Midwest Moon Sangha

Midwest Moon Sangha

"Every breath we take, every step we make, can be filled with peace, joy, and serenity."
- Thich Nhat Hanh







What is Midwest Moon Sangha

Midwest Moon Sangha is a community in St. Louis Missouri area that practices engaged Buddhism in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh (Thay). “Sangha” is a spiritual community, connected by the practice of mindfulness, walking together on the path of liberation. Through our weekly Sangha practice of sitting and walking meditation, reading Thay’s words, participating in Dharma discussions and chanting, participants learn how to be more compassionate.

About Thich Nhat Hanh:

Thich Nhat Hanh (known as “Thay” by his students) is a Vietnamese Buddhist Zen Master, poet, author and peacemaker who was nominated by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for a Nobel Peace Prize in 1967. Born in central Vietnam in 1926, he became a monk at the age of 16. In 1966 at the age of 40, Thay was exiled from Vietnam because of his commitment to peace. A model of “engaged Buddhism”, he and the monastic community reside in Plum Village in the south of France.

Mindfulness Meditation Practice:

A weekly practice composed of two forty-five minute segments. In the first hour, practitioners sit silently for 20 minutes, then practice a short walking meditation, followed by another sitting meditation which might be guided. The second hour includes a reading, then Dharma discussion in which all participants are invited to share their experience and discuss the reading. Practice concludes by affirming: “May the fruits of our practice benefit all beings.”

Sitting Meditation Practice:

“Sit or lie down in a way that allows your body to rest. Sitting, your head and spine form a straight line. Relax all your muscles. Find a way of sitting that allows you to sit for at least 20 minutes without becoming too stiff or tired. As soon as you sit down, pay attention to your breath. Then notice your posture, a little bit everywhere. Relax the muscles in your face. If you are angry or worried, those muscles will be tense. Smile lightly, and you will relax hundreds of muscles in your face. Then notice your shoulders, and let go of the tension there. Don’t try too hard. Just breathe mindfully, and scan your whole body.”

Walking Meditation Practice:

“Walk more slowly than you usually do, but not too slowly, while breathing normally. Do not try to control your breathing. Walk along this way for a few minutes. Then notice how many steps you take as your lungs fill and how many steps you take as they empty. In this way, your attention includes both breath and steps. You are mindful of both…. Your half-smile brings calmness and delight to your steps and your breath…. After a few hours of serious practice, you will find that the four of them — the breath, the counting, the steps, and the half-smile — blend together in a marvelous balance of mindfulness. This is equanimity, created by the practice of walking meditation. The four elements of breathing, counting, stepping and the half-smile become one.” Thich Nhat Hanh, A Guide to Walking Meditation.