Walk With Me

Last Friday, I attended the world theatrical premier of a new film by Max Pugh and Marc J. Francis called, “Walk With Me.” It is tagged as “A journey in mindfulness featuring Thich Nhat Hanh.” The movie was narrated by Benedict Cumberbatch and featured monks and nuns from Plum Village. Sister Dinh Nghiem was present and participated in the introduction and questions and answers after the screening.

Form the Gallery: http://walkwithmefilm.com/gallery

I believe that this clip was taken on the University of British Columbia campus during the 2011 Vancouver Retreat. I was there, and I think one of the most moving vignettes in the movie was actually of a little girl who felt sad over the loss of her pet dog. She asks Thay how to control her sadness and Thay tells her the story of the cloud. He gently explains how the girl should not be attached to the beautiful cloud in the sky because it is going to change. It will be reshaped and blown around by the wind, but it will not die. It will come back to earth in the form of rain.

The movie was not so much about Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh himself as it was about the community of monks and nuns in his Order of Interbeing and the changing of the seasons in Plum Village. There were so many touching scenes in the film that it is hard to choose which ones to write about. For example, when Brother Phap De was setting up the meditation hall, probably at the Deer Park Monastery, an elderly gentleman was helping him. At one poignant moment in the closet they looked at each other and recognized that they knew each other. Brother Phap De had been a priest in Minnesota prior to becoming a monk and the man had been one of his parishioners. Brother Phap De passed away last year and the whole community mourned his passing.

During the Q and A after the screening, Sister Dinh Nghiem told us about Thay’s heath, which continues to improve. Max Pugh explained how his brother, now Brother Phap Linh, had asked him to make the film. Max explained that Thay did not want the movie to be about him, and so the focus on the community became the prominent theme.

After the Q and A, I asked Max if his brother had anything to do with the scheduling of Thay’s treatments when he was in San Francisco. He and Sister Dinh Nghiem said that he was one of them. Brother Phap Linh was the person I spoke to about lymphocytes in the brain and Dr. Quac Vo, the Osteopath who has been treating Thay and some of the monks and nuns since the summer of 2015. Sister Dinh Nghiem told me that she has an appointment with Dr. Vo tomorrow.

My friend, Julie, texted me, “Great film, OMG!” Try to see it if you can.


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