Articles

Ireland Hosts Its First Retreat for Happy Teachers

In March 2018, we held our first Happy Teachers retreat in Ireland. About 35 people arrived at Creagh Castle, Co. Cork to practice together for four days. Some were seasoned practitioners and others were experiencing the practice for the very first time. Br Phap Lai, with the support of Br. Dai Dung and Br. Duc Han, opened a space of such kindness and authenticity. It was very easy to come home to ourselves.

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Starfish Practice – Getting in Touch with Your Breath

This practice is inspired by Thich Nhat Hanh and the Plum Village Community’s teachings on getting in touch with our breath. Through her personal practice and five years with the children’s sangha in Dublin, Orlaith O’Sullivan narrates this variation called ‘Starfish’.

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Mindful Eating in Manila

Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.  This was a prayer that I kept close to my heart during a time of discernment.   I knew my prayer was answered with an opportunity to join a mindfulness retreat with the Plum Village monastics.   Listening to Thich Nhat Hanh talking about the […]

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Sunny Days

My name is Javi and I work in a Secondary school in the Basque Country, near Bilbao. I have been teaching for over twenty years and I have no doubt encountered a decent amount of the same challenges anybody in such a position may come across. I have made so many mistakes during this process that I would need a whole book to briefly describe them, but as I just have the space of an article I would like to share with you a bit of the good stuff I have experienced as a teacher in the light of the Plum Village practice.

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Mindful Sharing in the Classroom: a meaningful way of teaching English

I have been practicing meditation in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh for quite some years and I am especially grateful to my sangha in Berlin-Zehlendorf. Without my sangha it would have been so much more difficult to follow the path to inner freedom and peace. Being continually reminded by dear friends keeps my practice […]

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Freedom Within, Freedom All Around: A Session of Practice for Educators

On March 24th, 2016, a delegation from the Wake Up Schools home office in Plum Village—consisting of two francophone novices, Dao Sinh and Dao Son, and lay residents Michel, Yvonne and Jadzia—made their way to the Maison de l’Inspir, a Paris meditation practice center, to attend a workshop for educators led by Christiane Terrier, a pioneer of the Educ’Inspir initiative. Since 2013, she, with the support of Sr. Giac Nghiem, Sr. Dao Nghiem and Sr. Hai Nghiem of the Maison de l’Inspir, has offered days of mindfulness for educators every other month. This time, the theme of the day was “Freedom,” inspired by the Vietnamese Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh’s book Be Free Where You Are, a record of teachings given during his 1999 visit to Maryland Penitentiary in the United States.

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Homemade Joy and Happiness in Paris

One of the Plum Village practice centers is located in the eastern outskirts of Paris and called Maison de l’Inspir (meaning ‘Inspiration House’).  It offers a quiet place to practice sitting meditation, attend talks, calmly walk the banks of the Marne River, enjoy a lovingly-prepared meal and relax with the community.  For the past four […]

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Education Is Not for Information, but to Teach Human Beings

Many professors are surprised to find out that no extra time needs to be added to their course. Our presence, our way of being, is how we teach others to be present. In our retreats, we help many teachers learn how to incorporate mindfulness practice into their daily lives. We always start with the teacher’s own practice, not by just teaching them techniques of how to teach children. The teachers usually come looking for techniques. They want another certificate, but when they come to a Wake Up Schools retreat, they are a little surprised to find that their own transformation is what is most important. They learn how to stop and look deeply into their own body and mind.

In life we are always running towards the future, or regretting things done in the past. We are lost in our thoughts. With mindfulness practice we learn how to stop running to be fully present in the here and now with our breathing. The breath is always there for us. When I breathe in, I’m aware that I’m breathing in. Breathing out, I’m aware that I’m breathing out. We follow our breathing with all our attention. When our attention shifts to something else, like thoughts about the past or the future, we can smile to our thoughts with love, not punishing ourselves because we lost the focus on our breath. With love, you bring your attention back to your breath and your concentration increases, as well as your capacity to keep from being dragged down by the projects and worries of daily life. We can come back to the present moment like this in only two to three seconds. We can do this not only for ourselves, but also to help our students and others to be more present. This is the biggest gift we can give to ourselves and to our loved ones.

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