Awakening Heart

Brother ChiSing

Thich Nhat Hanh

The Order of Interbeing

Awakening Heart Directors

"breathing in,
breathing out"
"flower fresh,
mountain solid"
"still water reflecting,
space free"
"I have arrived,
I am home"
"in the here,
and in the now"
"I am solid,
I am free"
"in the Ultimate,
I dwell"
About Awakening Heart (Community of Mindful Living)
Awakening Heart, currently based in Dallas, Texas, was founded by Brother ChiSing, M.Div., M.A., as a spiritual community inspired by the universal teachings and practices of the contemporary Buddhist teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh, and his "Order of Interbeing" composed of both lay and monastic members worldwide.

Awakening Heart Affirmation:
Noble Community, we gather here now
to honor the Way of Peace and Non-violence,
the Way of Wisdom and Compassion,
the Way of Joy and Beauty
in solidarity with one another,
with all Humanity,
and with all Life on Earth.

Friends on the Path, we gather here now
to deepen our solidity like a mountain
and to renew our freshness like a flower
through mindful sitting and walking,
mindful singing and breathing,
and mindful speaking and listening.

Sisters and Brothers of Awakening, we gather here now
to celebrate the One INFINITE LIGHT that shines
through many religions, many cultures, many teachers;
to practice the teachings of our ancestral teachers,
including Siddhartha Gautama the Shakyamuni Buddha,
and of our contemporary teachers, including Thich Nhat Hanh;
and to affirm our faith in the capacity
within ourselves and all persons,
both men and women of every race, orientation and class,
to realize full and complete Enlightenment.
Spirituality, meditation, and "The JOY of Mindful Living" are the basis of all our Sangha gatherings. Interfaith Buddhist spirituality, as it was originally intended by the Buddha, is not exclusively "Buddhist" but universally applicable and beneficial for people of all faiths. The word "Buddha" simply means to be "awake" or "enlightened," which is the potential in every person. Mindfulness is not limited to one religion, it is an ecumenical spiritual practice and a non-sectarian way of life that can benefit anyone and everyone, whether Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, or those of other faiths as well as the non-religious.

We are intentionally very beginner-friendly, and we warmly welcome and affirm people of all ages, religions, genders, ethnicities, sexual orientations, abilities and levels of meditation experience. We especially welcome those who have been spiritually abused by religious fundamentalism and who are seeking a safe refuge for inner healing within genuine spiritual community.

Whoever you are, and wherever you are on life's journey, you are welcome here. "I have arrived, I AM HOME."

Welcome to "AWAKENING HEART: Community of Mindful Living" an Interfaith, Integral and Inclusive spiritual community inspired by the engaged "Unified Buddhist" tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh ("Order of Interbeing") and the new "ONE DHARMA" tradition which practices the essential insights of the Theravada and Mahayana schools of Zen, Pure Land and other lineages in a contemporary way. We also honor the paths of Yoga, Qigong, and other genuine spiritual practices.

If you are new to Interfaith Buddhist practice or to our tradition, you may be unfamiliar with some of the forms we use, such as bowing, sitting, walking, chanting or sharing. What matters is not the outer forms but the inner essence of what we are all about, which is simply and deeply to awaken as our True Self, Buddha Nature. Please feel free to practice comfortably in your own way. You do not need to feel obligated to do anything here other than to honor your own Heart.

It is not necessary for a person to enjoy every single practice here to benefit from the Sangha. We present several different practices so that everyone will find at least one practice that deeply nourishes them. If you can focus on even just one practice, then eventually the other practices will also begin to resonate with you as well.

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Founder Brother ChiSing Brother ChiSing, M.Div., M.A. was an Interfaith retreat facilitator, spiritual director, ritual artist, musician, and the founder of "Awakening Heart." He was also a former Community College adjunct professor of World Religions. He was born and raised in Texas, lived in California for ten years, and spent the last ten years of his life in Dallas, Texas, near his family. He received a B.A. in Religion from a Protestant university, a M.A. in Spirituality from a Catholic college, and a Master of Divinity degree from a Unitarian Universalist seminary.

His primary meditation teacher was the Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh, and he was ordained by him into the "Order of Interbeing" (Unified Buddhist Church) in 2003 with the spiritual name of "True Wonderful Happiness." He was also commissioned into ministry by a congregation of the United Church of Christ (UCC) in 1995.

Some of Brother ChiSing's Awakening Heart writings:
Messages from Brother ChiSing
Intermindful News Brother ChiSing's Writings Brother ChiSing's Letters to the Sangha
In the past, he has collaborated on several events and retreats with S.F. Bay Area spiritual teachers Matthew Fox (Creation Spirituality, Original Blessing, Techno Cosmic Mass) and Christian de la Huerta (Q-Spirit, Coming Out Spiritually, Revolutionary Wisdom). He has led and spoken at several retreats for Interfaith, Buddhist, and Christian communities from as small as 10 to 80 persons to as large as 300 to 800 persons, and he founded three young adult spiritual/social/discussion groups in San Francisco, Berkeley and Los Angeles, as well as a large meditation community in San Francisco. He has also served as a Youth Director, Children's Director and Religious Education Director at various churches. He is the founder of the Dallas Meditation Center, "Awakening Heart" (Community of Mindful Living) and "One Dharma" (Houston, TX).

Brother ChiSing's vision for ministry included encouraging Buddhist, Christian and other faith communities to practice Mindful Spirituality in an Interfaith Earth-based way, with an emphasis on creativity, music and the arts.

On the morning of March 8, 2016, after living with nasopharyngeal carcinoma for two and a half years, Brother ChiSing passed from this physical life in his sleep.

Some of Brother ChiSing's Interfaith work:

  • facilitated meditation retreats for college students at the University of North Texas (UNT) in Denton and the University of Minnesota (UMN) in Minneapolis
  • preached at several Unitarian Universalist churches in Texas and UCC congregations in California on "Interfaith Buddhist Spirituality"
  • facilitated music and ritual for Interfaith services at the Unity Church of Dallas, the Center for Spiritual Living, and other New Thought communities
  • facilitated "Interfaith Christian" retreats co-sponsored by the Minnesota Council of Churches and UCC congregations
  • facilitated a workshop on "Gifts of Asian Spirituality for Christians" at the General Conference of the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches (UFMCC)
  • keynote speaker on "Buddhist Spirituality" at the Annual Forum for The Center for Progressive Christianity (TCPC)
  • keynote speaker on "Spirituality and Activism" at the "Re-Energize Texas" conference for young adults regarding climate change issues at the University of Texas (UT) in Austin
  • guest speaker at several churches, sanghas, conferences, centers, etc.

See Brother ChiSing's website with his music and books.

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Thich Nhat Hanh Thich Nhat Hanh (affectionately called "Thay" by his students) is a world-renowned Buddhist teacher of the "Art of Mindful Living." Millions around the world from all faiths have benefited from his over 80 published books and his family-friendly meditation retreats for beginners. He has many Jewish and Christian students, several of whom are priests, rabbis and ministers. Thomas Merton, the famous Catholic author, called him a true brother and friend. And Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1967. Some of his books have become national bestsellers, including the classic: Living Buddha, Living Christ, an inspiring book on Interfaith dialogue and spiritual practice in modern times.

In collaboration with his community, he has authored Fourteen principles as the foundation of his spiritual work in mindfulness. Here is one of them:

Nonattachment to Views
Aware of the suffering created by attachment to views and wrong perceptions, we are determined to avoid being narrow-minded and bound to present views. We shall learn and practice non-attachment from views in order to be open to others' insights and experiences. We are aware that the knowledge we presently possess is not changeless, absolute truth. Truth is found in life, and we will observe life within and around us in every moment, ready to learn throughout our lives.

Thich Nhat Hanh is contributing to a gentle, transformative revolution in religion, ecology, education and social action through this compassionate, non-dogmatic and practical approach to spirituality and life.

Each year in late summer/early autumn, Thay and dozens of his monastic disciples come to the United States to facilitate retreats in Massachusetts, Vermont, Colorado, California and other states.

For more information, you may visit Thich Nhat Hanh's websites at:

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Awakening Heart is a mindfulness meditation community based on the teachings and practices of the "Order of Interbeing" (Tiep Hien) in the engaged "Unified Buddhist" tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh.

Interbeing The aim of the Order of Interbeing is to actualize Buddhism by studying, experimenting with, and applying Buddhism in modern life with a special emphasis on the Bodhisattva ideal (of compassionate solidarity).

The Order of Interbeing was founded within the Linji (Rinzai) School of Dhyana (Zen) Buddhism (and is also blended with the best insights of the Theravada and Pure Land Schools of Buddhism in a contemporary way). It is grounded in the Four Spirits:

  1. the spirit of nonattachment from views,
  2. the spirit of direct experimentation on the nature of interdependent origination through meditation,
  3. the spirit of appropriateness, and
  4. the spirit of skillful means.
All four are to be found in all Buddhist traditions.

The Order of Interbeing does not consider any sutra or group of sutras as its basic scripture(s). It draws inspiration from the essence of the Buddhadharma in all sutras. It does not accept the systematic arrangements of the Buddhist teachings proposed by any school. The Order of Interbeing seeks to realize the spirit of the Dharma in early Buddhism, as well as in the development of that spirit through the history of the Sangha, and its life and teachings in all Buddhist traditions.

The Order of Interbeing considers all sutras, whether spoken by the Buddha or compiled by later generations, as Buddhist sutras. It is also able to find inspiration from the texts of other spiritual traditions (such as Judaism, Christianity, Taoism, Earth Spirituality, etc.) It considers the development of original Buddhism into new schools a necessity to keep the spirit of Buddhism alive. Only by proposing new forms of Buddhist life can one help the true Buddhist spirit perpetuate.

The Order of Interbeing rejects dogmatism in both looking and acting (and affirms understanding, compassion, peace, happiness, open-mindedness, creativity and reconciliation). It seeks all forms of action that can revive and sustain the true spirit of insight and compassion in life.  It considers this spirit to be more important than any Buddhist institution or tradition. With the aspiration of a bodhisattva, members of the Order of Interbeing seek to change themselves in order to change society in the direction of compassion and understanding by living a joyful and mindful life.

To protect and respect the freedom and responsibility of each member of the community, equality is enjoyed between men and women, between persons of diverse orientations, between persons of various ethnicities, and between monastics and laypeople in the Order of Interbeing.

The Order of Interbeing does not recognize the necessity of a mediator between the Buddha and lay disciples, between humans and ultimate reality. It considers, however, the insight and experiences of ancestral teachers, monks, nuns, and laypeople, as helpful to those who are practicing the Way.

The mindfulness trainings (five and fourteen precepts) of the Order of Interbeing reflects the life of the Order, which considers spiritual practice as the base of all social action. The Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings.

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Bobbie Perkins, Executive Director, See biography
Cornell Kinderknecht, Operations Director, See biography

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