How To Fight by Thich Nhat Hanh

Thich Nhat Hanh or ‘Thay’ as he is lovingly known, spread Zen Buddhism far and wide. All through his life, Thay practiced ‘mindfulness’ and preached the same to his disciples to resolve internal and external conflicts.

In this short book, he reiterates the tenets of Zen Buddhism – compassion, mindfulness and self-reflection. Though most of the concepts were known to me but it is always refreshing to read and practice them. In our busy world, we tend to forget to concentrate on our ‘breathing’! It is the easiest and basic way to reslove conflicts, both internal and external. So, such a short book reminds of the technique of mindfulness and doesn’t seem overwhelming. The beautiful and heartwarming illustrations added to the charm of the book.

“When you feel upset or angry, it’s important not to do or say anything. We need to calm down first. Don’t speak or act with energy of anger in you. Just come back to your body and your breathing. Breathe in and out mindfully, releasing the tension in your body and mind, or go for a walk until you are calm enough.”

“Any peace talks should begin with making peace with ourselves. First we need to recognise our anger, embrace it, and make peace with it. You don’t fight your anger, because your anger is you. Your anger is the wounded child in you. Why should you fight your anger? The method is entirely non-violent: awareness, mindfulness, and tenderly holding your anger within you. Like this, your anger will transform naturally.”

Though it was a short book but I took over a month to read it because I wanted to make the most of it. As I read along, I highlighted few lines and jotted down a few more. Afterall, these books are not only to be read; they have to be put into practice. Thay’s books have been transformative for me and this one is equally good.

The only shortcoming I felt was that the title ‘How To Fight’ should have been connected to the writings either by Shantum Seth in the foreword or by Thay himself in the book. The books talks about peace, anger, self-reflection, argument, etc. but nowhere does it mention…How To Fight!!

Nonetheless, it is a delightful read packed with wisdom!

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