Having spent time with several different meditation groups in different traditions I realised that I needed to practise with a group who practised mindfulnes and it was then that I discovered (through a friend) the Community of Interbeing who are a collective of about 50 different practise groups in the UK.
A life well lived
Born in central Vietnam in 1926 he became a monk at the age of sixteen.
During the Vietnam War the monasteries had to face the question of whether to stay meditating in the monasteries, or to go out and help the suffering villagers who were experiencing the devastation of the war.
Thich Nhat Hanh chose to do both, and helped to found the "engaged Buddhism" movement.
He has dedicated his life to the work of inner transformation for the benefit of individuals and society.
In 1982 he founded Plum Village, a Buddhist community in exile in France, where he continues his work to alleviate suffering of refugees, boat people, political prisoners, and hungry families in Vietnam and throughout the Third World.
He has also received recognition for his work with Vietnam veterans, meditation retreats, and his prolific writings on meditation, mindfulness, and peace.
In September 2001, just a few days after the suicide terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, he addressed the issues of non-violence and forgiveness in a memorable speech at Riverside Church in New York City.
In September of 2003 he addressed members of the US Congress, leading them through a two-day retreat.
Mindfulness practise for transforming anger
"The Miracle of Mindfulness"
Thich Nhat Hanh founded the "School of Youth for Social Service in South Vietnam" in the 1960s. The school was founded as a natural progression in his path of "engaged Buddhism" in which he and fellow monastics took their practise out of the monasteries and into the surrounding communities - who were suffering dreadfully during the Vietnam war.
The school attracted young people who were drawn to, and committed to, acting in a spirit of compassion.
After they had graduated, the students used the training they received to respond to the needs of the peasants who were caught up in the turmoil of the war. They helped rebuild bombed villages, they taught children, set up medical stations, and organised agricultural cooperatives.
However the students' efforts, and in particular their refusal to support either side, in their work for reconciliation led to the kidnap and murder of a number of students.
"The Miracle of Mindfulness" was originally written in 1974 by Thich Nhat Hanh, from exile in France, as a long letter to Brother Quang a main staff member of the School, to encourage the students during this dark time.
His intention was to remind the students of the essential discipline of following one's breath to nourish and maintain calm mindfulness, even in the midst of the most difficult circumstances...