An Invitation from Thay On April 15, 2009, during the Francophone Retreat in Plum Village, Thich Nhat Hanh made this request of the Sangha.
President Barack Obama is surrounded by his Sangha — his family, his advisors, his community of faith, his supporters — and I want to help that Sangha. If Barack Obama succeeds it will be thanks to that Sangha. His job is very difﬁcult and he needs a strong Sangha to nourish and protect him because he’s vulnerable. There are attacks coming from every direction.
In 1965, I wrote a letter to Martin Luther King to tell him about the suffering in Vietnam and the struggle we were leading for human rights and peace. Exactly one year later I met the Rev. King in Chicago, and we talked a lot about the future of the world, of America, Europe, Asia. We were hosted by an organization called the Fellowship of Reconciliation. We spoke of community and Sangha; Rev. King spoke of Sangha in terms of a Beloved Community. We discussed how we could spread the ideas of truth and right thinking, how we could practice right speech to educate people about peace, human rights, and social justice.
Practicing right speech, right action, and right thinking we worked hard to change the way the world is thinking. About forty years have gone by since we planted seeds that are starting to sprout a little bit everywhere. All over America, Europe, Africa, and Asia we have worked to sow the seeds of brotherhood and sisterhood and peace, and I feel that Barack Obama is the blossoming of our work. And Obama is not the only ﬂower to blossom; if there is Obama, then there are others like him who also have manifested to realize the Beloved Community. This is a consciousness that has been growing for many years, a consciousness and a community that can support Obama’s Sangha and Beloved Communities all over the world.
It is a great joy to see President Obama have a chance to represent us at this time in the history of the planet. We wish him to succeed and we have to support him; we have to help his Sangha be stronger.
All of us can do something. We can write a letter to tell President Obama and his Sangha that they have our support.
I think our practice here in France should have some connection with the American Sangha. We can support this Sangha that Martin Luther King called the Beloved Community. The French Sangha is growing very quickly — you are that community. This French retreat represents the French Beloved Community. And we need to do something to support President Obama and his Beloved Community.
Please join our French Sangha and embrace Thay’s inspiring invitation to support President Obama and the Sangha that surrounds him. Please send your letters to the following addresses: firstname.lastname@example.org or Sr. An Nghiem Plum Village New Hamlet 13 Martineau 33580 Dieulivol France