Before Thich Nhat Hanh was known around the world as a living Buddha, he wrote this heartfelt book and passionately pleaded for peace. Risking his livelihood and becoming exiled from the country he called home, this dangerous and dense little books ignites a fire of understanding. I cannot imagine a more important book on the subject than this one.— From Devin's Picks
This stunning commentary on the cultural and political background to the war in Vietnam resonates deeply as the first work of Vietnamese writer, peace activist, and Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh
This rare book from 1967 is one of the very few written in English giving a Vietnamese perspective on the Indochina Wars. Many years ahead of its time, Vietnam: Lotus in a Sea of Fire will be welcomed by historians and readers of contemporary Vietnamese narratives.
As war raged in Vietnam, the Zen monk Thich Nhat Hanh became a leading figure in the Buddhist peace movement. With the help of friends like Catholic monk Thomas Merton, he published Vietnam: Lotus in a Sea of Fire in 1967 in the US (and underground in Vietnam as Hoa Sen Trong Biển Lửa), his uncompromising and radical call for peace. It gave voice to the majority of Vietnamese people who did not take sides and who wanted the bombing to stop. Thomas Merton wrote the foreword, believing it had the power to show Americans that the more America continued to bomb Vietnam, the more communists it would create. This was Thich Nhat Hanh's first book in English and made waves in the growing anti-war movement in the United States at the time.
Thich Nhat Hanh's portrayal of the plight of the Vietnamese people during the Indochina Wars is required reading now as the United States and Europe continue to grapple with their roles as global powers—and the human effects of their military policies. Vietnam: Lotus in a Sea of Fire is of special interest for students of peace and conflict studies and Southeast Asian history. It also gives the reader insights into the thought of the young Thich Nhat Hanh, who would later go on to found--in exile--Plum Village in France, the largest Buddhist monastery outside Asia, and influence millions with his teachings on the path of peace and mindfulness.
About the Author
Thich Nhat Hanh was a world-renowned spiritual teacher and peace activist. Born in Vietnam in 1926, he became a Zen Buddhist monk at the age of sixteen. Over seven decades of teaching, he published more than 100 books, which have sold more than four million copies in the United States alone. Exiled from Vietnam in 1966 for promoting peace, his teachings on Buddhism as a path to social and political transformation are responsible for bringing the mindfulness movement to Western culture. He established the international Plum Village Community of Engaged Buddhism in France, now the largest Buddhist monastery in Europe and the heart of a growing community of mindfulness practice centers around the world. He passed away in 2022 at the age of 95 at his root temple, Tu Hieu, in Hue, Vietnam.
“A startling other-view of the war in Vietnam.... Essential reading for the informed.”—Kirkus Reviews