About Us

Blooming Lilac Sangha is one of hundreds of communities worldwide that practices mindfulness as taught by Vietnamese Zen Master, Thich Nhat Hanh. The practice of meditation, according to Thich Nhat Hanh, is like the power of the sun, illuminating the areas of our life that dwell in darkness. Instead of suppressing anger, fear, and guilt, Thich Nhat Hanh suggests that we should be mindful of these emotions, which will allow our natural patience and appreciation for life to unfold. Thich Nhat Hanh uses practical, traditional gathas (teachings) that join ancient meditation practice with the challenges of the modern world. These teachings include step-by-step guides to meditation, breathing exercises, contemplation, and communication, opening our hearts and minds to the joyous wonder of tranquility and love.  

Who is Thich Nhat Hanh?

Born in central Vietnam in 1926 Thay joined the monkshood at the age of sixteen. The Vietnam War confronted the monasteries with the question of whether to adhere to the contemplative life and remain meditating in the monasteries, or to help the villagers suffering under bombings and other devastation of the war. Nhat Hanh was one of those who chose to do both, helping to found the "engaged Buddhism" movement. His life has since been dedicated to the work of inner transformation for the benefit of individuals and society. In Saigon in the early 60s, Thich Nhat Hanh began a grass-roots relief organization that rebuilt bombed villages, set up schools and medical centers, resettled homeless families, and organized agricultural cooperatives. Rallying some 10,000 student volunteers, the group based its work on the Buddhist principles of non-violence and compassionate action.

After visiting the U.S. and Europe in 1966 on a peace mission, he was banned from returning to Vietnam in 1966. On subsequent travels to the U.S., he made the case for peace to federal and Pentagon officials including Robert McNamara. He may have changed the course of U.S. history when he persuaded Martin Luther King, Jr. to oppose the Vietnam War publicly, and so helped to galvanize the peace movement. The following year, King nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize. Subsequently, Nhat Hanh led the Buddhist delegation to the Paris Peace Talks. In 1982 he founded Plum Village, a Buddhist community in exile in France. He has also received recognition for his work with Vietnam veterans, meditation retreats, and his prolific writings on meditation, mindfulness, and peace. He has published some 100 books.

An Open Invitation

If you're reading this you're invited! The BLS Buddhist / Zen group meets every Tuesday and Thursday morning 7:15-8:15, many Thursday evenings, and most Sunday afternoons from 4-6 pm. On the second and fourth Sunday afternoons, young adults are offered an opportunity to facilitate practice. Our monthly days of mindfulness occur on Saturday or Sunday. See our calendar for details.

During our meetings, we practice sitting meditation, walking meditation, dharma sharing, and many other practices that help us to be mindful and to develop peace and understanding in our body and mind. We welcome newcomers. You don’t have to be Buddhist to practice with us.

For an orientation, please email us at: bloominglilacsangha@gmail.com