In this episode of Humankind, David Freudberg traveled to a Buddhist Monastery in rural Vermont, to hear the profound wisdom of Thich Nhat Hanh, a soft-spoken Vietnamese monk, who tries to cool the fires of global conflict by advocating compassion, loving speech, and deep listening. Hanh passed away in January 2022 at age 95. Having experienced enormous tragedy during the Vietnam war, he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Martin Luther King Jr. for his efforts to make peace in his war-torn homeland. Hanh felt that much of the turmoil between people at war comes from basic misunderstandings that can be clarified through careful listening. Only when both sides listen to the other and try to understand, can we transform from conflict to peace. A gentle man of peace.
- How can we listen and look deeply into someone else’s suffering?
- How can we reach a person who is consumed by anger and vengeance?
- How is it possible to remain calm amidst the horror and fear of war?
- Why is it important to be aware of the impermanence of life?
Having suffered horrendous loss during the American war in Vietnam, Thay held true to his belief that only through attentive listening and compassionate speech can the fires of hatred and violence be extinguished. Martin Luther King Jr. nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize. You can hear our half-hour program with Thich Nhat Hahn now.
Peace is always there, to some extent. And if you know how to practice, then you can always be in touch with peace, to some degree, for your nourishment and healing. And then you’ll be strong enough to face, to deal with, the opposite side, the negative side.” — Thich Nhat Hanh
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