A Plaque for Thich Nhat Hanh Crowdfunding Appeal

On 22nd January 2022 our much loved and respected teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh (Thay), passed away. He was 95 years old, and was with his monastic brothers and sisters at his root temple near Hue, in central Vietnam, where he has lived for the past three years. 

Ordained as a monk aged 16 in Vietnam, Thich Nhat Hanh soon envisioned a kind of engaged Buddhism that could respond directly to the needs of society. 

He was a prominent teacher and social activist in his home country before finding himself exiled for calling for peace. 

In the West he played a key role in introducing mindfulness and created mindful communities (Sanghas) around the world. His teachings have impacted politicians, business leaders, activists, teachers and countless others.

In January of this year the Plum Village Community in Scotland planted a plum tree in the community garden in the meadows in Edinburgh. This ceremony was on the day of Thays passing. In May we have visiting monastics from Plum Village France, who will conduct a ceremony and lay a stone plaque with the carved inscription “Peace is every step” – “Thich Nhat Hanh”. This is to commemorate and celebrate his visit in 2003, the first in the UK. The location also marks the start of a peace walk which went from the Meadows  to Princes Street Gardens. The plum tree is the true tribute to Thays visit but we would like to mark in some small way what the tree represents and the inscription “Peace is every step” in Thays words and own calligraphy seemed very appropriate. The plaque will be carved on a piece of riven Westmoreland slate 18″ by 12″ wide. Ian, our stone mason, was on the original peace walk with his children in 2003. Many of those who attended the tree planting ceremony were on the peace with Thay walk twenty years ago . 

Any contribution however small, will enable us to make this small tribute to our much loved and respected teacher, in the heart of Scotland’s capital city in the beautiful Meadows Community Garden.  

17th Annual Mindful Peace Walk, 26 March 2023 @ The Botanics

Please join us at Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, John Hope Gateway, Arboretum Place, Edinburgh, EH3 5NZ on Sunday 26 March 2023 at 10am for 10.00am-11.15am. Remember the clocks change that day!

This silent walking meditation is an open event. Before the walk begins there will be a brief introduction to mindful walking as a meditation practice.

This is not a protest or a campaigning event, so please do not use any banners. Our silence and togetherness in nature says it all at this time.

Children are welcome when accompanied by adults.

Please remember to wrap up warmly and note that no animals except Registered Assistance Dogs are permitted within the Garden.

Monastic Visit 24th May 2023

We have an exciting time coming up in May with a visit by eight monastics from Plum Village in France. There will be three main events during the day. We are still finalising the details but they will be posted here as soon as we have them.

Tree dedication and Mindful Walk from 12:30pm on the Meadows

The dedication ceremony will include unveiling a plaque. There is still an opportunity to donate to the cost of the plaque through a crowd funding campaign.

WakeUp event for younger sangha members at Edinburgh University

To be hosted by the chaplaincy. Details to be confirmed.

Mindful Communities: Building a Future Together

The Power of Compassion and Mindful Communication

Experience the deep roots of Mindfulness through interacting with a group from Thich Nhat Hanh’s monastic community. Learn how to act and communicate from a place of more compassion, peace and freedom, in our daily lives. Cultivating and sustaining nourishing relationships, we build resilience for ourselves and for the Earth.

This will be a ticketed public talk from 7-9pm at St Marks Unitarian church on Castle Terrace.

Click here to book your ticket on Eventbrite now.

Christmas Break and New Year Events 22/23

We won’t be having a live meeting at St Marks on 29 December but will have a little Zoom Be-in instead at 7pm. This is a chance to have a cup of tea together from the comfort of our own homes and share any poems, readings, anecdotes, songs, tunes, stories or pretty much anything that has touched you this year or that you think might be uplifting/inspiring or encouraging for others. We’ll play it completely by ear and just see what crops up, or doesn’t, and just relax together for a while with whoever comes.

If you aren’t already on our mailing list but would like to take part please fill in the contact form and Pete will add you to the list.

The next in person meeting will be as usual at St Marks on Thursday 5th January at 7:15pm.

Save the date 1: There will be a tree planting ceremony on 22nd January 2023 1:30pm at the Meadows Community Garden. This is to commemorate Thich Nhat Hanh’s first visit to the UK. He lead a walk from the Meadows in 2003.

Save the date 2: A group of monastics from Plum Village will visit Edinburgh on 24th May 2023. There will be a number of events on that day including a dedication of the tree.

More details of both events will be posted here and on our mailing list.

Morning of Mindfulness on Saturday 3 December from 9.30am to 2pm

“Most of us experience a life full of wonderful moments and difficult moments. But for many of us, even when we are most joyful, there is fear behind our joy…. Fearlessness is not only possible, it is the ultimate joy. When you touch nonfear, you are free.”

Thich Nhat Hanh, Fear: Essential Wisdom for Getting Through the Storm

We live in troubled times. Who knows what the future holds? The narrative of despair, fear, lack, antagonism, impending catastrophe grows with every newscast. Yet deep down we know that another future is possible. And the future begins in the present moment. Only by living in trust, faith, beauty, and joy can we create the future we want.

True joy is possible only when we acknowledge and accept the pain of living—grief, fear, rage, sorrow. Sometimes it is easier to do this in the company of compassionate friends. We will spend a day together exploring what gets in the way of joy, and experiencing joy through meditation, walking in nature, singing, and sharing from the heart.

“When you stay fully present with your feelings, your sensations, and the world around you, even when it seems dark and cold, joy will arise. Joy and suffering are two sides of the same coin.”

Cuong Lu, Wait: A Love Letter to Those in Despair

HALF DAY OF MINDFULNESS: Saturday 12th November from 9am – 1.30pm


Dear Friends

A wee reminder about the upcoming morning of mindfulness which will be led by Gill and Jess.

The focus will be on autumn and impermanence.

“The lifespan of a leaf and the powers of a leaf are like those of a Buddha, immeasurable. The same can be said for each one of us”

Thich Nhat Hanh

We will follow Interbeing practice with guided, walking, and silent sitting meditations along with touching the earth and dharma sharing.

Please bring some vegetarian food to share.

Autumn blessings to all from the Wild Geese Sangha.

Breathing for the Earth with Earth Holders Edinburgh

Join us for this month’s Breathing for the Earth, which will be taking place on Saturday 1st October, and will be a special event. We will meet at the earlier time of 12 noon at Coffee Saints for a mindful climate conversation, a space to share our feelings about the ecological crisis.
This will be followed, at about 1pm, by a public meditation and Bell Busking session outside in the square (by the Paolozzi sculptures), where we will play meditation bells (aka singing bowls) made from butane and propane gas cylinders, in a symbolic act of transforming the energy of fossil fuels into the energy of mindfulness. Please come to one or both parts of the event, and bring your friends!

For more detail about what to bring, and to let us know you’re coming, please check Eventbrite!

Breathing for the Earth: Bringing Stillness to Edinburgh City Centre image
Location of our public meditation

Read on for a letter from Robert:

The queue to pay respects to the Queen’s coffin.

Dear friends,

We’ve passed the equinox and the weather has become autumnal, by turns rainy and chilly. The mile-long queues to view the royal coffin have gone, as have the heaps of cut flowers from supermarkets and recycling centres.

I didn’t particularly want to join the queue*, so marked the Queen’s passing with a ceremony of my own: I went to scrump apples in Holyrood Park (which belongs to the Crown, of course). Since I picked them on Friday, the day after she died, but before Charles took the oath of Accession, does that mean they were technically interregnal apples, with no actual owner? Either way, they made a delicious crumble which, as it happened, we shared with friends on the day of the funeral.

What I did wonder, though, as I watched the endless queues and the blanket media coverage of what was, after all, the passing of one particularly well-known and -respected human being, a symbolic grandmother to more than one nation, was this: When will we see the mass outpourings of grief for the suffering and damage done to that great bodhisattva, our cosmic mother, Planet Earth? Are we as a society so disconnected from nature that we are not able to grieve when ancient woodlands are destroyed to make way for roads or high-speed rail lines, when floods and wildfires appear on our screens almost daily, when the mercury hits 40 degrees in England? Do we just numb our feelings with more consumption and carry on rushing faster and faster into an ever more ominous future?

Earth Holders bell made from a gas cylinder.

These questions may seem gloomy or depressing. In this culture, we are not exactly encouraged to explore uncomfortable feelings in public. But as Earth Holders, we believe it’s vital for us to get in touch with our feelings about the ecological crisis: to remain mindful and conscious of them, though not to be overwhelmed by them. For this reason we have decided it’s a good moment to hold a “Mindful Climate Conversation”, where we will be able to share our feelings about the ecological crisis. This will be followed by an outdoor session of meditation and Bell Busking, as described above.

We hope you can make it!

For the earth,

for Earth Holders Edinburgh

* PS: The word QUEUE is very accurate, as it consists of one letter doing something useful and four letters standing in a row behind it doing nothing at all. (Not an original or new observation but I though it was quite relevant.)

About Earth Holders Edinburgh

Earth Holders Edinburgh is a community taking mindful action for Mother Earth. We practice non-violent direct action for the sake of our beloved planet and all life. We see this as an integral part of our spiritual life, balancing the inner path of mindfulness with the outer path of action. We come from different spiritual traditions, and are open to members of all faiths and none. We draw strength and wisdom from our connection with nature and with the Earth. We are an evolving and inclusive group actively seeking new members. You can sign up to our newsletter or see our full purpose statement here.

The Silent Rebellion movement originated in Cambridge, where XR Cambridge has held several peaceful public meditations.