#49 Autumn 2008

Ko Un — or What?

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mb49-KoUn2Ko Un is Korea’s foremost living poet. After immense suffering during the Korean War, he became a Buddhist monk. His first poems were published in 1958, then a few years later he returned to the secular world and became a leading activist. In 2008, he received the Griffin Trust Lifetime Recognition for Excellence in Poetry. Parallax Press recently reissued a book of Ko Un’s “Zen poems” and drawings entitled What? (formerly Beyond Self).

mb49-KoUn3Thich Nhat Hanh writes in the Introduction about a meeting with Ko Un in 1995: “The more I learned about his life, the closer I felt to him.... When he was imprisoned by the military dictatorship for his efforts for peace, his deep Buddhist practice sustained him. Living mindfully in each moment, he knew what to do and what not to do to help himself and others as well.”

In this section we present three poems from What? along with some of Ko Un’s original drawings. In addition, we offer two brand new poems, as well as essays that two of Ko Un’s translators have graciously written for the Mindfulness Bell.

“As you read Ko Un’s poems,” writes Thay in the Introduction to What?, “allow the poet in you to hear his voice.... Enter deeply into the present moment, reflect on each word, and meet the poet Ko Un face to face.”

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A Stone Between Two Fields

Aha, real Buddha’s out of doors. The future world should be opening like this: no distinction between inside and out.

And all the long long day cuckoos chant prayers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Path

Take this path. It leads to Nirvana.

Excuse me. I’ll follow my own path. Over rocky crags or under water.

That’s the old master’s path, the corpse’s path.

 

Leaving Home

If leaving home is what a monk’s job involves, then coming home really really is what a buddha’s job is.

But surely you can only really come home if you’ve really left home, can’t you?

Ko Un, What? 108 Zen Poems (Parallax Press, 2008). With a Foreword by Allen Ginsberg and Introduction by Thich Nhat Hanh. Translated by Young-Moo Kim and Brother Anthony of Taizé. Used with permission of the publisher.

 

mb49-KoUn5In a Street

Have you ever been another person? Have you ever been another person? Today I have nothing but questions. If you say you’ve never been someone else since the day you were born, how will a breath of the wind of this world ever dare touch your hair?

 

mb49-KoUn6The Bell

As I sped down the highway along the East Sea suddenly the sound of a bell reached my ears. Between the waves endlessly booming, at the crack of dawn the sound of a church bell reached my ears.

Kwon Chong-saeng’s bell in a valley near Andong.

Oh, waking dream! Not dream, not reality, oh, waking dream!

That distant bell rings in my ear … Today maybe your poverty is paradise oh, bell rung by Kwon Chong-saeng.

 

Translators’ note: Kwon Chong-saeng was a Korean children’s writer who’d spent his life in great poverty in the region of Andong. For a time his only paid job was to ring the bell of a small village church.

Poems by Ko Un SSN forthcoming in Songs for Tomorrow (Green Integer), copyright 2008 by Ko Un, Brother Anthony of Taizé, Young-moo Kim, and Gary Gach. Used with permission of the translators.

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Translating Ko Un’s Poetry as Spiritual Practice

1. By Brother Anthony of Taizé

The monastic community of Taizé, of which I am a member, has always been concerned to bring together in the love of Christ those who are separated, divided by differences of tradition and of discourse. To promote peace in reconciliation and trust is the aim of our lives.

Every human person is, we sometimes remind ourselves, sacred above all by their wounded innocence. The poet, whether Ko Un or any other, writes words that at times (at least) express both sacredness and wound. The translator’s task is to find ways of rewriting those words in another language, in such a way that the inwardness of the original text lives on across the great divisions of tongues and minds, histories and hearts.

My concern to be a servant of communion (say ‘sharing’ and ‘communication’) across boundaries of time, place and systems of thought or belief has brought me to translate Korean poetry. Ko Un is immensely prolific, writes in a vast variety of styles. As John Dryden once wrote of Chaucer, ‘Here is God’s plenty.’ The people whose lives are recorded and memorialized in the nearly thirty volumes of his Ten Thousand Lives are immensely precious by their wounded innocence.

By translating Ko Un, I am brought into a deeper communion with the people of Korea among whom I live and pray, and so with the human family as a whole. To allow the poet’s voice to speak through my translations, I am obliged to still my own inner voices until I reach the silence out of which the original poem arose. To allow another’s poem to shine out, the translator must become a sheet of transparent glass. This poem is not my poem. I am dispossessed in order that another may speak.

Born in Truro, in Great Britain, Brother Anthony is one of the foremost living translators of contemporary Korean poetry, with over twenty-six titles to his credit. He is currently Emeritus Professor, Department of English Language and Literature at Sogang University, Seoul, where he has taught since 1980.

2.       By Gary Gach

Translation can be a Dharma door. Translating, like all mindful writing and editing, asks for devotion to words as lotuses, buddhas to be, radiant texts waiting patiently to purify new realms.

Translating Ko Un answered a calling (and Dharma is also responsibility, an ability to respond). Ko Un’s work had been woefully under-recognized when I signed on board, in part due to a ban on his work until the 1980s that included even translation. So I saw an opportunity where I might make a difference. As you can see for yourself, his is a voice well worth hearing, speaking for the sake of all creation.

Ko Un’s poetry is Dharma fruit, and its translation invites Dharma teachings into my life. Having taken his poems through as many as a dozen different drafts, I’ve come to know many better than my own poems. They coexist with my life, a vital part of my personal commonplace book of passages from sacred literature, koans, gathas, epigrams, personal mantras, folksongs, colloquial exclamations, and so on.

Working with Brother Anthony and Professor Young Moo, a minimal Sangha of three, is a collaborative art. Collaborative arts--such as linked verse or singing together, dancing or cooking--are yet another way of stepping aside from the grasping sense of small self, of “me and mine,” and touching deeper. Engaging in the larger world, the world of liberation, the selfless.

In Ko Un’s poems, I’ve been grateful to learn more of the uniquely elemental, dynamic, invigorating, cosmic human wisdom and compassion that is Korean culture. I’ve been reminded of what writing teachers all say: only by being particular to one’s own experience can one be truly universal. Translating asks that someone else’s particularity become universal.

May Ko Un’s words bring nourishment to your own journey.May all beings be well.

Gary Gach, Joyful Spirit of the Source, is editor of What Book!? ~ Buddha Poems from Beat to Hiphop (Parallax Press; American Book Award) and author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Understanding Buddhism (Alpha Books). He teaches Buddhism at Stanford Continuing Studies,and leads mindfulness meditation at the Church for the Fellowship of all Peoples in San Francisco.

The third translator, Young-moo Kim (1944–2001), was Professor at Seoul National University, and is well known in Korea as a literary critic and poet. He published three volumes of  poetry and together with Brother Anthony, he translated  and published poems by many of  the most respected and appreciated Korean poets of the 20th century, including Ko Un.

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Sangha News

Dharma Teachers Travel to South Africa and Botswana From March 16 to April 2, 2008 three Plum Village Dharma teachers traveled to southern Africa: Sr. Chau Nghiem (Jewel) and her father Al Lingo, and Sr. Thuan Nghiem.

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The group first spent ten days in Cape Town, South Africa, where they visited and shared at University of Western Cape theology seminar and gave a public talk. Next they visited the Nyanga Township and Etafeni Day Care Centre Trust, a multi-purpose centre for children affected by AIDS and their caregivers. Then they led an Easter Holiday weekend retreat, “Touching Stillness, Embracing Ourselves, Our Ancestors and Our Community” for thirty-eight adults and children.

Next they visited with the Group of Hope at Brandvlei Maximum Security Correctional Facility. “This was one of our most profound and memorable experiences in South Africa,” wrote Sister Chau Nghiem in her report to Thay and the Sangha. “The men there are under maximum security because of crimes like murder or armed robbery. The Group of Hope began with the intention to raise awareness about HIV in prison, to help reduce the discrimination towards prisoners with HIV. They wanted to do something for prisoners dying of AIDS and so they began a garden to grow vegetables for them and would visit them in the prison hospital and send cards home for them. This care and desire to educate others about the realities of HIV led them to widen their horizons. Soon, they began to sponsor twenty HIV-positive orphans, who come to the prison to visit with them once a month, bringing them lots of love and joy.”

During seven days in Gaborone, Botswana, the Dharma teachers gave a public talk and then visited a high school and the University of Botswana where they shared with faculty, staff and students. Then they led another weekend retreat and visited the Infectious Disease Care Clinic (for treatment of AIDS), and the Baylor Center (for children infected with HIV from birth) at the Princess Marina Hospital, Gaborone.

“Buddhism is quite a new religion to most people,” wrote Sister Chau Nghiem. “When we visited the IDCC, one of the nurses said she had never seen a real Buddhist before, only on television. We shared a guided meditation with all the nurses at IDCC to help them to be in touch with their bodies and emotions. They are overworked and experience a lot of stress. We offered them one of Thay’s calligraphies to post in their resting room, ‘Breathe, you are alive.’

“The next morning we had a tour of the whole Princess Marina hospital, the main public hospital in Gaborone. We dropped in to do a five minute guided meditation (and a much appreciated shoulder massage) for the head nurse, a matron who is so passionate about her work. She said: ‘I’d like to learn how to meditate but do not convert me to Buddhism, I love my God! I don’t understand why you have shaved your head and become nuns, but from time to time please send me a spiritual message from France so I can continue my stressful work here.’ We also visited the Baylor Center, which cares for HIV-positive children. Like IDCC, it is on the grounds of Princess Marina Hospital. An American pediatrician gave us a tour of this beautiful center and explained to us the challenges facing the society, as a whole generation of children with HIV were maturing into adolescents and experiencing the normal rebelliousness of that age and refusing to take their medication as instructed. She said that all sectors of society — education, family, social work, medical care — must cooperate to address this new challenge. We met many wonderful people and were very nourished by their aspirations.”

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For recreation and renewal, they visited a local game reserve, to walk with elephants and to pet cheetahs. Sister Chau Nghiem wrote, “we had a very rewarding walk with elephants in the local Mokolodi game reserve. We walked with four teenage elephants who were orphaned as babies. Each of them weighs about three to four tons, and when they reach full maturity they will weigh five or six tons. They are so massive but so gentle to walk with. We walked alongside them and our feet made so much noise on the path, but the elephants walked completely silently. They taught us about walking meditation. Now I like to say, ‘Walk like an elephant.’ ”

In both regions the tour ended with a Sangha-building session to form a Sangha in Thay’s tradition. Racial inequality and the AIDS epidemic drew much of the group’s focus. Sister Chau Nghiem suggests that individuals and Sanghas can help with the wonderful work being done to address the AIDS epidemic in Africa by starting with these websites:

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The Constant Innovation of the Dharma

At times my practice is plain and mundane. It goes through a normal routine of ebb and flow. This is when I know my practice needs an injection of something new. From the latest book by Thay to a retreat at Deer Park Monastery. Somewhere in between these two options a little known option is available to everyone worldwide — DPCAST.ORG, a Dharma portal available on the Web that brings the Dharma to you, the twenty-first-century practitioner. The latest Dharma gift from DPCAST.ORG features the practice of beginning anew from Sister Dang Nghiem and Brother Phap An. I advise you to visit DPCAST.ORG and listen in.

The acronym stands for Deer Park Podcast.You can download media from DPCAST.ORG or iTunes straight to your iPod, taking it on the go or listening to it through your desktop speakers. Alone or with a group of local practitioners; this is just the beginning of the constant innovation that has marked the rise of Buddhism across the world.

This Dharma-casting straight into your home and iPods was born after a group of Dharma friends were listening to Venerable Phuoc Tinh of Deer Park Monastery. The number of people in the audience of the Ocean of Peace Meditation Hall was considerably above average, yet I sighed at the fact that more people could not benefit from the wonderful teaching that day. Light bulbs also went off in Dharma friends Laura Hunter, Ron Forster, and Mike Guerena. A serious discussion followed and we formed an informal committee of sorts that has come to bear fruit with the support of the monastic community of Deer Park.

There are many barriers to learning the practice. Today, distance and location is not as great a barrier as it was in the time of the Buddha. Mike Guerena recalled his first visit to Deer Park Monastery as “stepping on egg shells,” due to his uneasiness from not knowing what to expect, not to mention the thirty-minute drive from his home in Fallbrook.

Thanks to innovation, the Dharma is available to you in the here and now; just as life is. Our practice is based on solidity and the most solid type of practice requires the involvement of Dharma friends. The most solid way to find Dharma friends is still at the monastery, face to face, shoulder to shoulder.

But failing that, come visit DPCAST.ORG! And give us feedback to contribute to the constant innovation of the Dharma.

— Nguyen Thanh Hoang (dpcast@gmail.com)

 

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Announcing a New Blog: Mindful Kids

Resources for sharing mindfulness with children and a place to share ideas (http://mindfulkids.wordpress.com/)

This is a four-fold Sangha resource and we need your help and participation. Plum Village monastics are currently posting the principal practices we share with children in the Plum Village tradition: practicing with the bell, pebble meditation, the Two Promises, Deep Relaxation for Children, Touching the Earth for Children, eating meditation, embracing strong emotions, walking meditation, etc. We will also include guidance on how to set up a children’s program or children’s activities for a retreat, day of mindfulness, or a children’s Sangha. We will post ideas for cooperative games and nature activities, as well as practitioners’ experience of sharing mindfulness with children as parents, teachers, children’s program staff, etc. (This is where we need YOU!)

Please register on wordpress.com and share with us your experience, your stories, your joy, your difficulties — share how and what you are learning from children. Share with us what activities work and what don’t work so well yet. We also encourage children to share their experiences with the practice. Feel free to send us art, songs and photos that we can post on the blog.

— Sister Jewel, Chau Nghiem

 

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Wake Up!

Young Buddhists and non-Buddhists for a Healthy and Compassionate Society (http://wkup.org)

Inspired by Thay’s recent teachings, young monks and nuns of Plum Village, along with lay friends, have started an international organization called Wake Up:Young Buddhists and non-Buddhists for a Healthy and Compassionate Society. According to the group’s mission statement, “Wake Up is a community of young Dharma practitioners who want to help their society, which is overloaded with intolerance, discrimination, craving, anger and despair.

“Their practice is the Five Mindfulness Trainings, ethical guidelines offered by the Buddha; the most concrete practice of true love and compassion, clearly showing the way towards a life in harmony with each other and with the Earth. If you are a young practitioner you are urged to join the Wake Up movement in your country. We may feel anger and frustration when we see the environmental degradation caused by our society and we feel despair because we don’t seem to be strong enough individually to change our way of life. Wake Up offers us a way to pool our energy and act in synchrony. Let us get together and form a Wake Up group in our own town. Our collective practice will surely bring transformation and healing to individuals and society. Let us get in touch with young practitioners from Plum Village, both monastic and lay, to get more support and information....

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“Buddhism needs to be recognized as a source of wisdom, a long tradition of the practice of understanding and love and not just of devotion. The spirit of the Dharma is very close to the spirit of Science; both help us cultivate an open and non-discriminating mind. You can join the Wake Up Movement as a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim, an agnostic or an atheist. The practice of maitri, of loving kindness, the practice of sisterhood and brotherhood, is at the foundation of the Dharma.”

— Thanks to Sister Viet Nghiem

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Book Reviews

mb49-BookReviews1Mindful MovementsTen Exercises for well-Being

Thich Nhat Hanh and Wietske Vriezen Parallax Press, 2008 Hardcover, ringbound, 61 pages With DVD featuring Brother Michael, Thich Nhat Hanh, and monks and nuns of the Plum Village community, produced by Sounds True — 36 minutes

Reviewed by Judith Toy, True Door of Peace

What a joy, this colorful new offering by Parallax! With its ringbound format, it lies open easily on a table or on the floor, so we can read what to do and see how to move. Thich Nhat Hanh developed these ten low-impact exercises as a comprehensive way to stretch between seated meditation sessions at his monastery. Like a simple, gentle yoga, they focus on the breath. Wietske Vriezen is a Dutch illustrator who has practiced with Thich Nhat Hanh; his full-color childlike illustrations appear on every page. A portion of the proceeds of every book sold goes to support nonprofit projects in Vietnam.

I’ve often enjoyed Thay’s ten mindful movements: outdoors while waiting for breakfast with the monks and nuns at Deer Park Monastery in Escondido, California; outside our “hermitage” with a Sangha of strangers in the sacred pre-dawn of the Rocky Mountains in Estes Park, Colorado; alone in our cottage in Black Mountain, North Carolina; in the zendo at a retreat at Southern Dharma Retreat Center in Hot Springs, North Carolina; and with my Dharma “family” in the bamboo grove in Plum Village’s Upper Hamlet. I bought this book for my ten-year-old granddaughter who plans a year-long peace project at her Montessori school in Charleston, South Carolina, to teach her classmates seated and walking meditation and mindful movements.

What an inspiration — to teach mindfulness to children and adults through movement! Thich Nhat Hanh tells readers, “The exercises are easy to do at home, by yourself, or with others... Do each movement four times before moving on to the next one. Have fun!”

The book begins with an introduction by Thich Nhat Hanh that explains mindfulness practice and its results, the “seven miracles of mindfulness.” A short, illustrated biography of Thich Nhat Hanh is

followed by a more detailed story, showing how Thay relates ancient wisdom to everyday life. The book closes with an illustrated poem by Thay, “The Virtuous Man.”

A sunshine-striped cat pads in and out of the pages of Mindful Movements, as does the occasional frog or bird or flower. People of various sizes with varying hues of skin and hair and clothing keep these simple drawings diverse and happy.

The bonus DVD tucked in the back of the book engages us in the ten movements with the monks and nuns of the Plum Village community. Brother Michael leads the movements in the first session on the DVD and Thich Nhat Hanh leads the second. The music is soothing and the movement therapeutic. Surely we all know someone who would benefit from receiving this book and practicing the ten mindful movements.

mb49-BookReviews2Hello at Last Embracing the Koan of and Meditation

By Sara Jenkins Windhorse Publications, Ltd. England, 2007 Softcover, 123 pages

Reviewed by Karen Hilsberg

Hello at Last is a literary memoir that focuses on the author’s friendships with several Dharma companions as they travel the path of practice together. What results is a book of insights into the nature of spiritual friendship that offers specific techniques such as Insight Dialogue, for engaged mindfulness with friends. Indeed, it is among friends that our right mindfulness and right speech are often challenged, and it is among friends and Sangha that we can learn some of our most profound spiritual lessons. Jenkins shows true courage by revealing herself — doubts and defeats, joys and triumphs— to tell the lessons she has learned.

“Deepen your relationships,” the author’s Zen teacher told her. A Zen student for over twenty years, Jenkins has edited numerous books of Dharma talks by Cheri Huber, who generally recommends that her students not socialize with one another — that they practice in silence. In reply to this koan from her teacher, the author asks herself, “How does one deepen one’s relationships and build Sangha in a Zen tradition that emphasizes silent practice?” The answers bring us lessons that can easily apply to practitioners of various traditions.

In the story about Jenkins and her friend Faith, Jenkins struggles with accepting spiritual guidance from an elder sister in the Dharma rather than from her root teacher. Yet she slowly acknowledges the capable teacher within herself who can offer guidance to her elder sister in a time of need. “Suddenly the dark hole of suffering that Faith and I had fallen into dropped away, and within us opened the understanding that, no, we were not and never would be who other people wanted us to be. And striving to be different from the way we are only creates suffering. Who we are is not only inevitable, not only tolerable, but just fine. Perhaps, in fact, for the simple reason that it’s

what is. It may sound exaggerated, romanticized, to say that we found ourselves then in a glorious field of open air and vast sky and infinite ease — we were, in fact, still talking on the phone — but that was my experience. It was as if we were embraced in the all-encompassing silence in which our friendship had begun, expanding outward in every direction.”

Throughout the book, which also chronicles the author’s journey to India, Jenkins plays with apparent contradictions. In this vein she notes, “Solitude is the ground against which companionship blooms most beautifully.” Finally, she recognizes how important it is in true friendship to leave other people to themselves.

“By that I mean letting go of the notion that other people’s happiness depends on us, or ours on them, and taking full responsibility for our own happiness and knowing that others can do the same.”

mb49-BookReviews3Love’s Garden A Guide to Mindful Relationships

By Peggy Rowe Ward and Larry Ward Parallax Press, 2008 Softcover, 177 pages

Reviewed by Philip Toy

In the heat of a household disagreement that’s not really about the conjured topic, my soul-mate wife proposes: “Do you want to listen to each other?” Here we stop to make ground rules: twenty to thirty minutes, one speaks while the other listens, no mixed-messaging body language and facial expressions, no groans or eye motions of assent or disapproval. Neutrality. Non-judgment. One of us pours only the water of self-revelation, the other simply receives. This

practice continues weekly for a long time and life happens, or more to the point, explodes.

What comes is the unfortunate return of a long-arrested life-threatening illness, coupled with the sudden death of my thirty-six-year-old son. I am rocketed to a realm of exquisite pain where all things became blindingly clear. The kettledrums of karma are deafening. I am forced to re-evaluate everything: my self-esteem, my thirty-year relationship with my wife, my lack of forgiveness, my Sangha leadership, my vocation. With much loving help from others, I am slowly returning. My son’s not here, but he continues in me. I am here, alive. My wife, too. And we are soothed by the many listening ears of the Sangha. Here is a garden of all things — seeds, weeds, insects, and disease! A garden of relationships in need of the tending methods so clearly addressed in this little book of sunshine by Larry Ward and Peggy Rowe Ward.

The Wards have indeed grown a garden: a colorful, eclectic, variegated anthology of quotes, epigrams, poems, and short essays to support basic teachings: the Four Immeasurables; the Nine Lovingkindness Prayers; Taking Refuge; Coming Home; Reflecting on the Hells; Befriending the World; Watering Positive Seeds. These are the compost and the tools they offer to help us cultivate the ground of mindful relationships.

As carefully organized as a textbook, Love’s Garden unfolds in three parts subdivided into chapters, twelve in all, with “practices,” exercises to guide readers in demonstrating what they have learned from the anecdotal material at the head of each chapter.

The Wards frequently remind us of the seeds of good practice, for example: self-care is a prerequisite to caring for others; forgiving oneself is the fertilizer for the fruit of forgiving others.

“Lovingkindness ... practice is designed to uncover ... light and love that dwells in each of us. This radiance is just covered up with ignorance, fear, anger and the red dust of life.

“We begin by befriending ourself, ... talk kindly and sweetly ... offer ourselves a blessing instead of a curse or a complaint....”

Wrapped as it is in glowing accolades from many sources, and launched by a nine-page foreword from Thich Nhat Hanh, this book lives up to its praise as a fine compilation of teachings. I pick it up, take a breath, jump in and shake off that “red dust of life.” If I am to heal, I must first be a friend to myself.

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Join Thay in India

mb49-Join1October 20-29, 2008 Over 2500 years ago in India, the Buddha found the path to liberate himself and help others to liberate themselves through their own practice. His teachings spread from North India to many other parts of the subcontinent. But by the thirteenth century, Buddhism in India had become virtually extinct. Suppressed by violent dictators, the followers of the Buddha emigrated to Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, China, Korea, and Japan but in the name of wisdom and compassion they refused to meet violence with violence. In 1956, Dr Ambedkar liberated many Dalits, formerly known as untouchables (the lowest caste in Hinduism), by converting them to Buddhism so that they could be equal to other citizens. Half a million untouchables were converted to Buddhism on one day, but unfortunately Dr. Ambedkar died very soon after this and had no time to train the newly converted Buddhists so that they could grasp the essential teachings of the Buddha. Therefore, today in the birthplace of Buddhism, Hindus and Muslims are numerous, but only a tiny fraction of the population is Buddhist, and many of them have not been able to receive the authentic teachings of the Buddha.

Thay Nhat Hanh’s trip to India is the fruit of many years of preparation by our friends Shantum, Gitu, and a number of concerned social activists, leaders, educators, businesspeople, and intellectuals in India. They wish to bring Thay’s wisdom, gentleness and depth, as well as the Buddha’s message of awakening, back to India. At his advanced age, this could be his last trip to India. We want to address the actual situation of India, sharing the message of transformation and healing with the rich and powerful as well as with the lowest of the low. There will be a half Day of Mindfulness for approximately 400,000 Dalit people in Nagpur. Thay will have the occasion to share with 700 school teachers in Dehra Dun in a 3-day retreat, with 800 medical professionals from all over India, with corporate leaders, as well as Parliamentarians in New Delhi. A large emphasis will be placed on sharing the practice with teenagers, and monastics will take time almost every morning of our trip to visit and make presentations at some thirty elite and government high schools.

The last ten days of the trip, from 20 to 29 October, will be a treat for all of us to be with Thay in a profound, traveling retreat, allowing us to encounter the same atmosphere the Buddha experienced before and after his enlightenment, with buffalo boys and many young children who had offered food to the monk Siddhartha, to experience Deer Park, where the Buddha gave his first teachings, and to connect with the energy of peacefulness and stability on Vulture Peak where the Buddha spent a great deal of time and gave many wonderful Dharma talks. Walking in the Buddha’s footsteps and touching this sacred atmosphere may stimulate our own awakening! Thay will also give Dharma talks throughout the ten-day pilgrimage and transmit the Five and Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings.

Shantum, Gitu, and the Ahimsa Trust cannot pay all the traveling expenses for Thay and the delegation of thirty monastics who will join him on the trip. This is why we have organized contribution/donation for the trip. Additionally, to maintain security and fairness, we cannot allow friends not officially registered for the trip to join us in any portion of the pilgrimage.

Register to join Thay for the last 10 days in India and offer a financial contribution to help Thay and thirty monastics bring the Dharma back to India. Go to www.plumvillage.org or contact Bina Aranha at bina@buddhapath.com.

—Sister Chan Khong

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