32 mindfulness practitioners around the world reflect on encountering the extraordinary teachings of Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh, who passed away in January 2022, exploring themes of coming home to ourselves, healing from grief and loss, facing fear, and building community and belonging.
Some moments change our lives. We experience wonder and relief when we realize we can be okay, just as we are. How do we then integrate these transformative moments into our daily life? Tears Become Rain is a collection of such stories, with one common inspiration: the teachings of mindfulness and compassion offered by the most influential meditation teacher of the past century, the Buddhist monk and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh, who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Dr. Martin Luther King.
The stories encapsulate the benefits of mindfulness practice through the experiences of ordinary people from 16 countries around the world. Some of the contributors were direct students of Thich Nhat Hanh for decades and are meditation teachers in their own right, while others are relatively new on the path.
After her mother's death, Canadian author Vickie MacArthur writes poignantly of discovering a source of peace within herself at Thich Nhat Hanh's Plum Village monastery in France. Jamaican American English professor Camille Goodison uncovers the racism of academia and finds freedom from her toxic workplace by practicing the teachings of love and liberation as taught to her by Thich Nhat Hanh. Vietnamese doctor Huy Minh Tran shares how mindfulness helped him transform his traumatic past as a refugee so that he no longer suffers from nightmares. Norwegian Eevi Beck meditates on the teacher-student relationship and how Thich Nhat Hanh supported her marriage and then loss of her husband. For many, battling sickness, old age, and death—the death of loved ones and one's own—brings up overwhelming emotions of grief, anger, and despair but with the wisdom of Zen practice, Tears Become Rain shows again and again how people are able to find refuge from the storm in their lives and open their hearts to joy. Through sharing their stories, Tears Become Rain is both a celebration of Thich Nhat Hanh and a testament to his lasting impact on the lives of people from many walks of life.
About the Author
Jeanine Cogan, PhD, is a mindfulness meditation teacher and executive coach who has written many articles on success and the meaning of life for The Washington Post. A student of Thich Nhat Hanh since 1996, she is committed to introducing mindfulness and meditation to others and is known among her students as warm, lighthearted, and grounded. As a former academic on faculty at Georgetown University's Center for Continuing and Professional Education, Jeanine has edited two books as well as many professional journals.
Mary Hillebrand has studied and practiced in the Plum Village tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh since 2001, participating in sanghas in Washington, DC, and Madison, Wisconsin. Formerly a magazine editor and writer for ten years, Hillebrand is now a high-school teacher and enjoys teaching mindfulness to her students and sharing her practice with other educators.
“These intimate encounters with the wisdom of Thich Nhat Hanh will move you to joy and tears, sometimes all at once! Though this master teacher has passed on, his spirit continues through the living dharma in this beautiful book.”—Tara Brach, author of Radical Acceptance and Trusting the Gold
“A tender and true reflection of the life of a beloved teacher and friend to so many.”—Rev. Joan Jiko Halifax, abbot of the Upaya Zen Center and author of Standing at the Edge
“In this collection of ‘aha’ moments brought about by the practice of mindfulness, I found pieces of my own life and experience in nearly every story. These stories awakened memories of my own moments of true awareness and helped me see my life through fresh lenses.”—Annie Mahon, author of Things I Did When I Was Hangry and founder of the Circle Yoga Cooperative
“Tears Become Rain is a remarkable testament to the transformative power of suffering. These authentic, courageous, and beautifully told stories demonstrate the powerful learning we experience when we face and feel the depth of our pain, when we extend compassion to ourselves and one another.”—Bryan K. Garman, PhD, Head of School, Sidwell Friends School, Washington DC
“This lovely book is a salve for tumultuous times. Providing perspectives from an array of backgrounds and experiences, it is a beautiful reminder about the power of presence and a testament to the incredible legacy of Thich Nhat Hanh. Drop into this collection at any point for comfort, reflection, and hope.”—Katharine Manning, author of The Empathetic Workplace