Nicholas Henshall

At the lotus pond Day of summerGentle breeze passingCaressing leafIn the Zen garden Pebbles crunching under footAnother walking meditationNo thinking, no destinationYet thoughts arise, combatting Air goldenWhite lotus flower resting on the waterGoing nowhere, arriving in each momentOn this royal road, observing, observing The bell rings ‘clang, clang’Eyes open, seeing, seeingKoi carp are dodging, dodgingWeaving patterns under the lotus flower A bird in the rose tree singsThe days and nights are relentlessly passingBetween attention and intentionWith my don’t know mind Impressions impermanentAppearing, disappearing“Squawk, squawk,” says the birdThen, stillness

Gratitude + Acceptance = Joy Thankful.Yes, heartfelt thanks.Nurtured over a cuppaOn this Vesak Day.Affirming gratitude, not as a reactionOpening me up Calm, this gratitude.I see the raindrops trickle after their tip-tap dance on the window paneI smile and sip and choose to make the little things biggerBreathing in “thanks”, breathing out so s-l-o-w-l-y “this is enough”.Focusing.More grateful each day. And accepting.Yes, things are more than okayOn this Vesak Day.Acceptance, not as a reactionBut affirming, warming, like my tea So calm, this acceptingAnd the raindrops are still trickling, tip-tapping on the window paneI breathe in “this is it” and breathe out “things are as they are”.Focusing.More accepting each day. And with the gratitude and the acceptance comes joy. In this very moment.Just being. Not wanting too much, not thinking too much.The vibrancy, like the birdsong now joining the pitter patter of the rainEmbraces meClouds passing. Ever smiling.On this Vesak Day.

What S.N. Goenka Says In His Ten-Day Discourses If you observe reality as it is,You can see we are swimming in an Ocean of MiseryWith our chattering, fleeting Monkey Mind.It is wise then to wield a surgeon’s knife by gaining Insight into Impermanence When you see the Monkey Mind grasping branch after branchAnd out of control like a wild bull or a wild elephant,Connect with things as they are inside from moment to momentAnd go beyond Mind and Matter When you experience Impermanence in your bodyYou can see none of us are free from deathWhat then is the use of craving? Die smilinglyWe are decaying, decaying, dying, dying When you repeat the defilementsOf Anger, Worry, Hatred, Fear and AnxietyThey become carved deep within you as if in stone,As if sculpted there by chisel and hammer Ask: is the mass of the sub-atomic particles of your body your “I”?Ask: is the flow of your thoughts your “I”?Ask: is the recognition of your thoughts your “I”?Ask: is the feeling part of your Mind as thoughts pass away your “I”? Observe your breath, observe the sensations of your bodyGo deeper and deeper and deeperAnd you will see all your MiseryCan be liberated Continue the surgical operation with each breathAnd, as you see sensations rise and fall,You understand the nature of ImpermanenceAnd see that you can change the habit patterns of your Mind You can choose Awareness and EquanimitySee them like bird’s wings, equal in size and strengthTo become your own Master of the Present MomentPlanting seeds of Happiness When you see that the 100% cause of your Happiness or Misery lies inside,You can purify the MindAnd so serve others expecting nothing in returnAs you develop a feeling of intense Gratitude May you reach the final goalMay you experience liberation from the shackles and chainsOf all the defilementsSo that you enjoy Real Peace, Real Harmony, Real Happiness

Nicholas Henshall was born in Manchester and grew up in northern England. He now lives in Paris where he works as a journalist. Nicholas loves long conversations, new destinations, and writing poetry. He is a member of the Terre d’Eveil (Land of Awakening) Theravada Buddhist meditation group based in Paris.