Hold It All


Category: Thich Nhat Hanh

The Good News of a Sangha, 3.25.2017

Five years ago today, Jenn Reyes Lay and I started a  St. Louis sangha in the lineage of Thich Nhat Hanh.   Annie Fitzgerald offered Sophia House  on Gibson Avenue for our first gathering. Many wonderful people have shared the fruits of their practice with us during these 60 months: sitting, walking, singing, reciting the precepts, slowing down, studying the Heart and Diamond Sutras,  offering retreats  in the country, and facilitating mindful dinners.

As poet Diane di Prima wrote in her poem Life Chant, May it continue!


From Thirty Years Ago: Thich Nhat Hanh

Many of us worry about the world situation. We don’t know when the bombs will explode. We feel that we are on the edge of time. As individuals, we feel helpless, despairing. The situation is so dangerous, injustice is so widespread, the danger is so close. In this kind of situation, if we panic, things will only become worse. We need to remain calm, to see clearly. Meditation is to be aware, and to try to help. Read the rest of this entry »

From Thich Nhat Hanh’s First Book Published in the USA, 1967

The more American troops sent to Vietnam, the more the anti-American campaign led by the NLF becomes successful. Anger and hatred rise in the hearts of the peasants as they see their villages burned, their compatriots killed, their houses destroyed. Pictures showing NLF soldiers with arms tied, followed by American soldiers holding guns with bayonets, make people think of the Indochina war between the French and the Viet Minh and cause pain even to the anti-Communist Vietnamese.



War Isn’t Over

Dear Laura

Last night I was reading Frances Fitzgerald’s Fire in the Lake:
The Vietnamese and the Americans in Vietnam

This afternoon I listened to a playlist I made
Of songs from the Vietnam War era

(Or, as the Vietnamese call it
The American War)

One of the songs I first heard in 1975
John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Happy Xmas (War Is Over) Read the rest of this entry »

Magnolia Grove

My friend Sherri put together this tribute to Thich Nhat Hanh’s community in Mississippi, Magnolia Grove.  I hope you enjoy it in mindfulness!


Gatha of the Week/2

“Waking up this morning, I smile
Twenty-four brand new hours are before me.
I vow to live fully in each moment
and to look at all beings with eyes of compassion.”

–Thich Nhat Hanh, Present Moment, Wonderful Moment: Mindfulness Verses for Daily Living

This gatha can be used not just first thing in the morning; I can change the word “morning” in the first line to “moment,” and I will have scores of occasions to recite it throughout the day.

We Share the Same Nature

The power of mindfulness and concentration
is the spiritual force
behind all of the great men and women of human history.

Thich Nhat Hanh, Zen Keys (1974)


Dipa Ma

Different Paths

In 1933
Martin Heidegger was Rector at the University of Freiburg
and a new member of the Nazi Party
He was the renowned philosopher of Being

In 1933
The boy who became Thich Nhat Hanh was seven years old
and living in central Vietnam under French rule
He would become the renowned teacher of Interbeing

A Most Unsolemn Request

At my wake or funeral
With a big smile on your shining-with-sri face
Announce: “Happy Continuation Day, Shimmelstoy!”

A Comment on a Passage by Thich Nhat Hanh

During the superpower confrontation in Vietnam, while thousands and thousands of peasants and children lost their lives, our land was unmercifully ravaged.
–Thich Nhat Hanh, Love in Action: Writings on Nonviolent Social Change


The land of northern and southern Vietnam was indeed unmercifully ravaged in the 1960s and 1970s, but neither by Communist China nor the USSR.  The land was devastated by the United States, the leader of the “Free World.”