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Lions Roar : November 2016
return home to our families. Seeing the people here work so hard to rebuild their shattered lives reminds me of the shat- tered lives of my relatives in France after the Second World War. The peaceful and serene life of those monks makes me think about the lives of all human beings on this earth. And I wonder why we’ve come to this place. What is this hatred between the Viet Minh and us that we have traveled all the way over here to fight them?” Deeply moved, I took his hand. I told him the story of an old friend of mine who had enlisted to fight the French, and who had been successful in winning many battles. One day my friend came to the temple where I was and burst into tears as he embraced me. He told me that dur- ing an attack on a fortress, while he was concealed behind some rocks, he saw two young French soldiers sitting and talk- ing. “When I saw the bright, handsome, innocent faces of those boys,” he said, “I couldn’t bear to open fire, dear Brother. People can label me weak and soft; they can say that if all the Vietnamese fighters were like me, it wouldn’t be long before our whole country was overtaken. But for a moment I loved the enemy like my own mother loves me! I knew that the death of these two youngsters would make their mothers in France suffer, just as my mother had grieved for the death of my younger brother.” “So you see,” I said to the French soldier, “that young Vietnamese sol- dier’s heart was filled with the love of humanity.” The young French soldier sat quietly, lost in thought. Perhaps, like me, he was becoming more aware of the absurdity of the killing, the calamity of war, and the suffering of so many young people dying in an unjust and heartbreaking way. The sun had already risen high in the sky and it was time for me to go. The soldier told me that his name was Dan- iel Marty and he was twenty-one years old. He had just finished high school before coming to Vietnam. He showed me photographs of his mother and of a Japanese Incense since 1705 www.shoyeido.com LION’S ROAR | NOVEMBER 2016 75