“planting seeds” is a new book by thich nhat hanh, vietnamese buddhist monk, poet, scholar, and human rights activist. the book is a practical guide of mindfulness practices for children, adorned with stories and practices from around the world.
one example of a mindful practice that drew me to the book was the “peace treaty” - -
In Order That We May Live Long and Happily Together,
In Order That We May Continually Develop and Deepen Our Love and Understanding,
We the Undersigned, Make the Commitment to Observe and Practice the Following:
I, the one who is angry, agree to:
- Refrain from saying or doing anything that might cause further damage or escalate the anger.
- Not suppress my anger.
- Practice breathing and taking refuge in the island of myself.
- Calmly, within twenty-four hours, tell the one who has made me angry about my anger and suffering, either verbally or by delivering a Peace Note.
- Ask for an appointment for later in the week (e.g., Friday evening) to discuss this matter more thoroughly,either verbally or by Peace Note.
- Not say: “I am not angry. It’s okay. I am not suffering. There is nothing to be angry about, at least not enough to make me angry.”
- Practice breathing and looking deeply into my daily life—while sitting, lying down, standing, and walking—in order to see:
- the ways I myself have been unskillful at times.
- how I have hurt the other person because of my own habit energy.
- how the strong seed of anger in me is the primary cause of my anger.
- how the other person’s suffering, which waters the seed of my anger, is the secondary cause.
- how the other person is only seeking relief from his or her own suffering.
- that as long as the other person suffers, I cannot be truly happy.
- Apologize immediately, without waiting until the Friday evening, as soon as I realize my unskillfulness and lack of mindfulness.
- Postpone the Friday meeting if I do not feel calm enough to meet with the other person.
I, the one who has made the other angry, agree to:
- Respect the other person’s feelings, not ridicule him or her, and allow enough time for him or her to calm down.
- Not press for an immediate discussion.
- Confirm the other person’s request for a meeting, either verbally or by note,and assure him or her that I will be there.
- Practice breathing and taking refuge in the island of myself to see how:
- I have seeds of unkindness and anger as well as the habit energy to make the other person unhappy.
- I have mistakenly thought that making the other person suffer would relieve my own suffering.
- by making him or her suffer, I make myself suffer.
- Apologize as soon as I realize my unskillfulness and lack of mindfulness,without making any attempt to justify myself and without waiting until the Friday meeting.
We vow with Earth as witness and the supportive presence of our community, to abide by these guidelines and practice wholeheartedly. We call upon our spiritual ancestors to give us clarity and confidence.
the________Day of________________in the Year_______