Published Tuesday, 17 April 2012
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Zen master 85-year-old Thích Nhat Hanh passed on his mindfulness teachings on Tuesday before leading a meditation walk through the Stormont Estate.
An air of calm descended on Parliament Buildings for the visit and for a time, the cut and thrust of political debate was quietened.
The Vietnamese monk, affectionately known as Thay, gave a talk in the Senate Chamber during which he told the region's politicians that it was important to listen to others.
He also stressed the importance of focusing on the present.
I know that it is possible to live happily right here and now. I do not have to wait in order to start living.
Poet, peacemaker and human rights activist Thích Nhat Hanh
The event was sponsored by a number of MLAs, including Sinn Féin Junior Minister Martina Anderson.
"I actually had the privilege and opportunity to become involved in mindfulness and that happened during a period of my own life when I was in prison in Durham," she told the chamber.
"Little did I know then when I was given the book of 'The Miracle of Mindfulness' that I would not only meet the author of that book but I would meet him in Parliament buildings in Stormont."
The renowned author then led a crowd of several hundred on a meditation walk through the Stormont Estate bringing a message of peace in oneself and peace through the world.