One of the pleasures of having a business like Simple Simon’s is that you get to meet such an eclectic mix of people from all sorts of interesting backgrounds. When it’s busy as it was today, it’s a joy, a theatre, where so many different strands flow and come together….

A few days ago I was gathering up some books at home, trying to declutter when I came upon a copy of Herman Hesses’ book, “Siddhartha”. It belonged to my Son Jack who has been living in Danang, Vietnam for some years. Couldn’t bring myself to throw it out and made the mistake of starting to read it….It’s like going through a box of old photographs, a rabbit hole escape, very dangerous unless you’re prepared to be sidetracked. It’s a Lifes Journey tale from a Buddhist perspective and an engaging read…a “To Kill a Mockingbird” or a “Catcher in the Rye” seminal kind of book.

Our neighbour, Siobhan Murray of the Blue Poppy Dental practice is off now touring Vietnam and Cambodia with her sister Fiona.

A regular customer and visitor to us is Sister Mary Moran originally from Laghey but for quite a while now living and running a school project in Mbarara, Uganda.

In a previous life, an eternity ago, a different world, I studied Philosophy at Queens, early 70’s Belfast. So a few days ago I’m chatting with Sister Mary about life in general and the “Bigger Picture”, as in the theme of this particular book, when she, warming to the subject, asks me if I’d ever heard of Thic Nhat Hanh and had I read any of his works?
Of course says I, thinking, I’ll shock her…
“No, I haven’t read anything of his but wasn’t I at the very monastery where he studied to become a monk, only last year? It’s just outside of Hue in Vietnam.”
“Really?” she says, and to my astonishment tells me
” I was lucky enough to study with him in Paris, years ago. He was the most influential person I have ever met”.

Siobhan and her sister were in Hue at that very same time, visited the same Temple and arrange to meet Jack in Hoi An a few days later for a coffee…and just as they do, and send me a picture, at the very same moment, Sister Mary drops in and presents me with a copy of Thic’s book, “Fragrant Palm Leaves”. …delivered for my further education.

Isn’t the World and Universe sometimes frighteningly complicated, huge and intimidating yet at the same time, flowing, completely personal and intimate?

Words by Finbar Rock