Inspired by Thich Nhat Hanh

The past years have produced a shift in me, spiritually. For years, I have studied Vedanta and Taoism. I continue to be very moved and inspired by the wisdom found in these traditions.

A few years ago, in 2017, I loved to Lowell, Massachusetts. Lowell has the second-largest Cambodian immigrant population in the United States. I have attended some local Buddhist services with the Cambodian community when I have been able (sometimes challenging due to my duties as a parish minister and the timing of that). Through these experiences, I have been feeling myself pulled increasingly toward Buddhism. Cambodian Buddhism is in the Theravada school, but in part because of my years of being drawn to Vedanta and Taoism, I find myself personally drawn to Chan or Zen Buddhism.

This year, I began to offer a weekly meditation practice group with my parishioners that we call the Loving-Kindness Sangha Meditation Practice Group (normally we meet on Thursday afternoon at 2 p.m., online during the pandemic). Typically, we meditate in the style of Insight Mediation or Vipassana.

I have often found myself listening to the online meditations given by Thich Nhat Hanh, as so many are available through the Plum Village website and on YouTube. Sometimes I have shared his meditations with my group. I have found myself more and more drawn to the practices of the Order of Interbeing that Thay founded, which I have learned about since Thay’s passing in January.

This past Sunday, I led a worship service in honor and remembrance of Thich Nhat Hanh. It was done in the Unitarian Universalist style/tradition. In the process of preparing for that, I realized that I have quoted Thich Nhat Hanh in my sermons over the years more than any other person; the only sources I have quoted more often are scriptures of various world religions.

I am finding myself wanting to take refuge in the three jewels and getting deeper into Buddhist practice. It feels like a calling unto itself. I am a member of the Unitarian Universalist Buddhist Fellowship, and want to be more actively involved there. But I also want to be involved with the Order of Interbeing. I am excited for what delving into the practice might bring.

Here is the Sunday service remembering Thich Nhat Hanh: