Earth Touching


Here is the foot of a tree.
Here is an empty, quiet place.
Here is a small sitting cushion.
Here is the cool green of the grass.
My child, why don’t you sit down?

Sit upright.
Sit with solidity.
Sit in peace.
Don’t let your thoughts lift you up into the air.
Sit so that you can really touch the Earth
and be one with her.
You may like to smile, my child.

Earth will transmit to you her solidity,
her peace, and her joy.
With your mindful breathing,
with your peaceful smile,
you sustain the mudra of Earth Touching.

There were times when you didn’t do well.
Sitting on the earth, it was as if you were floating in the air,
You who used to wander in the cycle of birth and death,
drifting and sinking in the ocean of misperceptions.
But Earth is always patient
and one-hearted.
Earth is still waiting for you
because Earth has been waiting for you
during the last trillion lives.
That is why she can wait for you for any length of time.
She will always welcome you,
always fresh and green, exactly like the first time,
because love never says, “This is the last”;
because Earth is a loving mother,
She will never stop waiting for you.

Do go back to her, my child.
You will be like that tree.
The leaves, the branches, and the flowers of your soul
will be fresh and green
once you enter the mudra of Earth Touching.

The empty path welcomes you, my child,
filled with grass and little flowers,
the path among the fragrant rice paddy
that you walked on, holding your mother’s hand,
is still impressed in your mind.
Walk leisurely, peacefully.
Your feet should deeply touch the earth.
Don’t let your thoughts lift you up into the air, my child.
Go back to the path every moment.
The path is your dearest friend.
She will transmit to you
her strength,
her peace.

Your diligent awareness of your breathing
will keep you in touch with the earth.
Walk as if you were kissing the earth with your feet,
as if you were massaging the earth.
The marks left by your feet
will be like the emperor’s seal
calling the Now to come back to the Here;
so that life will be present,
so that the blood will bring the color of love to your face,
so that the wonders of life will be manifested,
and all afflictions will be transformed into
peace and joy.

There were times when you did not succeed, my child.
Walking on the empty path, you were floating in the air,
because you used to get lost in samsara
and drawn into a world of illusion.
But the beautiful path is always patient.
It is always waiting for you to come back,
the path which is familiar to you,
the path which is so faithful.
It knows deeply that you will come back one day.
It will be joyful to welcome you back.
It will be as fresh and as beautiful as the first time.
Love never says, “This is the last.”

That path is you, my child.
That is why it will never be tired of waiting.
Whether it is covered now with red dust
or with autumn leaves
or icy snow—
do go back to the path, my child,
because I know
you will be like that tree,
the leaves, the trunk the branches,
and the blossoms of your soul
will be fresh and beautiful,
once you enter the mudra of Earth Touching.

–Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh
from Call Me By My True Names: The Collected Poems of Thich Nhat Hanh

Stream or dowload audio meditations from the book Touching the Earth

Mindfulness Retreat for People of Color 10-24 through 10-28, 2012

Living Beautifully, Living Solidly: A Mindfulness Retreat for People of Color
Wednesday, 10/24 – Sunday, 10/28
Blue Cliff Monastery, Pine Bush, NY
click here for flyer 

“Through the daily practices of mindful living offered during the retreat, we will have the opportunity to reconnect with the beautiful sources of joy and peace within ourselves. Practicing to stop, rest, and listen deeply to our body and mind, we can rediscover and nurture the deepest roots of solid living. At the same time, we will also learn concrete ways to embrace and take care of our difficulties and suffering in order to open the path to healing and growth. Attendees: People of Native-American, African, Latina/o, Asian Pacific Islander, Caribbean, and Middle Eastern Ancestry (as well as a small number of their Caucasian family).”

Info and to register: / 845-733-4959 x21.

Day of Mindfulness, 11-10-12

Coming Home, A Day of Mindfulness

in the Tradition of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh
with Meditation Teachers Anh-Huong and Thu Nguyen

Saturday, November 10th, 8:45am-4:30pm
University City, Philadelphia

A wonderful introduction to mindfulness for beginners,
 this day welcomes practitioners of all degrees of experience,
inspiring and supporting each other as a family of practice.

When the world feels difficult, uncomfortable or frightening, we may feel like we want to “go home” to a place that is peaceful and solid, where we can relax, let go, and be who we really are. Mindfulness opens a path to that true home. In this daylong retreat, we will enjoy practices to rest, refresh and renew ourselves, including mindful breathing, mindful walking, mindful movements, mindful eating, and total body relaxation. All can be applied anywhere and any time, to help us to return to the true home within ourselves. There will also be a short talk on mindful living, and the opportunity to share and learn from each other’s insights and experiences.

Anh-Huong and Thu Nguyen have been practicing mindfulness for thirty years and have led mindfulness retreats in the United States since 1988. They are the principal Teachers of the Mindfulness Practice Center of Fairfax offering non-sectarian training in and practice of Mindfulness, and in 1992 were among the first students to be ordained as meditation teachers by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh.

Registration is now open!
Click here for more information and to Register.

There is no set fee for this retreat, and no one will be turned away because of cost. Financial support as appropriate to your circumstances is greatly appreciated. Donations are fully tax deductible. Wheelchair accessible. Public transportation and parking nearby.

Walking Meditation 9/19/2012

 In support of World Peace Day, all are invited to come & enjoy

A Walking Meditation with Peaceful City Sangha 

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012,
5:45-6:45 pm

Beginners welcome! Instructions in Walking Meditation will be provided.

The mind can go in a thousand directions.
But on this beautiful path, I walk in peace.
With each step, a gentle wind blows.
With each step, a flower blooms.

Walking meditation is a practice of mindfulness– of being fully alive and present right here and now. When we walk, we let go of all our thinking, worries and anxieties. We just enjoy walking. And the wonders of life reveal themselves: singing leaves, playing children, our own steps and breath. With every step, we come home, to ourselves and to the world. With every step we practice peace.

Please gather at 5:45pm at the South West corner of Rittenhouse Square.
(one block South of Locust Street and just West of 19th Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19103)

For more information, please email  info@ or call Sara at 215.852.4375.

 (click here for flyer)

Revised 14 Mindfulness Trainings Now Available (April, 2012)

The Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings for Engaged Buddhism are the precepts of the Order of Interbeing, the Tiep Hien Order, the core community of ordained monastics and laypeople practicing in the tradition of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. Sometimes seen as an expanded expression of the heart of the Five Mindfulness Trainings, the Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings can also be practiced by anyone who feels supported by them in nurturing a meaningful and happy life, and many people practice these trainings beautifully and powerfully without ever receiving formal transmission. A revised version of the Trainings was presented by Thay at the Great Ordination Ceremony in Plum Village, February, 2012, and a final version of this revision has now been updated and released. For the current revised text of the Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings, please click here.
“The Long Arm of the Fourfold Sangha,” a teaching by Thich Nhat Hanh about the origins and meaning of the Order of Interbeing and the Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings, is available in the online archive of the Autumn 2010 volume of the Mindfulness Bell, a magazine of the Plum Village (Thich Nhat Hanh’s) Community, p.4, and the audio version of the full talk by Thay is available on Thich Nhat Hanh Audio.
Peaceful City Sangha recites the Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings on the second Tuesday of each month. For more information about the recitation, please call Sara at 215.852.4375.

Day of Mindfulness for People of Color 6/9/2012

Living Beautifully, Living Solidly:
A Day of Mindfulness Retreat for People of Color
in the Tradition of Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh
Offered by the Monastics of Blue Cliff Monastery
Saturday, June 9, 2012
at New York Insight,
28 West 27th Street, 10th Floor New York City 10001

Through the practices of mindful living offered during the retreat, we will have the opportunity to reconnect with the beautiful sources of joy and peace within ourselves. Practicing to stop, rest, and listen deeply to our body and mind, we can rediscover and nurture the deepest roots of solid living. At the same time, we will also learn concrete ways to embrace and take care of our difficulties and suffering in order to open the path to healing and growth.
This Day of Mindfulness for People of Color is open to people of Native-American, African, Latina/o, Asian Pacific Islander, Caribbean, Middle Eastern ancestry (as well as a small number of their Caucasian family).
No pre-registration required, but it is important to R.S.V.P. at
The event begins promptly at 10:00 am. Please arrive 15 minutes before the event starts. A donation is requested to support Blue Cliff Monastery. No one will be turned away for lack of funds. Please bring a vegetarian lunch to support the practice of eating meditation. The practice of outdoor walking meditation will be offered, as well as sitting meditation and Deep Relaxation.
To view flyer please click here.
For further information about this retreat, please email Valerie Brown at, Angela Dews, or visit

2012 Mindfulness & Law Retreat at Blue Cliff Monastery

Cultivating Balance: A Mindfulness Retreat for Lawyers,
Judges, Law Students, and Law Professionals
in the Tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh 

Friday 6/22 – Sunday 6/24

Blue Cliff Monastery, Pine Bush, New York

“While the practice of law can be rewarding, professionally and personally, and a source of inspiration and justice, it may also be a source of great stress. More than ever, lawyers face business development demands, are driven by time demands with escalating billable hours, are future-oriented, focused on goal setting, and are trained to be highly judgmental, thinking our way out of a problem to a solution. This weekend retreat, designed for lawyers, judges, law professionals and law students, is an opportunity to slow down, to experience and enjoy the deep connection that comes with awareness of the present moment. The retreat will include periods of silence, dharma talks by Lawyer Dharma Teachers, discussions, and an opportunity to present questions to help participants learn ways to integrate mindfulness into life, family, and work. We will engage in nourishing practices – sitting, walking, and eating meditation, deep relaxation; and mindful dialogue – to cultivate the non-judgmental mind and nourish our hearts. Cosponsored by CUNY Contemplative Urban Law Program, Project for the Integration of SpiritLawPolitics, City Bar (NY) Contemplative Lawyers’ Group. Facilitators: Dharma Teacher Jack Lawlor, Dharma Teacher Leslie Rawls, Dharma Teacher Jeanne Anselmo & Order of Interbeing Member Valerie Brown.”
Please click here for full information / flyer.
Registration:  / 845-733-4959 ext. 21

March 31st, 2012 Sit in Peace with Thich Nhat Hanh

Sit in Peace with Thich Nhat Hanh: Trafalgar Square, London and Around the World
“Thich Nhat Hanh will guide a sitting meditation on Saturday 31 March in Trafalgar Square from 2:30pm. This is a free event and everyone is warmly invited to join in this celebration of peace within us and around us. Sitting meditation is one of the ways to contemplate peace. We invite you to sit together in silence, generating the energy of peace, solidity and freedom.” Groups around the world, including in Asheville, NC and Harrisburg, PA are organizing sitting meditation to coincide with the Trafalgar Square event. Organized by Wake Up London, “a group of young practitioners of the tradition of Thay, who are becoming well-known for organizing meditation flash mobs in central London every month.”
More info on the Trafalgar Square sit & cities participating worldwide
Watch a clip of the June 2011 Flash Mob meditation in Trafalgar Square

International WakeUp Movement web page


Saturday 3/31 Baltimore Day of Mindfulness with Meditation Teachers Anh-Huong & Thu Nguyen

Practicing the Art of Mindful Living: An All-Day Workshop with Anh-Huong Nguyen and Thu Nguyen
Not able to attend the April 21st Daylong Retreat in Philadelphia with these wonderful Teachers? Or want to enjoy even more? Check out this wonderful opportunity just an hour away in Baltimore! “On this day, we come together to learn and practice the art of mindful living as a community. The purpose of mindfulness practice is to experience and demonstrate that happiness is possible right here and how. We will learn to get in touch with our inherent capacity for healing and renewal that we usually take for granted in our busy lives. Dress comfortably and bring a mat, cushion for sitting, and blanket for deep relaxation. Some cushions and chairs will be available. 9:00-9:30am registration; 9:30-10:30 Introduction, guided meditation; 10:30-11 Mindful movements; 11-11:30 Indoor walking meditation; 11:30-11:50 Outdoor walking; 12-1:15 Orientation to mindful eating, Lunch; 1:15-1:45 Outdoor walking; 1:50-2:50 Deep relaxation; 2:50-3:45 Talk on mindful living/Discussion; 3:45-4 Sitting and closing circle. $80. $50-60 for those with financial difficulties. Please let us know in advance. Please bring a vegetarian dish to share at lunch, eating utensils and a plate. To register or for questions please send and email to: . Make checks payable toMPCF and send to: MPCF c/o AIS, P.O. Box 192, Timonium, MD 21904. Location: Baltimore Friends Meeting House 5116 N Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21210 (Just North of the Friends School and South of Cathedral of Mary our Queen). (Click here for Friends Meeting House website.)”

We are Live! Thanks Mia & YIKES!

Peaceful City’s New WordPress Website is now Live–Thank you Mia of YIKES Web Design and Development

Peaceful City is deeply fortunate to have been supported in the creation of our new WordPress website by Mia Levesque of YIKES–a local Fishtown firm whose outstanding and inspired work in web design and development is grounded in wholehearted dedication to sustainable business practices. YIKES is a member of the Philadelphia Sustainable Business Network, observes the triple bottom line of people, planet, and profit, and is committed to building a more socially, environmentally and financially sustainable local economy. YIKES’s office is located in a green (soon to be LEED certified) building, powered by 100% Renewable electricity through The Energy Cooperative, and 100% Replanted. They compost, recycle, use environmentally friendly materials and products, and have Volunteer Time Off (VTO) as one of their employee benefits. Mia’s wholehearted presence, caring, clarity and openness in every communication and element of the web design process have supported and inspired us. We thank and celebrate her and YIKES for these great gifts!