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Lions Roar : July 2010
Peace in Every Step Thich Nhat Hanh's Life of Courage and Compassion From the front lines of activism in war-torn Vietnam to worldwide prominence as a Buddhist teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh has dedicated his life to peace and the dharma. ANDREA MILLER tells his extraordinary story. IN SEVEN BOATS filled to the brim with food, Thich Nhat Hanh and a small team of volunteers rowed up the Thu Bon River, going high into the mountains, where sol- diers were shooting at each other and the air reeked of dead bodies. The team was without mosquito netting or potable wa- ter, and, despite the icy winds, they slept and took their meals of plain rice in their boats. Under these harsh conditions, Nhat Hanh, who had previously contracted ma- laria and dysentery, suffered a recurrence of both diseases. It was 1964 in South Vietnam. After days of heavy rain in the region, gorges had overflowed so quickly that it was im- possible to escape the floods, leaving more than 4,000 people dead and thousands of homes washed away. The whole country mobilized to provide relief but the victims in the conflict areas were suffering the most and no one-except Nhat Hanh and his team-were willing to risk getting caught in the crossfire of the war to go to their aid. ""d ::r: o """Ì o n o e """Ì trI C/'J >-< o 'TI ""d r r X ""d trI C/'J C/'J Above: Thich Nhat Hanh as a young monk. Right: returning in 2008 to Tu Hieu Temple near Hué, the monastery he entered at the age of sixteen. 36 SHAMBHALA SUN JULY 2010 C/) ........ Q ...-1 p..., >-< o f-< o ::r: p...,