From June 1, 2012 to June 22, 2012 we will be attending the The Sciences of the Buddha, A 21-day retreat for Buddhists and Scientists, at Plum Village, in the south of France. We are very much looking forward to deepening our meditation practice, learning new information, meeting new people, seeing our friend who is joining us, and enjoying the all vegan meals. During the retreat I do not expect we will have access to internet.
From the Plum Village website; "In the beautiful setting of Plum Village, from the 1st until the 21st of June 2012, with Thich Nhat Hanh and the Plum Village Sangha, scientists and Buddhists will practice sitting together, walking together, and sharing their experience and insight with each other. The practices of mindfulness and concentration can help scientists to be better scientists and in this way, Buddhism can act as a source of inspiration, suggesting directions for future investigation and discovery. Conversely, we will explore how insights from science can be useful, not only to develop technology and improve our material comfort, but to reduce the suffering of individuals, families, and society. This retreat will bring a lot of joy and confidence in both traditions as we find out that good science and good Buddhism can be much and do much for the wellbeing of the world."
Plum Village is led by Thich Nhat Hanh (Thây). From the Plum Village website; "Thich Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, a poet, a scholar, and a peace activist. His life long efforts to generate peace and reconciliation moved Martin Luther King, Jr. to nominate him for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1967. When not travelling the world to teach “The Art of Mindful Living”, he teaches, writes, and gardens in Plum Village, France, a Buddhist monastery for monks and nuns and a mindfulness practice center for lay people."
For some Buddhism is a very religious practice and for others, such as J and I, it is more of a philosophical practice. I was drawn to Buddhism as many of the foundational teachings fit with my own beliefs. If you are curious about Buddhism, check out the resources below.
To learn about The 4 noble truths, 5 main precepts, Eightfold path, and a basic overview of Buddhism see: http://www.thebigview.com/buddhism/
I have found great comfort and knowledge in meditation and several contemporary Buddhist books and magazines. I found the secular, Mindfulness Mediation course, taught by Dr Speca via the University of Calgary's continuing education Department to be extremely helpful. from the course website; "Based on an approach that is thousands of years old, mindfulness meditation is about being fully awake and present in every moment of our lives. Access powerful inner resources to cope with life's challenges, calm the mind, relax the body, and cultivate insight. Benefits, including improved mood and reduced stress, depend upon establishing a personal routine. Components include: meditation, gentle hatha yoga, relaxation, group discussion, imagery and breathing techniques. Topics covered include mind/body interdependence, balance in the autonomic nervous system, and effective coping strategies." If you are interested in learning more about secular mindfulness check out this terrific website: Mindful.org "Mindful.org is the leading website dedicated to giving voice, inspiration, guidance, and connection to all those who want to enjoy the proven benefits of mindfulness practices and to create a more mindful and caring society."
My favorite Buddhist magazine is Shambhala Sun.
These are some of my favorite books by Thich Nhat Hanh;
Peace Is Every Breathe: A Practice for Our Busy Lives
Interbeing: Fourteen Guidelines for Engaged Buddhism
If you would like to learn more about the teachings in Plum Village, You can download free copies of Mindfulness Bell Magazine. From the magazine website "The Mindfulness Bell is a journal of the art of mindful living. To be mindful means to dwell deeply in the present moment, to be aware of what is going on within and around us. Practicing mindfulness cultivates understanding, love, compassion, and joy. This practice helps us to take care of and transform suffering in our lives and in our society. The Mindfulness Bell is an inspiration and teaching resource for those practicing mindfulness in daily life. Each issue features a recent teaching by our teacher, Vietnamese Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh."
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