A Prayer for Peace

Thich Nhat Hanh shares a prayer that was used throughout South Vietnam in 1965 to rouse the willingness to work for peace.

Thich Nhat Hanh
25 November 2015
Thich Nhat Hanh, Poetry, Peace, Shambhala Sun, Lion's Roar, Buddhism
Calligraphy by Thich Nhat Hanh.

This prayer was used throughout South Vietnam in 1965 in the “Don’t Shoot Your Own Brother” campaign to rouse the willingness to work for peace. During meetings of young people, we chanted this poem, uniting our hearts and our efforts to continue to work for peace:

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.
Please have compassion for our suffering.
Our land has been at war for two decades.
Divided, it is a land of tears
and blood and bones of young and old.
Mothers weep till their tears are dry
while sons on distant fields decay.
Its beauty torn apart,
only blood and tears now flow.
Brothers killing brothers
for promises from outsiders.
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.
Help us rekindle our compassion and brotherhood,
and transform our separate interests
into loving acceptance for all.
May your compassion help us overcome our hatred.
May Avalokiteshvara 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.

May the merit of this prayer
be transformed into peace in Vietnam.
May each of us realize this,
our deep aspiration.

Thich Nhat Hanh

Thich Nhat Hanh

Thich Nhat Hanh (1926-2022) was a renowned Zen teacher and poet, the founder of the Engaged Buddhist movement, and the founder of nine monastic communities, including Plum Village Monastery in France. He was also the author of At Home in the World, The Other Shore, and more than a hundred other books that have sold millions of copies worldwide.