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Welcome to Oak Sangha

 The Oak Sangha is part of the Community of Interbeing, which is the name given to the network of people around the world who practise Mindfulness meditation, following a Buddhist path according to the teachings of Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh (Thây as we call him, meaning “teacher” in Vietnamese – see short biography below). In order to support the growing numbers of practitioners in our tradition, the Community of Interbeing has established a network of local UK Sanghas, each with their own activities and contacts. Currently, there are over 90 Community of Interbeing Sanghas in the UK.  (Community of Interbeing UK – registered charity 1096680.)

The Oak Sangha meets in the town of Hexham in Northumberland. We practice Mindful Living. Our regular meetings include guided and unguided meditations; walking meditation; readings with reflection and sharing opportunities over a cup of tea. We meet on Saturday afternoons, but not every one, so please contact Gavin or Bernadette for information – telephone and email details are at the top of the right-hand side of this page.





retreats in Dorset, Derbyshire and Nottingham





(Pictures on right – retreat gatherings from around the UK – Dorset, Nottingham and Derbyshire.)





Short Biography of Thich Nhat Hanh

Thich Nhat Hanh, born 11 October 1926 in central Vietnam, is an expatriate Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk, teacher, author, and peace activist. He joined a Zen monastery at the age of 16, studied Buddhism as a novice, and was fully ordained as a monk in 1949.

In the early 1960s, he founded the School of Youth for Social Services (SYSS) in Saigon, a grassroots relief organization that rebuilt bombed villages, set up schools and medical centres, and resettled families left homeless during the Vietnam War. He travelled to the U.S. a number of times to study at Princeton University, and later lecture at Cornell University and teach at Columbia University. His main goal of those travels, however, was to urge the U.S. government to withdraw from Vietnam. He urged Martin Luther King Jr. to oppose the Vietnam War publicly, and spoke with many people and groups about peace. On January 25 1967, in a letter to the Nobel Institute in Norway, Martin Luther King nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize. Thich Nhat Hanh led the Buddhist delegation to the Paris Peace Talks. Exiled from Vietnam for many years, he has been allowed in recent years to visit and lead retreats.

One of the best known Buddhist teachers in the West, Thich Nhat Hanh’s teachings and practices appeal to people from various religious, spiritual, and political backgrounds. He created the Order of Interbeing in 1964, and established monastic and practice centres around the world. He offers a practice of mindfulness adapted to Western sensibilities and has provided us with a version of the Five Precepts (common to all Buddhist traditions) called the Five Mindfulness Trainings, which is a list of ethical guidelines (these are not commandments). Currently, his home is Plum Village Monastery in the South of France and he travels internationally leading retreats and giving talks. He coined a term translated into English as “Engaged Buddhism” – see the Glossary for more information.

Thich Nhat Hanh has published more than 100 books, including more than 40 in English. He also publishes a quarterly Dharma talk in the journal of the Order of Interbeing, the Mindfulness Bell. He continues to be active in the peace movement, sponsoring retreats for Israelis and Palestinians, encouraging them to listen and learn about each other. He has given speeches urging warring countries to stop fighting and look for non-violent solutions to problems; conducted a peace walk in Los Angeles in 2005, and again in 2007, attended by thousands of people; and urging support of the demonstrating monks in Myanmar.

The Community of Interbeing UK website has more information about Thich Nhat Hanh and the Order of Interbeing.  Go to  and follow the links on list on the right of that page.


To know about the worldwide C.O.I please follow the Plum Village link on the right.


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