Buddhist monastery visiting Durham as part of UK tour

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On 22nd May, a group of monks and nuns from the Plum Village Buddhist monastery in the South of France are visiting Durham as part of a UK tour. The tour, which includes stops in Windemere and Hebden Bridge, will offer two public mindfulness events in Durham.

The monastics from Plum Village follow the tradition of the “the father of mindfulness,” Zen Master Thích Nhất Hạnh. Thích Nhất Hạnh was historically recognised as the main inspiration for engaged Buddhism and a major influence on Western practices of Buddhism in the early 1970s.

Plum Village, which hosts Buddhist retreats around the world, hopes to encourage the application of ancient wisdom to the challenges of modern life. 

Plum Village hopes to encourage the application of ancient wisdom to the challenges of modern life

The first event open to the public is inspired by Thích Nhất Hạnh, who once said: “Walking meditation can be very enjoyable. We walk slowly, alone or with friends, if possible, in some beautiful place. Walking meditation is really to enjoy the walking – walking not in order to arrive, but just to walk.”

A guided, mindful walk will be led by the monastics along the banks of the River Wear, followed by a picnic lunch at the grounds of Durham Cathedral.

No experience of mindful walking is necessary, and participants are invited to bring their own picnic lunch to enjoy together in mindfulness. The experience is free of charge for the public and will take place from 10:30am to 1pm.

The monastics will also share their knowledge and experience of mindfulness in a second event, which is a live public talk entitled ‘Finding Stillness Amidst the Storms of the World.’

This event will take place in the Calman Learning Centre from 7pm to 9pm, hosted by the Durham University Chaplaincy Network. The talk will focus on routes to finding peace, calm, and stillness amidst the storms of the world, using mindful practices in the tradition of Thích Nhất Hạnh. 

While there is no charge for the mindful walk, there is a charge for the talk.

“Walking meditation is really to enjoy the walking – walking not in order to arrive, but just to walk”

Thích Nhất Hạnh

Since both events will take place during exam season at Durham University, they may be helpful for students, academics, and professional support staff. Tickets for both events can be booked via Eventbrite through the following links:

Durham Mindful Walk & Picnic With Plum Village Monastics Tickets, Mon 22 May 2023 at 10:30 | Eventbrite

Finding Stillness Amidst the Storms – an Evening Talk on Mindfulness Tickets, Mon 22 May 2023 at 19:00 | Eventbrite.

For more information about the Mindful Walk, please contact Heather Monro via email: heather.monro@yahoo.com

For more information about the talk at Calman Learning Centre, please contact The Revd Gavin Wort Lead Chaplain at Durham University via email: gavin.wort@durham.ac.uk

Image: Geoff Livingston via Wikimedia Commons

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