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The Meaning of the Roses Pinned on the Chest

Ven. Thích Trừng Sỹ




Dear Respected Venerable Monks and Nuns,

Dear Dharma Sisters and Brothers,

Today, I would like to read and present The Meaning of Roses Pinned on the Chest. 

As you know around the early 1960s, Master Thich Nhat Hanh had a good opportunity to visit Master Thien An in Japan on the occasion of Bon festival similar to the Vietnamese Vu Lan’s Filial Piety festival. During this ceremony, both Masters were pinned on their chests with red carnations. By the way, Master Thien An explained, the red carnation symbolizes those who still have enough parents; pink carnations represent those who have lost their father or mother; White carnations represent those who have lost both parents.

In the season of Vu Lan’s filial piety in 1962, Master Thích Nhat Hanh wrote a short piece of the poem “Rose pinned on the chest”. With the above meanings, he used the image of roses instead of carnations applied from 1963 to the present day. Indeed, the Rose ceremony is often presented formally during the festival of Vu Lan’s Filial Piety to express the profound meanings of parents’ merits of birth, upbringing, and nurture. If we are monks or nuns, we will be pinned on our robe with a yellow rose. Yellow symbolizes relaxation, freedom, peacefulness, no attachments, no discrimination, no ties, and no bind.

On the other hand, the rose not only symbolizes the above particular convention, but it also represents the love of the couple, the love of marriage, the love of parents, the love of teachers and students, the love of nature, etc.… Love manifests more or less depending on the way that we use to behave in accordance with different objects and contexts in our daily life.

The purpose of this celebration is to remind us of the love of our parents, grandparents, and the love of spiritual and blood ancestors; This love serves as the most basic and solid foundation to help us nurture and develop our love for our homeland and country in the future.

During this year’s Vu Lan season of filial piety, I would like to offer red, pink, white, and yellow roses to all those who have parents are still alive or parents deceased in the world.

Namo Maha Moggallāna Bodhisattva

Ý Nghĩa Bông Hồng Cài Áo


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