Monday, September 30, 2013

Mindfulness, Suffering, Engaged Buddhism

Dhr. Seven, Wisdom Quarterly; Thay (Plum Village), Krista Tippett,, NPR
Mindfulness, Suffering, and Engaged Buddhism
Host Krista Tippett (
Vietnamese Zen master, peace activist, and poet Thich Nhat Hanh (Thay, "teacher") was forcibly exiled from his native country more than 40 years ago. On Being (NPR's discussion of faith and existence) visits the Buddhist monk at a Christian conference center in a lakeside setting in rural Wisconsin.
Thay offers stark, gentle wisdom for living in a world of anger and violence. He discusses the concepts of "engaged Buddhism," "being peace," and "mindfulness." This message gets through to violent, hyper-vigilant police officers eager to kill at a moment's notice. Thay agrees to lead them on a Buddhist mindfulness retreat that manages to change their lives and their capacity to carry guns as "warrior" or "fierce" bodhisattvas (beings bent on enlightenment, not as Tippett defines it already enlightened beings staying on Earth). A person may take vows to become a bodhisattva, which generally means refusing enlightenment and liberation for the presumed sake of helping others. It would make more sense to help oneself and others by striving for enlightenment. But such is Mahayana Buddhist logic that martyrdom has been mistaken for a nobler goal. This historical Buddha was a bodhisattva not forestalling his own enlightenment but for the sake of becoming a supremely enlightened teaching buddha. This meant foregoing attaining as a disciple or as a nonteaching (pacceka) buddha. But it never meant dissuading others from attaining or from striving to reach the goal as quickly as humanly possible, bringing the ten perfections to maturity. More

Thich Nhat Hanh comes to Pasadena, CA on Oct. 4, 2013

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