Stop the Bombing

Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, known as Thay by his followers, spoke at the first United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm, Sweden in 1972. He urged the Americans to stop the bombing in Vietnam. He was speaking about the people in Vietnam that he knew were dying.

He did not put the total blame on the Americans. Instead, he said,

“I don’t think that only the American government is responsible for the war. Most of you know that the political economic system there has been things like war in Vietnam. That is why the North is not doing anything about the system and only the men in the government to do everything – that is not enough. And I’m afraid that if you get another new president, he may do the same thing as the present one.”

So what has changed since 1972? We are still dropping bombs. We are still dropping bombs in Afghanistan. We are still dropping bombs in Iraq. Acts of violence are continuing all over the world.

I think most of this is to keep our political economic system in place. As long as we continue to support the system of unmindful consumption, we are participants in the bombings.

I get really frustrated when I think about the wars in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. I wish I could think of ways to stop the bombing and restore peace to these areas. In recent years, Thay has taught, “Everyone knows that peace has to begin with oneself, but not many people know how to do it.” I’m beginning to feel at peace within myself, but don’t know how to bring peace to the world.

What do you think we can do to stop the bombing? What can we do to bring peace within and to the rest of the world? This would be the fulfillment of Thay’s dream. Let us continue to visualize him recovering from his illness.

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