Monastics from Plum Village and Lay practitioners from around the world, in the tradition of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, have been invited to work with the Gross Natinoal Happiness Center (GNH Centre) in Bhutan to create workshops and programming for educators, youth and nuns during a tour of Bhutan in September of 2012. During the tour, workshops and activities will be offered free of charge, with the monastic and lay friends donating all of their time and energy.
This opportunity will allow for a unique relationship to be developed between Plum Village's recent work in the field of mindfulness and education and the Bhutanese initiative of Gross National Happiness.
What We Need:
In order make it possible for the Plum Village delegation (both monastic and lay) to travel to Bhutan from the 19th-26th of September 2012, we need your financial support to cover the expenses for plane tickets, accommodation, food, transport and workshops space. Please help us make this vision a reality. Thank you for your support and generosity.
Both Plum Village and the GNH Centre share the common aspiration of creating living and learning communities that result in profound personal and societal innovation and transformation. This tour would provide an opportunity for an exchange of knowledge, supporting the growth and capacity of the GNH centre.
There are several important groups that would be addressed on the tour, among them are:
In order to implement GNH values (mindfulness, meditation and contemplation) in both formal and non-formal educational settings, professors, teachers and school administrators etc. need to be trained and provided with concrete tools that support the development of their own practice and their ability to bring these tools back to their students.
Bhutan is in a phase of transition. Both the younger generation`s shift from the country to the city, and the introduction of international media, television and internet into Bhutan, provide unfavorable conditions for the young people`s cultivation of their spiritual and cultural roots.
3. Bhutanese Nuns
In Bhutan, Buddhist nuns are facing a difficult situation. They cannot be fully ordained due to local tradition, have a very low educational level and suffer from gender discrimination, which leads to low self-esteem. They will benefit greatly from the example of educated, ordained nuns in the Plum Village tradition.
Plum Village's Approach to Mindfulness & Education:
Mindfulness is increasingly recognized as an essential support for students, teachers, school administrators and parents. With increasing interest and research being done by the international medical community that has provided scientific basis for these findings.
Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh and the international Plum Village community have recognized the importance of creating sustainable and lasting programs in schools that support teachers, administrators and student’s happiness and harmonious well-being.
The Plum Village community’s approach to creating Mindfulness-based Education programs in schools has three main areas of focus:
Teacher/Administrator Training: This area focuses on assisting teachers/administrators to develop their own practice through workshops in schools and educators retreats providing them with nourishment and support, which they can bring back to their schools and classrooms.
Classroom Content: In addition to teacher/administrator training, Plum Village seeks to provide teachers with activities and techniques to use directly in the classroom based on the core practices of Plum Village.
Sangha/Community Building: Along with personal practice and classroom content Plum Village provides support and concrete approaches for building strong inclusive communities within schools with fellow teachers, administrators, parents and students.
The History of "Gross National Happiness":
The development philosophy, “Gross National Happiness (GNH) is more important than Gross Domestic Product (GDP)” was propounded by His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the Fourth King of the Buddhist Kingdom Bhutan in the early 1970s. GNH proposes a holistic and sustainable approach to development, which balances between material and non-material values, and has the conviction that development of a country must be human centered and manifest the conditions for happiness in all individuals. GNH directly addresses such global, national and mental challenges as climate change, pollution, stress-related diseases, entrenched poverty and insecurity, by pointing to non-material roots of well-being. It does this by integrating equitable and sustainable socio-economic development with environmental conservation, cultural promotion, and good governance
In 2011 the Prime Minister of Bhutan initiated the creation of the GNH Centre in order to manifest, in living practice, the philosophic values of GNH. One of the centers mandates is to incorporate values of mindfulness into Bhutan's education system in order to give educators and students concrete tools to cultivate their own happiness. Without this kind of systemic change, the values of GNH will remain a philosophic ideal. Through its work in education, the GNH Centre hopes to permeate the daily lives of ordinary people, positively impacting communities, workplaces and families throughout the country of Bhutan.
For more information please visit the following websites:
Bhutan Centre for Gross National Happiness:
Wake Up Movement:
Thich Nhat Hanh Facebook:
Bhutan Centre for Gross National Happiness Facebook:
The Bhutanese Government: "Wellbeing & Happiness, Defining A New Economic Paradigm":
Blog of Ha Vinh Tho PhD, Program Coordinator GNH Centre:
Centre for Bhutan Studies:
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With smiles of graditude,
The Mindfulness Bhutan Fundraising Team
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