Celebrated Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh will speak at Google this month
Google has taken a vested interest in an 87-year-old Vietnamese Zen Buddhist Monk, Thich Nhat Hanh or “Thay”, to understand his teachings in hopes of ensuring their business is more effective and compassionate. Google invited Thay to run a full-day training session on its main Mountainview, CA campus.
Leaders from around the world have acknowledged Thay’s work. In fact, in 1967, Martin Luther King recommended him for the Nobel Peace Prize. Jim Yong Kim, current president of World Bank, has put to use one of the practices – to be completely compassionate to suffering people.
Oprah Winfrey interviews Thay about how he remains calm and peaceful in this world:
The planned discussion is to help companies create a deeper understanding of the inter-dependence and inter-connectedness of life and provide them with the basic tools to better assimilate mindfulness in their everyday work, product design and vision for technology that can alter the world. The event is set to end with walking meditation.
Thay has repeatedly warned that civilization could collapse from the damage being done by the economic system and provides another alternative that puts attention on happiness. Thay’s teaching is based on changing suffering of the past and future worries through mediation and positive living.
He said businesses can slow the running capitalism train down by focusing on their mistake that profit means success. Thay said for this to happen, the corporate world must consciously change its shift to the importance of bringing together spiritual principles into the everyday life. He said corporations that use mediation and mindfulness in the workplace can be inter-dependent and help them to suffer less. When employees are happy, the business can succeed.
Thay said meditation can help businesses who are bringing harm to the environment to change the way they operate, giving the corporation insight and views to lessen the damage. They said workplace mindfulness can keep employees from being overwhelmed by the work. However, the leaders in the business need to be a prime example for them to follow.
Thay is worried about technology’s destructive forces but does realize that it can do some good too. He’s called on CEOs in the technology sector to develop apps and other devices that will bring balance to the people.
Thay said when he speaks with Google and similar companies, he will tell them they should use their intelligence and goodwill to produce instruments that can help heal people. There’s no reason, he said, to throw away the devices when good use can be made of them. He said apps can be developed that will help people simmer their anger down.
Google invited the Buddhist monk in 2011 for a visit, and again asked for Thay to talk about innovation, intention and insight – each one a benefit for practicing mindfulness. They said Google’s staff wants to learn how to change their suffering like everybody else does.
He said society needs to wake up to save itself from the danger it’s currently in. And, when this happens, it can experience the journey of happiness. When one person stops suffering, they can help others to stop suffering, Thay said.
Thay also has a calligraphy exhibit at ABC Home in NYC. It runs through December 31.