Peace for the Soul

A common space for harmonic peacemakers


You have to train yourself to be an agent of peace and reconciliation wherever you are - in your host family or church or temple. You are teaching the way of mindfulness without the title or teacher. You are doing social work without the title of social worker. You are nobody at all, but you can be everything to the people who need your help.

There is a mathematics teacher who has come to several retreats at Plum Village from the US. He was always an excellent teacher, but for many years he had a difficult time in his classroom because he would become angry easily. Before he learned the practice of nonviolence, he used to yell or throw chalk at his students when they upset him. Sometimes in fits of irritation he would write comments on their homework such as "How can you be so stupid?"

After he had practiced mindfulness for a while, he transformed dramatically. He entered the classroom in slow walking meditation. He went over to the blackboard and erased everything in a mindful way. His surprised students asked, "Teacher, are you sick?" He replied with a smile: "No, I'm not sick. I'm just trying to do things mindfully." He shared the practice of mindfulness with them, proposing that every fifteen minutes a student should clap his hands so that the entire class could stop and practice breathing and smiling.

His students enjoyed practicing with him and grew to love him more and more. Instead of writing on their work, "How can you be so stupid?" he now wrote, "You don't understand, it's my fault." His class made great progress. Soon every class in the school adopted his techniques. When he reached retirement age, he was begged to stay on a few more years. He is now a mindfulness teacher and a mindful teacher. This is a real example of practice, progress and of peace.

Slowly, with mindful action, we can transform ourselves, our family, school workplace, neighbourhood, city hall, national government and the global community. We should practice meditation collectively, because looking deeply into our situation is no longer an individual matter. We have to combine our individual insights into collective wisdom."

- Thich Nhat Hahn (Creating True Peace)


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Replies to This Discussion

Thich Nhat Hahn is a great and humble teacher.

One of the places where he teaches is in France. Spending time with him and in this village is a privilege...

Let's his teachings inspire every single moment in our life and ... Love and Peace will be with us at every single moment.

Love and Peace for all Beings.

This is a wonderful story. I am a big fan of Thich Nhat Hanh. Thank you for posting this and reminding me of living mindfully and with gentleness.


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