Thich Nhat Hanh calligraphy

It was a sunny Tuesday afternoon. Leaving the last seminar of the day, I headed toward the tram stop. Step by step, calmly and slowly, I prepared my body and soul for the next activity: Sitting.

Now you may wonder, what’s the fuss about sitting anyway? Don’t we sit all day, in front of every kind of screens possible – TVs, PCs, mobile phones? Well, this sitting was different.

It was a weekly sitting of Birrarung Sangha, a group of Buddhist laypeople who follow the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh. Well-known around the world for his preaching of mindfulness, Thich Nhat Hanh has published over 100 titles on Buddhism, meditation and the application of Buddhist practice into daily life.

His practice is very simple, as the Master puts it:

‘Breathing in, I calm body and mind. Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment I know this is the only moment.’

Yet it has transformed the life of millions of people, or at least, dozens of people of all age and background in the Birrarung Sangha. Every Tuesday evening, from 7 pm to 9 pm, they gather in a quiet venue on Lygon St, North Carlton to practice meditation as taught by the Master.

The session consisted of sitting meditation, walking meditation, dharma talk, and wrapped up by a beautiful practice called ‘deep listening’, where every sangha member had a chance to share their meditation experience and challenges, and in turn, listen to others’ sharing while having a cup of tea. It really created a bond between who were once strangers, and reinforced the Buddhist idea of ‘interbeing’.

Read more about mindful meditation on: http://plumvillage.org/about/thich-nhat-hanh/

Trinh Le

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