Today’s Solutions: November 30, 2021

From The Intelligent Optimist Magazine

Fall/Winter 2016

In this age of wild politicians and violent, disrespectful debates, it’s a sign of hope that someone like the Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh—also known as “The other Dalai Lama”—is so popular with so many people. Thich Nhat Hanh, who recently turned 90 and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Martin Luther King in 1967, has inspired hundreds of thousands of people across the globe with his message of mindfulness. The new documentary “Walk with me” goes deep inside his life and work while telling the story of a Zen Buddhist community of monks who signed up for a life of chastity for one common purpose: to transform their suffering.

Four years ago, the disciples of Nhat Hanh invited filmmakers Max Pugh, who documented his friendship with a former child soldier in “The Road to Freedom”, and Marc Francis, known for the documentary “Black Gold” about Ethiopian coffee farmers, into their monastic community to observe their Buddhist practice and the essence of their approach to mindful living. The filmmakers were subsequently given access to the spiritual lives of the monks and nuns of Plum Village in the Dordogne in southern France, and traveled with Thich Nhat Hanh and his disciples to Vancouver, Mississippi, New York, Washington, San Diego, and London. The film offers a rare insight into why the monks and the nuns decided to leave their families and secular life behind to follow in his footsteps.

The documentary, beautifully narrated by Benedict Cumberbatch (“The Imitation Game”, “Sherlock”) who says that his life has been “touched” by the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh, is a cinematic journey into the world of mindfulness. “Finding truth is not the same as finding happiness”, Cumberbatch cites the words of Nhat Hanh, “Once you have seen the truth you cannot avoid suffering. Otherwise you have seen nothing at all.”

Nhat Hanh has published more than 100 books, almost half of them in English. And, yet his message shines more deeply and directly when you hear him speak in the documentary. His wisdom is ancient, not new—despite the popularity of mindfulness these days. But there’s something different when the same words are spoken by “a gentle monk” (King) who has campaigned for peace his whole life. Because mindfulness, for Nhat Hanh, is a practice of peace—to begin with oneself. Violence in society ends when you “stop treating yourself like an enemy”. May this documentary inspire an evening in your hectic life and may its message travel with you on your path to peace and softening the suffering of truth.

Print this article
More of Today's Solutions

Popcorn may be the next sustainable building material

Popcorn is more than just a tasty snack to munch on while at the movies—it may soon be widely used as a natural and eco-friendly alternative to man made home insulation. Scientists at Göttingen University ... Read More

Want to get students engaged? Consider career-based classes

Students who are engaged in the classroom are more likely to participate and retain more information, but what exactly keeps kids engaged? Researchers from Ohio State University surveyed 20,000 high school students across the US ... Read More

This 3D-printed eye is an eye-conic development for digital prosthetics

According to Moorfields Eye Hospital in London, Steve Verze, a 47-year-old engineer from Hackney, has been the fortunate recipient of the world’s first 3D printed eyeball. He first tried the eye on for size earlier ... Read More

Senegal’s only circus troupe helps homeless children get off the streets

Senegal has exactly one circus troupe: Sencirk—and it was founded by a former child beggar named Modou Touré. Before taking his place as ringmaster of his own circus, Touré, at the age of seven, was ... Read More

New breakthroughs in nutrient-sensing cells

Did you know immune cells can sense nutrients? A new study from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has identified the biological mechanism behind the phenomenon. The type of immune cells with these special abilities are ... Read More

How to stay warm this winter during outdoor social gatherings

Temperatures are dipping and snowflakes are falling, but that doesn’t mean we have to say goodbye to our outdoor social gatherings. Plus, it might not always be safe to gather indoors, and everyone will have ... Read More