Mindfulness and Compassion as a basis for inner transformation and social innovation: Gross National Happiness in Bhutan
Based on the Mindfulness Practice of Plum Village and on the New Development Paradigm of Gross National Happiness in Bhutan, we will deepen our understanding and practice Mindfulness and Compassion as a path towards inner transformation and social change.
- Mindfulness and Compassion towards ourselves as a foundation of all transformation.
- Mindfulness and Compassion towards others as a foundation of an equitable and sustainable socioeconomic development
- Mindfulness and Compassion towards Nature, Mother Earth and all beings as a foundation of an ecologically responsible way of life.
by Nadine Spigt
Actually it feels like there hasn’t been so much compost for us, just a lot of flowers that needed some time before they got more and more beautiful and vibrant and alive.
The start of our sangha was when Romke and I went to a Plum Village retreat, and we felt the big need of having a sangha back home. It turned out there was no Wake Up sangha in our city. We wanted to start one, but we didn’t know how or with whom. But by just being open about our experiences with meditation, buddhism, mindfulness and our retreat, it turned out that two of our friends were also looking for people to share their practice and aspirations with.
Question: Why do you practice the Plum Village tradition and not other traditions, since there are so many options?
Answer: I practice Tian Gong Qi Gong, which is a special form of Qi Gong. I have found a spiritual home in Tian Gong. On the book-suggestion-list of Tian Gong I found Old Path, White Clouds by Thay.
After reading, I was so inspired that I wanted to live and practice in this mindful way and also to get to know the community of Plum Village. When I saw a video of a Dharma Talk on the Internet, I was touched so deeply that I wanted to come to Plum Village and practice with the community.
Now, shortly after my first visit at Plum Village, I’m glad to say that I have found even one more spiritual home for me.
Question: How did your spiritual journey start?
A rap about a year of transformation, ordination, and staffing retreats at Deer Park
Alright, my heart is beating. Now I’m nervous.
So I’m thinking how to turn this into purposeless service.
With no exertion. An immersion of breath and steps
and rest and deathlessness.
And no illusion, no confusion.
I’m not stupid. I know how to do this.
No woulda coulda. No shoulda been a Buddha.
Who’da thunk that seed lay beneath all my junk?
I wear a frown when I’m in a funk,
turn it upside down and look like a monk.
That’s what’s up!
When your robe is brown you learn to slow it down.
Look around. See where happiness is found.
And though I don’t need a brown robe to love the globe,
in the end, it helps to have one as a friend.
My name is Jonathan.
I like to stop and sit and sing some songs a bit,
and grant God his wish so he can cross it off his list.
See me under pressure. See me react to a stressor.
But, I can’t be measured, not for your pleasure.
And, I’ve been reluctant to give away my treasure.
But, once I finally unlocked my chest
I saw I forgot my breath and lost my steps,
and what I needed was to stop and rest.
Its been a long time since I had the courage to rhyme,
to flourish and shine.
An urge to splurge and nourish what’s mine:
a heart that’s broken—broken open.
So, you can come inside.
By Will Chua
In June, I squeezed two weeks off from work and put myself on a plane from Singapore to Waldbrol for the Dutch and German retreats at EIAB.
The force, within and without, that uprooted me from status quo life was not desperate, not strangling, neither full of anger nor anxiety. But it was a great force. It was what I can only describe as a “Now What?” force.
There I was, on the brink of my 34th Birthday, wondering what to do with my life again.
“The Accolades”: Three Masters degrees including one Ivy League. Six years turning around a failing family construction business. Head of a whole-of-government team in a dynamic public agency. First-name basis with leaders of some top international non-profits. Two proud tattoos. Lead singer of a (albeit casual but still!) policy school band. Dean’s list. Three full scholarships. One national shot-put record. Decent ball skills. Single and very available. Tons of Facebook friends from at least 35 countries. A good public service career offer. All in all a “tri-sector athlete”.
“The Cost”: Five failed relationships. Dead father I took for granted. Dependence on a sleep machine. Persistent unwholesome habits. Nagging neck and knee injuries. Anxiety/stress spells ironically interlacing with doling out conceptual life advice to friends. A lost decade watching former peers climbing social ladders and their kids growing up. Darting in and out of family responsibilities. Regular migration from one friendship tribe to another, with no true home. All round cover up of honesty with rationalized success. Lost career direction, too many options yet none felt right.
What’s the score? How should I score? Where am I going?
By pure chance, I stumbled upon Thay’s books in December 2012 and the lovely Singapore Plum Village (PV) sangha.
During the International Wake Up Retreat in Plum Village in August 2013 – PART II
BBT: If somebody asks you how to build a sangha, what tips/advice/things would you share with them?
Annika: Maybe one thing is to keep things simple. Not wanting to do too much too soon. I remember when we talked about starting Wake Up in Ireland, Wake Up Dublin. The most recent example we have is Wake Up Belfast and Wake Up London.
Wake Up London is most known to us for organising those huge meditation flashmobs with hundreds of people coming together in a public place in London. And that looked very impressive.
Personally, I find that a bit daunting. I thought it’s a bit like organising a rock concert every week you know. How do you do this? And do I really want to do this and am I stable enough in my practice not to get distracted by exterior form? And come home and be with it?
During the International Wake Up Retreat in Plum Village in August 2013 – PART I
Sister Ban Bien Tap (BBT): Please introduce yourselves and how you started a Wake Up sangha in your country.
Brian: I’m from Germany. I grew up in Hamburg and I came in contact with this tradition and Wake Up in June, not so long ago.
On the last day after the 5 Mindfulness Trainings ceremony, Thay gave the last Dharma talk. At the end, it was very impressive what he said about the importance of a sangha in order to keep our practice going.
So I had in my mind to find a sangha or set up one. When I came back, I built it up. I found a few people, and we meet up once a week. It has really been inspiring for me.
The world we plant
watch the video!
A Permaculture and Right Livelihood Wake Up Retreat for young people
26th April – 24th May 2014
a 4 week long mindful Permaculture experience,
“Right livelihood has ceased to be a purely personal matter. It is our collective karma.” Thich Nhat Hanh
A month in the garden. A month in Nature. A month in Community. A month of Learning and Sharing.
With our world in transition and our economy in transformation, reflecting on our interaction with and contribution to the world is more important than ever. Many of us have a sense of urgency when it comes to making a change and creating a world we all want to live in. This can bring a lot of stress, anxiety and overwhelming feelings; there is so much to do!
A group of young monks and nuns, students of Zen Master Thích Nhất Hạnh, who have grown up in the West, with both Vietnamese and Western cultures, will be leading retreats for young Vietnamese-Americans in Canada and the US this March. Events are open to young people aged 18-38 with Vietnamese roots, born or raised in North America. This is the first Wake Up tour for young Vietnamese Americans and Canadians.
- by Jenny Hamp
The outdoor sitting meditation was set up for 6:30 pm that Friday in Union Square, and we didn’t know how many people would attend. I had just found the Plum Village monastics and friends sitting in the grassy area nearby, and at about 6:25 we picked up the blankets we’d been sitting on and walked over to the south plaza.
It didn’t seem like anyone was there for sitting; there was a group of Hare Krishnas chanting behind us, the cars and ambulances on the street, people rapping, others talking here and there. There were a few groups of people standing around, looking anxious and watching the monastics walk by. Amazingly when the monastics sat down, the aimless crowd started sitting too, forming squished circles of people around us. I could barely hear Brother Ho say the bell gatha and invite the bell. Like that the sit started.
In the first few moments of silence a heckler startled us, yelling, “HELLLLP! HELLLP! HELLP! YEAH YEAH THAT’S JUST WHAT I THOUGHT.”