Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Love in Action

"In the Persian Gulf, many people practiced killing in their minds-- Iraqi, American, French, British, and other soldiers. They knew that if they didn't kill, the enemy soldiers would kill them, so they used sandbags to represent their enemy, and holding their bayonets firmly, they ran, shouted, and plunged the bayonets into the sandbags. They practiced killing day and night in their hearts and minds. The damage caused by that kind of practice is huge. I happened to see a few seconds of that kind of practice on TV. Even if President Bush had not given the order for a land offensive, a lot of damage was already being done in the minds and hearts of one million people in the Gulf. Those kinds of wounds last for a long time and are transmitted to future generations. If you train yourself every day to kill during the day and then dream of killing during the night because you have spent so much time concentrating on that, the damage is deep. If you survive, you will bear that kind of scar for many years. This is a real tragedy. We usually count bodies to measure the damage from a war, but we don't count these kinds of wounds in the hearts and minds of so many soldiers. We have to see the real long-term damage that war causes. Soldiers live in hell day and night, even before they go into the battlefield, and even after they return home.

We may think of peace as the absence of war, that if the great
powers would reduce their weapons arsenals, we could have peace. But if we look deeply into the weapons, we will see our own minds--our own prejudices, fears, and ignorance. Even if we transport all the bombs to the moon, the roots of war and the roots of the bombs are still here--in our hearts and minds--and, sooner or later, we will make new bombs. To work for peace is to uproot war from ourselves and from the hearts of men and women." ~Thich Nhat Hanh

From the book,"Love In Action," published by Parallax Press.