Two Vietnamese: Hồ and Thầy–Revolutionary Morality & Buddhist Morality

by Mark Chmiel

Hồ Chí Minh

1.
Step by step, during the course of the struggle, by studying Marxism-Leninism while engaging in practical activities, I gradually understood that only socialism and communism can liberate the oppressed nations and the working people throughout the world from slavery.

2.
Revolutionary morality consists of the following: To devote one’s life to struggling for the Party and the revolution. This is the most essential point. To work hard for the Party, observe Party discipline, and implement party lines and policies. To put the interests of the party and the laboring people before and above one’s own interests. To serve the people wholeheartedly. To struggle selflessly for the Party and the people and to be exemplary in every respect.  To endeavor to study Marxism-Leninism and constantly use self-criticism and criticism to heighten one’s ideological standard, improve one’s work, and progress together with one’s comrades.

3.
Revolutionary morality consists, in whatever circumstances, in resolutely struggling against all enemies, maintaining one’s vigilance, standing ready to fight, and refusing to submit, to bow one’s head.

4.
Revolutionary morality does not fall from the sky. It is developed and consolidated through persevering daily struggle and effort. Like jade, the more it is polished the more it shines. Like gold, it grows ever purer as it goes into the melting pot.

–from Hồ Chí Minh, Down with Colonialism!

Thích Nhất Hạnh

1.
Do not be idolatrous about or bound to any doctrine, theory, or ideology, even Buddhist ones. Buddhist systems of thought are guiding means; they are not absolute truth.

2.
Do not think that the knowledge that you presently possess is changeless, absolute truth.  Avoid being narrow-minded and bound to present views.  Learn and practice nonattachment from views in order to be open to receive others’ viewpoints.  Truth is found in life and not merely in conceptual knowledge.  Be ready to learn throughout your entire life and to observe reality in yourself and in the world at all times.

3.
Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education.  However, through compassionate dialogue, help others renounce fanaticism and narrowness.

4.
Do not avoid contact with suffering or close your eyes before suffering.  Do not lose awareness of the existence of suffering in the life of the world.  Find ways to be with those who are suffering by all means, including personal contact and visits, images, sound.  By such means, awaken yourself and others to the reality of suffering in the world.

— from Thích Nhất Hạnh,  Interbeing: Commentaries on the Tiep Hien Precepts

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