Thích Nhất Hạnh (; Vietnamese: [tʰǐk ɲɜ̌t hɐ̂ʔɲ] ( listen); born as Nguyễn Xuân Bảo on October 11, 1926) is a Vietnamese Buddhist monk and peace activist.
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Do not take sides; if you take sides, you are trying to eliminate half of reality, which is impossible. For many years the United States has been trying to describe the Soviet Union as the evil side. . . . If we look at America very deeply, we see the Soviet Union. And if we look deeply at the Soviet Union, we see America. If we look deeply at the rose, we see the garbage; if we look deeply at the garbage, we see the rose. In this international situation, each side is pretending to be the rose and calling the other side garbage.
When I was four years old, my mother used to bring me a cookie every time she came home from the market. I always went to the front yard and took my time eating it, sometimes half an hour or forty-five minutes for one cookie. I would take a small bite and look up at the sky. Then I would touch the dog with my feet and take another small bite. . . . I was entirely in the present moment, with my cookie, the dog, the bamboo thickets, the cat, and everything. . . . It is possible to eat our meals as slowly and joyfully as I ate the cookie of my childhood.
The situation of the world is still like this. People completely identify with one side, one ideology. ... Reconciliation is to understand both sides, to go to one side and describe the suffering being endured by the other side, and then to go to the other side and describe the suffering being endured by the first side. Doing only that will be a great help for peace.
For the Dargara people, death results in simply a different form of belonging to the community. It is a lesson . . . that change is the norm, that the world is defined by eternal cycles of decline and regeneration. . . . Death is not a separation but a different form of communion, a higher form of connectedness . . . providing an opportunity for even greater service.