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Address of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh (Thay)

CEREMONY FOR THE SIGNING OF THE JOINT DECLARATION OF RELIGIOUS LEADERS AGAINST SLAVERY

Casina Pio IV, Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Your Holinesses, Your Excellencies, Your Eminencies, dear Most Venerables, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen. Please allow me to read the words that our Beloved Teacher, Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, wished to deliver here today.

In our age of global material and economic growth, there also needs to be a growth in our spiritual life. Even with the greatest good will, if we are swept away by our daily concerns for material needs or emotional comforts, we will be too busy to realise our common aspiration.

Contemplation must go together with action. Without a spiritual practice we will abandon our dream very soon.

Each of us, according to the teaching of our own tradition, must practice to be deeply in touch with the wonders of Nature, with the wonders of life in each of us, the Kingdom of God in each of us, the Pure Land, Nirvana in each of us, so that we can get the healing, the nourishment, the joy and the happiness born from the insight that the Kingdom of God is already available in the here and now. The feeling of love and admiration for nature that we all share, has the power to nourish us, and unite us, and remove all separation and discrimination.

By being in touch with everything that is refreshing and healing, we will be able to free ourselves from our daily concerns for material comforts and we will have a lot of time to realise our ideal of bringing freedom and compassion to all human beings. As it says in the Gospel, “Do not worry about what you will eat or drink or wear. Seek first the Kingdom of God and all these things will be given to you. Don’t worry about tomorrow. Tomorrow will care of itself.”

In our work of service, we must have time to come

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