Often called the father of Mindfulness; Thích Nhất Hạnh passed away a few weeks ago. He not only had a huge impact on mindfulness in the West, but on me personally as I spent several years practicing in his center; Plum Village.
Although I didn't have much personal contact with him, he was a huge presence in Plum Village. His gentleness, lightness and quiet joy radically changed my understanding of what 'practice' was and how mindfulness could be experienced.
Every moment he drank life in deeply, enjoying the leaves sparkling against the blue sky, pausing to enjoy a small flower, reverentially drinking a cup of tea. I was able to learn something beyond words in those brief and precious encounters. I will forever be grateful for the example and dedication he offered. He woke me up and taught me to enjoy life!
He would often say 'A cloud never dies'; it simply changes form, becomes the rain, the river, the dewdrop... but if we look carefully we can still see it. A great teacher has died... but he lives on in different forms, whenever we walk peacefully, take a mindful breath, or enjoy the blue sky ... if we look carefully we will see.