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Lions Roar : September 2007
SHAMBHALA SUN SEPTEMBER 2007 51 The mind can go in a thousand directions, but on this beautiful path, I walk in peace. With each step, the wind blows. With each step, a flower blooms. —THICH NHAT HANH D EEP IN THE HEART OF DARKNESS, in a time of napalm, carpet-bombing, and Agent Orange, a flower bloomed in the form of a young Buddhist monk named Thich Nhat Hanh. Instead of closing his heart to the horrors of the Vietnam War, he did the opposite: he opened up to the ultimate source of strength. He opened up to true love, and in doing so, he inspired what has become a worldwide movement of politically engaged Buddhists. Thay, as he is affectionately known, recognized that true love begins with looking deeply, with emptying the heart of preconcep- tions and allowing spaciousness to occur. With this empty heart, empty of all illusion, comes compassion, comes courage, comes joy, comes wisdom. Comes true love. With a lived understanding of how all life interconnects—what he calls “interbeing”—Thich Nhat Hanh went beyond mere thought or contemplation and took action. In the midst of the Vietnam War, he founded the Order of Interbeing, started an im- portant peace magazine, and launched Youth Social Services, a group of committed practitioners who saw the Buddha’s teachings as a truth that required them to be “lotuses in a sea of fire.” He I Am Home Filmmaker VELCROW RIPPER reports on Thich Nhat Hanh’s historic trip home to Vietnam, where tens of thousands gathered with him to revive Buddhist practice and to heal the wounds of war. PARALLAXPRESS Thich Nhat Hanh, 1964 SEPT 50-57.indd 51 SEPT 50-57.indd 51 6/25/07 5:03:04 PM 6/25/07 5:03:04 PM