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No Coming, No Going: Thay’s 2014 Spain Tour concludes

Thay’s first major Spain Tour concluded last Sunday afternoon May 11th, with the powerful collective energy of thousands meditating under Barcelona’s Arc de Triomf, Passeig Lluís Companys.

An estimated 5,000 people participated in Sunday’s collective sitting meditation in the bright spring sunshine. Some of them had been waiting at the spot since early morning, and some shed tears of joy when Thay arrived on stage to offer the guided meditation, the chant of compassion, and a powerful Dharma Talk.

At the end, after singing songs together it seemed that nobody wanted to leave.


No coming, no going
The delegation of over fifty monastics left Spain their hearts filled with the joy of brotherhood and sisterhood. Everyone, monks, nuns, lay men and lay women alike, all found new “soulmates” on the path of practice, and experienced the deep healing, transformation and joy of practising together.

This is not the end, but just the beginning of a beautiful connection between Plum Village and Spain,” said one.

Thay’s tour, entitled “El Arte de Vivir Despiertos” (“The Art of Mindful Living”) began on Sunday April 27 with a mass walking meditation for peace, followed by a public talk in Madrid city center. To celebrate their arrival, hundreds of his students in Spain laid an extra place at their dinner table.

The Sound of Silence

The Madrid walking meditation ended with 1,500 doing hugging meditation and singing "Mira la felicidad."
The Madrid walking meditation ended with 1,500 doing hugging meditation and singing “Mira la felicidad.”

Sister Chan Khong opened the Madrid walking meditation for peace by guiding over 1000 attendees in a meditation on breathing when angry. The crowd then created “human microphone” to explain the practice of walking meditation.

There was a police escort to Templo de Debod, where the crowd sat in silence overlooking la Casa del Campo. At the end everyone enjoyed big group hug (with 1000 people) and we sang ‘Mira la felicidad’.

Peace is possible

10308379_10152210032844635_1812500040086961598_nAt the Madrid public talk at the El Rey Leon Teatro Lope De Vega, Thay spoke about cultivating peace through mindfulness of breathing, and answered questions from the audience.

“These practices can help in daily life, but how can they affect wars and serious conflict?” asked one person.  “I can practice when things are calm, but not when stressed. What can I do?” Asked another.


Joyfully together

2014 spain madrid retreat walking meditation

Thich Nhat Hanh and the monastics went on to lead a Five-day retreat for over 700 people at El Escorial, just outside Madrid. It was a joyful, relaxed and healing time for everyone, including the children. 

In Barcelona, on Thursday 8 May, Thay offered a public talk to a full house at the city’s iconic Forum Building (Edifici Fòrum). You can watch the talk (with consecutive Spanish translation) here.

Happy Teachers will Change the World

On Friday May 9th Thay gave the first teachings to open a special course for educators at the University of Barcelona, which concludes on Friday May 16th.

TNH Spain 2014Follow Thich Nhat Hanh’s 3-day Educators’ Retreat lectures:

>>Barcelona Educators’ Retreat Talk 1 (Orientation)
>>Barcelona Educators’ Retreat Talk 2
>>Barcelona Educators’ Retreat Talk 3 (Q&A)

The tour closed with the mass public sitting meditation event beneath the emblematic frame of the Arc de Triomf, Passeig Lluís Companys, in downtown Barcelona on Sunday May 11th. An estimated 5,000 people attended this celebration of peace in the heart of the city.

Find out more:
>>facebook.com/tnhspain (photos, video clips etc…)


We hope you enjoy this beautiful portrait of Thay (below) by artist Michael Volpicelli, composed with Thay’s words in Spanish. Fine art prints are available.

Michael Volpicelli: Thich Nhat Hanh v2.0. Portrait 1 (in Spanish)
“Voices of Compassion” Series

Join the conversation

  • Me and my team want to thank you all for this great effort. We feel blessed with the presence of the great master here. We will take good care of him, because we will like to repeat this experiencie several other times in the future. See you soon, dear shanga! Congratulations for your exceptional work in all the world.

    • Sorry, but some of us do not understand Vietnamese, here. I wish I had time to learn it! Could you please translate your words into a European language (English, French, German, Spanish, Catalan, Italian…? Thanks.

  • Dear brothers and sisters: The meditation in Barcelona will take place in Arc de Triomf, Passeig Lluís Companys, written in the Catalan language. Let me ask you to be sensitive to the language of Catalonia, very specially at this time when we are peacefully walking together towards our country’s freedom. The place has been well chosen, considering it bears the name of one of our Presidents, Lluís Companys, who was killed in 1940 by the Spanish Franco-ist regime, and it has the Arch of Triumph as its main monument. Thank you for coming to Catalonia. I will be there too!

    • Do nationalism and self-hype have something to do with peace and meditation?
      Let me kindly ask you to think about the place nationalisms have in history. In Spain, it is being disguised with a non-violence framework.
      Remember the concept interbeing: we are all related, and you are trying to place a wall between you and your spanish brothers…
      It doesn’t sound peaceful to me…
      Cheers from Ireland

      • Never better said Michael!!
        Me myself I am a Spaniard with Galician roots, but in my opinion someone is Spanish whatever the region in Spain your roots lie. To mix nationalistic ideals with such a beautiful thing as interbeing, and buddhism is like mixing water with oil. It don’t mix!!!


      • I am sorry, but you obviously are misinformed about the issue. Catalonia is an opressed nation, just like many others in the world, whose fight for independence you would surely endorse (let me name Tibet, for example). Our “nationalism”, as you call it, is not exclusive, but self-defensive. Come to Catalonia and see the happiness of a nation about to become free. This is ehipassika like the dhamma, man!

  • I hope that while there, Thich Nhat Hanh will address the problem of racism brought to public opinion last week during a Barcelona’s match at Villarreal when a banana was thrown to Brazilian Dani Alves in the field in a clear “monkey” reference because the color of his skin. It’s just the latest in a series of taunts by a people with a long history of prejudice.

  • Too many people believe that interbeing means we are all one, and we must be together even in opression and injustice. This is nonsense. Please read Thay’s books properly and read the Buddhist scriptures of any tradition and you will understand this is not so. There is a lot of misunderstanding about Buddhism here in the West, and it’s not Thay’s fault, it is common ignorance (avidyā). When are you going to learn to think by yourselves and see things and they are? Or do you prefer to just do prostrations and repeat words that you do not understand?

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    What is Mindfulness

    Thich Nhat Hanh January 15, 2020

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