Mindfulness Meditation in the Buddhist Tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh



The Mindfulness Community of Hampton Roads was founded in May 1992. Its mission is to provide a sangha, or community, to support those who practice Buddhism in Norfolk and elsewhere in Hampton Roads. Although formation of the Mindfulness Community of Hampton Roads was inspired by the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh, it became evident soon after its inception that there was a need to expand its scope to embrace the support of practitioners from all Buddhist traditions, as well as those who practice secular mindfulness and have an interest in Buddhism. 

All are welcome to join us in our practice, including beginners. We meet on the first and third Sunday morning of each month. (Click here for location, meeting time, etc.) Although basic meditation instruction is available for beginners, many in our group have received meditation instruction in some other context.

Our practice is an "engaged" Buddhist practice, with an emphasis upon living mindfully - maintaining purposeful, focused awareness throughout the activities of everyday life. Whether sitting, walking, or lying down; washing dishes, raking leaves, or cutting vegetables; enjoying a sip of tea, a child’s smile, or the beauty of a flower, we focus our full attention upon our present experience. (Click here for a review of mindfulness practices.)

  • We are aware of our feelings, breathing mindfully when strong emotions arise to help us regain our stability and calm. 
  • We are aware of our thoughts, and our tendency to become preoccupied with & distracted by our thoughts; we focus our attention on the breath to help us quiet our mind and be more fully present with what is happening in the present moment.
  • We are aware of our body, nourishing ourselves with wholesome food, and allowing ourselves to rest when feeling tired or stressed and aware that we need to stop, rest, & refresh ourselves. 
  • We are mindful of our actions, and do our best to act in ways that will benefit others and relieve their distress. 
  • We are mindful of our speech, aware that our words can create happiness or suffering, and that our compassionate listening can be healing.
  • We are aware of our perceptions, questioning their accuracy before acting upon them or allowing them to disturb our peace.
  • We are aware that everything is impermanent, and we more deeply value our own lives and the lives of those we love based upon this awareness. 
  • We are aware of the suffering of others, and do our best to alleviate their suffering and help them access the peace that is the birthright of each of us.

We are guided in our practice by the Five Mindfulness Trainings, Thich Nhat Hanh's articulation of the traditional five precepts of Buddhism. Rather than trying to live rigidly in accord with these ethical standards, we strive to keep them in our awareness as we are confronted with situations in our daily lives that have the potential to cause us suffering, or cause suffering to others. As time goes by, our awareness practice leads us naturally to live more and more in accord with these guidelines.  

When one lives with awareness, the desire to bring happiness to others and alleviate their suffering evolves naturally. To this end, our community has made the commitment to support worthy causes, such as construction & operation of schools in Hue, central Vietnam (the location of Thich Nhat Hanh’s root temple) and medical projects in cooperation with Hue College of Medicine & Pharmacy. (Click here for more information on our charitable projects.) Those who attend our meetings are encouraged to help support us in these efforts. 

 “A sangha is a community of resistance, resisting the speed, violence, and unwholesome ways of living that are prevalent in our society... A good sangha can lead in the direction of harmony and awareness." 


                                     - Thich Nhat Hanh