Thank you for visiting the web page of the Meditation Committee of the North American Dharma Teachers Sangha!
We thought it would be helpful to assemble in one location some of the best examples of Thich Nhat Hanh’s instructions in meditation.
There are many sources of instruction in meditation available today, but we’ve engaged in this effort because Thay’s approach is uniquely gentle, poetic, evocative, accessible to newcomers, and endlessly enriching for veterans of meditation. As many of you know, “Thay” is an affectionate way to refer to Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh in the spirit of, “Dear Teacher”.
Thay helps us master the Buddha’s approach to meditation, which begins simply by joyfully immersing our attention into the sensation of each inhalation and exhalation. Touching, merging our attention in the breath. Doing so, we find that we start to slow down, lessening our compulsions and opening ourselves to dwelling in awareness and contentment.
Becoming centered in the breath through Thay’s simple approach, we naturally experience deeper concentration and insight.
Restlessness abates. As Thay suggests, “For the first six months, try only to build up your power of concentration…” on the breath, “to create an inner calmness and serene joy. You will shake off anxiety, enjoy total rest, and quiet your mind”. Doing so, we also learn how to single-task, to devote ourselves wholeheartedly to the matter at hand and to the person we are with.
Insights into the fluid relationship about what is manifesting in our bodies, our feelings, our thoughts, and our deep rooted habit energies grow. We find that we can respond to them, rather than react or become emotionally hijacked. We begin to see lucidly and with greater immediacy what is arising, abiding, and changing within us, effecting our behavior. Knowing what to do and what not to do arises without struggle. A kind of freedom from compulsion and habit energy grows. As Thay puts it, “When the lamp of awareness is lit, our whole being lights up, and each passing thought and emotion is also lit up. Self-confidence is reestablished, the shadows of illusion no longer overwhelm us, and our concentration develops to its fullest.”
Practicing meditation in this way is inherently socially engaged. We see not only see what’s wrong but what’s right. We do not act out our anger or frustration on others. We see that we are composites comprised of not only our ancestors but also everyone we’ve ever encountered. Doing so, we realize the corresponding impact of OUR behavior on others. Greater understanding, compassion and love grow directly out of the time spent on our meditation cushions.
This webpage includes examples of Thay’s many approaches to sitting meditation and what Thay has learned from studying the Buddha’s classic Discourses on the subject.
It also includes the ways in which Thay has instructed the worldwide Sangha on practices related to silent sitting meditation, such as the use of breath poems (known as gathas), guided meditations, and indoor and outdoor walking meditation
Please enjoy and help transmit these skillful means!
The Meditation Committee of the North American Dharma Teachers Sangha(name alphabetically or by ordination dates or whatever ….)