In the Autumn 2008 issue of the Mindfulness Bell, we published several articles on the biannual United Nations Day of Vesak, which was held for the ﬁrst time in Vietnam. We are pleased to continue our coverage of that historic event.
Inspired by Thich Nhat Hanh’s lifelong teachings on Engaged Buddhism, the conference explored “Buddhist Contributions to Building a Just, Democratic, and Civilized Society.” Five thousand Buddhist monastics and laypeople from all over the world participated. Thich Nhat Hanh was the main keynote speaker and many of Thay’s students made presentations on various panels. Four of those talks are reproduced here.
Before the conference Thay gave a series of retreats, culminating in a seven-day retreat in English at Golden Lotus Hotel in Hanoi. Four hundred people attended; in this issue we offer reflections from two of the retreatants.
From Vietnam several monks and nuns traveled to Hong Kong, where a strong Sangha has developed in recent years. Sister Hanh Nghiem shares her thoughts about the Buddha’s Enlightenment Retreat, where “Mindful breathing was our peace, joy, and freedom.”