Order of Interbeing | Tiep Hien
Order of Interbeing
Thich Nhat Hanh
The Order of Interbeing was founded by and continues to be inspired by Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, teacher, author, poet, and peace activist. Thay (teacher), as he is called by his friends and students, was born in central Vietnam in 1926. He became a novice monk in the Vietnamese Zen tradition at 16 years of age and received full monastic ordination six years later. By his early twenties he was a national known poet and writer, focusing his attention on ways to make Buddhist practice applicable to everyday life and social issues. During the 1960’s, as the suffering caused by the war between communist North Vietnam and US-supported South Vietnam intensified, Thay and other Buddhist clergy looked for ways to alleviate suffering and find a way to peace. In Vietnam, Thay established the School of Youth for Social Services (SYSS), a training program for young social workers wishing to bring practical aid and social support to war-torn villages. Realizing that the roots of the war were outside Vietnam as well as inside it, Thay agreed to come to the U.S. to represent the Buddhist clergy’s understanding of the war and its causes and consequences. In the U.S.…
What is the Order of Interbeing
The Order of Interbeing, Tiep Hien in Vietnamese, is a community of monastics and lay people who have committed to living their lives in accord with the Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings, a distillation of the Bodhisattva (Enlightened Being) teachings of Mahayana Buddhism. Established by Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh in Saigon in 1966, the Order of Interbeing was founded in the Linji tradition of Buddhist meditative practice and emphasizes the Four Spirits: non-attachment from views, direct experimentation on the nature of interdependent origination through meditation, appropriateness, and skilful means. The first six members of the order, ordained together on February 5, 1966, were colleague and students of Thich Nhat Hanh who worked with him relieving the suffering of war through projects organized by the School of Youth for Social Service. In joining the Order of Interbeing, they dedicated themselves to the continuous practice of mindfulness, ethical behavior, and compassionate action in society. Because of the dislocations caused by the war and Thich Nhat Hanh’s exile from Vietnam, no additional ordination into the Order occurred for fifteen years. Then, beginning in 1981, Thich Nhat Hanh invited into the Order some of the many lay and monastics students who studied and practiced with him…
Timeline of Community
1926 October 11 – Birth of Thich Nhat Hanh (TNH) (birth name: Nguyễn Xuân Bảo in Thừa Thiên, Vietnam) 1938 Birth of Sister Chan Khong (born Cao Ngoc Phuong in Ben Tre, Vietnam) 1942 TNH entered the Tu Hieu Temple Monastery as a novice monk 194_ TNH graduates from Bao Quoc Buddhist Academy 1949 TNH is ordained a monk 1950 TNH co-founded An Quang Temple in Saigon, Vietnam 195_ TNH Founded the Phoung Boi (Fragrant Palm Leaves) Meditation Center in the highlands 1956 TNH named Editor-in-Chief of “Vietnamese Buddhism” the periodical of the Unified Vietnam Buddhist Association 1958 Sister Chan Khong enrolled at the University of Saigon, studying biology 1960 TNH goes to the United States to study comparative religion at Columbia University and Princeton University 1961 TNH Teaches at Columbia University and Princeton University 1963 TNH returns to Vietnam Sister Chan Khong goes to Paris, France to complete her degree in biology 1964 TNH establishes the Van Hanh University, La Boi Press, and the School for Youth and Social Service (SYSS) Sister Chan Khong returns to Vietnam to work with the SYSS The Order of Interbeing is established 1965 TNH writes “Searching for the Enemy of Man” a letter to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.…
Structure and Organization
The Charter of the Order of Interbeing Chapter I: Name, Aim, Tradition A Buddhist community is formed with the name Order of Interbeing. The aim of the Order is to actualise Buddhism by studying, experimenting with, and applying Buddhism in modern life with a special emphasis on the bodhisattva ideal. The Order of Interbeing was founded within the Linji School of Dhyana Buddhism. It is grounded in the Four Spirits: the spirit of non-attachment from views, the spirit of direct experimentation on the nature of interdependent origination through meditation, the spirit of appropriateness, and the spirit of skillful means. All four are to be found in all Buddhist traditions. Chapter II: Basic Scriptures, Teachings, Methods The Order of Interbeing does not consider any sutra or group of sutras as its basic scripture(s). It draws inspiration from the essence of the Buddhadharma in all sutras. It does not accept the systematic arrangements of the Buddhist teachings proposed by any school. The Order of Interbeing seeks to realize the spirit of the Dharma in early Buddhism, as well as in the development of that spirit through the history of the sangha, and its life and teachings in all Buddhist traditions. The Order of Interbeing considers all…
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For the Aspirant
Voices of Order Members
The Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings offer clear guidance for living simply, compassionately, and joyfully in our modern world. They are a concrete embodiment of the teachings of the Buddha and the Bodhisattva ideal. Anyone who wishes to can live his or her life in accord with these fourteen trainings. To formally join the Order of Interbeing means to publicly commit oneself to studying, practicing, and observing the trainings and, also, to participating actively in a community which practices mindfulness in the Plum Village tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh. The minimum requirements for joining the Order of Interbeing, as established by the Charter of the Order, are that the aspirant: Be 18 years or age or older Has received the Five Mindfulness Trainings and the Three Jewels Practices with a local Sangha in this tradition Is committed to observing at least sixty days of mindfulness a year Has been mentored by members of the Order of Interbeing for at least a year, with the support of one or more monastic or lay dharma teachers who either have been directly mentoring the aspirant or who have been working with the OI mentors and, Is ready to begin the work of an Order Member:…
Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings
The Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings of the Order of Interbeing When individuals becoming members of the organization, they take the vows of the Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings in a formal ceremony. The First Mindfulness Training: Openness Aware of the suffering created by fanaticism and intolerance, I am determined not to be idolatrous about or bound to any doctrine, theory or ideology, even Buddhist ones. Buddhist teachings are guiding means to help me learn to look deeply and to develop my understanding and compassion. They are not doctrines to fight, kill or die for. The Second Mindfulness Training:Non-attachment to Views Aware of suffering created by attachment to views and wrong perceptions, I am determined to avoid being narrow-minded and bound to present views. I will learn and practise non-attachment from views in order to be open to others’ insights and experiences. I am aware that the knowledge I presently possess is not changeless, absolute truth. Truth is found in life and I will observe life within and around me in every moment, ready to learn throughout my life. The Third Mindfulness Training: Freedom of Thought Aware of the suffering brought about when I impose my views on others, I am committed not to…
Aspirancy Packet (2022)
The updated and revised Order of Interbeing Aspirancy Packet.
For the Member
The Order of Interbeing includes hundreds of monastic and lay members throughout the world. In order to facilitate better communication and connection with each other, we maintain this web site, maintain an official member directory, and offer two private email lists. Order of Interbeing Members should register with our Member Directory and update when changes are made with you contact information. Order of Interbeing members are encouraged to join our email lists. Both lists are private – must be listed in our member directory – and are supported by a moderator when needed. The list traffic varies. oi-announce OI-Announce is for SHORT messages, that announce something that is of great importance to the Plum Village global practice community. These might be, but not limited to, retreats with Thay, announcements on the availability of Dhrama talks etc. A short announcement would be 2-3 sentences. It basically gives the title of the event, dates, and contact info with perhaps one descriptive sentence. It is always good to include a link to a website where more details are available, registration forms can be downloaded, etc. oi-discussion OI-Discussion is meant for everything else, discussion items, announcements that are not short or are less directly…
Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings
We maintain the official list of Order members throughout the world. The data in the membership list is only available to other Order members unless you request certain elements to be hidden, in which case only site administrators will have access. If you have not provided us your demographic information in the past, please complete our Membership Form. To access Members Directory area, you must be an ordained member of the Order of Interbeing and you may login below. If you do not know your login information, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Login to Member Directory Username: Password:
The process of becoming an aspirant and receiving support and training varies depending on the region and on local circumstances. In a region in which the Order of Interbeing has been established for many years, there may be clearly defined procedures; Dharma Teachers and Order Members available to train and support aspirants; and a community of Order Members that meets regularly for recitation ceremonies, study, and days of mindfulness. In other regions an aspirant may have to travel a considerable distance to practice with an Order Member or Dharma Teacher and the training of aspirants may be much more informal. Aspirants should be mentored by members of the Order of Interbeing for at least a year, with the support of one or more monastic or lay dharma teachers who either have been directly mentoring the aspirant or who have been working with the OI mentors. Some models have been written and shared over the years. Below is a collection of mentoring models. Jerry Braza Chan Huy Joanne Friday Heartland Sangha Hunt Perry Jack Lawlor Lyn Fine Ian Prattis UK Sangha
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Voices of Order Members
Please enjoy this selection of voices from current Order of Interbeing members as they share about why they are members.
I became a member of the Order of Interbeing to express my aspirations of continuing the energy of Thay, the many teachers before him, and all of the beautiful practitioners all over the world. I aspire to grow my love and care for Mother Earth and humanity through the practice of the 14 Mindfulness Trainings. I hope to inspire young adults and people in various communities to walk the path of the Dharma with the Order of Interbeing.
Sara Henry, True Manifestation of Offering
Being a member of the Order of Interbeing is the most important part of my life. The 14 Mindfulness Trainings are my North Star and foundation for living a compassionate, purposeful life. It brings me great joy to know I’m part of a Mahasangha where my brothers and sisters in the Order of Interbeing all share the same core values and commitment to walking the path of a Bodhisattva. I can’t think of a greater way to dedicate my life than joining the Tiep Hien lineage.
Meena Srinivasan, True Seal of Peace
During Days of Mindfulness organized by sanghas in Philadelphia back in 2003-2007, I was “stopped” really, impressed and moved by OI Members who were leading us. One in particular, David Dimmick, inspired me with his gentle leadership, humility, deep listening and solidity. I was curious about those “Brown Jackets”. In early 2008, while on personal retreat at Blue Cliff monastery, I took up the Brothers’ invitation to use their kitchen in the evenings and read from the small library there of Thay’s books. I discovered the book, Love in Action, and was again “stopped” by it; stunned in a way. Here was courage, commitment, faith, love and what a life “lived as vow” (as Joan Halifax would say) looks like. Those experiences and others put me on the path to become a member of the OI in 2013. I am honored to embrace the 14 Mindfulness Trainings and do my best to live them for the benefit of all.
George Hoguet, Chan Bao Tieu (True Precious Smile)
To support my own personal practice, and to help me bring right mindfulness and unconditional love into my work and into the world.
Dzung Vo, Chân Tấn Uyển, True Garden of Diligence
I met Thich Nhat Hanh at a public talk in Berkeley in 1984 and was impressed with his idea that “If the West stops drinking alcohol by 50%, we could feed the world. I attended my first retreat in Santa Barbara, shortly after I was diagnosed with muscle invasive bladder cancer. This led me to join a sangha and later, to become an OI member.
Jerome Freedman, True Precious Light
I became an Order of Interbeing member out of love for the Buddha, the Dharma, the Sangha, and Thich Nhat Hanh’s teachings and model of compassion. I want to be of service and help people heal their suffering and live peacefully. In my experience, Buddhist practices – especially those in the Plum Village tradition – are some of the most deep, effective, and long-lasting ways to do that.
Natascha Bruckner, True Ocean of Jewels
I became an order of interbeing member because I wanted the support of the OI community for my practice and for sangha building. I also wanted to commit myself to the 14 Mindfulness Trainings, which I find to be one of the most beautiful expressions of loving-kindness for myself and the world, and very practical as well.
Annie Chalgian (Lake) Mahon, True Blue Lake
Did I choose to become an OI member, or did it chose me? I don’t know. I can say with certainty its possibility came into my life via the perfect people, at the perfect time, in the perfect way. Looking at it in the present moment, it continues a noble, needful, and vital way of life, which I aspire to make so, in each moment, for myself and others. Please – taste & see for yourself.
Gary – Chân Minh Đài, True Platform of Light
Rooting my life in the practice and direction of the wonderful 14 Mindfulness Trainings.
Healing, growing and living in a beloved community.
Translating and offering the dharma, where it is needed – in my case business and economics.
Dr. Kai Romhardt – True Precious Practice