Saturday, July 15, 2006

How to die nonviolently

I wrote a poem for my young brothers and sisters on how to die nonviolently, without hatred. It is called "Recommendation".

Promise me,
promise me this day,
promise me now,
while the sun is overhead
exactly at the zenith,
promise me:

Even as they
strike you down
with a mountain of hatred and violence;
even as they step on you and crush you
like a worm,
even as they dismember and disembowel you,
remember, brother,
man is not our enemy.

The only thing worthy of you is compassion- invincible, limitless, unconditional. Hatred will never let you face the beast in man.

One day, when you face this beast alone, with your courage intact, your eyes kind, untroubled (even as no one sees them), out of your smile will bloom a flower. And those who love you will behold you across ten thousand worlds of birth and dying.

Alone again, I will go on with bent head, knowing that love has become eternal. On the long, rough road, the sun and the moon will continue to shine.

To practice meditation is to be aware of the existence of suffering. The first Dharma talk that the Buddha gave was about suffering, and the way out of suffering. In South Africa, the black people suffer enormously, but the white people also suffer. If we take one side, we cannot fulfill our task of reconciliation in order to bring about peace.

Are there people who can be in touch with both the black community and the white community in South Africa? If there are not many of them, the situation is bad. There must be people who can get in touch with both sides, understanding the suffering of each, and telling each side about the other.

Are there people doing that kind of understanding and mediation and reconciliation between the two major political blocs on the earth? Can you be more than Americans? Can you be people who understand deeply the suffering of both sides? Can you bring the message of reconciliation?

From: Being Peace by Thich Nhat Hanh


Bonita said...

The process of reconciliation is so complex, yet so simple. It starts with knowledge, then, volition, then action. All, within the heart. No political process can achieve peace. It must occur in the human heart. That is the source.

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