Join the Women’s March on Washington

Calling all Mindfulness Practitioners to

Go As A River at the Women’s March on Washington

Saturday, January 21

~ Meditation is no longer the work of individuals; meditation in our time should be a collective practice. Thich Nhat Hanh, Calming the Fearful Mind, p22.

Call to Action

Join members of the Thich Nhat Hanh Sangha and other traditions from across the country as we march together in peace for justice for all at the Women’s March on Washington. People of all genders are invited. We will practice Marching Meditation to hold love for each other as a Beloved Community committed to justice for the disenfranchised as so many of our ancestors have done before. Sangha members will also participate in marching meditation in New York City, San Francisco and other sister cities.

Click here for the Sangha facebook page organizing housing and events in Washington DC (including sitting meditation, Dharma Sharing, Deep Listening and more) to turn the march into a true Day of Mindfulness

Call to Practice

We invite all practitioners and Sanghas in the United States and beyond to dedicate their practice during the week of Monday, January 16th (Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day) to Sunday, January 22nd (the weekend following the inauguration) to cultivating understanding and compassion for ourselves and our country, and healing from the violence, hatred, and fear that has intensified during the past year’s election. We recognizing there is no true peace without justice and equity for all and that peace begins within.

We encourage you to dedicate your walking meditation and sitting meditation practice to generating the energy of compassion and healing with each step and each breath you take. Practice Deep Listening with someone you don’t understand and bring Loving Speech into your conversations (see the 4th MT below). Read Thay’s “Calming the Fearful Mind: a Zen Response to Terrorism” and practice Dharma Sharing on the topics raised. These teachings are remarkably relevant today. Practice Touching the Earth (below). Listen to and meditate upon Alone Again, the song created from Thay’s poem Recommendation. See a full list of resources for practice here.

We cannot escape our interdependence with other people, with other nations in the world. Let us take this moment to look deeply and find a path of liberation. (TNH Calming the Fearful Mind, p.9)


This call to practice and to action is supported by the ARISE Sangha – Awakening through Race, Intersectionality, and Social Equity.*

The Fourth Mindfulness Training: Loving Speech and Deep Listening

Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful speech and the inability to listen to others, I am committed to cultivating loving speech and compassionate listening in order to relieve suffering and to promote reconciliation and peace in myself and among other people, ethnic and religious groups, and nations. Knowing that words can create happiness or suffering, I am committed to speaking truthfully using words that inspire confidence, joy, and hope. When anger is manifesting in me, I am determined not to speak. I will practice mindful breathing and walking in order to recognize and to look deeply into my anger. I know that the roots of anger can be found in my wrong perceptions and lack of understanding of the suffering in myself and in the other person. I will speak and listen in a way that can help myself and the other person to transform suffering and see the way out of difficult situations. I am determined not to spread news that I do not know to be certain and not to utter words that can cause division or discord. I will practice Right Diligence to nourish my capacity for understanding, love, joy, and inclusiveness, and gradually transform anger, violence, and fear that lie deep in my consciousness.


Take the ARISE Survey!

Dear friends,

Please take a few minutes to complete this survey to help us to guide ARISE, the Plum Village Racial Equity Sangha as we grow in the next few years.

Following a session on Racial Equity held October 31, 2015, at the Deer Park Monastery, a group of practitioners in the Plum Village tradition are seeking ways to deepen our community’s vision, commitment, and capacity to build the Beloved Community of our teacher Thich Nhat Hanh and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through actively practicing to recognize, understand, and heal the collective trauma caused by racism in the US and beyond. We know that practicing together is the most powerful way to heal ourselves and our society. With this in mind, please fill out the following survey to help us know how best to direct our energies and to support our Maha Sangha. We aspire to take the following passage as our inspiration, from The Path of Racial and Social Equity by Valerie Brown and Marisela Gomez.

It is time to change—to transform in the spirit of love, in the spirit of openness, and in the spirit of peace. We invite Sanghas to actively engage in a process of understanding and building beloved community by:

  • Creating safe and loving spaces for white allies of people of color to engage in looking deeply, understanding, and healing from implicit bias and other forms of discrimination;
  • Creating safe and loving spaces for white allies to understand the systemic legacy of racial inequity and to provide opportunities for learning and practice;
  • Creating safe and loving spaces for people of color to heal from the trauma of racial injustice and inequity;
  • Creating safe and loving spaces for people of color and white allies to come together to look deeply and engage in healing together;
  • Looking deeply at and addressing the under-representation of people of color and low-income people in our individual Sanghas and the collective Sangha.

Building the Beloved Community

“Our goal is to create a beloved community and this will require a qualitative change in our souls as well as a quantitative change in our lives.”  (Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. “Nonviolence: The Only Road to Freedom,” Martin Luther King, Jr., May 4, 1966.)

Gatha for Healing Racial, Systemic and Social Inequity

Aware of the suffering caused by racial, systemic, and social inequities, we commit ourselves, individually and as a community, to understanding the roots of these inequities, and to transforming this suffering into compassion, understanding and love in action. As a global community of practitioners, we are aware of the disproportionate racial violence and oppression, committed by institutions and by individuals, whether consciously or unconsciously, against African Americans and people of color across the United States and beyond. We know that individually and as a community, looking deeply, we can engage the collective wisdom and energy of the Sangha to heal, grounded in non-discrimination, non-harming, and non-self, as our foundation for Right Thought, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Mindfulness, and Right Insight.

Dear Thay, dear Sangha, dear Beloved Community,

We pause at this moment of the national holiday to celebrate the life and the legacy of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and our beloved teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh, who shared a common vision for the Beloved Community. Their legacy invites us to look deeply at racial, systemic, and social inequities, particularly now, when so many people are suffering the effects of violence, fear, end enmity.  As students of Thay, we are actively engaged in the work of transformation. These efforts have given rise to the formation of the Plum Village Racial Equity Sangha, practitioners within the four-fold community, gathered to support and strengthen healing and transformation.

Throughout our communities, some Sanghas have been actively engaged in healing racial, systemic, and social inequities for many years. Others may be just beginning, and still others may be struggling with how to begin, given the scope of this issue.  In 2015, members of the Plum Village community, together with other Buddhist communities, participated in national discussions on racial, systemic, and social inequities. These discussions have brought to light much suffering within segments of our community, specifically racial violence across the United States. Our desire is to work to alleviate suffering wherever it exists, knowing that the suffering of one person is the suffering of us all.

The Beloved Community is called to Love in Action

On this holiday weekend, we invite you to:

1 – On Monday, as you walk, walk for Dr. King; as you walk, walk for Thay, holding them in your heart and mind.

2 – View “Where Spirit and Action Meet; Continuing the Living Legacy of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh and Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” from the 2015 US Tour, a national panel discussion. Click here for the link.

3 – Visit our Resources page to support your practice and Sangha building, including Mindfulness Bell articles, videos, books, podcasts, and websites addressing racial, systemic, and social inequities within the Sangha and beyond.

4 – Join our email list to receive updates from the Plum Village Racial Equity Sangha.

5 – Share this letter widely and as you enjoy your mindful breathing.