Opinion: The life of an apostle of peace

Staff file photo / Yong Oh, left, and Janka Livoncova lead a meditation class at Clearspring Yoga on Wednesday, May 11, 2016, in Chattanooga, Tenn. Meditation is an important activity in Buddhism that helps to promote behaviors that are central to its teachings.

I first met Thich Nhat Hahn some 20 years ago; someone gave me a book of his. I'd never read anything like it before.

There was no ego in his writing, no self-promoting wit or sharp-knife criticism. As an up-and-coming writer, I was stunned; how does one communicate without such accouterments? It felt like reading water.

"To preserve peace, our hearts must be at peace with the world, with our brothers and our sisters," he wrote. "We may think of peace as the absence of war, that if the great powers would reduce their weapons arsenals, we could have peace. But if we look deeply into the weapons, we will see our own minds - our own prejudices, fears and ignorance."