By Ros Dean
In 2017, the film company Speakit will release 'Walk with Me', a documentary about Thich Nhat Hanh's teaching on Mindfulness. I would like to be able to say that it will go on general release but this is not going to happen unless the cinema world is made to believe that it is going to be a box office success.
As practitioners of mindfulness, we can demonstrate that there is, in fact, a huge audience for this film by:
By advertising 'Walk with Me', on the one hand you'll be introducing people to a great contemporary Zen Master and, on the other, you'll be giving people the opportunity to learn about authentic mindfulness, i.e. the sati that was taught by the Buddha 2,500 yrs ago. As we know, unfortunately, the term 'mindfulness' has been hijacked for unskilful purposes, e.g. in some areas of military training. Also, a cynicism has crept in by people who consider the practice as some kind of contemporary fad. I hope that 'Walk with Me' will change these negative assumptions by demonstrating the true nature of the Buddha's teaching on sati/smrti.
So what did the Buddha actually mean by the concept of 'mindfulness'? Thay's teaching states that the Buddha's mindfulness is an ENQUIRING awareness that looks deeply into human existence. In so doing, we are able to understand the interconnectedness of all phenomena and, as a consequence, the feeling of compassion stirs within our hearts. Over time, this way of thinking starts to change the way we live our lives and the result is that we start to walk the earth as a 'buddha' or an 'awakened one.' Hence, mindfulness > wisdom > compassion.
'Walk with Me' is a movie on Buddhist mindfulness. Let's make sure that as many people as possible get to see it and also get to understand the message.
Main image copyright Roberta Mansell. Text copyright Hampshire Buddhist Society unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved.