Thich Nhât Hańh has gone Hollywood.
Sort of. The meditative film Walk With Me will have its world premiere this week, from March 10th through March 19th, at the South by Southwest Festival (SXSW) in Austin, Texas. I am ecstatic over this news!
In this beautifully done cinematic endeavor, we are taken on a phenomenal journey, with unprecedented access inside the monastic community, led by one of the most widely-read and followed spiritual teachers of our time—Zen master Thich Nhât Hańh, or “Thay” as we affectionately call him.
In Walk With Me, we get to follow the story of these monastics who have given up all their possessions and signed up to a life of chastity for one common purpose—to transform their suffering and practice the art of mindfulness with the master himself. The trailer alone brought overwhelming emotions up in me, as Thay is my teacher, and he has been most influential in my own personal transformation and journey.
I’ve also heavily considered entering into a Buddhist monastery, because I find such refuge from the chaos of the world in the teachings of Buddhism and the sacredness of the sangha found there.
I couldn’t say it any better than these words taken from the home page for Walk With Me:
“Filmed over three years in Plum Village monastery in rural France and on the road in the USA, this visceral film is a meditation on a community grappling with existential questions and the everyday routine of monastic life. As the seasons come and go, the monastics’ pursuit for a deeper connection to themselves and the world around them is amplified by insights from Thich Nhât Hańh’s early journals, narrated by Benedict Cumberbatch.”
At a time in my life during which I was trapped in massive suffering of my own making, I found Thay’s teachings through his books: Living Buddha, Living Christ, The Art of Communication, Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames, The Miracle of Mindfulness and Start Where You Are. These are just a few of his books that have guided me on my path of practicing a mindful way of life.
To me, Thay is the embodiment of Buddhism—a beautiful, gentle soul who teaches with love.
He teaches the wisdom of Buddhism in such a way that anyone, regardless of religious upbringing, can embrace the practices of mindfulness and being present. And I can’t help but excitedly imagine how many people can be exposed to the wisdom found in his teachings now that there is a mainstream movie out there for the world to experience.
Thay introduced me to a way of seeing myself in all of my humanness—a way I had never known before. It was one of loving-kindness, compassion, humor, and starting with ourselves. As I moved from book to book, I devoured his good-natured acceptance of the flaws of our human condition (anger, greed, insecurity, and fear). And all this was started with a simple book that lit a fire within me and brought me to the ancient knowledge that aligned with everything I had been searching for.
Mindfulness can be practiced by anyone, regardless of age, color, religion, or ethnicity—so I encourage you, if you haven’t seen it yet, to watch the trailer below. It is sure to open your heart and inspire you. And then, why not share it with someone you love?
Author: Lindsay Carricarte
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina