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"Peace" is Every Stroke

Thanks to an ink brush practitioner from our community, her trust and encouragement gave me the strength to create this video. In this video, I will explain the ideograph "合" (“Peace / harmony”) and demonstrate carved, formal and semicursive scripts. At the end of the video, you will also see the process that how I created the expresive artwork with my own embodiment and expression of "合" (“Peace / harmony”).


Two weeks ago ...

This has been in my mind during the past few weeks.

"What can I do, to create peace?"

Talking about "peace" can be very challenging, and sometimes, even overwhelming. We rage, we upset and we can condemn the evil that awoke us from our sweet dreams.

I cried.

My heart ached.

I could not eat.

"What can I do, to create peace?"

That was a beautiful morning. One of the most charming spring mornings. I sat by the window, waiting for my breakfast to be served. Looking at the warm meal, now it became so fresh and real in front of me, but I could not eat. I was hungry though. I tried to put my head down so that nobody would see my tears. I wiped them as gently as I could.

Vivienne is a very bright visual artist. She showed me her studio at the end of the retreat. She had many beautiful artworks displayed on the wall. However, the first piece caught my eyes - It was standing out because it had so much to say. Vivienne told me that this was the first painting she did after she arrived. It's a response to the news, the war, which was still on at the other side of the world. a painting filled with colours and patterns, and I could see emotions, feelings and movement. I stood in front of that painting for a long time. And bowed.

Sometimes, we feel very small. We know there are hundreds of children are dying; we know our Mother Earth is in pain; we know people in Ukraine are forced to leave their country and do not even have a roof on the top.

"What can I do, to create peace?"

By looking deeply, I realized that, to create peace, I have to make peace within myself. If I don't know how to smile, I can not make others smile; if I can not create peace in my everyday life, the very here and now, I won't be able to create peace in the days to come. The most difficult time is the time to practice making peace inside of myself. If we can not make peace during difficult times, then the peace during easy times, is helpless.

"... One of the roots is our way of seeing the world. Both sides are victims of a wrong policy, a policy that believes in the force of violence to settle problems. I do not want Vietnamese to die, and I do not want American soldiers to die either.”
The roots of war are in the way we live our daily lives—the way we develop our industries, build up our society, and consume goods. We have to look deeply into the situation, and we will see the roots of war. We cannot just blame one side or the other. We have to transcend the tendency to take sides... "

-- Thich Nhat Hanh
Peace Is Every Step (p. 115)

I believe each of us can do something to bring peace into this world.

If you are an artist, you can use your brush to create and inspire others;

If you are a writer, you can use your talent of words to create loving poems;

If you are a parent, you can help your children by showing them what is love, peace and joy;

If you are a politician, you can try your best to make policies that are inclusive and skilful;

If you are an educator, you can raise the next generation by bring loving speech and mindful actions into the classroom.

"If we want peace, we have to be peace.
Peace is a PRACTICE not a hope.”
- Thich Nhat Hanh

Practicing "peace" - Shall we start?




More resources:

  • War and Peace (Episode #24), from Podcast The Way Out is In


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