Monthly Archives: February 2010

Poetry and Music for Tet

Tet 2009 in Bruxelles

Image by jepoirrier via Flickr

February 13, 2010. This 2-hour dharma talk in Vietnamese, with translation into English, was given by Thich Nhat Hanh in Dharma Cloud Temple, Upper Hamlet, Plum Village.

On the eve of the Tet celebration, we are offered a very special dharma talk by our Teacher. Over the course of two hours we hear poetry sung beautifully by solo monastics while Thay provides background and discussion. You have to sing the poem and every time you sing the poem you put it to new music depending on the person. Much of the poetry is about the culture and society of Vietnam.

The talk is finished with 12 points given to Vietnam in honor of the 1000 year anniversary of the establishment of Hanoi.

I apologize for the delay in posting this talk, as Tet is now complete and the winter retreat at Plum Village has ended.

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Attadanda Sutta (Part II)

February 11, 2010. This 90-minute dharma talk in Vietnamese, with translation into English, was given by Thich Nhat Hanh in Dharma Cloud Temple, Upper Hamlet, Plum Village.

This is the second part of the Absolute Truth (Attadanda) Sutra #16, a sutra on Transforming Violence and Fear.  The first part is available here. This talk covers the sixth and seventh stanzas of the sutra.

6. Don’t let yourself be caught by any of the entanglements of life. We must know to cut through the roots of errors and disorder. Let go of them. Stop leaning on them.  If you can let go of wrong desires, you can overcome all suffering. Practitioners must transcend the cycle of suffering in order to realize their career of liberation.
7. A real practitioner must have a sincere mind. He doesn’t do anything based on his wrong perceptions. He just walks straight on his path and he doesn’t speak with two tongues. He must know how to extinguish the fire of hatred and anger. He must know how to break through the obstacles of ambition in him. If he knows how to unravel the net of afflictions, he will start to see the shore of liberation.

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How to Face Violence and Fear

February 7, 2010. This 60-minute dharma talk in Vietnamese, with translation into English, was given by Thich Nhat Hanh in New Hamlet, Plum Village.

This is the first (of five) part of the Absolute Truth (Attadanda) Sutra #16.

1. Let us listen and observe to understand how from a peaceful and secure situation we have brought society to the present situation. Full of terror and violence. How have past generations behaved for the situation to have become like this? I want to talk with you about this issue of suffering and tell you how I was able to let go of fear.
2. People in the world experience one suffering after another, like a fish living in a pond that is drying up day by day. In a situation of suffering, violent thoughts easily arise and people in their ignorance seek to relieve their suffering by terrorizing and punishing others.
3. The whole is burning with violence. In the ten directions, all is in chaos. There is not a place where there real peace and security.  Everyone sees himself as superior to others. Few people know to let go of passions. Not having seen this reality, people continue to hold hatred and ignorance in their hearts.
4. Binding themselves in those states of mind, they bring themselves more misunderstanding and suffering. I have looked deeply into the states of mind of unhappy people and I have seen hidden under their suffering a very sharp pointed knife. Because they don’t see that sharp pointed knife in themselves, it is difficult for them to deal with suffering.
5. The pain caused by the sharp pointed knife lasts a long time and does not change. Because they continue holding onto the knife like that, they fill the world with suffering. Only when they have the opportunity to recognize it and extract it from their hearts will the suffering cease. And only then will they have the chance to stop.

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Update: This is part of a series on the Attadanda Sutta

Paramattha Sutta, Part I

January 31, 2010. This 75-minute dharma talk in Vietnamese, with translation into English by Sister Chan Khong, was given by Thich Nhat Hanh in Upper Hamlet, Plum Village.

A sutra on absolute truth.

Here we begin the study of a new sutra from the early life of the Buddha, before the time of monasteries. The sutra is available in two Chinese versions and in the Pali one. We are only looking at a small portion of a much longer text (lines 796-803). This sutra may have been translated in Vietnam before Master Tang Hoi went to China.

The sutra is divided into six sets. Giving. Precept. Endurance. Diligence. Meditation. Deep Understanding. The last part is prajnaparamita. Here we are learning sutra #89.

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Tissametteya Sutta, Part II

January 28, 2010. This 90-minute dharma talk in Vietnamese, with translation into English by Sister Chan Khong, was given by Thich Nhat Hanh in Full Moon Mediation Hall, New Hamlet, Plum Village.

The first 30-minutes of the dharma talk are focused on the importance of stopping. Thay talks of the happiness breath and the stopping breath. We must stop in order to look deeply. Vipassana.

In the remaining hour, we finish the discussion on the Tissametteya Sutta, one of the oldest teachings of the Buddha (the 7th teaching after enlightenment). It was written down in sanskrit (Pali Canon) around 200-300 BC and then translated into Chinese in the 3rd century with the help of Master Tang Hoi.

The topic of the sutta is sexual intercourse and the question was posed to the Buddha by a young monk. How do I deal with my sexual energy?

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