Profound respect, gratitude, and indebtedness to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Thich Nhat Hanh. I don’t think any of us can begin to understand how interconnected we all are and how beautiful these men’s examples and teachings are.

What is the magnitude of karmic entanglement here?

ARISE Sangha on Instagram: “Dear Beloved Community, Today, on the anniversary of his birth, we remember Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the mutually inspiring and transformative, though brief, friendship he had with Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh (Thay). Each recognized in the other a spiritual sibling “called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for the victims of our nation and for those it calls ‘enemy’.”

In the final year of his life, Dr. King was inspired by their correspondence and Thay’s example, in words and deed, to speak out directly against the war in Vietnam – at a cost to the political coalition he had established with President Lyndon Johnson in order to advance civil rights in the U.S. Thay had helped Dr. King to see the parallels and interbeing of the two causes. Dr. King had long articulated that the struggle for civil rights was not against other people, but rather against injustice, prejudice, and hatred. As a result of his correspondence with Thay about the deep suffering of the Vietnamese people, Dr. King began to adopt Thay’s language (“the enemy is not man”) and to speak out directly against the war.

Today, we invite you to read Dr. King’s attached speech, Beyond Vietnam– A Time to Break Silence. It was given at Riverside Church in April 1967, one year before Dr. King’s assassination. This message spoken 57 years ago shows the deep influence of Thay’s dharma teachings. It continues to have resonance and relevance for today’s armed conflicts and wars, which are fought without regard for massive human suffering among civilians and without awareness of the massive delusions justifying conflict held by those conducting the war, whether from halls of power or from insurgent base camps.

We highlight two calls to action from Dr. King’s speech, which are consistent with the practice of Engaged Buddhism in the Plum Village tradition in the comments below. A link to the full speech is also given in the comments.”

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