound of sea waves beating on the rocks on the shore is sometimes soughing, sometimes gentle. This afternoon, in the cool sea wind, I quietly see the far away glowing red horizon. I feel so tranquil. I sent my father’s ashes back to the ocean for three years.

Growing up in a fishing village, I got familiar with the sea smell which mixed between salt and fishy smell of fishermen. My dad is a fisherman, too. His childhood was in the village full of hot and windy weather. He is a talented fisherman who catches fish very well. Whenever he goes, the boat is full of seafood. He is kind and straight. He is a carpenter, too. When my father glances at a wood or bamboo house, he can build a house exactly like the origin. Fishermen in the village love him very much.

At his young age, he loved me very much, never scolded me. Every full-moon festival, he made the biggest star lantern for me. Wherever he went out, he came back with toys or sweets for me. He gave me the best food for meals. In the Tet Festival, I was given lucky money, too. However, I was scared of the time he was angry. I was punished when I did something wrong. I still love him. I studied hard and he cared for my learning till the university. When I left home to follow Buddha’s steps, he did not prevent me, but my mother cried so much. He just said, “Buddhist cultivation practice is good”. The day I became a monk, he signed the permission papers, but my mother said nothing.

Four years ago, he had cancer. Hospitalized in many hospitals, my Mom took care of him but he could not come over. At 1:00 a.m, I received a phone call from town with an interrupted voice: “Uncle, grandpa passed away”. Taking off the phone, I was in shock and could not sleep. At dawn, I asked my Buddhist master to come back home in a hurry.

One month ago, I heard that my father’s health became worse, he could not eat anything, just drinking a little milk. I quickly returned home. When he saw me, he hugged me and burst into tears. This was the second time I saw him crying. The first time was the day my grandmother passed away. My father was the only son of my grandpa. My mother told me that he was crying like a kid in the corner. Obviously, my grandmother loved my father so much. She was always proud of my father until she was on the edge of her death. When my grandmother had gone, he felt lost and hurt, sitting in the corner and denying to see anyone. Time cured that pain.

I knew my father was waiting for me day by day. The time I just came home, he said: “Maybe I cannot come over”. He turned emaciated and skinny. I kept my tears in and tried to sooth him.

After a month, my brother informed me that my father passed away; he said nothing. He just looked at my mother and my brother. Five minutes later, he passed away. My brother said, “His eyes opened wide, maybe he wanted to say something but I did not know, I said goodnight to him”. Then he left the world. I was the last person to see my dad before the coffin was closed. My father seemed to sleep quietly, but he looked like regretting something. I held his hands and wished, “I’m here, Daddy. Please go peacefully. Don’t care for me. I will try to practice and pray for your sublimity of liberty”.

We took him to a crematorium, and then brought his ashes home. My mom said, “When he lived, he had killed many sea animals. We should keep his picture only. His ashes should be spread in the ocean. If any sea animals can eat his ashes, it is his karmic returning”. Her words complied with the Buddhist cause and effect law, so I did it.

Buddha said: “Life is uncertain. Life is just in one’s breath”. If one has no more breath out, it means one comes to the end of a life. We meet each other by conditions. Conditions help us meet and love each other. If there is no more condition, we will be led by our karma.” The conditions between my dad and me have come to an end. As a Buddhist practitioner, I understand life is uncertain; nothing lasts forever.

Whenever I see the whispering sea waves, I feel touched and miss my father, a wonderful memory. I heard laughs and the singing voices of his father, reminiscent of the songs my father played the guitar and sang songs for me. For me, he was a real country singer. I sometimes hear some traditional tunes to remember him. The last thing I like to send to the wind and waves is that I wish my father will live in a peaceful world and follow Buddha’s path.

 

Ending a dream life,

Sending love to the wind and sky,

Sending a message to dreaming guests,

Condition in life, summer lightened before dawn.

 

 

Cổ Niệm

Translated into English by Nguyen Hoang Thoai

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