Thích Nhất Hạnh was a Vietnamese Thiền Buddhist monk, peace activist, prolific author, poet, teacher, and founder of the Plum Village Tradition, historically recognized as the main inspiration for engaged Buddhism.
Known as the "father of mindfulness", Nhất Hạnh was a major influence on Western practices of Buddhism and mindfulness.
Mindfulness is gaining a growing popularity as a practice in daily life, apart from Buddhist insight meditation and its application in clinical psychology.
Definition of the Movement
In this context mindfulness is defined as moment-by-moment awareness of thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, characterized mainly by "acceptance"—attention to thoughts and feelings without judging whether they are right or wrong.
Mindfulness focuses the human brain on what is being sensed at each moment, instead of on its .
Mindfulness is the practice of purposely bringing one's attention in the present moment without evaluation, a skill one develops through meditation or other training.
Mindfulness derives from sati, a significant element of Buddhist traditions, and is based on Zen, Vipassanā, and Tibetan meditation techniques.
Though definitions and techniques of mindfulness are wide-ranging, Buddhist traditions explain what constitutes mindfulness such as how past, present and future moments arise and cease as momentary sense impressions and .
Zen is a school of Mahayana Buddhism that originated in China during the Tang dynasty, known as the Chan School, and later developed into various sub-schools and branches.
From China, Chán spread south to Vietnam and became Vietnamese Thiền, northeast to Korea to become Seon Buddhism, and east to Japan, becoming Japanese Zen.
Zen teachers often promote diaphragmatic breathing, stating that the breath must come from the lower abdomen (known as hara or tanden in .
According to tradition, Chan was introduced around 500 CE by Bodhidharma, an Indian monk teaching dhyāna.
Zen is deeply rooted in the teachings and doctrines of Mahāyāna Buddhism.
Mahayana Buddhism teaches śūnyatā, "emptiness", which is also emphasized by Zen.
But another important doctrine is the buddha-nature, the idea that all human beings have the possibility to awaken.
All living creatures are supposed to have the Buddha-nature, but don't realize this as long as they are not .