Frequently Asked Questions
Who is Thich Nhat Hanh?
Thich Nhat Hanh is a Zen Master, poet and peace activist. He teaches and writes in Plum Village, a meditation center in southern France. He was nominated by the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1967 for the Nobel Peace Prize and is the author of over 100 books.
What is a Sangha?
According to Thich Nhat Hanh, "A Sangha is a community of friends practicing the Dharma together in order to bring about and maintain awareness. The essence of a Sangha is awareness, understanding, acceptance, harmony and love."
Another definition is offered by lay Dharma teacher Jack Lawlor, "To make mindfulness practice available to others on a consistent basis in a caring way, to transform suffering and stress, and to create a spirit of sharing and mutual learning and growth."
What is mindfulness?
According to Jon Kabat-Zinn, "Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally."
What is a Dharma discussion?
The Dharma is the teaching offered by the historical Buddha, and a Dharma discussion is a mindful conversation characterized by loving speech and deep listening with Sangha members regarding our questions, concerns and experiences of mindfulness practice in our lives.
Will there be a fee for the Sangha meetings?
There will not be a fee but in some Sanghas a donation is suggested to help pay for the use of the meeting space. Check with the Sangha you would like to attend.
Often Sangha members may want to purchase a copy of The Plum Village Chanting and Recitation Book by Thich Nhat Hanh which is used in Sanghas as a resource. Members may also at some point decide to purchase a zafu or meditation cushion which can cost from $25 and up.
Some Sanghas may travel to Deer Park Monastery for the weekend. If you wish to stay overnight at Deer Park, advance registration is required—in this case, there is a fee that covers the expense of room and board for the weekend, and helps to support the monastic community.
Do I need to attend the Sangha every week?
Many Sanghas meet weekly and encourage members to attend regularly. We understand people's lives and schedules are very busy and that weekly attendance may not be possible for some members. Friends are invited to attend Sangha when they are able.
I'm just a beginner or I just started practicing meditation. Will I feel lost at the Sangha meeting?
Beginners and experienced meditation practitioners are all welcome. One person in the Sangha “leads” the group through the practice each week. He or she will explain each step as mindfully and openly as possible.
How can I find a Sangha to practice with?
To help you locate a Sangha, we offer