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Many people understand the importance of maintaining peace for the sake of unity among people. However, few people take the initiative to understand how they can best maintain peace. They do not seem to understand the consequences of their actions, especially the words they speak. In the book “Being Peace”, Thich Nhat Hanh describes his thoughts concerning peace. Although he writes from a Buddhist perspective, his writings are relevant across all religions, and many people can benefit from them. This is because he writes about ordinary human actions such as smiling, breathing, and anger - the concepts that all people experience irrespective of their religion. People tend to think of peace when they want to stop war. However, Hanh makes it clear that peace begins on the inside, and then transcends to the others on the outside. Without the inner peace, one would not be able to bring happiness to those who are around him.

Hanh discusses several concepts in the book through poems, fables, and other illustrations. He discusses meditation, which is one of the most visible forms of Buddhism. However, he makes meditation an important practice for everyone, since it enables people to think about the pleasures and sufferings of life. Through meditation, people are not only able to think about the good things in life, but they are also able to realize and acknowledge the bad things that are happening in the world. Hanh discusses the importance of people enjoying their present, instead of them waiting to achieve all they want in life. He dwells more on the subject of Buddhism, when he explains the three gems. They include Buddha, dharma, and sangha. He also explains that unlike what many people not familiar to Buddhism think, buddhas are not the statues, present in many temples and other places. Buddhas are the people themselves. Hanh says that people are composed of five aggregates, which include form, feelings, perception, mental formations, and consciousness. People have different feelings, and these feelings tend to change often. All people have perceptions, but this does not mean that their perceptions are right. Hanh discusses the individualism, noting that every person belongs to the society. The awareness brings understanding, and understanding leads to peace. People should be able to practice peace by being peace, and they can only do this if they understand what it means.

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I have learned a lot from this book, and it has opened my eyes to the reality that I was not aware of before. This is because I live according to the rules of the society. I have been brought up to understand the importance of acquiring knowledge, so that I can live a better life. Some of the insights I have obtained in this book will help me to live a life that is more relaxed and peaceful. I have understood the importance of smiling, not only because of the way it benefits me, but also by the manner that it benefits those who are around me. Meditating about the wonders in life is important. It is more relaxing to think about the wonders of life, however small they may be. I do not always have to align myself and choose an alternative option, because this will make me lose any chance I have of maintaining peace. Picking one side means disagreeing with the other side, and this shows a lack of understanding for the other person’s point of view. I have also understood the importance of understanding others, as opposed to selfishness and thinking about my needs and wants. Understanding the importance of being calm, even in the tense situation will enable me to live a life that is more relaxed. People get angry because they are ignorant of all the issues. Having a clear understanding of all issues will lessen someone’s chance of being angry.

Some people might not be familiar with some of the concepts discussed in the book. For instance, the author’s perceptions of suffering, knowledge, and understanding may not resonate well with some people. This is not because the author did not write well, but because the concepts may not be familiar. For instance, many people spend any free time they have watching TV or engaging in other media, traveling, participating in, and watching sports. However, the author thinks that this is a waste of time. Instead, he suggests that people should take that time to be with themselves. Engaging in such activities is a way of people saying that they are not comfortable being alone. This concept is not familiar in the modern world because it spent almost all their time with others.  They may be alone physically, but they socialize with the others on different social networking sites on a constant basis.

The book has affected me personally in different ways. It has enabled me to realize that I have a limited understanding of the world around me. Although I have acquired much knowledge because of the many channels available, this has not led to an enhanced way of understanding people. I tend to generalize a person based on what I think about him, which is rooted in the information I have acquired from different sources. Because of this book, I have come to realize that understanding does not come from acquiring the knowledge. Knowledge is important, but the way I use it can act as a hindrance to understanding. For me to understand a person who is perceived as different by others, I have to get used to that person. This means more than sympathizing with, and feeling sorry for the person. It is being able to place myself in a position where that person is and to see the reality. I have perceptions concerning different things in life. However, just because many people perceive things the same way that I do does not mean that these perceptions are correct. A greater understanding of people and the world around me will lead to peace. It is not possible for me to preach and practice peace on the outside if I do not have the same peace on the inside. 

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