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The Practice of Peace

Thich Nhat Hanh, 2003

Parallax Press Archive

To make peace alive in us is to actively cultivate understanding, love, and compassion, even in the face of misperception and conflict. Practicing peace, especially in time of war, requires courage.

This article appeared in our October 2003 issue. In 1946, during the France-Indochina war, I was a novice monk at the Tu Hieu Temple in Hue, in central Vietnam. At the time, the city of Hue was occupied by the French army. One day, two French soldiers arrived in our temple. While one stayed in the jeep outside the temple gate, the other came in carrying a gun, and demanded all our rice. We had only one sack of rice for all the monks, and he wanted to take it. The soldier was about 20, and hungry. He looked thin and pale, as if he had malaria, which I also had at the time. I had to obey his order to carry our heavy bag of rice to the jeep, it was a long distance, and as I staggered under the bag’s precious weight, anger and unhappiness rose up in me. They were leaving our community without food. Later, to my relief, I learned that one of the older monks had buried a large container of rice deep in the temple grounds. Many times over the years I have meditated on this French soldier. I have seen that, in his teens, he had to leave his parents, brothers, sisters, and friends to travel across the world …

Adapted from Creating True Peace by Thich Nhat Hanh. Copyright© 2003 by The Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh. Reprinted by permission of Free Press, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., N.Y.

This entry is tagged with:
From the ArchivesThich Nhat HanhMindfulnessPeaceBuddhismNonviolence

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