Showing posts with label English. Show all posts
Showing posts with label English. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Mindful Leadership: A mindfulness-based professional development for all teachers, educators and administrators

It is an honor that I am teaching mindfulness into my 6th year. Due to the popular demand, SJTA and SJUSD are offering these workshops again this year for educators in San Juan Unified School District and I am doing this for free. Teachers will get hours for your salary advancement.  If you are an educator within the greater Sacramento area and would like to join, please contact and/or inbox me directly. 

For SJUSD's teacher, just log in to and click on PL Registrations and Transcript to register. Please pick the numbers down the bottom accordingly. 

#10728 Mindful Leadership
This workshop introduces the research and practices of the mindfulness-based approach to use in the classroom. Mindfulness helps teachers and students manage their emotional and mental stress, create well-being and refresh their energy. It can transform individuals and the classroom climate, while building and nurturing positive interpersonal relationships. It also provides a blueprint for better living, building harmony and peace in the individual, community and society! Must attend all (2) sessions to receive six hours credit.

29674 Mindful Leadership
January 14, 2020 - January 21, 2020
4:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
5820 Landis Avenue, Suite 1
Carmichael, CA 95608

#10729 Advanced Mindful Leadership
The Mindful Leadership training is a pre-requisite for this course. These sessions provide more practice of the research and techniques of the mindfulness-based approach to use in the classroom. The work to manage stress, create energy and transform the classroom environment will continue in greater depth.
29675 Advanced Mindful Leadership
February 11, 2020 - February 25, 2020
4:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
5820 Landis Avenue, Suite 1
Carmichael, CA 95608

Mindful Leadership: A mindfulness-based professional development for all teachers, educators and administrators

Research shows that mindfulness meditation and a mindfulness-based approach in life enhance the well-being, physical, emotional, and mental health of all, including, of course, practitioners, educators, and even administrators.

These workshops introduce the research and practices of a mindfulness-based approach in the classroom that will help teachers and students manage their emotional and mental stress, increasing their well-being and refreshing their energy.

They are designed for all teachers, educators, and administrators, and will lead the practitioners to be more mindful and compassionate individuals. Our entire educational system needs to be more mindful and holistic--let us begin with ourselves and our classrooms.

These workshops will also offer practice-based strategies and techniques such as mindful movement, meditative exercises, and sharing best practices based on evidence from current research. They also require participants to wear comfortable clothing, have a willingness to self-reflect and be open-minded individuals.

This mindfulness-based professional development course hopes to transform individuals and the classroom climate while building positive, nurture interpersonal relationships.

The workshop series also offers a blueprint for better living, towards harmony and peace in the individual, community and society through Spirituality and Mindful Leadership:

Session 1: Objectives.

Participants will be able to understand:
  1. What is mindfulness? What is mindfulness meditation? How are they similar/different?
  2. What are the benefits of mindfulness meditation?
  3. What are some different styles of meditation?
  4. How do you meditate (both in the physical form and internal form)?
  5. How does mindfulness help in the teaching field?
  6. What are some of the 'best practices' in education related to mindfulness?

Session 2: Objectives
Participants will be able to:

  1. Understand the theory and research behind a mindfulness-based approach in the classroom
  2. Understand how to enhance the well-being, physical, emotional, and mental health of themselves as practitioners, educators, and administrators.
  3. Have time to actually practice meditation (physical form and internal form)
  4. Take part in mindfulness-based exercises.
  5. Understand current trends and 'best practices' in mindfulness-based education.
Session 3: Objectives.
Participants will receive training and support in:
  1. Mindfulness-based practices that build positive and nurturing interpersonal relationships
  2. Mindfulness practice-based exercises such as mindful movement, meditative exercise, and other best practices based on research evidence
  3. Research on Spirituality and Mindful Leadership: a blueprint for better living, towards harmony and peace in the individual, community and society!
The session will close with:
Reflection time.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Old Time Firmament - Khung Trời Cũ

Thầy Hạnh Viên và Thầy Tuệ Sỹ tại Huế, 2019. Photo: Internet

Old Time Firmament

Wet eyes of the golden age amidst old time gatherings
The green dress not green for ever on the deserted hills
In a flash, realizing oneself a drifter
Lighting up the evening lamp and telling stories of the waning moon 

From the cold mountains to the eternally silent seas
This rock top and that grain of salt have not disintegrated
How quickly evaporating is a smile to a sunny day
Winter nowadays and next, summer; is it cause for sadness?

The gray hairs counted outdistance life experiences
The long dusty road wearies the going round and round steps 
Now I look back at the four walls drooping
The forest torrent far away standing opposite the water streaming down the mountains.

Poem by Tuệ Sỹ
Translated by Bạch X. Phẻ
Edited by GS. Nguyễn Văn Thái

Khung Trời Cũ

Đôi mắt ướt tuổi vàng khung trời hội cũ
Áo màu xanh không xanh mãi trên đồi hoang
Phút vội vã bỗng thấy mình du thủ
Thắp đèn khuya ngồi kể chuyện trăng tàn

Từ núi lạnh đến biển im muôn thuở
Đỉnh đá này và hạt muối đó chưa tan
Cười với nắng một ngày sao chóng thế
Nay mùa đông mai mùa hạ buồn chăng

Đếm tóc bạc tuổi đời chưa đủ
Bụi đường dài gót mỏi đi quanh
Giờ ngó lại bốn vách tường ủ rũ
Suối rừng xa ngược nước xuôi ngàn.

Tuệ Sỹ

Wednesday, November 20, 2019



In the morning, the birds are chirping, welcoming the new days
Spring breeze in the sunny day eases the loneliness
He, who is deaf, yet shows appreciation and gratefulness
Lives fully in the present moment without any attachments

Loneliness in the earthy realms 
The sound of the chanting verse, the Buddha sutra evokes the goddess of Heaven
Amitabha Buddha chanting is a healing realm in this present moment
Concentrate on reciting Buddha names, it seems immortal

Whether it is spring winds or monsoon one
Keep our heart and mind calm and peaceful
The moment of mindfulness is in the here and now
The Pure Land is wherever we are mindfully walking and giving.

Phe Bach

Hãy đọc tiếng Việt ở đây.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Only Love Can Save Us from Climate Change

Only Love Can Save Us from Climate Change

It is getting cold and the autumn leaves displace their pretty colors. The new moon is greeting the Earth from the edge of the sky; it is almost in November, and the rain is yet to come. Why hasn’t it rained yet? California, both to the south and north, is burning--wildfires are almost everywhere. On the other side of the Pacific Ocean, the Tropical Storm Matmo has just swept through the central provinces of Vietnam. Floods, droughts, and natural disasters are happening everywhere. Climate change is real and it is affecting us all.
According to the United Nations, “Climate change is now affecting every country on every continent. It is disrupting national economies and affecting lives, costing people, communities and countries dearly today and even more tomorrow. Weather patterns are changing, sea levels are rising, weather events are becoming more extreme and greenhouse gas emissions are now at their highest levels in history. Without action, the world’s average surface temperature is likely to surpass 3 degrees centigrade this century. The poorest and most vulnerable people are being affected the most.”

In this urgent matter, we are asking the same question as Johan R. Platt: “Can Buddhism Help Save the Planet?” The new book, Ecodharma argues that yes, it can — but only if Buddhism saves itself first.” Since one of the noble goals of Buddhism is the alleviation of suffering that ultimately leads to enlightenment, it should be, as Engaged Buddhism encourages, that it is not only for individual enlightenment, but a broader societal and/or human illumination. The way we move forward positively is lifting each other up.

Thus, the fundamental education in Buddhism is planting-the-seeds and training and practicing: Sowing, nurturing, watering these Bodhi seeds, our tree of happiness and peace will grow. The foundation of Buddha's teaching is the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path. These fundamental truths must pass on to future generations so that each individual as well as the members of the human community live responsibly, peacefully, and in harmony with all people and species as well as in a way that we protect and nurture our Mother Earth.

In the face of climate change, this is a serious issue that needs our immediate attention and action right now. The climate emergency is the defining issue of our times. We, the publishers Hoa Dam and Lotus Media Inc. are compiling English articles, written by many well-known authors, which have been published in international newspapers about climate change. This collection is made for all ages, but especially for our young readers and the Vietnamese Buddhist Youth Families born and raised abroad, in order to raise awareness and take action against the impeccable disasters due to the negative behaviors of humans.

This collection also brings together articles related to the environment and climate change from scholars and practitioners of Buddha's teachings, especially Thay Nhat Hanh, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and many Lama West. Tibetan, Western scholars and practitioners such as Ven. Thubten Jampa, Lama Willa B. Miller, David Loy, Kara Holsopple, Lucia Graves, Sister True Dedication, Linda Hueman, Dion Peoples, Jo Confino, Phe Bach and Khanh T. Tran.

Let us together practice frugal living, and live in a way that "we offer the joy in the morning, and make life less miserable in the afternoon", live with the Four Ways of Persuasion (Catuh-samograha-vastu) (Tứ Nhiếp Pháp - the Four all-embracing (Bodhisattva) virtues: Giving (Dana), Affectionate Speech (Priyavacana), Beneficial Actions (Arthakrtya), Co-operation (Samanartharta), and diligently transform internal and external hurdles and obstacles to become better human beings and leave this beautiful Earth a better place for all.

With that, we would like to introduce this collection, “Only Love Can Save Us from Climate Change".

On behalf of the Editorial Board
Phe Bach, Ed.D.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

FOREWORD: Leading From Compassion - W. Edward Bureau, PhD


Leading From Compassion

Flowing in Dr. Phe Xuan Bach’s prose and poetry are notions of intentional mindfulness within ourselves and with others. The universality of Dr. Bach’s conceptualization of compassionate, mindful, and peace-based leadership transcends time, nations, and contexts; it can move us toward completeness within ourselves and without with others. 
A practicing Buddhist, Dr. Bach weaves the Dharma into both a concept and practice of leadership that transcends the common definitions of it in the West. Deeply he defines and practices “mindful leadership,” which is “leading from the inside out.” Becoming a mindful leader is nurtured through daily meditation, a practice that grounds us with stillness in which we hear the need for compassion. 
Mindful leadership is existential in nature, both timely and timeless. Such is the core of leadership that is being always present in this moment that we share with others. That notion is at the heart of the outreach Phe does to educators throughout California, training them to bring mindfulness into classrooms. Doing so has verifiable mental and physical health benefits for educators and students, but the mindful approach to teaching and learning also creates contexts of compassion and peace.  
As leaders, whether in the classroom or elsewhere, we embody what we teach others - the practices of mindfulness. We become examples of mindful leaders who are compassionate, forgiving, and peaceful, embracing the beautiful complexities of ourselves and other human beings. In our moments together we seek harmony that springs from the wells of empathy and of suspending judgment about each other.
Leading ourselves and others through change, metaphorically, is the water in the river flowing around the rocks, always moving, always flowing. We learn to embrace change and let go of what we cannot control. As mindful leaders, our daily practice helps us find a constancy in the milieu of change and peace in helping others navigate what would seem to be troubling waters. 
Flowing beneath and throughout Phe’s poems and prose are soothing currents of letting go, of reassurance that mindfulness and compassion can nurture sustainable peace within ourselves and others. May Phe’s writings give us a pause for reflection and transformation.
W. Edward Bureau, PhD 
Cochranville, Pennsylvania

May 2019

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Mindful Leadership - Five Arts of Leadership For Buddhist Youth Leaders: With An Emphasis on Awareness Practice

Mindful Leadership - Five Arts of Leadership For Buddhist Youth Leaders: With An Emphasis on Awareness Practice

Abbess Thích Nữ Thuần Tuệ and Tâm Thường Định

Right Mindfulness, Sammà sati in Pali, means to think positive thoughts, to be enlightened in that moment, and to comprehend all Dharma completely. Mindfulness is an integral part of the Noble Eightfold Path—the eight methods of the path to peace and liberation—within the fourth Noble Truth.
According to Theravada Buddhist tradition, mindfulness is the heart of meditation and conscious awareness of all phenomena that arise in the present moment. In other words, mindfulness is to know what is currently occurring. Mindfulness is the energy that originates from self-observation of what is going on internally and externally. Mindfulness brings us back to the present moment since the present is a beautiful gift that we can treasure here and now.
In accordance with Buddhist tradition, mindfulness is essential to the development of Right Concentration (Sammà samadhi), the method used to receive and maintain moral conducts in life. Mindfulness has many functions. The first one is to recognize everything that is occurring presently. The second function is awareness of thoughts that arise in our mind. Gradually, mindfulness guides practitioners to Right Concentration, and, ultimately, Perfect Wisdom.
Leadership, by our definition, is to guide others in the spirit of giving without expecting any reciprocation, and helping ourselves along with others indiscriminately. Normally, a good leader possesses the following three traits:
1.              Have a benevolent vision and the capability to positively inspire and influence others in mindfulness.
2.              Advocate and transmit that ideal vision to fellow practitioners and oneself via his/her practice of mindfulness.
3.              Instill joy, benefit, and peace to oneself and others at this very moment and future moments.
Mindful leadership allows “the leader” to transcend the boundaries of time and space in order to bring peace to everyone. This transcendence is only possible if the leaders’ thoughts, speech and actions stem from altruism and compassion. In this spirit, we would like to share this topic on Mindful Leadership to the leaders of the Vietnamese Buddhist Youth Association (Gia Đình Phật Tử) in particular and all beings as a whole.
The art of mindful leadership consists of five main points:
1.              Deep listening and empathy
2.              Sound judgment
3.              Living in harmony with others
4.              Teaching through actions
5.              A kind heart
We will begin with the word “Huynh Trưởng,” which means an older brother, an older sister, or someone with experiences whose responsibility is to protect and guide younger members (đàn em). A role model Huynh Trưởng needs to be calm, caring, tolerant, and sound in order to fulfill their aforementioned tasks. A Huynh Trưởng is an active member with duties and responsibilities toward the VBYA. A Huynh Trưởng guides and nurtures younger members while accepting and fulfilling tasks/activities to sustain and grow the VBYA local chapter (đơn vị). Lastly, a Huynh Trưởng is an excellent citizen and contributes constructively to society. Leadership is an art filled with dedication. Here is a classic example:
Long ago, the president lectured about leadership at a United States Military Academy. He took out a bundle of rope from his pocket and placed it on a table. He challenged students to push the rope across the table; many students attempted this task, but they all struggled to push the rope across the table. As they pushed, the rope would curl, twist or tangle; it was an impossible task!
After all students conceded, the president laughed kindly and slowly rearranged the rope back to its original position. Next, with his thumb and index finger, he pulled the rope along the table. The remaining rope followed his hand and glided across the table effortlessly. The president explained, “People are like a bundle of rope. If we lead them, they will follow. But if we push them, they will push back, creating unwanted complications.”
To be capable leaders, we need to practice, understand, and apply teachings like the Five Vidyas (Ngũ Minh) and Three Teaching Methods (Thân Giáo, Khẩu Giáo, Ý Giáo). Remember, a person that does not know direction cannot navigate another person and a person without money cannot donate money to anyone. Likewise, a leader cannot share knowledge and skills that they are not comfortable explaining in detail. In order to teach and guide younger members, a leader first needs to be trained accordingly.
Generally, everyone wants to be a good, admirable, and kind person, but flaws and bad habits are difficult to hide. Gradually, young members will learn to not trust a leader with glaring flaws, noticeable bad habits, and lackadaisical efforts. A leader can try to hide his/her shortcomings; however, the truth cannot stay hidden forever.
Practicing mindfulness allows leaders to rapidly improve themselves. Normally, the mind constantly wanders every day, everywhere; and therefore, mindfulness reminds the mind to return to the present. Mindfulness brings the mind home. Mindfulness grants the practitioner the ability to be in true contact with the people and situations at hand. Intangible - mindfulness cannot exist in the form of thoughts but can be perceived by keen hearts. 
Below are details associated with the Art of Mindfulness.


1.  Be Silent
Please listen to the whole sentence. Please do not respond immediately. Please do not jump to conclusions. Please be empathetic to others’ difficulties.
I like to share this short Zen anecdote titled “Say and Listen” from Zen Master Gettan (Nguyệt Am). The Zen Master frequently reminded his students that “When you use your mouth to speak, your ears are not listening. When you use your ears to listen, your mouth is not speaking. Please contemplate this notion.”
2.  Be empathetic
Life often has two facets: an obvious facet and a more subtle one. Here is another example:
Not too long ago in Vietnam, a neighbor complained to his elderly friend:
“The neighboring house just bought a karaoke machine. My God! The little girl sang like a moaning cow. And the son… He roared like a tiger. I have headaches listening to them. “
The elder friend calmly replied, “I feel the same way. But those kids are not out drinking alcohol, stealing from villagers, or harming the village. Those actions are more troublesome; therefore, we must be more tolerant for the village’s safety.”
Below is another example:
It was afternoon and kids were asleep in the nursery. John was thirsty and went to Miss Roberts’. He whispered, “May I have some water?”
Half-asleep, Miss Roberts awoke grumpily and unpleasantly answered, “Allowed.”
“Miss Roberts, may I have some water?” John asked again. This time his voice was a bit louder.
Annoyed that John was asking again, she responded with a loud, “Allowed.”
“Miss Roberts, may I have some water?” John asked the same question for the third time. This time his voice was very loud.
“Allowed.” Miss Roberts yelled her answer.
“MISS ROBERTS! MAY I HAVE SOME WATER?” John scream with all his might, waking up all the sleeping children. Angered, Miss Roberts lost her temper and yelled, “John! Are you messing with me?”
Scared and confused, John answered, puzzled, “No, Miss Roberts. You told me to say aloud!”
What happened in this comical short story? Why did John misunderstand Miss Roberts’ words? When Miss Roberts answered with “allowed,” John misheard and thought Miss Roberts said “aloud.” This is an example of homophones; words that sound similar but have different meanings. To distinguish between homophones, we use context, but John has yet to learn about homophones and reacted inappropriately. Miss Roberts overlooked the situation and wrongly assumed John was playing a game.
In general, a leader needs to remember:
·       Do not control others.
·       Do not expect others to see your viewpoints.
·       Do not depend on others for happiness.
President Abraham Lincoln famously said, “I destroy my greatest enemies when I make them my friends.” Similarly, a leader needs to focus on the positive aspects his team possesses rather than the weaknesses within the team.
3.   Sharing is leadership
Please use this story about changing people’s lives as an example:
In the year 1921, Lewis Lawes served as warden for the Sing Sing Correctional Facility, a prison known for its harsh conditions. Twenty years later, upon his retirement, this prison had transformed into a humane site. When asked about these remarkable transformations, Lawes credited his wife, Kathryn, for instilling these changes.
Even before her first visit to the Sing Sing Correctional Facility, Kathryn heard many rumors about this dreadful place and its prisoners. Her first visit to the prison was during its first basketball game held between prisoners. Kathryn sat and watched with her children among prisoners. She felt neither fear nor repulsiveness. She believed these prisoners would treat her well since she and her husband treated them well.
When she saw a blind man that was convicted with murder, she held his hands and tenderly asked whether he knew Braille. He did not. She taught him how to read. Upon meeting prisoners that were mute and deaf, she learned and taught sign language to them. From 1921 to 1937, prisoners within the Sing Sing Correctional Facility viewed Kathryn as a living saint, an angel.
When Kathryn died from a car accident, Lewis Lawes took leave to oversee his wife’s funeral. The vice-warden saw how these so-called cruel prisoners gathered in front of the main gate; their faces were filled with tears. He knew how much they loved and appreciated Kathryn. Thus, he allowed them to leave the facility without any supervision from guards as long as they returned by nighttime. All prisoners walked over a kilometer of distance to attend Kathryn’s funeral and returned to Sing Sing on time as promised.
4.   Avoid jumping to conclusions
The act of judging a person is actually the mind trying to manifest itself. To better ourselves, we should stop judging others.
a. Please use this short story as an example. One day, the father brought home a beautiful bird inside a cage; he hung the cage on a tree in the garden. The mother also brought home a cute cat, which could roam freely. A few days later, the father returned home and did not see his prized bird; meanwhile, the cat was sunbathing in the garden. The father blamed the cat for eating his precious bird while the mother fervently defended her cat. They quarreled non-stop. Angered, the father left the house for work while the mother went back to her parent’s house, carrying the youngest child. Later that night, the neighbor brought over the lost bird, which flew out of his opened cage, but no one was home except for the servants.  
b. This famous story called “Nhan Hồi and the rice pot” is another beautiful example. During the Eastern Zhou time period of Ancient China’s history, Confucius led a pilgrimage from Lo, his homeland, to Qi, a thriving city-state. Among his many distinguished students, Nhan Hồi (Yan Hui) and Tử Lộ (Min Sun) were the most recognized and favorite ones. At that time, wars between neighboring city-states were frequent and long-lasting. People struggled for survival; starvation and misery were common everywhere. Confucius and his students also suffered the same fate. On their journey, they starved for many days; their meals consisted simply of vegetables and porridge. Despite these rigorous and extreme conditions, all students followed their teacher’s journey with determination. Fortunately, upon reaching Qi, a merchant recognized Confucius and donated rice to the group. Confucius entrusted Tử Lộ to his remaining students in search for vegetables in the forest. Meanwhile, Nhan Hồi was designated the task of cooking rice. Nhan Hồi was given this crucial and important task since he was a virtuous person, for whom Confucius had trust and high expectations.
Nhan Hồi began cooking the rice as the group led by Tử Lộ left to find vegetables. Meanwhile, facing the kitchen, Confucius was reading old doctrines. Suddenly, Confucius heard a loud noise emerging from the kitchen. He looked toward the kitchen to see Nhan Hồi opening the rice pot’s lid, stirring the cooked rice with chopsticks. Once finished, glancing around, Nhan Hồi slowly ate the rice.
Confucius witnessed all of Nhan Hồi’s actions and sighed to the Heaven in disappointment, “Oh! My best student! He ate before his teacher and friends… What a scoundrel! How could all my expectations suddenly disappear into thin air…”
A moment later, Tử Lộ returned with vegetables, which Nhan Hồi steamed in boiling water. In misery, Confucius continued to remain in silence. When the vegetables were cooked, Nhan Hồi and Tử Lộ prepared the table for dinner. Once everything was ready, all students gathered to invite Confucius for dinner. Looking at his students, Confucius said, “My students. The journey from Lo to Qi was long and tiresome. I am pleased that you remain pure at heart, continue to love and protect each other, and follow my teachings despite harsh and starving conditions. Today, our first day in Qi, we are blessed with a warm meal. This first meal in Qi reminds me of my homeland, Lo. I remember my parents. I want to offer a bowl of rice to my parents. May I?”
All students except Nhan Hồi folded their hands and answered, “Yes!”
Confucius continued, “I want to ensure that this rice is pure first.”
Confused, his students glanced around for an answer. At that moment, Nhan Hồi folded his hands and answered, “My dear teacher, this rice is not pure.”
Confucius asked, “Why?”
Nhan Hồi answered, “When I opened the lid to check whether the rice had evenly cooked, a gust of wind blew by causing soot and dusts to fall into the rice. I tried to stop these debris from soiling the rice but I could not block them all. I immediately removed the soiled rice and was about to discard them, but then I thought: We have a lot of people, but we are short on rice. If I discard these soiled rice, we will be short a serving portion of rice, and everyone will eat less. Therefore, I dared to eat the soiled rice beforehand. I dedicate these clean rice to you, my teacher, and my friends.
“Dear teacher! I have already eaten my portion of rice for today. Please excuse me from eating rice this meal. I will just eat vegetables. And lastly, we should not offer rice that has been eaten as a worship.”
After hearing Nhan Hồi’s response, Confucius looked up to the Heaven and exclaimed, “Alas! There are things in this world that you clearly see but still cannot comprehend the truth. I almost became a fool!”


A leader needs to be a role model and an embodiment for wisdom in order to safely guide and benefit followers. When our mind resides in mindfulness, our mind is not lost in thoughts and is in true contact with the present situation. This mental state allows us to find the best solution to any given problem.
Consider this short story. A group of merchants traveled under the hot sun without an adequate supply of water. Upon entering a new village, the group saw a huge tree full of ripe, juicy fruits. The group yelled in excitement and began climbing the tree. Suddenly, the leader stopped everyone:
“My friends. You should not eat these fruits. If these fruits were indeed edible, villagers and other travelers would have eaten them already. Since these fruits have not been eaten, these fruits are poisonous.”
Listening to the leader’s sound judgment, the group continued forward.
Another group of merchants arrived at the exact same location shortly. Everyone in the group quickly devoured these fruits. As expected, these fruits contained toxins, and the whole group was poisoned. In this instance, the leader lacked the needed wisdom to guide and protect his group to safety.
The Buddha taught us:
1.              Address the problem promptly and facilitate discussion. Be aware that unhappy people do not like to be lectured. Remember the story regarding Gotami and her dead child. The Buddha did not lecture Gotami but instructed her to seek a family that had not experienced death. Gotami eventually realized the truth regarding death.
2.              State the facts. Avoid explanations and accusations based on self-analysis or self-speculation. Avoid exaggerations and elaborations.
3.              Use neutral words that are not biased.
4.              Speak with an intention of benefitting the audience. Focus on positive aspects within the situation. Avoid criticisms that lead to arguments.
5.              Speak from compassion, not from anger.
Furthermore, The Buddha also emphasized: “Sariputta, although you have followed these five methods of dialogue, there are people that still will not change. This is due to pre-conceived notions (sở tri chướng) within them.”


1.   Recognize our ego
Mindfulness and ego cannot and will not coexist. Ego intrinsically causes confrontation and disagreement since ego has the tendency to want to be correct, to be the best, to be the alpha, to be number one. Everyone has this ego. Whenever our ego feels superior, we react boastfully; whenever our ego feels inferior, we react aggressively. To protect and strengthen itself, each individual ego clashes with other egos, creating conflicts. Sadly, we fail to recognize that we are inadvertently hurting others as we satisfy our ego.
To live in harmony, our ego needs to be lowered and we must be more accepting. We should live with this motto: respect our superiors, love our inferiors, and tolerate our equals.
2.  Right and wrong
Never be one-hundred percent certain that you are correct, for being correct leads to arguments and conflicts. Our definition of correct only applies to ourselves; as a result, others probably have different viewpoints and will not accept our point-of-views. Being less certain causes less controversy, conflict, and anger from happening.
If we respect the viewpoints of others and acknowledge others’ logics, we can live and work in harmony for eternity.
Venerable Zen Master Thích Thanh Từ once said, “We often have a tendency to believe our thoughts are absolute truth. Thus, our thoughts and others’ thoughts clash, leading to arguments, anger, and violence.”
Venerable Thích Thanh Từ reflected, “When I was living in the mountain, I saw rain clouds approaching my direction from afar. I wholeheartedly believed that rain was coming, so I quickly moved everything inside. However, the wind would change the clouds direction, leading to no rain. Therefore, our thoughts are never one-hundred percent correct. We tend to think we are correct; our assumption gives rise to conflict and disagreement.”
In the Sutra, the Buddha taught, “One who respects the truth would say ‘This is my thought’ and would stop talking. If one says my thought is correct, one is no longer respecting the truth. Adding the word ‘right’ creates controversy.”
3.   Be calm and happy
Never view anything as absolute importance. Be optimistic and have a positive outlook. Acknowledge praiseworthy characteristics and behaviors within the people we are interacting with or the present situation. Cherish what we presently have. Do not expect everything to go according to our expectations. If we live according to principles mentioned above, our mind will be at peace. Our personal practice will generate positive energy that benefits the collective community.


In the article “Thân Giáo: Có thể là một giải pháp cho tất cả”, I emphasize that Buddhism is based on the principles of compassion and wisdom, cultivated through personal practice. Teaching through actions is a valuable and practical lesson that the Buddha taught since we can easily apply this practice to daily life in multiple instances. The evolution in international peace can be traced to the Buddha’s teachings. Nowaday, Buddhism remains a solution to most modern problems within society. As the author, I raise the following seven points:
1.              Establish a humane mindset
2.              Comprehend cause and effect with karma
3.              Improve our surroundings
4.              Practice mutual respect and mutual benefit
5.              Be there to assist others
6.              Remember strength in numbers
7.              Be a Buddhist practitioner
In general, a leader needs to earn others’ trust and cooperate with others in the spirit of compassion and altruism. This is only possible when a leader possesses both respect and affection toward others. A reliable leader is someone younger members can depend on and learn from in multiple situations.
·      One should acts as one teaches others
·      Only with oneself through thoroughly tamed should one tame others
·      To tame oneself is, indeed, difficult.
·      -Excerpted from Verse 159 of the Dhammapada
Our actions reflect the degree of our personal practices, which are based on precepts, perseverance, and diligence. With compassion and vows to benefit others, the Buddha attained enlightenment to guide and save people from suffering.
1.   Practice mindfulness
Be conscious of your actions. Unite the mind and body. For example:
a.     While walking, be aware of which foot you are moving. Be aware of each movement you make within the day.
b.     Mindfulness can prevent mental illness like Alzheimer’s disease. Remember forgetfulness and unawareness hinder the accomplishment of goals.
2.   Practice awareness
a.     Be aware of the 6 senses. Know the present clearly and uninterruptedly.
b.     Realize when our mind drifts toward self-attachment and unkind thoughts.
c.     Live in the present. Relax body and mind.
3.  Wisdom and compassion are the two doors that lead to liberation.
4.   Lead ourselves
In order to lead, a leader must have high self-esteem and peoples’ trust. People trust and listen to a leader because that leader is caring and devoted not because that leader possesses power.
5.   Flagrance diffuses from the flower
Cultivate spiritual energy through personal practices. Share that cultivated energy with the collective.
6.   Results do not fall from the sky.
Genius cultivates good habits that are accumulated from previous lives or decades of intense hard work and dedication.


A good leader consistently reflects on whether understanding, love, and unity are more important than being right.
Years ago, a Hindu follower undertook a pilgrimage toward a holy temple within the Himalayan mountains. The road was long, steep, and windy; the condition was hot and oxygen level was low due to the elevation. Despite carrying little to no supply, he hiked vexingly while breathing heavily. Oftentimes, he stopped to rest while wishing his destination would appear before him. Suddenly he saw a young girl about 10-years-old walking toward him. Gasping for breath and sweating profusely, she was piggybacking a small child with all her might.
The Hindu follower approached the young girl and sympathetically spoke, “My dear child. You must be as tired as me. You carry a heavy load!”
The girl corrected, “What you carry is weight. What I carry is my brother, not weight.”
The follower’s load feels heavy because he does not possess love. Love provides us with the strength to face adversities with ease. Life is meaningful when we live with true love and aim toward clear ideals.
Love requires sacrifice. Without love, a sacrifice will definitely feel like a burden. This world will become more beautiful if everyone shares responsibilities and obligations that benefit the collective, including family, community, and religion.
Everyone lives a meaningful life while shouldering a very gentle burden together and sharing fraternal love as we aspire toward that common, lofty goal.
From these short vignettes, I summarize the main points in the following poem:

Mindful Leadership

·       Deep listening and sympathy
·       Calm in all instances
·       Harmony from accordance
·       Sound and wise decisions
·       No anger, ignorance, flattery
·       Hone the Four Assistant Methods (Tứ Nhiếp Pháp)
·       Maintain a pure mind
·       Define Mindful Leadership


Nowadays, technology and science continue to advance at a rate that far exceeds that of spiritual development. Whether we are monastics or lay followers, leaders or young members of the VBYA organization, male or female, young or old, members or not members of VBYA—as Buddhists, we need to practice and apply Buddhism with solemnity to transform ourselves and surroundings. We need to mend our flaws and bad habits to gradually better ourselves. In addition, we need to fulfill our duties and obligations whenever and wherever possible with fervor. Accepting our roles, duties, and responsibilities as a VBYA leader with utmost genuineness, we practice mindfulness to radiate the energy of compassion and wisdom. These spiritual energies will nourish and strengthen our younger members. That is the essence of mindful leadership. Dear friends, let’s commence our journey. 

Translated by Quang Tran, Edited by Phe Bach

*Bài này đã được trình bày cho Trại Huấn Luyện A Dục Lộc Uyển của Miền Liễu Quán, năm 2016. Bài này có thể là bài học chính thức cho trại Huấn Luyện từ đây trong tổ chức GĐPT.