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Category: Mindfulness & Buddhism

Vietnam: The Lotus in the Sea of Fire

Vietnam: The Lotus in the Sea of Fire ~ CoverI just read “Vietnam: The Lotus in the Sea of Fire”. This small book was written at the height of the Vietnam war by my Zen Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh.

My first sensation on receiving the book was one of gratitude. I had been wanting to read it for some time but it had never come to hand. It has been out of print for a long time but I found a copy on Abebooks for £5 delivered to my door. This copy was an ex-library volume from the Cathedral and Abbey Church of St Alban and is a 1967 first UK edition. It feels like a piece of history. I imagine it being bought 47 years ago by someone trying to understand the situation from a Vietnamese Buddhist perspective. I wonder why it was discarded.

The cover is as powerful as it is iconic. It shows the self-immolation of Buddhist monk Thich Quang-Duc. The book could be seen as an explanation of the context in which Thich Quang-Duc and other Buddhists felt they had to burn themselves.

Implicit vs Explicit Ethics in Mindfulness Teaching

A few weeks back I wrote the blog post Is Secular Mindfulness Shoehorning in the “Other” Seven? in which I bemoaned the fact that secular mindfulness courses included most of the parts of the Buddhist Eight Fold path but only claimed to include one of them.

Last week BBC Radio 4 – Beyond Belief was on Mindfulness. In the programme Ernie Rea lead a discussion with Christopher Titmus co-founder of Gaia House,  Chris Cullen from Oxford Mindfulness and Rebecca Crane from Bangor Mindfulness Centre. This was a very good programme. Well balanced and thoughtful. I recommend listening on the link above if you haven’t heard it already.

Is Secular Mindfulness Shoehorning in the “Other” Seven?

2014-05-14 18.07.41I went to a set of evening lectures at the University of Edinburgh last week called “Mindfulness for Depression: Theory and Practice”. It was a really good evening as an introduction to the subject.  Prof. Stephen Lawrie presented an overview of depression and what a bad thing it was both to the individual and to society as a whole. Dr David Gillanders presented Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT) as an example of a modern therapy that uses mindfulness and Prof Stewart Mercer presented on what mindfulness was and where it came from. Before the questions we had a few minutes of mindfulness practice very well lead by Stewart. The room of several hundred people fell totally silent. It was powerful stuff.