The Wise Graduate

Since a few months ago, i have been reading a book, Savor by Thich Nhat Hanh and Dr. Lilian Cheung (2010), as my bed time reading. I found one part of the book was intriguing and worth to share. This was the speech delivered by Jennifer Leigh Levye in June 2007, addressed to her Sharon High School classmates.

“Thich Nhat Hanh, . . . holding up an orange, said, ’The entire world is inside this orange.’ ‘Inside an orange?’ was the though that ran through many of our minds. How can the entire world be inside something as small as an orange?

But think about everything that goes into making an orange. The tree it grows on, the ground it grows in, the water that nourishes it, the sun that gave it the energy to grow. If any of these things are removed, the orange won’t exist, so they are all inside the orange. That idea can be pulled out further – a person had to plant the tree, another probably picked the fruit, a third packaged and shipped it. Each of these people was influenced by others and so on until everyone can be connected to the orange – if any once thing were different, it would not exist.

So, from . . . that orange, we see both that our ideas and experiences intertwine and that we are all linked to each other. This isn’t he most difficult ideas to talk about, but it seems very difficult to put into practice. We tend to see ourselves as isolated islands, or as too insignificant to have an effect on the world as a whole. We often think of other people’s problems as remote and having no impact on ourselves. We believe that foreign ideas are separate from ours, and we do not really need to understand them. Though these assumptions are common and easy to fall back on, we can remember that our actions do not occur in bubbles, and that we are impacted by the lives of people outside our little spheres. If the entire world is inside an orange, it is also inside each and every one of us – if any part of it were different, we would be different.

. . . [R]emember that everything is connected and that the whole world is inside us. Everyone influences us in great web, and can influence it by changing some small part. . . . [I]f we take away from these four years the idea that we are all connected and that we can bring about change, our education has not been in vain, and the world will become a better place.”

Cited from Thich Nhat Hanh and Dr. Lilian Cheung, Savor, 2010,  page 218-219.


This is such a beautiful speech that shows the wisdom Jennifer obtain in such a young age. I ask myself these, “How many times i say ‘what a small world’? or “How many times i met old friends that i haven’t met for years in different continent?”  The answer is obvious, plenty of times. And with the technology nowadays, I can see this pattern become more and more visible.

Try to ask ourselves these simple questions, how you met your love one? , how many ‘unexpected’ mutual friends you have with your best friends? , and from where our foods/water come from? … think, and i hope you see the connection.

And when we see the connection, when we see that there is part of others in us and vice versa, re-think this: why we hurt others? or since all of us interconnected, why we capable to hurt ourselves?

Only us know our personal answer on that question. I only hope that we can see others as worthy as ourselves and ourselves as worthy as others. And may the peace come to the world.


Lord, make me instrument of thy peace . Where there is hatred, let me sow love. – 

Francis of Assisi

One comment

  1. Hengky Saujana

    orange. good way to explain things. sometimes we don’t realize everything is connected, once we do, we need to reflect our action before it begins. good article ^_^

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