The Order of Interbeing (OI) was established by the renowned Buddhist teacher, meditation master, author, and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh in 1966. It was intended to be a way to help alleviate the terrible pain and suffering Buddhists were experiencing during the Vietnam War. People who are ordained in the Order vow to study, practice, and observe the Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings of the Order. Dharma Teacher Fred Eppsteiner describes the Order of Interbeing as a wonderful blend of traditional Buddhist ethical, meditation, and wisdom teachings with contemporary social concerns. Today there are more than 1,000 lay and monastic men and women in the OI core community, and thousands more lay practitioners - those who have taken the Five Mindfulness Trainings - in the extended community.
The Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings are the basic guidelines of the Order. Fred writes that “by developing peace and serenity through ethical and conscious living, we can help our society make the transition from one based on greed and consumerism to one in which thoughtfulness and compassionate action are of the deepest value.”
People who are committed to this practice and wish to be ordained into The Order of Interbeing first commit to practice the Five Mindfulness Trainings, the basic Buddhist precepts for laypeople as developed by Thich Nhat Hanh. Later they study for a minimum of one year with a Dharma teacher and a mentor, commit to help develop and support their sangha, practice 60 days of formal days of mindfulness each year, and read the 14 Mindfulness Training every two weeks.