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Abstract

At the beginning of the seven-day English-language retreat in Hanoi, Vietnam, on May 6-7, 2008, Thich Nhat Hanh gave a rare glimpse into his early career. This excerpt from two Dharma talks reveals Thay as a teacher, social activist, and prolific writer--and revolutionary advocate of Engaged Buddhism, also nowadays called Applied Buddhism. According to Thay, "the first meaning of Engaged Buddhism is the kind of Buddhism that is present in every moment of our daily life. While you brush your teeth, Buddhism should be there. While you drive your car, Buddhism should be there. While you are walking in the supermarket, Buddhism should be there--so that you know what to buy and what not to buy! Also, Engaged Buddhism is the kind of wisdom that responds to anything that happens in the here and the now--global warming, climate change, the destruction of the ecosystem, the lack of communication, war, conflict, suicide, divorce. As a mindfulness practitioner, we have to be aware of what is going on in our body, our feelings, our emotions, and our environment. That is Engaged Buddhism. Engaged Buddhism is the kind of Buddhism that responds to what is happening in the here and the now."

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