The Meanings of Engaged andApplied Buddhism
First was born the term, “Engaged Buddhism.” Engaged Bud-dhism means that you practice all day without interruption, inthe midst o your amily, your community, your city, and your society. The way you walk, the way you look, the way you sitinspires people to live in a way that peace, happiness, joy and brotherhood are possible in every moment.The term Engaged Buddhism was born when the war in VietNam was very intense. To meditate is to be aware o what is go-ing on, and what was happening then was bombs alling, peoplebeing wounded and dying: suering and the destruction o lie.You want to help relieve the suering, so you sit and walk in themidst o people running rom bombs. You learn how to practicemindul breathing while you help care or a wounded child. I you don’t practice while you serve, you will lose yoursel and you will burn out.When you are alone, walking or sitting or drinking your tea or making your breakast, that is also Engaged Buddhism, becauseyou are doing that not only or yoursel, you are doing that inorder to help preserve the world. This is interbeing.Engaged Buddhism is practice that penetrates into every aspecto our world. Applied Buddhism is a continuation o engaged Buddhism. Applied Buddhism means that Buddhism can be ap-plied in every circumstance in order to bring understanding and solutions to problems in our world. Applied Buddhism oersconcrete ways to relieve suering and bring peace and happi-ness in every situation.When President Obama gave a talk at the University o Cairo,he used loving speech in order to release tension betweenAmerica and the Islamic world. He was using the Buddhistpractice o loving speech: speaking humbly, recognizing thevalues o Islam, recognizing the good will on the part o Islamicpeople, and identiying terrorists as a small number o peoplewho exploit tension and misunderstanding between people.The practice o relieving tension in the body is Applied Bud-dhism because the tension accumulated in our body will bringabout sickness and disease. The sutra on mindul breathing,presented in 16 exercises, is Applied Buddhism. We should beable to apply the teaching o mindul breathing everywhere – inour amily, in our school, in the hospital, and so on. Buddhismis not just or Buddhists. Buddhism is made up o non-Buddhistelements.So please oer your help because the European Institute o Applied Buddhism is our dream. Find out how you can helpmake this dream come true. Next June we will have a seven-dayretreat there.
Thich Nhat HanhPlum Village, 21 June 2009
Give from the Heart
The European Institute of Applied Buddhism
Following is an excerpt rom a undraising letter by Thay PhapAn on behal o the monastics residing at the European Instituteo Applied Buddhism (EIAB). To read the complete letter, viewphotos o construction at EIAB, see the course catalogue, or makea contribution, please visit www.eiab.eu.
19 June 2009Dear Beloved Sangha,In September 2008, more than twenty brothers and sisters weresent to Germany rom Plum Village to set up the EuropeanInstitute o Applied Buddhism (EIAB). This has been a dreamo Thay’s since he was a young novice. His wish is to bring theteaching o the Buddha into every aspect o our lives. Bud-dhism should not only be theoretical, but it should be practicaland we should be able to apply it in transorming the sueringo individuals, amilies, and society. At the EIAB, we will havecourses or new couples who are getting married, or parentsand children who wish to reconcile, or police ocers, psycho-therapists, teachers, and businesspeople.The EIAB building has the capacity o hosting 400-500 people.The military operated the building rom 1967-2006 and theyhave their own set o re saety regulations. As the EIAB, thebuilding is considered to be in civilian use, and the authori-ties have a very dierent set o re saety regulations or thispurpose. In addition, many water pipes are now old and rusty,and together with our now out-o-date kitchen, they no longer meet the public health standards. We also need to repair our old heating system due to many leakages, and more importantly,to make it more energy ecient and ecologically riendly. Tohouse the intended number o people, we would also need tobuild many more public toilets and showers.In the last nine months, a team o experts that includes archi-tects, engineers and technicians have looked careully into thismatter, and we now know that we would have to spend at least3 million Euros or hal o the building to be unctional and open to the public. The EIAB is not allowed to be opened to thepublic under current conditions, and the brothers and sisters areonly given temporary permission to stay in a small restricted area o this building until January 2010. This means that wehave to raise 3 million Euros as soon as possible in order toproceed with the construction work and have it completed bythe end o 2009.Last night, I was thinking about how we can raise this bigamount o money in such a short time. I evoked the name o
the Mindfulness Bell 43