bell hooks: I began writing a book on love because I felt that the United States is moving away from love. The civil rights movement was such a wonderful movement for social justice because the heart of it was love – loving everyone. It was believing that we can always start anew; we can always practice forgiveness. I don’t have to hate any person because I can always practice forgiveness. I don’t have to hate any person because I can always reconcile. What I’m trying to understand is… how we can be part of moving society towards love.
Thich Nhat Hanh: We should ask the question whether we are capable of loving ourselves as well as others. Are we treating our body kindly – by the way we eat, by the way we drink, by the way we work? Are we treating ourselves with enough joy and tenderness and peace? Because in the moment when we’re able to smile and not to be violent in the way we look at the system, to look at ourselves with compassion, there is a change already in the world… loving ourselves means loving our community. Anything you do for yourself, you do do for the society at the same time. And anything you do for society you do for yourself also.
bell hooks: …Martin Luther King said that you must have courage to love, that you have to have a profound will to do what is right to love, that it does not come easy.
Thich Nhat Hanh: Martin Luther King was among us as a brother, as a friend, as a leader. He was able to maintain that love alive, for his understanding and love was enough to hold everything to him. He was trying to transmit the best things to us – his goodness, his love, his non-duality. We have to be aware that crucial transmission he was making was not the transmission of power, of authority, of position, but the transmission of the dharma. It means love.