W. Edward Bureau, PhD (Cochranville, Pennsylvania): Leading From Compassion

Flowing in Dr. Phe Xuan Bach’s prose and poetry are notions of intentional mindfulness within ourselves and with others. The universality of Dr. Bach’s conceptualization of compassionate, mindful, and peace-based leadership transcends time, nations, and contexts; it can move us toward completeness within ourselves and without with others.

A practicing Buddhist, Dr. Bach weaves the Dharma into both a concept and practice of leadership that transcends the common definitions of it in the West. Deeply he defines and practices “mindful leadership,” which is “leading from the inside out.” Becoming a mindful leader is nurtured through daily meditation, a practice that grounds us with stillness in which we hear the need for compassion.

Mindful leadership is existential in nature, both timely and timeless. Such is the core of leadership that is being always present in this moment that we share with others. That notion is at the heart of the outreach Phe does to educators throughout California, training them to bring mindfulness into classrooms. Doing so has verifiable mental and physical health benefits for educators and students, but the mindful approach to teaching and learning also creates contexts of compassion and peace.

As leaders, whether in the classroom or elsewhere, we embody what we teach others – the practices of mindfulness. We become examples of mindful leaders who are compassionate, forgiving, and peaceful, embracing the beautiful complexities of ourselves and other human beings. In our moments together we seek harmony that springs from the wells of empathy and of suspending judgment about each other.

Leading ourselves and others through change, metaphorically, is the water in the river flowing around the rocks, always moving, always flowing. We learn to embrace change and let go of what we cannot control. As mindful leaders, our daily practice helps us find a constancy in the milieu of change and peace in helping others navigate what would seem to be troubling waters.

Flowing beneath and throughout Phe’s poems and prose are soothing currents of letting go, of reassurance that mindfulness and compassion can nurture sustainable peace within ourselves and others. May Phe’s writings give us a pause for reflection and transformation.

W. Edward Bureau, PhD
Cochranville, Pennsylvania
May 2019

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