So says Thanong Khanthong in an interesting op-ed piece from yesterday’s Nation (“Bangkok’s Independent Newspaper”). Vietnamese Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh is visiting Bangkok as the keynote speaker at the Visakha Bucha celebrations at the Fourth Annual International Buddhist Conference that took place earlier this week even as Buddhism in Thailand finds itself suffering from a bit of an identity crisis.
Of course complaints of degeneration of the Dhamma and the Sangha are nothing new. In fact it was under similar circumstances that Ajahns Sao, Mun, Buddhadasa and other pioneers of the “Forest Tradition” turned away from the urban temples to establish their remote refuges and recover the true spirit of the Dhamma.
Thich Nhat Hanh of course is famous for being the foremost champion of “engaged Buddhism,” that is that understanding that there truly is no separation between “inner” and “outer” practice. Many years ago, in the midst of the civil war in his home country, Thich Nhat Hanh founded the Order of Interbeing. The cornerstone of the Order are the Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings, which seem to me to be sound reflections for bringing mindfulness into every aspect of our lives.
Even while Thich Nhat Hanh is not immune from controversy in his own homeland, he remains a shining example of embodied Dhamma.
And with that, Happy Vesak… again!!