Retreat with Shantum Seth

Life Positive, October 2006.

Sheltered within a grove of dense luxuriant trees, in a beautifully secluded corner on the sides of Malabar Hill, a group of practitioners spent a day with Dharmacharya Shantum Seth, meditating and listening to teachings from the Buddha Dharma.

Dharmacharya Shantum Seth is an ordained teacher in the Zen (dhyana) tradition and a disciple of the Vietnamese Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh. He has been teaching for the last 20 years or so, and the group had the benefit of learning first hand from him, the art of being in the here and now. He led the group through creatively unstructured and informal exercises like observing the breath, walking meditation, even eating an orange mindfully! As he put it, quoting a Buddhist master, “It is not a miracle to walk on water…Walking on earth is the real miracle….To get across the water one just needs to pay the boatman a little!”

If we are to become peace, we have to carry over our meditation sessions to everyday life. As Shantum says, “The red traffic is like an invitation by the Buddha to Stop! Observe your breath, be in the here and now.” So is the ring of the telephone bell.

Says Lakshmi Nayyar, “I simply loved the Day of Mindfulness at Shantivan yesterday – it will be an experience that I will always cherish. ….After reading Thich Nhat Hanh’s books, I had always wanted to experience some of the simple meditation techniques he mentioned and my wish was granted yesterday. I have been trying out telephone and eating meditation today at office – it changes the way the telephone sounds and you learn to look at food as a gift and a blessing.”

“The Day of Mindfulness” was organized by the Dharma Rain Centre for Buddhist Studies on September 3rd, 2006.

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