Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh has been practising meditation and mindfulness for 70 years and radiates an extraordinary sense of calm and peace. This is a man who on a fundamental level walks his talk, and whom Buddhists revere as a Bodhisattva; seeking the highest level of being in order to help others.
Ever since being caught up in the horrors of the Vietnam war, the 86-year-old monk has committed his life to reconciling conflict and in 1967 Martin Luther King nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize, saying "his ideas for peace, if applied, would build a monument to ecumenism, to world brotherhood, to humanity."
So it seems only natural that in recent years he has turned his attention towards not only addressing peoples' disharmonious relationships with each other, but also with the planet on which all our lives depend.
Thay, as he is known to his many thousands of followers, sees the lack of meaning and connection in peoples' lives as being the cause of our addiction to consumerism and that it is vital we recognise and respond to the stress we are putting on Earth if civilisation is to survive.
What Buddhism offers, he says, is the recognition that we all suffer and the way to overcome that pain is to directly confront it, rather than seeking to hide or bypass it through our obsession with shopping, entertainment, work or the beautification of our bodies. The craving for fame, wealth, power and sex serves to create only the illusion of happiness and ends up exacerbating feelings of disconnection and emptiness.
Thay refers to a billionaire chief executive of one of America's largest companies, who came to one of his meditation courses and talked of his suffering, worries and doubts, of thinking everyone was coming to take advantage of him and that he had no friends.
In an interview at his home and retreat centre in Plum Village, near Bordeaux, Thay outlines how a spiritual revolution is needed if we are going to confront the multitude of environmental challenges.
While many experts point to the enormous complexity and difficulty in addressing issues ranging from the destruction of ecosystems to the loss of millions of species, Thay sees a Gordian Knot that needs slicing through with a single strike of a sharp blade.
Read the full article at The Guardian Professional Network:
Last Updated (Monday, 20 February 2012 14:55)
A message of Zen Master Thích Nhất Hạnh at the International Vesak 2011
In which way should our society develop, economically and socially, so that we can touch interbeing, the interconnectedness of all on this planet – cultures and governments, continents and nations, earth and sky, plants and animals, students and teachers, and fathers and sons?
How can we guide the next generation of young people to a world that is more sane and healthy – bodily, emotionally, and spiritually?
What teachings and practices of Buddhism can help us find true happiness and freedom, and handle and deal with our current social and economical state?
We congratulate the Buddhist Supreme Sangha Council and all the participants and organizers of the 8th UNDV conference, for gathering as a community to celebrate and enjoy our togetherness and to build brotherhood and sisterhood. It is our conviction that the Buddhist teachings and practices can make a major contribution towards a global spirituality and ethic that can guide humanity in this critical moment.
With the various crises we are witnessing in different parts of the world, it is clear that the era of independent nations with borders and separate interests is gradually coming to a close; that the suffering and pain of one nation is fundamentally linked to and is shared by the hearts of people of all nations; that the instability and depression of another nation affects the prosperity and security of peoples all over the planet. In our present time and place, it is clear that social and economic development and all the challenges that come with it are no longer individual matters.
But we are not without hope. The problems that confront our planet and our humanity – environmental tension, social and family dysfunction, economic instability, and political unrest – give us an opportunity to pause, recognize, re-examine the sources of our suffering, and find a path that can lead us towards a brighter future and to an even brighter present. This is the basic formula that the Buddha used during his own lifetime to guide his fellow beings to tend to their suffering. This basic formula can help guide us now, to our own salvation. The three distinctively Buddhist virtues of mindfulness, concentration, and insight can lead us to this salvation. Applied appropriately and skillfully, they can help us discover a global ethic and a mindful way of living that can guide the development of our society towards a more sane and healthy direction.
We must find ways to apply the Buddhist teachings – namely, the practice of mindfulness, the teachings on suffering and well-being, the wisdom of inter-being and non-discrimination, the Five Mindfulness Trainings (5 Precepts-see attached), and the teachings on the Four Nutriments – so that our society can become more mindful in its production and consumption; so that companies and individuals can produce less toxic waste that harms our collective minds and the environment, and can consume less and in a way that nourishes our body and heart. We as individuals and as nations should apply the Buddhist teachings of moderation, of knowing that we already have enough.
In the intimacy of our homes, fathers and sons apply the teachings so they can have more time and be more present for one another (rather than for their computer screens), and can restore communication by learning to listen deeply and speak more lovingly.
In the sterile classrooms and cold halls of our institutions, teachers and students can learn ways to support one another as in the warm atmosphere of the family, to be less stressful, to relax and handle their feelings and emotions, and to apply themselves in a direction that is meaningful and wholesome – graduating young people not just for the work-force of a capitalistic machine, but for a kinder and freer generation who cooperate more than compete.
In power oriented offices of companies and governmental workplaces, colleagues and fellow workers can serve more mindfully, building brotherhood and sisterhood, nourishing their compassion and generosity, and guiding our society in the direction of true happiness and reconciliation.
In our modern times, as we look for models of development in the ten directions, freedom to develop is highly prized and sought after, but at what price to our young ones and our fragile environment and at what cost to our individual and collective body and consciousness.
It is never too late to pause and reflect and to find practices that can bring responsibility and ethical behaviors back into our society, our governments, into our families, and our lives.
Last Updated (Wednesday, 04 May 2011 09:22)
Dear friends in Japan,
As we contemplate the great number of people who have died in this tragedy, we may feel very strongly that we ourselves, in some part or manner, also have died.
The pain of one part of humankind is the pain of the whole of humankind. And the human species and the planet Earth are one body. What happens to one part of the body happens to the whole body.
An event such as this reminds us of the impermanent nature of our lives. It helps us remember that what's most important is to love each other, to be there for each other, and to treasure each moment we have that we are alive. This is the best that we can do for those who have died: we can live in such a way that they continue, beautifully, in us.
Here in France and at our practice centers all over the world, our brothers and sisters will continue to chant for you, sending you the energy of peace, healing and protection. Our prayers are with you.
Thich Nhat Hanh
Last Updated (Monday, 11 April 2011 19:49)
Sunday November 14, 2010 -- 19:00 HKT
Please join us for this historic talk in Hong Kong before an audience of 8000 people. This will be Thay's last public talk on the 2010 Southeast Asia Tour. Y ou can view the talk live online -- please go to the streaming website: http://stream.pvweb.org/
courtesy of: http://www.oprah.com/spirit/Oprah-Talks-to-Thich-Nhat-Hanh
He's been a Buddhist monk for more than 60 years, as well as a teacher, writer, and vocal opponent of war—a stance that left him exiled from his native Vietnam for four decades. Now the man Martin Luther King Jr. called "an apostle of peace and nonviolence" reflects on the beauty of the present moment, being grateful for every breath, and the freedom and happiness to be found in a simple cup of tea.
The moment I meet Thich Nhat Hanh at the Four Seasons Hotel in Manhattan, I feel his sense of calm. A deeply tranquil presence seems to surround the Zen Buddhist master.
Zen Master and Nobel Prize Nominee, Thich Nhat Hanh, to speak in Southern California
Nhat Hanh is the author of more than 100 books on Buddhism, which have sold more than a million copies worldwide.
The talk at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium, titled "Our True Agenda -- Tending to the Space Inside," will explore how mindfulness practice and meditation can bring about inner peace and affect the people around you, the environment, and the caffeinated, multi-tasking world of our times.
Last Updated (Friday, 18 September 2009 21:01)
The monk sat cross-legged in the Manhattan hotel room in augbergine robes on an aubergine prayer mat, a thermos of tea, his reading glasses and a book, Mindfulness in the Marketplace, arranged neatly by his side. Thich Nhat Hanh took time out from a U.S. tour to speak briefly with TIME about the monastic uprising in Burma.
Last Updated (Monday, 24 August 2009 01:28)
"Some Christians -- those who think of God as someone external and powerful and transcendent -- would be surprised to know that Buddhists pray. What would you say to them?”
Maybe Christians and Buddhists understand differently what prayer is. But to begin with, I would say that when we talk of praying, we think of the one who practices praying, the one to whom we address the prayer, and the one we pray for as three persons. And the one we pray for may be ourselves, we pray for our own well-being, but we can always distinguish three persons: the one who prays, the one to whom we address our prayer and the one we pray for.
Last Updated (Wednesday, 19 August 2009 14:01)