Peace is Every Step

Joyful Dishwashing

By Shuko Maseda One day my mother gave me the book, Peace Is Every Step. After reading about 30 pages, I found myself reading deeply, as if I were absorbing with my eyes every passage, word, and letter. What was written on the pages had not been taught by anyone, but they were all things being taken for granted in our daily life. My everyday life was so restless and fidgety that I could not even become aware of such daily wonders. When my heart calmed down, I realized I was smiling unconsciously.

It was a Saturday evening, and dishwashing was to fall on me or my younger sister. We usually decide who will wash the dishes by tossing a token. I don't usually like to wash dishes, but that evening, everything was different. I had read the part "Washing Dishes," and these lines swept away my dull ideas about dishwashing. "The idea that doing dishes is unpleasant can occur only when you are not doing them." This first line astonished me. I said to myself, "This is true! I know I feel tired when I start dishwashing, but soon it changes into fun."

The further I read on, the more deeply I thought. The author said the reason for dishwashing is not only to have clean dishes, but also just to do the dishes, to live fully in each moment while washing them. If we wash dishes lazily, thinking about other things, we lose and spoil the time. But if we wash dishes wholeheartedly, we can get the deep satisfaction that is equal to cleaning the whole house.

That evening I practiced washing—plate by plate—deliberately, concentrating on my breath, letting go of thoughts that came up. I was not annoyed by the noisy sounds from the television. Lastly, after washing away the detergent, I put three pairs of chopsticks into the dish drier and pushed the drier button with great happiness, feeling inexpressibly refreshed. It made me feel as if my feet were made of down, floating lightly in the air. I felt so refreshed that I also did the laundry!

That day I was able to practice mindfulness by engaging in two household chores which gave me a deep satisfaction. Since that day, Thich Nhat Hanh and Peace Is Every Step have been a tremendous and profound influence on me. After reading this book, my heart has become stable and calm. I realize how the author is aspiring to world peace. It is my greatest joy and happiness to have known the master Thich Nhat Hanh through this book.

Shuku Maseda, age 16, lives in Kyushu, Japan. This piece was translated and sent to us by Hisayo Ikeda, the translator of the Japanese edition of Peace Is Every Step.

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Documentary Film about Thay Peace Is Every Step, the first wide-ranging profile of Thich Nhat Hanh, is nearing completion. After five years of independent production, filmmaker Gaetano Maida is in the final stages of editing. With extensive footage from Plum Village, retreats in the U.S. and Asia, an intimate interview, and archival footage from the past 30 years, the film promises to share Thay's teachings widely.

The film is a production of Legacy Media, and the Community of Mindful Living (CML) is the project's fiscal sponsor. A recent foundation grant served as impetus for moving forward with the final editing phase, but funds totaling $40,000 are still needed to complete the film. A portion of proceeds from broadcast and video sales will be contributed directly to Plum Village. If you can help realize the completion of this work, please send a tax-deductible donation to CML, P.O. Box 7355, Berkeley, CA 94707. If you know of any foundations, corporations, or individuals to approach, please let us know, and we can follow up directly or assist you in the effort. For more information, contact Therese Fitzgerald at CML: (510) 527-3751.

Resource Manual for Sangha Building

Two years ago, while recuperating from a broken leg, Jack Lawlor wrote a manual on how to create a happy Sangha. Several groups have already been helped by using this manual to form or rejuvenate their groups. Copies of Sangha Building: Creating Buddhist Practice Community are available for $ 15.00 ($20.00 outside the U.S.) from Lakeside Buddha Sangha, P.O. Box 7067, Evanston, Illinois 60201.

Bell Instruction from Plum Leaves

We are happy to announce that the recent issue of Plum Leaves, the Plum Village newsletter, offers guidelines for inviting the bell to sound. If you would like a copy, please contact Plum Village or Community of Mindful Living.

Manzanita Raffle

A half-acre plot in the rain forest of Costa Rica will be raffled this May to support Manzanita Village in southern California. Tickets are $50 each. Please send checks payable to Ordinary Dharma, 247 Horizon Avenue, Venice, CA 90291.

New Buddhist College

Sharpham College will open in England this September integrating Buddhist studies and contemporary inquiry with community living, meditation, work on the land, and social projects. For information, contact Stephen Batchelor, The Sharpham College, Ashprington, Totnes, Devon TQ9 7UT, England. Fax (44) 1803 732 037, email 101364.537@comp.


Sulak Wins Alternative Nobel Peace Prize

One of this year's Right Livelihood Awards was presented in Stockholm to Sulak Sivaraksa, leading Thai Buddhist activist, in honor and support of his offering practical and exemplary answers to the most urgent challenges facing us today. The jury acclaimed Sulak for "his vision, activism, and spiritual commitment in the quest for a development process that is rooted in democracy, justice, and cultural integrity."

Mountain Retreat Practice

Order member Herb Walters is planning a rustic retreat in the mountains of North Carolina to share spiritual practices he has learned from Native American traditions. Contact Herb at 278 White Oak Creek Road, Burnsville, NC 28714, (704) 675-4626

Pilgrimage to Close School of the Americas

Order of Interbeing member Greg Hessel will spend this winter walking from Washington, D.C. to Fort Benning, Georgia, to gather support for stopping funding of the U.S. Army's School of the Americas, that has trained many officers from other countries in war strategy. If your Sangha would like to organize a Day of Mindfulness for those walking, please contact Greg at HC 60 Box 50, Charlestown, NH 03603, (603) 543-0568.

Prisoner Correspondence

Prisoners seek to connect with Dharma friends. Please write to: DeVoil Devane II, P.O. Box 215, Maury, NC 28554; and Stanley A. Farley, NCCI-Gardner, P.O. Box 466, Gardner, MA 01440-0466.


Lex Hixon, author, teacher, and lecturer on Buddhism and many other spiritual traditions, died in November at his home in Riverdale, New York. He was 53. Robert Sycamore Winson, Zen student and poet, died in Santa Fe in October of a colon disease. He was 33. We wish these two good friends of Buddhism in the West a steady passage and extend our heartfelt condolences to their families.

Retreat Center Update

The Community of Mindful Living, with the help of the Washington Mindfulness Community and the Charlottesville Sangha, has been searching for land to begin a residential mindfulness retreat center in the Washington, D.C. area. We are presently looking at four properties, and by mid to late spring, we expect to conclude negotiations on one of them.

Since announcing this search less than two years ago, we have received hundreds of expressions of interest that a center dedicated to the practice of mindful living as taught by Thich Nhat Hanh be established here in the U.S. For more information or if you would like to share with us your own interest in such a center, please contact the Community of Mindful Living.

The acquisition price, plus the anticipated expenditures that will be needed for improvements and operations' shortfalls will be approximately $1.5 million. To date, we have received $250,000 in contributions and pledges. Tax-deductible donations to the "Community of Mindful Living," earmarked "Residential Retreat Center," will be deeply appreciated.

Help Wanted

When Parallax Press and the Community of Mindful Living offices relocate to the retreat center property in the Washington, D.C. area, perhaps sometime this summer, we will need additional staff. If you might be interested in applying for work in our publishing or administrative offices, please write to tell us about your interest.

In addition, Parallax Press is looking for a "chief operating officer." Inquiries or applications should be sent to Arnie Kotler, Parallax Press/CML, P.O. Box 7355, Berkeley, California 94707. Experience in publishing, management, and the practice of mindful living are essential.

New Order Members

We are pleased to welcome the following friends into the Core Community of the Order of Interbeing:

Plum Village, France-August 5, 1995 Margret de Beckere Irmgard Buck Richard Buck Phan Thi Chau Jane Coatesworth Steffi Holtje Annette Landgraf Reiner Landgraf Deanna Malago Iris Nowak Bettina Schneider Dave Tester

Saratoga, California -September 22, 1995 Dewain Belgard William Chan Nanda Currant Brooke Deputy John D'Zahrt Susan Murphy Nuba Shores Hannah Wilder

Rhinebeck, New York - October 8, 1995 Bill Alexander Jeanne-Marie Anselmo Dai-En Bennage Tom Childers Cindy Cowden Susan Deakins Meg Dellenbaugh Mair Honan Monica Hoyt Patricia Hunt-Perry Patrecia Lenore Tonia Leon-Hysko Sandra Oriel Linda Parker Leslie Rawls

Oakton, Virginia - October 11, 1995 Nguyen Hoang Hai Pham Nguyen Thi Lien Nguyen Hoang Hieu Tran Kim Que Nguyen Van Vien Trinh Ngoc Dung Nguyen Khac Luan Vo Dinh Quang

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Documentary Film about Thay Work continues on Peace Is Every Step, the film profile of Thich Nhat Hanh. Recently, actor Ben Kingsley (Gandhi, Schindler's List) agreed to narrate the film, an extraordinary gesture that significantly improves the film's prospects for worldwide broadcast. In addition, negotiations underway for a coproduction arrangement with a German production company are designed to result in a broadcast agreement with German public television. Broadcasters in Canada, England, France, Korea, and Australia are also interested.

In the meantime, writing and editing continue in Berkeley, with a rough cut possible by the end of May and, if funding is secured, the film can be finished before the summer. To maintain this schedule (and not lose momentum and the availability of facilities and key personnel), $10,000 is required over the next six weeks. Loans (to be repaid from the proceeds of film sales) and donations (to CML) are most welcome.

New Books & Tapes by Thich Nhat Hanh

The Long Road Turns to Joy: A Guide to Walking Meditation (Parallax Press)

Living Buddha, Living Christ, read by Ben Kingsley (audio tape, Simon & Schuster)

Teachings on Love (audio tape, Sounds True)

Order of Interbeing Ordinees

We extend a warm welcome to the following members of the Order of Interbeing who were ordained at Plum Village on January 25, 1996: Brother Shariputra, Brother Ivar, Michael Ciborski, Fern Dorresteyn, Danka Lucznik, Ursula Schwarz, Thich Thanh Due, Sister Dam Tien, Sister Nhu Quang.

Next Year in Jerusalem

Michael Rosenbush is exploring the possibility of Thay offering a retreat in Israel in May 1997. This summer he is trying to sponsor five Israeli students and adults to attend the Plum Village Summer Opening. To contribute towards these efforts, please contact Michael at 189 Rue St. Honore, 75001, Paris, France. Phone/Fax: (33) 1-4926-0728.

New Books & Tapes by Order Members

Getting Our Bodies Back: Recovery, Healing, and Transformation Through Body-Centered Psychotherapy by Christine Caldwell, True Original Vow (Shambhala)

Zen and Japanese Culture by D.T. Suzuki, read by Christopher Reed, True Jewel (Audio Renaissance Tapes)

Appetites: On the Search for True Nourishment by GeneenRoth, True Dharma Joy (Penguin)

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Letters to the Mindfulness Bell

I was first drawn to Thich Nhat Hanh's teaching during the Gulf War when a friend gave me Peace Is Every Step. I felt open to the truth of his words because of his work with veterans and because of what he suffered in Vietnam. I felt that if he could make peace in the midst of that fire, I ought to be able to make a little peace in my own life. I continue to draw benefits from the mindfulness retreats I have attended at Omega, and I look forward to more. I feel like I'm in kindergarten practicing awareness and mindful breathing, and kindergarten is not a bad place to be.Susan Fanti Spivak Cobleskill, New York

Thank you so much for The Mindfulness Bell! I love the magazine, and it means a lot to us to get it here in Bermuda. John Shane Paget, Bermuda

On the morning I was to leave for the Northern California retreat with Thich Nhat Hanh last fall, my favorite human being—friend, teacher, AA sponsor—suddenly began to die. She had been sober in Alcoholics Anonymous for 13 years and, throughout that time, she had cancer and was in pain, often near death. Her courage, humility, common sense, and great compassion helped countless people, including others suffering with cancer, alcoholics trying to get sober, and even her doctors and caregivers. I am seldom as clear and centered in decision-making as I was when I gave up the opportunity to be on retreat so I could stay with my friend.

She died the next night of massive pneumonia, her body too weakened to fight it off. Her living will was eloquent and specific in expressing her view of death, and refusing to be artificially maintained beyond the moment when true recovery ceased to be possible. For me, being with my friend while she was dying was a blessing and a valuable exercise in mindfulness, in staying in the present moment.

As I sat vigil with my friend, I thought of Thich Nhat Hanh, Sister Chan Khong, and the many retreatants who were enjoying sitting and walking meditation together. The practice of mindfulness enabled me to be present during this precious time, and I am grateful to Thich Nhat Hanh for bringing these teachings into my life.

Susan McCarthy Taos, New Mexico

Receiving The Mindfulness Bell brings me back to my true self. It enriches the quality of life for weeks and months. Kim Cary Massies Mill, Virginia

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Letters to the Mindfulness Bell

On my drive home from the Open Way Sangha retreat at Loon Lake, Montana, I stopped in Deer Lodge to stretch and rest from the no-speed-limit limit in Montana. I pulled up nearby the prison and found myself thinking about the people inside, what sort of misdirection, difficult childhood, etc. brought them to such a place, what their lives must be like inside, perhaps their only freedom being the freedom that mindfulness can bring. I thought of Thay's poem, "Call Me By My True Names." It was lovely to return home and find the Spring issue of The Mindfulness Bell. I was especially touched by Mark French's essay written from inside that very place, Deer Lodge Correctional Facility. (Ed. note: see p. 14, issue number 16; p. 10 this issue.) I also loved reading Lee Swenson's and Richard Gilman's essays about the Vietnam War Veterans Writing Group. Every time I read these kind of stories I am brought to tears. I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to attend the last two veterans retreats at Omega with the help of scholarships. These men and women and their stories helped me rediscover my own. I know those moments Lee Swenson speaks of, when it seems impossible to breathe. I smiled then when I read Thay's Dharma discussion and thought how I have looked longingly at the top of another mountain, this three-year community of writers on war. Thay helps me to sit still and happy right where I am. Thank you for this issue of The Mindfulness Bell. Susan Austin Tetonia, Idaho

The new Mindfulness Bell arrived today. It is beautiful! This issue seems different in ways I can't quite pinpoint. It feels like a fragrant, ripe tangerine, each section promising a sweet taste of the universe. Many thanks for all you do to make it available to us. Leslie Rawls Charlotte, North Carolina

I was given the book Peace Is Every Step by a guest speaker who attended the Ashram class that is taught here in the facility where I am presently incarcerated. It is the first book I have read by Thich Nhat Hanh and I was deeply moved by the step-by-step teachings in this wonderful book. Over the last six months I have become aware of the need to obtain inner peace. I have read many books by many authors, but none of them has moved me as much as Thich Nhat Hanh. Peace Is Every Step has given me a much clearer view of what life really is and what true peace is all about. Mark Rice #95A4228 Elmira, New York

In response to a recent request for feedback about The Mindfulness Bell, I offer these thoughts. As an inspirational journal focusing on the positive aspects of practice in various settings and situations, the Bell serves the Sangha well. As a journal that takes a hard look at important issues, I would say the Bell leans towards the benign, and often sugarcoats the reality of practitioners' lives and their daily struggles with Buddhist practices and their applications.

I would love to see the Bell document how Buddhist practice has the power to transform lives and awaken people to new realities and not simply make their lives better in a psychological sense. I must admit, I sometimes wonder if anybody in the Sangha is having traditional spiritual experiences in meditation, "awakenings," experiences of emptiness (sunyata), which have been the experience and hard-won fruits of Buddhists for thousands of years, especially in the Zen lineages. Not to negate the importance of daily life experiences, but also to give weight to the truly transformative experience of waking up! As a practicing psychotherapist, I note that many of the benefits that members glean from mindfulness practice seem to fall within the same realm as the benefits of good psychotherapy. This is not to fault either system, but to yearn that Buddhist practice can take one "beyond" the personal and interpersonal, and yet be able to enrich both.

I would also appreciate longer and more in-depth articles, as opposed to the short and often "lite" articles that fill up much of the Bell. I can't imagine that in a young and growing community there aren't issues that need to be fully examined in the light of awareness and compassion, matters that plague all communities and organizations: money, power relationships, special interest groups, hierarchy, and decision making. How are things decided, who makes decisions, and under what authority? In the vacuum of openness and clarity, other less noble motivations can dominate. Those of us involved in Buddhist communities over the past 30 years can attest to this unfortunate reality.

When I was a young Zen student and met Thay over 20 years ago, he emphatically emphasized that for Buddhism to become truly American, it must be nourished by new energies, new models of practice, and not simply replicate foreign models (which are often in disrepute in their own cultures). Thay's message was a powerful fresh wind that blew away the restrictive concepts dominating my Buddhist practice. His message is as relevant today with a community numbering in the thousands as it was when he was living almost as a layman in a small apartment outside of Paris.

I am using this letter to formulate the unformulated within me, and in no manner intend any negativism towards the wonderful manifestation of Dharma that The Mindfulness Bell represents. For me, to live the Fourteen Precepts means to be able to speak and listen honestly and constructively, in a spirit of compassion and love, so that we can all benefit from the warmth and wisdom of the Sangha. Fred Eppsteiner Naples, Florida

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PassagesBorn: Anna Tarata Meredith, born October 2, 1997 to Liana Meredith and Kees Lodder, True Great Gathering, of  Auckland, New Zealand. Married: Patrick Frize and Bang Lang, Chan Dieu Am, were married at Maple Village, Quebec on August 24,1997. Engaged: Bach Thai Hao, Chan Bao Canh, and Hermann Luckhoff celebrated their engagement in Paris on November 1, 1997. Died: Mary Lenker of the Charlotte Community of Mindfulness, North Carolina, formerly of Houston, Texas, on October 26, 1997.

Dharma Talks by Email The Plum Village Dharma Talk project has begun distributing Thay's Plum Village talks by email. The project will operate from dana, and needs everyone's support to cover costs, including connection fees, phone bills, and transcriptions. Those who receive the talks are encouraged to donate IOFF (approx. $2) per talk to Plum Village Transcription Project, Meyrac, 47120 Loubes-Bernac, France. You may subscribe by sending your email address to plumvill@clubinternet fr. This email address is just for use concerning this project. Please continue to use standard mail or fax for general inquiries to Plum Village.

Being Peace Centre, UK At Thich Nhat Hanh's invitation, the Community of Interbeing UK has been searching for property to establish a Dharma Centre where mindfulness practice can be learned and strengthened. The centre will be open to people from all walks of life, religious belief, and levels of meditation experience. For more information or to contribute to the centre, please contact Dave Tester, 18a Hove Park Villas, Hove, BN3 6HG, UK.

Survivors of Childhood Abuse Sangha An interest group is being formed in the Boston area by people who experienced abuse in childhood (physical, sexual, or psychological). Possibility of weekend retreats in the Northeast. Please write to D.R., Boston Sangha, 38 Temple Street, Boston, MA 02114.

A Time for Peace The United Nations has declared the year 2000 the "Year of Education for Nonviolence." Fran~oise Pottier, co-director of the Order of Interbeing, and Order member Pierre Marchand continue the work to petition the UN to declare 2000-2010 the "Decade for a Culture of Non-Violence." Please send postcards and letters supporting the project, as well as financial contributions, to Appeal of the Nobel Peace Laureates, c/o International Fellowship of Reconciliation (IFOR), Spoorstraat 38, 1815 BK Alkmaar, Netherlands.

North American Order Meeting Members of the core community of the Order of Interbeing are invited to a national gathering at Green Mountain Dharma Center, Hartland, Vermont, Saturday, October 10 through Monday, October 12, 1998. Registration forms and full details will be mailed by early summer.

Peace Is Every Step More than 1,000 people attended a February benefit screening in Berkeley, California, of the new film "Peace Is Every Step," presented along with a panel discussion with filmmaker Gaetano Maida, author Maxine Hong Kingston, and Buddhist scholar Robert Thurman. The one-hour documentary, narrated by Ben Kingsley, is a profile of Thich Nhat Hanh, and explores his efforts to help heal a world in conflict and provide tools for mindful living. The filmmaker is available to participate in benefit presentations of the film in areas with enough support and resources to produce a successful public event. VHS copies of the film are available through Parallax Press. For more information, please contact Gaetano Kazuo Maida, Legacy Media, Inc., 510.525.7594, fax: 510.524.9739, email:

Chapter on Sister Chan Khong China Galland's new book, The Bond Between Women: A Journey to Fierce Compassion (Riverhead Books, 1998), includes a wonderful chapter about the teachings and work of Sr. Chan Khong entitled "I Do Not Rehearse My Anger."

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