Since We Knew Each Other

<The Tender Inner World of a Saintly Poet>

From the poetry collection "The Lost Memories"
(Originally in English)

Lyrics, music and vocals
by Supreme Master Ching Hai


In your silent manner I found myself,
In your quiet style is reborn my peace:
Many dark nights, soft and tranquil,
Your voice tender calms my madness!

O lover of grand amour!
From reincarnation and a thousand promises!
Do you still remember,
Our love lives before?...

...There were boring love affairs, weary adventures,
While I was hurriedly sailing to true happiness.
So many times in the chaotic world
I was lost and perplexed.

But gone now are the stormy days:
Your love like spring water cools my burning heart!
It's over, the long voyage,
Here I've arrived to stay.

Calmbach 1979

~ Poetry Reading and Appreciation ~

An Answer to Hamlet’s Anxiety

     William Shakespeare, one of the greatest playwrights in the world from England in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, had written many famous soliloquies. “To be or not to be” by Hamlet in Hamlet is probably the most famous among the well-known ones. Prince Hamlet has found that his father was murdered by his uncle, and the uncle has seized the crown and the queen, his mother. The whole world seems to be bearing down onto his shoulders and he finds it is now up to him to create order out of chaos. Having procrastinated, he is now gripped by deep doubts on the meaning of the world and human life. This soliloquy is delivered when Hamlet is at his most anguished moment:

To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
– who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscover'd country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;

     Considering all of literature, what Shakespeare had written can be said to be a truly perfect expression on the fear, anxiety and bewilderment that has always disturbed humankind on the issue of death. Being born into this world, sooner or later, humans cannot help but come to a face-to-face encounter with death. However, few are those that could so profoundly encounter the thought of death, and even fewer are those that could so powerfully express their thoughts.

     The reason that the issue of death is so important to humans is that it is the core issue regarding the meaning of the universe and human life. Is the universe simply a material place where things come into being and finally are annihilated, or is there indeed a spiritual world that exists eternally beyond this world? Do humans have a soul or don’t they? When humans die, do they simply disappear or will their soul survive? If the soul survives, where does the soul go after death? If the soul still exists, what should one do to care for the soul when one is alive in this world?

     As a matter of fact, Hamlet’s soliloquy always makes one think of oneself. I, for one, have had the same anxiety. Like many of us, I have been looking around for an answer to the question.

     Those who practice the Quan Yin Method are truly blessed. Our Master has answered this ultimate question, and the Quan Yin Method has answered the question. The Quan Yin practitioners are also able to answer Hamlet’s Question, a deep-seated anxiety for all humans. What a long way Master has taken us along to reach where we are now! But, of course, what’s more important is that this is not the kind of question which is answered only intellectually. Once we truly understand it, we also understand that there is no death. We transcend this material world and enter into the spiritual world. What an excitement! What gratitude there is in our heart to Master!

     Of course, as far as this essay is concerned, it’s not necessary to bring up details on how we answer the question. My feeling is that, when we read this poem of Master, “Since We Knew Each Other,” if we are mindful of Hamlet’s question and the agony we personally experienced with the issue of death, we would more deeply understand this beautiful poem.

~ By Yiming, New Jersey, USA

The Prince
The Peace Seeker
A Touch of Fragrance
An Unexpected Day
Forever Still
Faded Love
A Farewell to My Child
Silent Love
Dream in the Night
There Were Disappointing Times
Since We Knew Each Other