How to Face Violence and Fear


February 7, 2010. This 60-minute dharma talk in Vietnamese, with translation into English, was given by Thich Nhat Hanh in New Hamlet, Plum Village.

This is the first (of five) part of the Absolute Truth (Attadanda) Sutra #16.

1. Let us listen and observe to understand how from a peaceful and secure situation we have brought society to the present situation. Full of terror and violence. How have past generations behaved for the situation to have become like this? I want to talk with you about this issue of suffering and tell you how I was able to let go of fear.
2. People in the world experience one suffering after another, like a fish living in a pond that is drying up day by day. In a situation of suffering, violent thoughts easily arise and people in their ignorance seek to relieve their suffering by terrorizing and punishing others.
3. The whole is burning with violence. In the ten directions, all is in chaos. There is not a place where there real peace and security.  Everyone sees himself as superior to others. Few people know to let go of passions. Not having seen this reality, people continue to hold hatred and ignorance in their hearts.
4. Binding themselves in those states of mind, they bring themselves more misunderstanding and suffering. I have looked deeply into the states of mind of unhappy people and I have seen hidden under their suffering a very sharp pointed knife. Because they don’t see that sharp pointed knife in themselves, it is difficult for them to deal with suffering.
5. The pain caused by the sharp pointed knife lasts a long time and does not change. Because they continue holding onto the knife like that, they fill the world with suffering. Only when they have the opportunity to recognize it and extract it from their hearts will the suffering cease. And only then will they have the chance to stop.

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Update: This is part of a series on the Attadanda Sutta

By Chan Niem Hy

Dharma Teacher.

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