In trying to understand how we possibly move from the situation we find ourselves in with Islamic terrorists, I am drawn to the words of Thich Nhat Hanh and Jesus. The solutions would not satisfy any urges for revenge that linger, but nor does revenge restore peace. I think the only recourse to ending the violence is protracted, but at the same time the only solution is understanding.
From Going Home, Jesus and Buddha as Brothers, Thich Nhat Hanh:
“..the Buddha should help Jesus restore himself completely. Jesus should also help the Buddha restore himself completely because Jesus and the Buddha are not merely concepts, the are around us alive.”
I would venture to add Mohammed to that group as well.
And from an Interview with Thich Nhat Hanh:
All violence is injustice. The fire of hatred and violence cannot be extinguished by adding more hatred and violence to the fire. The only antidote to violence is compassion. And what is compassion made of? It is made of understanding. When there is no understanding, how can we feel compassion, how can we begin to relieve the great suffering that is there? So understanding is the very real foundation upon which we build our compassion.
How do we gain the understanding and insight to guide us through such incredibly challenging moments that we now face in America? To understand, we must find paths of communication so that we can listen to those who desperately are calling out for our understanding — because such an act of violence is a desperate call for attention and for help.
How can we listen in a calm and clear way so that we don’t immediately kill the chance for understanding to develop? As a nation we need to look into this: how to create the situations for deep listening to occur so that our response to the situation may arise out of our calm and clear mind. Clarity is a great offering that we can make at this time.
There are people who want one thing only: revenge. In the Buddhist scriptures, the Buddha said that by using hatred to answer hatred, there would only be an escalation of hatred. But if we use compassion to embrace those who have harmed us, it will greatly defuse the bomb in our hearts and in theirs.
And from Jesus:
You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Matthew 5:43-48
MAY THE BATTERED DOORS TO PEACE BE SOMEHOW OPENED.
We also pray for Thich Nhat Hanh’s recovery.