I have finished reading this book by Thich Nhat Hanh my bf gave me because of my passion about Viet Nam that started to become deeper and deeper in the last years.
I don’t think that anyone who would unwillingly stumble upon this blog by whichever chance knows this book. Yet, I found it being a very worth reading book… It deals with the real (and historically proven) life of Princess Amazing Jewel, say Huyền Trân, who was “sacrificed” by her brother, King Trần Anh Tông of Dai Viet. She was given to King Harijit of Cham as his wife, so that the two realms might have been united without any bloodshed. Though, things for the poor Princess haven’t gone the right or easiest way, so….. read the book if you want to know more about it!
I must warn you that this novel is partly fictional and partly historical. So, if you like either Vietnamese history or history in general, this book suits you. Anyhow, I must say that there is too much of Buddhism into it. But it is well-balanced. You know, the author is that famous Buddhist monk who tried to fight the invaders from his country, after all.
Speaking of which, after the end of the novel he wrote a comment where I found some not-so-outdated words, which both hurt me and made me wonder on how the world really DOES spin madly on and on, but always along the same path.
Here is the quote:
“[…] I wrote Hermitage Among the Clouds during the time 200,000 Vietnamese soldiers were occupying Cambodia, a situation I found suffocating. One cannot condemn the expansionist acts of others while engaging in expansionist acts. We have no right to condemn imperialist invasion when we ourselves are involved in imperialist invasion. We may wish to condemn others for playing the role of international police, but we should not send hundreds of thousands of our sons and brothers to kill and be killed in another country under the guise of “the national interest”. When one knows what suffering is, one should not inflict it on others. Let us be AWARE of the imperialist blood that runs in our veins.The Noble Bamboo Forest Teacher and Princess Amazing Jewel opened their hearts to the Champa people and therefore wished to live in peace with them. Their hearts were able to embrace another people as their own, exchanging a partial love for a greater love. Who does not wish for brotherhood among all the countries of Southeast Asia? But military force will not bring about brotherhood. Only a heart of love can do that.”
Thick Nhat Hanh
These words hurt me because of the – if I may – naïvety and tenderness they were bursting with.
Unfortunately, in my opinion, basically the human beings only seek their personal needs – or, if you change the subject into the various Nations on Earth, their national interest.
See? If you think you agree with either the author’s point of view, or mine, you’d better pick this book up and give it a try.
You won’t regret it!