Thomas Merton and Thích Nhất Hạnh
Thomas Merton and Thích Nhất Hạnh

Yesterday, I mentioned Thích Nhất Hạnh, the Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk, teacher, author, poet, and peace activist who coined the word “interbeing”. He also founded the Order of Interbeing (in Vietnamese: Tiếp Hiện).

You may know that there is a systematic reading of The Rule of Benedict three times through in a year. I was thinking about interbeing and this series of posts a couple of days ago when I, with everyone who follows this systematic reading, was reading through “the kinds of monastics” in The Rule’s Chapter 1. The first kind of monastic, and the one for whom Benedict is writing, is the cenobite – from the Greek word κοινωνία (koinonia) – the concepts of community, unity, communion is connected to this idea of interbeing.

Thích Nhất Hạnh’s Litany for peace was adapted by The Rev. Jim Cotter, for Thursday, in Fr Jim’s Prayer in the Day. From there it found its way into A New Zealand Prayer Book He Karakia Mihinare o Aotearoa (page 163). The Oxford Book of Prayer (pages 306-7) dates this litany to 1976. Here, with its interbeing connections, it is as found in the Prayer Book:

Let us be at peace within ourselves.

Silence

Let us accept that we are profoundly loved
and need never be afraid.

Silence

Let us be aware of the source of being
that is common to us all
and to all living creatures.

Silence

Let us be filled with the presence of the great compassion
towards ourselves and towards all living beings.

Silence

Realising that we are all nourished
from the same source of life,
may we so live that others be not deprived
of air, food, water, shelter, or the chance to live.

Silence

Let us pray that we ourselves cease to be
a cause of suffering to one another.

Silence

With humility let us pray for the establishment
of peace in our hearts and on earth.

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