Blog: Spirit Speaks
by Liora Leah

Territory of Peace

Thich Nhat Hanh, renowned Buddhist monk, speaks of creating a place of peace in one's home and community so that we may "practice peace"

Date:   10/7/2005 6:40:20 PM   ( 16 y ) ... viewed 2037 times

Territory of Peace

by Thich Nhat Hanh

"Two days ago in a Dharma talk in English, I asked the children to name that room in our modern home where we can have peace, where we can practice peace, where we can restore our peace... Of course in that room we can practice breathing and restoring ourselves. But I guess that the children can help propose a beautiful name for that room...

We said that in our home there is a room for everything—like a guest room, a room for eating, a room for playing, a room for sitting and watching television—but we need a room where we can be really at peace. No one can shout at us when we go into that room. When the atmosphere in the family is not light, is difficult to bear, we can always have some place to go to be ourselves. No one can pursue us into that room in order to continue asking questions, or saying things that we don’t want to listen to. We may call it the "Embassy of the Buddha," where you can seek asylum. We can call it the "territory of peace," the "Pure Land," the "meditation corner."

When we look at the village, we see there is a church or a temple in the village. That church or temple plays the role of spiritual leadership. It used to be a higher building than the other houses, and it was surrounded with trees and so on. And we used to think of it with love, with peace, because we knew that when we went there, we could be rid of the annoying things of everyday life. But somehow the church or the temple has lost the role of leadership...Because in our daily life we need peace, we need harmony, we need quiet, we need communion—but they no longer provide us with that... our home of the twenty-first century... we have (a) room in our home...We talked about the furniture in that room, we talked about a few cushions, we talked about a little table with a little flower pot, we talked about a little bell so that we can practice breathing and calming ourselves. To me, a civilized home should have such a room. It is the heart of our home. Everyone in the family has to sign an agreement, a treaty, that the space of the room should not be violated by anyone, including the father, the mother. Once you enter the room there is no right to shout, there is no right to have rough words or gestures, because that is the territory of mindfulness, that is the territory of peace, and everyone has to show his or her reverence, respect. Because if we lose that respect and reverence, then there is nothing left...It will play the role of the church and the temple in our home. We will learn how to maintain that room, how to arrange that room, how to practice in that room, so that peace and harmony in our new home become something real—for the sake of all of us. The children already have discussed this, and I ask you to continue it today.

We also discussed the green space so that many houses in the area can profit—a kind of garden, a kind of Buddha garden. You might like to call it a Sangha garden. Because the central park is too big—the central park is for the whole city. We are talking about a little park, for a group of houses only. Because if each house has got to have a room that represents the territory of peace, then the hamlet—a group of houses, like fifteen, twenty, or thirty houses—should possess a space, green, natural, where the harmony of nature should be respected. I propose that in that mini-park there is a playground for children, a space where children can jump and run. Because we do need it, and it is a pleasure for people like me to sit and watch the children running and shouting and playing. We need that very much.

And then there should be a path for walking meditation. Every home needs to have such a path. When you are engaged on the path of walking meditation, you have the right to walk slowly, and in silence. A group of houses should make a kind of agreement on how to maintain and use that little communal park. I cannot survive without the path of walking meditation, I am so used to it. It’s like food. If I have no time, no chance, no place to practice walking every day, I don’t feel completely happy. I can be happy, but my happiness is not perfect. The walking has become part of my daily life. Every time I have five or ten minutes, I like to use it for walking meditation. Each step brings me a lot of joy. During the walk I pay attention to nature, to every creature that is there—a butterfly, a snail, a little flower, a dry ripe leaf. I don’t want to call it a dead leaf. I like to call it a "ripe" leaf.

And I like to see mother taking the hand of daughter, practicing walking meditation, teaching daughter to breathe in and out, to calm her emotions. I would like to see father taking the hand of son, walking meditation. I would like to see them sitting on the grass together, practicing looking at the blue sky, smiling.We don’t need to be riding in a motor car very quickly in order to enjoy life. We can just sit. I guess riding in a motor car is fine, but you might disturb people if the sound of the motor car is too big. And you risk polluting the air and you may reduce the happiness of other people, because you make the quality of the air poorer. So we have to be mindful. In that space of nature, of harmony, we should delegate members of the community who know how to maintain the harmony and the beauty of the little park, for the pleasure of everyone. We should make our walking meditation path beautiful, available to everyone. I hope there are several paths for walking meditation because I do wish that every house, every family, will at least have the opportunity to practice walking meditation every day."

Excerpt from: "Be Like the Earth—The Practice of Forbearance"

Thich Nhat Hanh's Teachings:

Home Page:

Hear Thich Nhat Hanh Speak

at 3:30 p.m. Saturday October 8, 2005

at the Scottish Rite Auditorium

4357 Wilshire Blvd. in L.A., after the Peace Walk.

For more information please call the Scottish Rite Auditorium

(323) 930-9806.

BE THERE! WALK FOR PEACE with Thich Nhat Hanh, October 8, 2005 , 10:00 a.m. in Los Angeles. For information, see:  

Related Blogs:

Mother Earth Speaks: Peace in Middle East

Spiritual Elders Speak: World of Peace

Reverend Michael Beckwith Speaks: Be Peace

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