During the war in Vietnam, I saw communists and anti-communists killing and destroying each other because each side believed they had a monopoly on the truth. Many Christians and Buddhists in our country were fighting each other instead of working together to stop the war. I wrote a booklet entitled “Dialog: The Key to Peace,” but my voice was drowned out by bombs, mortars, and shouting. An American soldier standing on the back of a military truck spit on the head of my disciple, a young monk named Nhat Tri. The soldier must have thought we Buddhists were undermining America’s war effort or that my disciple was a communist in disguise. Brother Nhat Tri became so angry that he thought about leaving the monastery and joining the National Liberation Front. Because I had been practicing meditation, I was able to see that everyone in the war was a victim, that the American soldiers who had been sent to Vietnam to bomb, kill, and destroy were also being killed and maimed. I urged Brother Nhat Tri to remember that the G.I. was also a war victim, the victim of a wrong view and a wrong policy, and I urged him to continue to work for peace as a monk. He was able to see that and he became one of the most active workers in the Buddhist School of Youth for Social Service.
Thich Nhat Hanh
from Living Buddha, Living Christ