On Tuesday 25th April, Brother Phap Lai, a senior teacher in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh, returns to Parliament Buildings to present his own reflections on conflict and peace building in other regions of the world. He will also lead a conversation on the role of mindfulness in reconciliation.
Thich Nhat Hanh rose to prominence as a great teacher and peace activist as a result of his own journey out of the Vietnam conflict. He coined the term ‘engaged Buddhism’ to describe his merger of contemplation with social activism.
Next week’s public event in the Long Gallery (19.00-21.00) marks the fifth anniversary of Nhat Hanh’s visit to Parliament Buildings where he addressed over one hundred politicians and representatives of civil society on his own life experience of conflict and his struggle to respond compassionately to war and suffering.
Brother Phap Lai resides at Nhat Hanh’s Plum Village Mindfulness Practice Centre in France. He will deliver a short talk on the challenges facing post-conflict societies and the potential role of mindfulness as a contribution to reconciliation. There will be a response from a representative of Mediation Northern Ireland followed by a discussion.
Buddhist teachings explore the value of simply meeting what arises in the present moment with compassion and mindful attention. In staying present, the possibility arises of being able to loosen the grip of identifying with our own particular version of “the truth”. Staying present offers a chance to view and talk about the past in a way that is both authentic to our own experience and inclusive of others’ experiences, particularly our suffering. In the words of Thich Nhat Hanh in the Senate Chamber in 2012: “A person who does not have compassion and love can never relate to another human being….When we have understood the suffering in us it will be much easier to understand the suffering in the other person.”
Full programme of Belfast events with Zen monks, Brother Phap Lai and Dao Kien of Plum Village, France:
Sunday, 23rd April – Day of Mindfulness at Drumalis, Larne (10.00-16.30)
Tuesday, 25th April – Mindfulness and Reconciliation Talk, Parliament Buildings (19.00-21.00)
Wednesday 26th April – Evening of Mindfulness, Great Hall, Queens University (19.00-21.00)
To confirm attendance write to: Belfast Bonsai Sangha - firstname.lastname@example.org