bonus material

You are the Earth: a call to awakening by zen master Thich Nhat Hanh

Earth, Interview

In the Rains Retreat of 2011, zen master Thich Nhat Hanh was interviewed by Jo Confino, journalist at The Guardian at the time, about our delicate relation with Mother Earth.

Thich Nhat Hanh’s sharing (67 minutes in length) is vital for all of us. It seems to me the most important interview and sharing of our time. So, please take your time to take in the wisdom of this humble zen monk, who looks at the enourmous challenges we face in a realistic and fearless way.

Thich Nhat Hanh says:

“We know that many civilizations in the past have vanished. And this civilization of ours can vanish also. (…) Our centery should be a centery of spirituality. To meditate does not mean that you get away from life, but you have the time to look deeply into the situation. Just look deeply into our mind, and find ways to to take care, to deal with the anger, the fear, despair in us. And if we do not do that, other things we do will not bring any result. So to meditate is the most basic, crucial thing to do. Whether we can survive or not, depends on it.”

By looking deeply we see that the outer reality we have created over the centuries is a reflection of our inner reality. That is why it is so important to come back to ourselves and look deeply into our mind, into our belief systems, into our physical bodies, and transform all the suffering we have inside ourselves.

The wisdom of inter-being and inter-dependence goes back to time of the Buddha. In the Diamond Sutra, considered the first text on deep ecology, we can read: ‘This is because that is’, this is manifesting because that has been manifesting. Everything has causes and conditions. The earth is warming up because the afflications of human beings have accumulated in such a way, that they start to manifest – through our actions – into the outer world.

So the invitation for every human being is to look at our personal suffering. By transforming our suffering inside, we will transform the reality outside. By cooling down ourselves, we will cool down the Earth.

So, everybody has a crucial task to play. It starts within ourselves. The way out of the climate crisis, is inside each one of us.

That is the inter-being nature of reality.


Please find more Earth interviews with Plum Village monastics on the bonus page of this website:

You are also invited to watch our documentary films about the Earth (available with subtitles in various languages):
– The Way Out:
– Rebel for Life:
– Dear Earth:

Please help us continue to bring mindfulness to the world through films and free bonus videos: