Questions and Answers by Thich Nhat Hanh

Questions on daily life and Buddhism

Relationships

Thich Nath Hanh, I Have Arrived
Thich Nath Hanh,
I Have Arrived Poster

Q:When I go home, I return to my husband who is a hunter. He goes into our beautiful woods to shoot birds. He brings them home to show our seven-year-old twins, who want to be like daddy. What can I do to stop him from this habit of killing?

A: If you do not know how to be patient, how to care, how to use loving speech, you cannot help other people to change. But if we have the energy of compassion and loving kindness in us, the people around us will be influenced by our way of being and living. Reproaching them, shouting at them, blaming them, can never help them. Only our love, our patience and our loving speech can help. And if we are in a situation where our own skillfulness, our own compassion, is not strong enough, we could need the support of our Dharma brothers and sisters in order to do the job.

Abortion

Q: What are your views on abortion?

A:I am inclined to devote more of my time and energy to preventing the situation from happening than to what happens when you have to decide whether you have to do it or not to do it. If we prepare ourselves in such a way, then the problem will not present itself to us, and we don't have to make a decision between abortion or not abortion. In the last 2500 years we monks and nuns have helped a lot in limiting the population of the planet (laughter). And if you'd like to join us (laughter), it's never too late.

Media Saturation

Q: In regard to television news and newspapers, how can we balance not taking in toxins with not closing our eyes to suffering?

A:Myself, I want to be informed about what is going on in the world. I want to be informed, but that does not mean that I have to listen to the news three times a day. I think there is some kind of vacuum in us we want to fill up; that is why we buy so many newspapers and magazines and why we view so much television. We do not need that much information. I think maybe five minutes daily is enough. Sometime we can survive several months without any news bulletins. And you have friends who can tell you what is important that has happened.