During the Vietnam war, the Buddhist Thich Nhat Hanh was travelling around the United States of America in company with James Douglas to explain the Vietnamese viewpoint to American audiences. One day they chose to sit under a tree to eat their lunch.

After lunch Thich Nhat Hanh said to his companion, “James, I must teach you how to eat an orange”.

“But I have just eaten one”, replied Douglas.

“I don’t think you did eat it,” said Thich Nhat Hanh, “I noticed that after you had peeled the orange you placed one segment of it into your mouth and immediately took another segment into your hand before swallowing the first one. And when you placed the second segment in your mouth you immediately seized a third one. All the time your mind was upon the next segment. You were in such a hurry to eat the whole of the orange that you never actually ate a single segment of it”.

Donald Nicholl, Holiness p. 72, quoted as a story in the Week of Prayer for World Peace leaflet, October 1988.

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