Extracts of "Walking into the Kingdom of God" © Thich Nhat Hanh:
[...]We promised not to do it again, but we have manufactured so many other bombs and nuclear warheads. Now, not only the United States of America has them, but France has them, Great Britain, India, China and many other countries. We, mankind, have the power to destroy humanity, to destroy the earth.[...]
The Upper Hamlet, where we sit now, was also a site of fighting between the Germans and the French during that time.Several French Resistance members were placed against the wall that is close to the Listening to the Rain Veranda and shot by German soldiers. The inhabitants of Thenac, including used to think about their village, which now includes the Upper Hamlet of Plum Village, with that kind of horror, sadness, anger, within them.
Plum Village was set up fifteen years ago. [...] And during these fifteen years, we
have practiced the walking meditation, touching the soil of the Upper Hamlet with love,
concentration, understanding and reconciliation. Among us there are many German friends.
The German people have come here to Plum Village. They did not bring any guns; in fact,
they brought their hearts, and together, with French people, with Dutch people, with
American people, with British people, with Vietnamese people, we have practiced walking
meditation in the Upper Hamlet every day, every night. We have kissed the earth of the
Upper Hamlet, we have kissed the soil of the Upper Hamlet with our feet, mindfully. We
want to print our peace, our compassion and our love on this piece of land. And there has
been a great transformation here. The inhabitants of the village of Thenac have told us
that they could feel that peace radiating from Plum Village, and now every time they think
of Thenac, of the Upper Hamlet, they no longer have the feeling of horror, resentment and
anger. Thanks to you all who come from more than twenty countries, who have come and
practiced peace, practiced forgiveness, practiced reconciliation, Thenac has become a land
of peace. And Thenac will continue to offer itself as a land of peace, a place where we
can come together, hold each other's hand and walk together in peace. There are times when
there are retreats when many hundreds of people gather and practice, but there are times
when there are only permanent residents of Plum Village who are there to practice. We are
about 100 people, but we do practice every day, every night. We do bring our peace and joy
and reconciliation and compassion to the land of Thenac every day and every night.
In the last fifteen years, French people have come here to practice and also German people. They have come, they have taught each other, they have practiced sitting, walking, drinking tea together, beginning anew with each other. It is a very beautiful and meaningful act. [...]
It is wonderful that Japanese and Americans come to Plum Village and practice. Japan
and America have been working together in many areas, especially economics. I dont
know whether true reconciliation has been made, at a deeper level. If we have learned from
the lesson, then, Japanese and Americans will be able to keep the promise not to do it
again, to themselves and to other people on earth. If Germans and French have learned that
lesson, we should be able not to do it again to ourselves and to each other. Again, France
and Germany are very closely associated in the enterprise of Europe, but deep inside, I
don't know whether true reconciliation has been made. That is why today I beg all of you
to look deeply, to go very deep to touch the wound that is still in there. To smile at it,
to take each other's hand and we represent our people.
If we have learned from the lesson, then, Japanese and Americans will be able to keep the promise not to do it again, to themselves and to other people on earth. If Germans and French have learned that lesson, we should be able not to do it again to ourselves and to each other. Again, France and Germany are very closely associated in the enterprise of Europe, but deep inside, I don't know whether true reconciliation has been made. That is why today I beg all of you to look deeply, to go very deep to touch the wound that is still in there. To smile at it, to take each other's hand and we represent our people.
[...] look deeply into the most profound level of your heart, touch the wounds, the wounds of your ancestors, your own wounds, and maybe the wounds of your children and their children, if you don't practice and heal the wound today.We shall ask the lady who represents Japan and the lady who represents America to do hugging meditation for us. All of us are Japanese; all of us are Americans, and we should be able to reconcile and heal the deep wounds in us.
As Sister Vandana brought by her devotees came to Plum Village to share there a year and came back to India it has been given this Dharma Talk by Thich Nhat Hanh on august 6, 1997 in Plum Village, France; we can read it as a part of the Peace Upanishad for Peace lovers in the heart of Europe to build and for the world; it is fully published on the website of Plum Village.
The Most Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh (Thây), founded the Unified Buddhist Church (Eglise Bouddhique Unifiée) in France in 1969, during the Vietnam war. Thich Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, a poet, a scholar, and a peace activist. His life long efforts to generate peace and reconciliation moved Martin Luther King, Jr. to nominate him for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1967. When not travelling the world to teach The Art of Mindful Living, he teaches, writes, and gardens in Plum Village, France, a Buddhist monastery for monks and nuns and a mindfulness practice center for lay people.