Martin Luther King And Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh Were Friends

These words of wisdom were spoken by Dr. Martin Luther King. They come on January 20, 2014, Martin Luther King Day in the United States.

It is well known that Dr. Martin Luther King and Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh were friends. In fact, Dr. King nominated Thich Nhat Hanh (known as Thay by his followers) for the Nobel Peace Prize.

One of the things that they shared in common was the idea of “the beloved community.” This is precisely what Thay refers to his sangha. The sangha is the beloved community of monks, nuns, lay men, and lay women who consider themselves to be practicing in Thay’s tradition. More later.

Tricycle Daily Dharma

January 20, 2014

Remembering MLK

We are caught up in an inescapable network of mutuality. . . . Strangely enough I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the way the world is made.

– Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “A Sangha by Another Name”

Thay-MLK-Mindfulness-The-MovieDr. Martin Luther Kink and Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh were Friends

Regarding “mutuality,” Thay calls this the insight of interbeing – the interconnectedness of all things. There are many articles about interbeing which you can explore in the tab below.

Thay and Dr. King agreed on the importance of the sangha or beloved community. Since you cannot be who you ought to be unless I am who I ought to be, we are bound together in a beloved community. This, of course, assumes that we have similar beliefs and similar goals.

For the most part, lay men and lay women agree to practice The Five Mindfulness Trainings. These trainings encompass reverence for life (not to kill), true happiness (not to take what is not offered), true love (not to engage in sexual activities outside of a committed relationship), loving speech and deep listening (not to tell lies), and nourishment and healing (not to imbibe intoxicants).

The monks and nuns in Thay’s sangha, along with the lay men and lay women who are members of the Order of Interbeing agree to study, practice, and observe The Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings. These provide all of the teachings of The Five Mindfulness Trainings and much more.

Would you please describe the nature of your beloved community? It doesn’t have to be Buddhist :)!

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