Late in this chapter, Hanh describes authentic teachers as those who have the capacity to "give birth to a disciple." He says that we are all spiritual descendants of the teachers who preceded us, and then he adds, "I try to practice [Dharma] in a way that allows me to touch my blood ancestors and my spiritual ancestors every day. Whenever I feel sad or a little fragile, I invoke their presence for support, and they never fail to be there." I was surprised by this. Don't Buddhists believe in reincarnation? If so, how is it possible for one to invoke the presence of blood ancestors? Aren't those blood ancestors now living as other beings?
When Hahn talks about the Dharma, it reminds me of the way Jews talk about the Law. He says, "The Dharma is our island of refuge, the torch lighting our path. If we have the teaching, we needn't worry."