A Book Review

In 2017, Thich Naht Hanh, an internationally known Zen teacher, published a little gem of a booklet titled How To Fight. ¹ 

A Buddhist monk discussing fighting tactics!?

Not to worry.  The venerable monk does not offer us ways to win a bar fight. 

The “battle tactics” relate closely to this old saying:  More powerful is he who conquers himself than he who takes a city.

A sample quotation follows.


When we want to prove a point, we may be tempted to twist the truth or say something that is only partially true.

We may exaggerate by intentionally making something out to be greater or more extreme then it is.

We may add, embellish, or invent details to prove we are right.

This kind of speech can lead to misunderstanding and distrust.

We have to practice speaking the truth and speaking it skillfully.  If we’re not skillful, we may say something that we think is truthful but it still might make others suffer or despair.

Just because we have observed or experienced something doesn’t mean we should speak about it if doing so will make others suffer.

When we see someone suffer because of something we have said, we might say, “Well, I was only telling the truth.”

It may have been the truth, but it may also have been unskillful and hurtful.

Loving speech requires telling the truth in such a way that it benefits others, the world, and ourselves.

When we tell the truth, we do so with compassion; we speak in such a way that the hearer can accept what we’re saying.

¹ ISBN 978-1-941529-86-7

Please note:  I have no financial interest in any book discussed in any way in my blog.

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