Thich Nhat Hanh on Technology

Mindfulness practice helps us understand how our daily habits affect our lives. So when we think about how much time we devote to our various electronic devices each day, we must ask ourselves: are we using technology mindfully? Or are we using it mindlessly?

Thay writing calligraphy at his hermitage in the south of France. Copyright © UBC, Inc.

Thay writing calligraphy at his hermitage in the south of France. Copyright © UBC, Inc.

Zen master and mindfulness teacher Thich Nhat Hanh (Thay) recently spoke on the omnipresence of technology and its effect on our lives:

We have to go back to ourselves, to our beloved ones, to nature, because electronic devices help us to run away from ourselves. We lose ourselves in the internet, business, projects and we have no time to be with ourselves. We do not have the time to take care of our beloved ones and do not allow Mother Earth to heal us. We are running away from self, family and nature.”

Thay, who is scheduled to give a series of mindfulness talks at software companies such as Google towards the end of this year, offered this thought in a recent interview with the British newspaper The Guardian:

"We need to have an awakening and when I talk to Google and the other companies, I will tell them to use their intelligence and goodwill to help us create the kind of instruments to come back to ourselves, heal ourselves," he says. "We do not have to reject or throw away all these devices but can make good use of them."

The tech companies have invited Thich Nhat Hanh as part of a broader effort to encourage responsible business practices, drive innovative product creation and promote mindfulness (along with happiness) among employees.

The Guardian wrote:

“He (Thich Nhat Hanh) plans to discuss with them how they can develop a deep understanding of the inter-connectedness and inter-dependence of all life and offer practical tools to better integrate mindfulness in their daily work, in the products they design, and in the vision they have for how technology can change the world. The event will end with the practice of walking meditation.”