Mindfulness, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is “the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis.” In Buddhist practice, mindfulness is also a type of meditation, focused on the breath. It can be done in the familiar posture—seated, cross-legged, eyes closed—or while walking, working or eating.
A special opportunity to learn more about mindfulness will be presented on Saturday, April 23 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Kohala Hongwanji Buddhist Temple in Kapaau. The Day of Mindfulness will be led by monastics from Plum Village, a secluded Buddhist monastery in France. Established by global spiritual leader and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh, Plum Village is home to the monastic Order of Interbeing.
Two members of the Order, Phap Nguyen and Phap Khoi, visiting Hawaii Island on family leave, will offer the local community a chance to experience mindfulness, including guided sitting and walking meditations, mindful (silent) eating, Dharma discussion, and a time for questions and answers.
“Phap Nguyen is Thich Nhat Hanh’s personal assistant,” said Michael Donenfeld, a member of the Order who lives in Hilo. “He will be able to answer a lot of questions about his health, his calligraphy, his 100+ books. And Phap Khoi is acting Abbott of Blue Cliff Monastery in New York.”
Donenfeld and other organizers emphasize that the opportunity to learn with the monastics is open to everyone, regardless of faith or meditation experience. “With this type of meditation you can learn to quiet the mind, to find inner peace and harmony, and live a happier life,” said Donenfeld. “A lot of transformation can occur, as far as releasing stress, living in the moment… When you are not worried about the future, or ruminating about the past.”
Participants are asked to bring their own lunch, and invited to join the monastics in their vegan diet for that meal, i.e. no meat or dairy products. Water will be provided. There is no charge to attend, and donations are requested. The Day of Mindfulness is a collaborative project of Kohala Hongwanji and the Peace Committee of Honokaa Hongwanji Buddhist Temple.
RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org , or call / text 808-640-4602.