The gift from a beautiful heart - Photo BXK
A friend, Helen Alexander, once wrote a A BOOK REVIEW for me. We meet each other at the Toastmaster club, named Bits ‘N Speeches - the best club in District 39. We often learn and respect each other. This pass week, I got a surprise check from her in supporting of me, especially to buy supplies for my chemistry classes. Her thoughts and supports are greatly appreciated. I just want to take this opportunity to post an old poem that I wrote about her to thank and honor her. Happy holidays to all of you.
A Modest Garden
A garden of azalea
vibrant and brilliant color
like beautiful thoughts and words
that you're presenting to your friends, families and others
whatever and whoever it might be.
It must be a humble and honored experience
to receive such gift.
a gift from a compassionate heart
and a light-spirited soul.
it is indescribable.
A BOOK REVIEW by Helen Alexander
AWAKEN: Buddhism, Nature, and Life
From a young man who began life in Vietnam and matured in America, we receive a precious gift. Phe X. Bach, a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA, has written a book of poetry. This book is the synthesis of his background in Buddhism, his observations of two distinct cultures, and his life in two families.
From his background in Vietnam, we see through the eyes of a growing boy in a loving family. He sees garbage on the streets. He learns Buddhism as he grows. He comes to America.
Here, he develops his own family, with wife and child(ren). He sees injustices and inequality. He also sees the beauty of nature, and the love of people. He notes the distinctions between the heights of Buddhist ideals and the daily lives of himself and others he loves.
Regardless of our faith backgrounds, we, too, can see through Phe’s eyes. Regardless of our ethnicities, we, too, can see the unity of all persons. We share his ideals of universal compassion, family love, and appreciation of the simple beauties of nature. We want to share the simple, loving, viewpoint from which he centers his life.
Read this book of poems. You will be entranced by their simplicity. You will be spellbound by their beauty. You will be encompassed by their love. Whatever your faith or your position in life, these poems will speak to you!
Bio: Helen Alexander
Helen Alexander met Phe Bach in a community speaking group, Bits ‘N Speeches. The two shared their joys and trials in learning to improve their public speaking skills.
They found they also shared their love of Buddhism, education, social justice, and community service. Helen is honored to comment on this book of poetry written by her esteemed friend.
Phe X. Bach is the living reflection of the Bodhisattva, in both his daily life, and in his poetry. In life, he is an unassuming man. He meets with others socially: his face eager with anticipation to interact with them, his smile encouraging to others, and his hug a warm welcome to them.
When Phe lectures or teaches, his topic is often Buddhism. He lets others know about the basics of Buddhism, as well as the importance of leadership, and the value of a lifelong education. Phe actively educates in his high school teaching job, as well as in his guidance of young Buddhist students, and in his lectures to adults in the community.
The poems you will discover in this book reflect the Phe I know in the world. He bases his life on the principles of Buddhism. He follows the example of Buddhist leaders, in his everyday experience. He explains Buddhist principles to others, at their levels of understanding. He writes poetry based on Buddhism, as well. Even the proceeds of this book go toward the furtherance of Buddhist practice and education.
The poetry reflects Phe’s background in the Vietnamese culture. Many poems describe aspects of his family, and of his hometown in Vietnam. Several compare and contrast the virtues and the vices of both cultures. Phe particularly describes, with exquisite visual imagery in words, his impressions of the two cultures in which he has developed.
The poems reflect Phe’s encounters with himself within nature. Phe lets us picture his world through his words. We see the impermanence of floating clouds, the perfection of a dewdrop, the vision of the full moon. We see the forest, in its unsullied natural condition, and after humankind has left it less beautiful.
Phe shows us, through his poems, the worldview of the Bodhisattva: one who rejects the calm of nirvana, in order to assist other people to discover Buddhism in this world. Phe particularly emphasizes his distaste of our societies, both East and West, as we toss garbage into our environment. He compares that to the way in which our corporate society treats individuals as garbage, as well. His abhorrence of this practice is evident, which goes along with his personal development of karuna, or compassion.
At the same time, Phe is not exclusive in his attitude. To a Buddhist, he is a member of the sangha. To a Hindu, he is a householder yogi. To a Christian, he is a loving and compassionate individual. To a secular humanist, he is a sensitive man. These poems can be read by people of any religious persuasion. Only a few poems will be incomprehensible, due to their emphasis on more advanced Buddhism.
Enjoy these poems! They reveal in delicate, visual and tactile imagery the simple but full life of a loving and compassionate man—a man who values family, nature, community, and a desire for unity with life’s source. By savoring these poems you, too, will appreciate your world more fully!
Helen Alexander, Sacramento, CA
Helen Alexander, Sacramento, CA