I spent Thursday and Saturday at peace talks and meditations led by the Vietnamese zen master, Thich Nhat Hanh. The events were part of this monk, teacher, author, poet and peace activist’s UK tour, “Cooling The Flames“, which also includes an educators’ conference and a five-day retreat in Nottingham (a few places still available).
My husband, Philip, spent months working with a team of volunteers to organise this visit by ‘Thay’, as he is familiarly known (the word is Vietnamese for ‘Teacher’). Almost 3000 people came to the Thursday talk at The Royal Festival Hall, and more than 3,000 to the ‘Sit In Peace’ event in Trafalgar Square on Saturday.
At both, we sat and meditated and were shown how the conditions we need to be peaceful and happy are already present for us all, right here, right now. And taught how to connect with these conditions, the wonders available in every moment, not as an idea or theory — but as a lived reality.
It’s something that we all know but it’s easy to forget. Thay’s gift is to allow you to experience it through his own deep practice, carefully chosen words and stories, and inspiring presence.
Here are some his wisdoms:
- “My actions are my only true belongings.”
- “When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you don’t blame the lettuce. You look for reasons it is not doing well. It may need fertilizer, or more water, or less sun. You never blame the lettuce. If we have problems with our friends or family, we blame the other person. But if we understand their conditions, if we know how to take care of them, they will grow well, like the lettuce.”
- “Don’t wait until you have no more suffering before allowing yourself to be happy. Smile, breathe and go slowly… Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”
- “The true miracle is not walking on water or walking in air, but simply walking on this earth… Walk as if you are kissing the earth with your feet.”
- “Because you are alive, everything is possible.”
Wishing you a peaceful and productive week