In Buddha and in the Virgin Mary

By Paulo Coelho

The Vietnamese monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, is one of the most respected teachers of Buddhism in the West.

When he was travelling in Sri Lanka, he met six barefoot children. ‘They were not children from a shanty town, but children from the country, and looking at them, I saw that they formed part of the nature which surrounded them.’

He was alone on the beach and they all ran towards him. Since Thich Nhat Hanh did not speak their language, he simply hugged them and they hugged him back.

At one point, however, he suddenly remembered an ancient Buddhist prayer: ‘I take refuge in Buddha’. He began singing it, and four of the children joined in. Thich Nhat Hanh made a sign to the other two children who were not singing. They smiled, put their hands together and said in Pali: ‘I take refuge in the Virgin Mary.’

The sound of the prayer was the same. On that beach, on that afternoon, Thich Nhat Nanh says that he found a harmony and serenity he had rarely experienced before.

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  1. Diedra says:


    I will see you there


  2. Nuno Firmino says:

    Em Agosto fiz um retiro, na Plumm Village, com o mestre Thich Nhat Hanh. Quando cheguei, fui recebido por um dos seus monges que, enquanto tentava resolver um problema no computador, me pediu para aguardar alguns instantes.

    Assim fiz, sentei-me numa cadeira e fiquei a aguardar com serenidade. No entanto, qual foi o meu espanto quando o oií§o exclamar: “Minha nossa Senhora!” e, logo depois, com entusiasmo, “Avé Maria”.

    Sorri de imediato, e ele acrescentou: “Sou católico!”

  3. admin says:

    Dear Diedra,

    the address is as follows:

    Signing at Akademibokhandeln Skrapan

    Date/Time: Thursday September 20, 2007
    Time: 7:00pm – 8:00pm
    Location: Stockholm


  4. Vandana says:

    May serenity be with you. Its a beautiful beginning of the day for me to start with your new published story every day. Thanks for the enlivening.

  5. Kathleen says:

    A really beautiful story. Choked me up a bit.
    Kathleen xx

  6. Diedra says:

    I hope we can meet between the bridges…

    Baltic sea…

    by the way, is the address correct in you agenda for sept 20TH?

  7. Diedra says:

    Hi could you please give more information related to the event at Stockholm sept 20/07
    Can you give me the address and a phone number to the bookstore.
    Perhaps, some information related to a hotel close to the bookstore
    Thanks …

  8. Manea Andreea says:

    I would love to find such serenity one day, it’s beautiful. Every time I read one of your books I feel free, I feel like I can do anything, sadly the day to day problems make me forget that but I try to remember it as often as I can and so making all my dreams come true. Thank you for that feeling.