Poem: A Prayer for Peace

mb33-APrayer1 In beauty, sitting on a lotus flower, is Lord Buddha, quiet and solid. Your humble disciple, calm and pure of heart, forms a lotus flower with his hands, faces you with deep respect, and offers this heartfelt prayer:

Homage to all Buddhas in the ten directions. Because of your love for all people, have compassion on us. Help us remember we are just one family, North and South, [East and West.] Help us rekindle our compassion and brotherhood, and transform our seperate interests into loving acceptance for all. May your compassion help us overcome our hatred. May Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva’s love help the flowers bloom again in the soil of our country. Humbly, we open our hearts to you, so you may help us transform our karma and water the flowers of our spirits. With your deep understanding, help our hearts grow light.

Homage to Shakyamuni Buddha whose great vows and compassion inspire us. I am determined to cultivate only thoughts that increase trust and love, to use my hands to perform only deeds that build community, to speak only words of harmony and aid.

Thich Nhat Hanh, 1965

This is an extract from a poem/prayer written by Thich Nhat Hanh in 1965.  It was used throughout South Vietnam in the “Don’t Shoot Your Own Brother” campaign to rouse the willingness to work for peace.  It was chanted and sung by young people as a means to unite their hearts and efforts to continue the work for peace.  Thich Nhat Hanh shares, “This chant aims at reconciliation and stopping the war.  It was a powerful way of working for communication.  This is something we can share with our Western friends.”

Found in Call Me By My True Names (Berkeley: Parallax, 1999)

PDF of this aritcle

To request permission to reprint this article, either online or in print, contact the Mindfulness Bell at editor@mindfulnessbell.org.