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Calming the Fearful Mind: A Zen Response to Terrorism

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2008

    A Book to take Away the Fear

    After initially reading the title I was rather surprised by I knew I had to read the book. I picked it up because I wanted to learn from a different religious perspective how I could overcome my anger and my doubt on violence and anger. I also wanted to learn how to understand why other people were so violent. Thay as his friend's call him, is able to explain to his readers that a person needs to listen compassionately meaning that a person needs to be open to the other persons words. With this I was able to be more understanding and even it helped me to want to read other books by this author.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2005

    Engaging in deep listening: An Alternative to War

    Thich Nhat Hanh comes to this brief but soulfully turgid book by way of a long history of Buddhist thinking and practice, having witnessed the atrocities of the Vietnam war, absorbed the nihilistic effect of evil and electing to form conclaves of believers of peace and serenity in spiritual retreats in Northern California, Vermont and southern France. His response to the current climate of a globe drowning in terrorism is simple: turn thoughts to listening, hearing, understanding and stay calm and shun blowing things up! 'Misunderstanding, fear, anger, and hatred are the roots of terrorism. They cannot be located by the military¿To uproot terrorism, we need to begin by looking into our hearts.' His quiet wisdom is disarming. He advocates, no, pleads with us to listen to and hear and study the Muslim ideology to better understand the conflict in Iraq, a conflict as unwinable as that in Vietnam. His discussion of the concept of suicide bombings in contrast to the self-immolations of the monks in Vietnam who elected to symbolize their beliefs by sacrificing their own lives is poignant: suicide protest is a form of communication but one that results in the global observers refusing to listen, to react instead in fear and in rage. To that end Hanh directs his recurring plea to listen to those who make even such dire statements, that only by truly listening to the motivation and the passion that drives such acts can we understand and react out of learning. 'America has been overwhelmed by fear'. Hanh suggests that fear can be exchanged for insight through the act of deeply listening to those whom we seem to oppose. `In the war with Vietnam, the Americans had the intention to save Vietnam from Communism. It was a good intention, but this desire to save us destroyed us...The intention to love is not yet love. We must know how to love. True love doesn't destroy the object of its love.' Transpose some words here, like Iraq for Vietnam, like dictatorship for Communism, and we are in the process of understanding the quiet timeliness of this little volume speaking for peace. It is quiet, it is readable and understandable, and it is necessary for each of us. Recommended reading. Grady Harp

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