Deep Ecumenism and the “I Am”
in All Things

Buddhism has a well-developed tradition of the “buddha nature” in all things.  I call this the “Cosmic Christ” or “Cosmic Wisdom” and the Jewish tradition calls it the “image of God.” 

Sunrise meditation. Photo by Sasha Freemind on Unsplash

Consider these reflections by the Vietnamese Zen master, Thich Nhat Hanh:

This capacity of waking up, of being aware of what is going on in your feelings, in your body, in your perceptions, in the world, is called Buddha nature, the capacity of understanding and loving.  Since the baby of that Buddha is in us, we should give him or her a chance.

Hanh has written an “I Am” poem which is a Cosmic Christ or Buddha nature poem.

I am the frog swimming happily in the clear water of a pond,
and I am also the grass-snake who,
approaching in silence,
feeds itself on the frog.

I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones,
my legs as thin as bamboo sticks,
and I am the arms merchant, selling deadly
weapons to Uganda.

We are all part of one another.  The “I Am” is in all of us.

A reading of Thich Nhat Hanh’s poem, “Please Call Me by My True Names, from Being Peace by Thich Nhat Hanh. Read by Georgi Y. Johnson in Juneau, AK, 8/2014.

To be in touch with our “true self” and “I Am” is to arrive at the “source of wisdom and compassion.”  This is something that children understand, namely “that the Buddha is in themselves,” says Hanh.

Indeed, a Buddha should be smiling, happy, beautiful, for the sake of our children…. A flower is a Buddha.  A flower has Buddha nature…. It is really beautiful to begin the day by being a Buddha.  Each time we feel ourselves about to leave our Buddha, we can sit and breathe until we return to our true self. 

Our “true self” is the divine “I Am” inside of each of us, the Christ, the Image of God, the Buddha, the light of God and breath of the Spirit that resides in all of us.

Adapted from Matthew Fox, The Coming of the Cosmic Christ, pp. 231f., 154-156.

See also: Matthew Fox and Marc Andrus, The Stations of the Cosmic Christ.

To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.

Banner image: The Buddha nature is in the lotus, the mud at its root, the water supporting it, and the algae sapping its oxygen. “Yellow Lotus, Children’s Garden, Morton Arboretum, Lisle, Illinois.” Photo by Lyle on Flickr.

Queries for Contemplation

Do you begin your day by “being a Buddha”?  Or a Christ?  Or an Image of God?  Do you find that “really beautiful” as promised by Thich Nhat Hanh?

Recommended Reading

The Coming of the Cosmic Christ: The Healing of Mother Earth and the Birth of a Global Renaissance

In what may be considered the most comprehensive outline of the Christian paradigm shift of our Age, Matthew Fox eloquently foreshadows the manner in which the spirit of Christ resurrects in terms of the return to an earth-based mysticism, the expression of creativity, mystical sexuality, the respect due the young, the rebirth of effective forms of worship—all of these mirroring the ongoing blessings of Mother Earth and the recovery of Eros, the feminine aspect of the Divine.
“The eighth wonder of the world…convincing proof that our Western religious tradition does indeed have the depth of imagination to reinvent its faith.” — Brian Swimme, author of The Universe Story and Journey of the Universe.

Stations of the Cosmic Christ
By Matthew Fox and Bishop Marc Andrus.

This is a book of meditations on the Cosmic Christ, accompanying the images of 16 wonderful clay tablets by Javier Ullrrich Lemus and M.C. Richards. Together, these images and meditations go far beyond the traditional Stations of the Cross to inspire a spirit awakening and understanding of the cosmic Christ Consciousness, Buddha consciousness, and consciousness of the image of God in all beings, so needed in our times.
“A divinely inspired book that must be read by every human being devoted to spiritual and global survival. It is cosmically brilliant.” — Caroline Myss, author of Anatomy of the Spirit

Stations of the Cosmic Christ Meditation Cards and Guide Booklet

Beautiful full-color cards from Stations of the Cosmic Christ to aid in your meditations on the Cosmic Christ, featuring the images of 16 wonderful clay tablets by Javier Ullrrich Lemus and M.C. Richards. Step beyond the traditional Stations of the Cross and experience a spirit awakening and understanding of the cosmic Christ Consciousness, Buddha consciousness, and consciousness of the image of God in all beings, so needed in our times. Includes an instruction booklet containing suggestions on how to use the cards.

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7 thoughts on “Deep Ecumenism and the “I Am” <br>in All Things”

  1. Avatar

    Thank you Jeanette. Your comment and Beautiful Chorus recommendation remind me of several other I AM songs in popular culture, including Neil Diamond’s I Am. It is a staggering challenge for me to read Hanh’s pairing of the starving child in Uganda with the arms merchant selling weapons to Uganda in the same stanza even though I know that Life and Death share a dialectical dance. I rely on the promise that “darkness won’t overcome the light.” Meditation and activism are always required.

  2. Avatar

    Celebrating Thich Nhat Hanh’s
    95th Continuation Day
    Born on October 11, 1926, Thay has made immeasurable contributions to help transform suffering, create peace, build Sangha, and care for our Earth.
    Link to birthday message from Plum Village: if link doesn’t not work google Plum Village Birthday Message
    I deep gratitude,

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