Being Peace

I'm currently re-reading "Being Peace", by the Vietnamese Zen monk Thich Nhat Hanh. It's a small book that was assigned reading in the last philosophy class that I took in college (several years ago now).

Although I didn't get interested in Buddhism or meditation at the time, I do remember being impressed with the author's discussion of how we can learn to be calm, mindful, and happy in situations where we usually aren't (like driving in rush hour traffic).

Reading the book now, a couple of years into my own investigations into Buddhism, I'm struck by how simple and yet powerful the wisdom in the book is.

Thich Nhat Hanh is one of the leading proponents of "engaged Buddhism", the idea that efforts to promote peace and social justice can be a part of Buddhist practice. He compares the planet to a small boat at sea that is taking on water in rough weather. If only one person in the boat stays calm and purposeful, they can help others to do the same and to avert disaster. He says that Buddhists can help to serve in this role in their families, offices, and the world.

To help create a sense of well-being and mindfulness when I'm not on my meditation cushion, I've been trying to use this short poem that he provides for that purpose:

Breathing in, I calm my body.
Breathing out, I smile.
Dwelling in the present moment
I know this is a wonderful moment.


Raymo.E-J said...

This is the first book I read by him. It was just as you said, so simple yet profoundly true. His story about his forgiveness for the bombing is just awe inspiring to me. He's definitely one of my heroes, because of his deep conviction and activities for world peace.

That breathing exercise works very well. Definitely makes it easier to cope with much tension, physical, emotional,or psychic.

max said...

This sounds like an interesting book, I will have to pick this up. I love that poem that you have provided.