Prayer for the New Year

Dec 31, 2022

Dear Thầy, Dear Mother Earth, Dear Ancestors,

We know that you are present within us at this very moment, and that you always allow us to take refuge in you. Tonight, in this solemn moment of the New Year, we have come together as a spiritual family to express our gratitude and aspiration, and to begin anew. 

We are aware that in the past year we have allowed our uncertainty about the future to water seeds of anxiety, restlessness, and fear in our hearts. There were moments we were unable to take refuge in you or in the practice. Our strong emotions and wrong perceptions overwhelmed us, and at times we even doubted our family, our community and the stream of humanity. 

Seeing our shortcoming, we want to begin anew and to remind ourselves of our commitment to cultivate patience, compassion, inclusiveness, and nonattachment to views; to strengthen our practice of breathing and walking; and to take refuge in our Beloved Community, so that we can be a true continuation of Thầy and our spiritual ancestors. 

In the past year, as a global human family, we have continued to allow greed, craving and consumerism to prevail. We have been running after status, power, material possessions and sensual comforts, forgetting that they can never bring us true happiness and freedom. This has caused great harm to ourselves and our beloved planet, endangering Mother Earth’s wonders, beauty and balance. In the coming year, we are determined to simplify our life, to consume less, to live more deeply and more gratefully, and to remember that in the present moment we already have more than enough conditions to be happy. 

This past year we have also continued to allow fanaticism and intolerance to divide us as a human family. Through wars in Ukraine, Myanmar, Yemen, the Middle East and elsewhere we have made one another suffer, discriminating on the basis of religion, views, ethnicity and nationality. Fear and ignorance have led us to close our hearts, to abandon those in peril, and to allow the militarization of our societies to escalate. 

We forget that we are interdependent, and that our own happiness and suffering depends on the happiness and suffering of others. In this coming year, we make a commitment to do our best to live with the insight of interbeing, to transform our collective fear at the roots, and to be present for those who suffer.

As we touch the Earth, we express our gratitude to you, our beloved teacher Thầy and our ancestors. We have never been so aware of how fortunate we are, in this first year since your passing, to have received from you a path of practice and a spiritual family to take refuge in. We have experienced joy, peace and transformation, and we know that together, we can face our challenges and realize our aspirations. We trust that within us, there is the wisdom of non-discrimination, great compassion, right action, and non-fear, transmitted to us by you. 

In this solemn moment, we make the vow to practice wholeheartedly, and to invest all our energy in strengthening our community, so we can open up the path for our own generation and for generations to come.

Dear Thầy, Dear Mother Earth, Dear Ancestors, please accept our offerings of incense and flowers as a sign of our deepest respect, and love.

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