Dharma Outreach Program

Wake Up Southwest Tour: Utah State Prison Dharma Project

Wake Up Southwest Tour: Utah State Prison Dharma Project

The mindfulness practice transformed this cage into a place of peace and healing
— Utah State Prison Inmate

One of the most powerful teachings Thay has offered us is that the next Buddha may well be a Sangha, a community of practice. A community that offers teachings and practices of mindfulness, loving speech, and deep listening is a powerful force of transformation and healing in this world.

Thanks to your generous support, the Thich Nhat Hanh Foundation is actively engaged in supporting initiatives to strengthen our beloved community and bring mindfulness teachings to populations with low accessibility to the Dharma.

Community leaders are able to submit an application, which then undergoes a review process by our Grants Committee. Funding has supported initiatives such as monastic mindfulness tours, scholarships to make retreats more accessible, social justice and racial equity events, mindfulness teaching programs in schools and prisons, sangha building resources, transportation for Dharma Teacher travel, online Dharma resources, stipends to support local Days of Mindfulness and young adult outreach.

To learn more about the impract of the Dharma Outreach program, visit "Your Gifts At Work".

Dharma Outreach Program Highlights


Monastic Teaching Tour in Liberia

Bringing mindfulness to countries with little access to the Dharma

In 2016, your donations helped sponsor the first-ever mindfulness tour to Liberia, an African country torn by almost 15 years of civil war and poor living conditions. There, a delegation of nine monastics worked with the Peace Hut Alliance for Conflict Transformation, an NGO with a mission to build peace through compassionate dialogue, to bring food and Dharma teachings to social workers, women’s groups, ex-combatants, and local communities. Teachings on peace and understanding reached almost 11,000 people through mindfulness events at “Peace Huts” (conflict resolution centers), community gatherings, universities, and radio interviews.

The mindfulness practice transformed this cage into a place of peace and healing
— Utah State Prison Inmate

Utah State Prison Dharma Project

Creating a space for healing and Transformation in Prison

In the summer of 2016, three Wake Up (young adult) lay members organized a Wake Up Southwest tour with two lay Dharma teachers, offering mindfulness teachings to young adult and all-age Sanghas in Texas, Colorado, and Utah. While in Salt Lake City, the tour team visited the Utah State Prison Dharma Program, where inmates had been practicing mindfulness for over a year. A Five Mindfulness Trainings transmission ceremony was conducted, and four inmates committed to receive the trainings. The following week, one of the inmates was released, and he decided to go to school for social work and dedicate his life to ease the suffering in the world.

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Love Circle Sangha (New York, NY)

Mindfulness Events for People of Color

The Love Circle Sangha (LCS) Mahasangha Events Program supports wholesome understanding of the lived experience and dharma practice of people of color (POC), specifically within the context of practicing mindfulness and understanding. Funds to LCS helped realize multiple events in 2015 including a day of mindfulness for POC changemakers on the topic of right view, a POC weekend retreat at Blue Cliff Monastery, and talks, workshops, and panel discussions to foster embodied mindfulness practice for self-care. Attendees included frontliners and organizers working at the intersections of health/wellbeing, indigenous and earth-based knowledge systems, social justice, POC Buddhists practicing in various lineages, as well as the general public and those with limited exposure to Buddhist teachings or practice.

The place has touched my heart so deeply and I am so grateful I had the opportunity to go.
— Adam, scholarship recipient

Earth Holders Retreat Scholarships

Scholarships to increase retreat accessibility and diversity

Donations to the Foundation provided scholarships for 18 people of color and Wake Up members to attend the 2016 Earth Holders Retreat at Deer Park Monastery, significantly increasing diversity in age, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and life experience. The retreat aspired to nurture deep connection with the Earth and skillful engagement in climate and social justice. Retreatants practiced together in order to touch the suffering of the Earth and the suffering within themselves, and they learned that sustainability must be cultivated not only externally, but also internally. At least three new Sanghas, focused on Earth Holding, will be formed as a result of this retreat.

Community Resources

If your community would like to help share Thich Nhat Hanh's teachings with others, you may submit an application to request grant funding. To help you start or strengthen your sangha, we also provide sangha building resources such as the "New Sangha Handbook" and "Sangha in a Box" starter kit. Click on the following links to learn more.