Weekly Sangha

Basic Practices

1. Breathing

2. Sounds

3. Gatha’s

4. Sharing

5. Sitting Meditation

6. Incense Offering

7. Walking Meditation

8. Eating together

9. Taking care of the body

10. Resting

11. Hugging

12. Caring for our emotions

Meditation Gathering

In our tradition, meditation gatherings are structured in a specific manner. The foundational practice is meditation. Sitting and walking meditation are the recurring exercises. Sharing with each other (dharmasharing) is always a part of the session. If there isn’t a lecture, a text or a poem is often read aloud for participants to reflect upon. Additionally, various collective exercises are possible.

The bowing

During a meditation gathering, we frequently bow to each other with our hands folded in front of our chest. Our teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh, says: “To bow or not to bow is not the question. The essential aspect is to have conscious attention for someone. Bowing to someone signifies making contact or showing respect for the Buddha nature in oneself and in the other person. When you see someone folding their hands and bowing to you, you reciprocate the same. As you breathe in, silently say: A lotus for you. As you breathe out, bow and say: A Buddha in the making. You do this with complete focus, entirely aware of the person before you. You bow with deep sincerity in your heart.”

Weekly Sangha

When: every Sunday

Time: 11:00 – 14:00 including lunch

Where: Amsterdam

Attent: as soon as we have a location you can attend here

Costs: 5,00 per gathering (for organising) + Dana

Refunds: until 4 weeks before start 50% refund, after that no restitution

In contemporary society, much suffering arises from our lack of connection with fellow individuals. Practicing together within a sangha (meditation group) can alleviate these feelings of loneliness and separateness, and foster the cultivation of joy and loving-kindness.


Often, we don’t even feel truly connected with those we coexist with, such as our neighbours, colleagues at work, and at times, even members of our own family. Everyone lives for themselves, detached from one another. By meditating alongside other individuals in a sangha, engaging in lectures by Thich Nhat Hanh and other teachers, sharing experiences and insights, walking and eating together – essentially, engaging in all these activities with fellow practitioners – we can develop and increasingly experience love and connectedness. Stemming from the secure practice space within the sangha, we can apply love, understanding, and kindness in our own surroundings: at home, in the workplace, and everywhere else.

We are interconnected

Thich Nhat Hanh’s perspective on the significance of the Sangha is as follows: “Why a sangha? Alone, we are vulnerable, but with brothers and sisters to coexist with, we can support one another. We cannot journey to the sea as solitary water droplets – we would be desiccated before reaching our destination. However, if we become a river, if we transform into a sangha, we will undoubtedly reach the sea. A sangha is a garden, abundant with a variety of trees and flowers. When we can regard ourselves and others as splendid, unique blossoms and trees, we can truly thrive in love and understanding for one another. One flower blooms early in spring, while another flourishes in late summer. One tree bears plentiful fruits, while another provides cool shade. Not a single plant is taller, shorter, or the same as any other plant in the garden. Similarly, every practitioner possesses their distinct gifts to contribute to the community. We also have aspects deserving attention. When we value each sangha member’s contribution and perceive our weaknesses as opportunities for growth, we can learn to coexist harmoniously. Our practice entails recognizing that we are a flower or a tree, and furthermore, that collectively, we constitute the entire garden – all interconnected.”

Non-hierarchical nature

An important hallmark of a sangha in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh is its non-hierarchical nature. Each member of the group has insights to offer others. Through the practice of meditation, coming together in silence, deep listening, and loving speech, the sangha creates the right conditions for love and understanding to blossom and be shared among one another. A Thich Nhat Hanh tradition sangha is characterized by the following principles:


► Everyone is welcome, irrespective of age, race, sexual preference, or belief.

► The group organizes and decides collectively; there is no hierarchy.

► All activities are conducted on a voluntary basis.

► No profit is made from the activities.

► The group is not reliant on sponsors.


Generosity as an antidote to attachment and greed Dana is a term derived from Pali and is often translated as generosity, voluntary giving, or donation. Generosity is regarded within Buddhism as a significant aspect of spiritual growth and transformation. Generosity serves as an antidote to attachment and craving, which are the sources of our suffering, stress, and discomfort (Dukkha), as explained in the Second Noble Truth.

Three forms of giving

It is also suggested that there are three forms of giving: giving as a beggar, giving as a merchant, and giving as a king. Note that there’s no right or wrong in this, but it’s important to reflect on the ways in which you practice generosity.

  • In giving as a beggar, we give away something we no longer need.
  • In giving as a merchant, we expect something in return (either now or later). This is a form of conditional giving.
  • In giving as a king, we give for the sake of giving, without expecting anything in return. This is unconditional giving.

Joy of giving and receiving

Generosity flows in two directions. There’s a giver and a receiver. The practice involves experiencing joy both in giving and in receiving. Can we experience joy in unconditional giving? And can we also experience joy in receiving? Some people find it difficult to receive with joy. For example, they might feel unworthy or that they must do something in return.

Giving from a balance of wisdom and love

It’s important that as you cultivate unconditional generosity, you continue to give from a balance of love and wisdom. When practicing dana, it’s crucial to do so with these two aspects in mind. For instance, if you have a family to support and you give away your entire savings to someone who buys a new car, this might demonstrate a lot of love towards the recipient, but it clearly lacks wisdom.

“I once had a participant in a retreat who shared how she had given a substantial amount of money to a new love interest. People around her had advised caution, but she admitted that she was “blinded by love” and aims to be more discerning in the future. This act of giving lacked a proper balance between wisdom and love. Recently on the radio, I heard about a Dutch woman who had an online love she had never met in person. He was consistently in financial need, and she regularly sent him money. It turned out she was embezzling from her employer to get this money. She worked in administration and every time she paid an invoice, she transferred the same amount to herself. This is clearly not a pure form of giving and it also contradicts the Buddhist precept, “not taking what is not freely given.”

Various forms of Dana

While we often associate Dana with monetary donations, Dana can take many forms. Look beyond the concept of financial transactions. Generosity can flow in numerous ways, such as offering volunteer work, giving a personally crafted painting, expressing appreciation, or even giving a hug or a smile.

Dana in a retreat

How much Dana should you give at a retreat? In Buddhist retreats, it’s customary for teachers not to charge for their guidance. In the West, it’s common for there to be a basic fee to cover expenses like center rental and food. The organization of the retreat and the guidance in the meditation process are then based on Dana. One reason is that the Dhamma, the Buddha’s teachings, are priceless. This way, both those organizing the retreat and the participants are invited to practice generosity. The organizers do so unconditionally. Dana isn’t payment for services rendered; it’s a gift from the heart. You can determine your Dana contribution based on your financial capacity. However, it’s valuable to assess where attachment or generosity might still be influencing your decision. Naturally, individuals with more financial means may feel more capable of giving a higher amount than those with less financial resources.

Care to join us?

You can come to our Sangha and join our practice every week. We just need a confirmation of your arrival, so we can guarantee we have enough space for you. If you like to know more about how this all works, you can also send an email. Please introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your experience with Thay’s work, what you are expecting of meeting us or send us your questions. 

You can donate to the Sangha for:

  • …the rent of the location
  • …paying it forward (sponsor people who cannot afford to donate)
  • …food and drinks
  • …travel expenses for teachers

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