This was originally published on Liberal America on March 31, 2017.
There are many ways people are coping with the era of President Donald Trump. One way is to stay optimistic; a Zen master gave his own perspective on the issue.
Thich Nhat Hanh, a Zen master, said this in his new book, At Home in the World:
“Mindfulness must be engaged. Once we see that something needs to be done, we must take action. Seeing and action go together. Otherwise, what is the point in seeing?”
“… Nonviolence is not a set of techniques that you can learn with your intellect. Nonviolent action arises from the compassion, lucidity and understanding you have within.”
He also said this about activism:
“If we don’t maintain a balance between our work and the nourishment we need, we won’t be very successful. The practice of walking meditation, mindful breathing, allowing our body and mind to rest, and getting in touch with the refreshing and healing elements inside and around us is crucial for our survival.”
Thich Nhat Hanh is a 90-year-old Vietnamese monk. Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. called him “an Apostle of peace and non-violence.” He is considered a peace activist, and he is also a poet.
He was born in Central Vietnam in 1926. He was an activist involved in the movement to renew Vietnamese Buddhism. In the 1960s, he came to the United States taught Comparative Religion at Princeton University.
He founded the Engaged Buddhism movement. It’s a way of linking classic Buddhist teachings with social and political activism. The current Dalai Lama has also voiced the need for Buddhists to get involved in politics.
We all need to join the fight against President Donald Trump. We need to peacefully protest his awful policies. We can all learn something from this Zen master and peaceful protesting philosophies. This Zen master has a lot to teach all of us.