Excerpt from Creating True Peace: Ending Violence in Yourself, Your Family, Your Community, and the World by Thich Nhat Hanh
Escalation of Peace – page 91 to 92, read during Afternoon of Mindfulness 14.11.2015
(also pages 103-109 was read but it hasn’t been written up)
Suffering, unhappiness, violence, and war escalate when we are overcome with anger and try to punish and inflict suffering on the other side. We act this way because we believe that as a result we will suffer less, but of course this action only leads to the other side desiring revenge. This is the surest course of destruction. Deep down, we know this is childish, unintelligent behavior, but still most of us act this way. When we suffer, we blame the other person or group. We hope that is we can punish them and make them suffer, we will feel better and gain some relief. We know the disastrous effects of such behavior, yet we continue to follow this course. The result is more unhappiness, more terrorism, more violence, and more war.
Sometimes, people who cannot find any way to resolve a problem with someone else are tempted to eliminate the problem by eliminating the other person. They wish the other person would just go away, die, or disappear. That desire may be strong enough to lead them to kill. Killing another person is not an act of freedom but an act of despair and great ignorance; it will not bring freedom or peace.
Let us train ourselves to act with Right Understanding and compassion and move in the opposite direction. We can live our lives in such a way that we cause an escalation of peace to occur within our family, our school, and our society. Offering a calm and gentle smile – this is an act of peace. Looking with the eyes of compassion, making a peaceful step – these are gestures of peace and nonviolence that you can offer every day. Speak peacefully, walk peacefully, think peacefully, and your peace will radiate out in all directions.