Nam Mo A Di Da Phat
Nam Mo Sakya Muni Buddha,
Nam Mo Amitabha Buddha
For those in Anh Do’s family who I haven’t met before, my name is Steve Lowe. Known also by my Vietnamese Buddhist name - Nguyen Thien Bao. I hope you will forgive my poor pronuciation.
I have been given this special honour to say goodbye and to say a few words about our special friend and member of our congregation, my brother in arms as a former soldier of Viet Nam Cong Hoa (the Republic of Viet Nam) and fellow Vietnam Veteran.
I first met my elder brother, An Do, here in this very monastery over 20 years ago. He welcomed me, literally with open arms and not long after gave me this hat. I kept this hat, since then, as a symbol of our enduring friendship.
I remember many important events here at Quang Duc Monastery, when An Do would be the Master of Ceremonies. Welcoming the guests in his humble manner, but with his unmistakeable voice.
Al to often An Do and I found ourselves being asked by Thich Tam Phuong or Thich Nguyen Tang to speak to the audience, at a Quang Duc event. Whilst I was panicking inside, An Do just got up on stage and spoke like a true professional. Mind you, he did have a few years more experience than I had.
An Do was a dedicated Buddhist and loyal Phat Tu. Though my memory is failing me, I remember when we travelled to India, with Thich Nguyen Tang and other congregation members, on a pilgrimage to follow the life journey of Buddha. He tended to some of the needs of Thay, taking special care to make sure, that during any prayers, the incense was always replaced. He was quick to notice when the incense needed renewal and even quicker to carefully replace it. I believe he felt it was his duty, which never faltered, even when he was back in here in Quang Duc monastery.
He took care with everything and anything he did, and with a certain pride and pleasure in anything he could do for his friends at the temple and beyond. I got to thinking that if he was that caring of his friends, then he must be even more caring as a husband, father and grandfather. I believe you all know how fortunate you have been to have An Do in your lives.
To us here at Quang Duc, whether like a Brother, Father, Grand Father, Uncle or Grand Uncle, or just a dear friend, he was a loved and repected by all of us. He will be deeply and sadly missed by us all.
Chi Hoang oi, to you and to your seven children and their families, may I say, I can feel your pain, having lost my mother only a few short years ago. I have not been able to lose the feeling of loss and the void it made in my life, and in my heart. But you have many friends both inside and outside of Quang Duc who are here for you all, should you need us.
I was very lucky when a friend reached out to me and shared a prayer with me. I would like to share it with you at this your moment of loss, grief and of reflection. May you find comfort in these words:
A Prayer for the Family of
Nguyen Van Do
You can shed tears that he has gone;
Or you can smile because he has lived.
You can close your eyes
And pray that he will come back;
Or you can open your eyes
And see all the good things he has left behind.
Your heart can be empty,
Because you cannot see him;
Or your heart can be full,
Because of the love you’ve shared.
You can turn your back on the future
And live for the past;
Or you can be happy for the future,
Because of the past.
You can remember him
And only that he has gone;
Or you can cherish his memory
And let it live on in your hearts.
Nam mo Tiep Dan Dao Su A Di Da Phat
Your Dharma Friend,
Steve Lowe, Buddhist name: Nguyen Thien Bao