The heart of the universe

“We together weave the invisible thread at the heart of the universe that connects us all.” (p. 110, The Buddha’s Wife)

This quote appears at the end of the fictional narrative of part one in our book, and these words spoken by Yasodhara are repeated by her spiritual friend Channa to the Buddhist nun Kisa Gotami. She comes to visit the palace upon hearing that Yasodhara has passed away.

Channa, who was originally Siddhartha’s manservant at the palace, remained a faithful and close spiritual friend to Yasodhara, who recounts her last years to Gotami: She continued to practice the Path of Right Relation and listened deeply to those who sought her compassion, and her dharma of love that for Yasodhara was the heart of the universe.

Spiritual circles, the sangha, and our relational interconnectedness weave threads upon threads of what the Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh calls “interbeing.” It means we are not isolated beings, rather dependent. Spiritually, interbeing signifies our co-arising together in all our diversity and uniqueness. (Read more on interbeing: “The Fullness of Emptiness.”)

The thread of our interbeing is created out of love…our love within and our love shared with each other. When we are kind, compassionate, and selfless, we can weave a net that can hold and carry us, and as author Joanna Macy writes: “out of which we can never fall.”

In The Buddha’s Wife, we teach Thich Nhat Hanh’s “Four Love Mantras” from his book True Love. Mantras are simple phrases to focus your presence and meditate on as well as a practice to do with others. Two of the mantras’ intention is to be present with joy:

1. “Dear one, I am really here for you.”

2. “Dear one, I know that you are here, and it makes me very happy.”

Practice these mantras today and throughout the week with your family and friends, and then after some time perhaps these mantras can be practiced in the presence of people you work with, neighbors, or the person right in front of you at the checkout line. We can all take part in strengthening the threads that connect us.