Welcome to episode 59 of The Way Out Is In: The Zen Art of Living, a podcast series mirroring Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh’s deep teachings of Buddhist philosophy: a simple yet profound methodology for dealing with our suffering, and for creating more happiness and joy in our lives.

In this episode, Zen Buddhist monk Brother Phap Huu and leadership coach and journalist Jo Confino discuss conflicts in our world. They focus on the war in the Middle East, through the prism of Thich Nhat Hanh’s teachings, which remain so relevant in the current moment. 

Exploring Thich Nhat Hanh’s teachings in relation to conflict, pain, and the path to peace, the presenters investigate ways to not take sides during a conflict, and how Thay managed this during the Vietnam War; deep listening, holding space, and transforming the conflict in us; keeping communities together; cultivating nondiscrimination; walking the path of love and understanding in times of war; and gratitude. 

Brother Phap Huu further shares around Thay’s legacy of dealing with conflict and the joint retreats he organized for Palestinians and Israelis in Plum Village; ways to show love for humanity; right action and enabling healing in the present moment; the importance of small acts of kindness; our own true presence of peace and nondiscrimination. 

Jo also opens up about what it feels like to go through a “period of deconstruction”; being the child of refugees and the deep connection this can create to generational trauma; dealing with the tensions created in organizations by global conflicts; and fear, and how to not be consumed by despair, but, instead, how to feel it in order to transform it.

The episode ends with offerings of gratitude and a short meditation guided by Brother Phap Huu. 

Co-produced by the Plum Village App:https://plumvillage.app/

And Global Optimism:https://globaloptimism.com/ 

With support from the Thich Nhat Hanh Foundation:https://thichnhathanhfoundation.org/

List of resources 

A Cloud Never Dieshttps://plumvillage.org/a-cloud-never-dies


Peace Begins Herehttps://www.parallax.org/product/peace-begins-here/ 

Calming the Fearful Mindhttps://www.parallax.org/product/calming-the-fearful-mind-a-zen-response-to-terrorism/ 

Love in Actionhttps://www.parallax.org/product/love-in-action/ 

Peace Is Every Stephttps://www.parallax.org/product/peace-is-every-step/

The Way Out Is In: ‘War and Peace (Episode #24)’https://plumvillage.org/podcast/war-and-peace-episode-24

Dharma Talks: ‘Right View: Understanding the Roots of Our True Happiness’https://plumvillage.org/library/dharma-talks/right-view-understanding-the-roots-of-our-true-happiness

Rains Retreathttps://plumvillage.org/retreats/info/rains-retreat-2023 


“Thay went through the Vietnam War, or as it is known in Vietnam, the American War, and was constantly under pressure to take sides. And he refused to take sides and advocated for peace, knowing that violence does not end violence, that war does not end war, that killing does not end killing, and that all it creates is generational trauma.”

“Thay’s foundation of action was peace, and his foundation of action came from true love and deep mindfulness. To be aware of the suffering, to listen to the suffering, and to look deeply at the suffering will be the way out of the suffering.” 

“What you can offer is your true presence of peace, your true presence of nondiscrimination, and your true presence of courage to show up where it is needed.” 

“Thay did not take sides; he took nonviolence as the path and peace as the path. So the voice that we speak, that we use, the actions of body, speech, and mind, is to generate and cultivate peace inside, to bring peace around us.”

“Thay always spoke about cultivating inner peace in order to touch true love inside, b

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