Thich Nhat Hanh, Love in Action: Writings on Nonviolent Social Change
Immediately before I read this book by Nhat Hanh, I read David Grossman on the advances in psychology to get us to kill, to overcome our disposition NOT to kill; then I read Bao Ninh’s novel about the sorrow of war, and how many people were done in by the bombing, the rape, the destruction. Herein, Nhat Hanh looks at the same worlds as these authors and offers his Buddhist, non-dualistic, interbeing approach to solving social problems.
The best chapter of the book is the play, “The Path of Return Continues the Journey.” How I’d like Magan Wiles to direct this play, with all an Vietnamese cast, a fund-raiser for Plum Village’s Love and Understanding project. Reread this play, which will take an hour. Think about it, and recognize how deeply it makes me feel.
There are also several chapters from the 60s and 70s which deal directly with the war in Vietnam, some of his poetry, and the Buddhist path to peace: “Love in Action,” “A Proposal for Peace,” “Our Green Garden,” “The Ancient Tree” (written for Nhat Chi Mai), “Call Me by My True Names,” “If You Want Peace, Peace is with You Immediately,” while “The Way Ahead for Buddhism in Vietnam” deals with the need for guaranteeing the right to religious freedom and “To Veterans” examines how veterans can be a constructive force for peace. Read the rest of this entry »