Oppression should be made in order to stop the flow of weapons in Vietnam, either by the United States or by other countries, whether it's capitalist or socialist. But that can be done only when there is already the commitment by the United States to withdraw in a certain period of time and the cessation of the killing. I'm not talking about North Vietnam or South Vietnam, Hanoi or Saigon. I am talking about the people in Vietnam whom I know, those people who are dying every day, who are suffering every day. I am talking for their sake.
And if you want to ask me the question of what they want, the most is that you stop the bombing, you stop the killing. And then if we are alive, we will pursue our struggle for other things like human dignity, freedom, independence and so on. But if you think that you have to go on fighting and dying, then you are wrong. I don’t think it is only the American government that is responsible for the war.
Most of you know that the political-economic system there, has been things like the war in Vietnam. That is why in not doing anything about the system and only demanding the government to do everything, that is not enough. And I'm afraid that if you get another new President, he may be doing the same thing as the present one.
That is why for the people to re-examine their lives by themselves, to know whether they are participating in strengthening the present Military Economic System in the United States is a very crucial point. If you continue to support the system, continue to consume, continue to live that way, and then you cannot say that you are not responsible. You are upholding the government in doing things in Vietnam.
I understand Thay's message is to stop the present Military Economic System. And 43 years after Thay's message, the American government and people have not changed the political-economic system and the Military Economic System is still going on. The proof is that they are still killing people both inside and outside of the United States by weapons. And the pressure and influence by the Military Industries on politicians are still too strong by the money power through their donations for the elections. That's why even President has to be a puppet as Thay says. Ordinary American people are still consuming heavily without knowing that they are indirectly supporting the risky systems.
David Bohm said, "If we want society to change, a few superficial and individual changes, or changes in the economic system are not enough. A complete change in consciousness is necessary. We don't know yet how this change is to be realized, but I am certain that it is absolutely vital." I agree and understand that the methods of complete change in consciousness are mindfulness, concentration and insight.
Thích Nhất Hạnh