Monthly Archives: January 2011

Four Attainments of Plum Village

January 16, 2011. 112-minute Dharma Talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh, from Full Moon Meditation Hall, New Hamlet, Plum Village, France. The recording begins with about 10-minutes of chanting.

Editor’s Note: We are a few dharma talks behind due to one of the Plum Village servers being down for 10-days. The server has been repaired and we’re back on track again. I’ll try to listen to the talks this week and post.

If you practice correctly, you will see results right away. According to the Buddha, there are many fruits of the practice. Results.

The first is “Entering Into the Stream” – the first step of your practice. Only you can judge if you are here. It’s like getting onto the train. Do you have one foot in, and one foot out or are you on the train and in your seat? Or, are you “moving in the direction of the stream” – on the way to the train station. If you arrive, you know you have arrived. The second is two more coming back and third is one more coming back. The fourth is “The Fruit of No Return” – no coming back. You do not go back to the the life of agitation; for a monastic aspirant it is someone who has let go of everything. The fifth is “Extinction of all the Suffering” – arhat. That person is totally free.

In Plum Village we have fruits of the practice, but they are rooted in the traditional teaching. You have arrived, you are home. You are relaxed, you are peaceful. You can arrive in any moment. As soon as you move in that direction, you are happy. The degree of your practice, is the degree of your happiness. How wonderful to be alive! So many conditions of happiness.

The Four Attainments of Plum Village:

  1. “I have arrived, I am home” or “froglessness”
  2. “Dwelling happily”
  3. “Interbeing”
  4. “No-birth, no-death”

Thay invites the brothers up to chant The Four Recollections. (1:08)

We continue the sutra (1:15) we have been studying on the safest place. It’s about nirvana. Nirvana is a place when you arrive to a place of no affliction. A place of no birth and no death. No coming and no going. In this talk, we learn verses 20-23.

The talk was given in Vietnamese with English translation and is available below (French and original Vietnamese audio are also available, as well as video version).

Zen is Eating

January 13, 2011. 75-minute Dharma Talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh, from Upper Hamlet, Plum Village, France. The recording begins with about 10-minutes of chanting.

Eating meditation. Delicious and healthy. Our sitting meditation should be the same. Healthy. Relaxed. Follow your breath to harmonize your body and mind. Sitting meditation is also a type of consumption. It should be the same for everything. Walking. Eating. Working. Resting. It is an art.

Zen is also eating. The meal is a moment of practice. And there is a collective awakening when you practice together with others. Each of us are a drop contributing to the river.

Every step is your joy. This is it. Thay talks about what his calligraphy called “This is It” means.

The continued sutra commentary begins at 48-minutes into the talk. The verses 17-20 19 Feelings. Perception. Suffering. Mental formations. Nirvana.

The talk was given in Vietnamese with English translation and is available below (French and original Vietnamese audio are also available, as well as video version).

The Happiness of Neutral Feelings

January 9, 2011. 84-minute Dharma Talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh, from Lower Hamlet, Plum Village, France. The recording begins with about 8-minutes of chanting.

If you are a good practitioner you can easily handle your difficulties; the transformation is quicker. There are many kinds of feelings: painful feelings, pleasant feelings, and neutral feelings. In the process of practicing we discover that the neutral feelings are very interesting. As when we sit, there is a sensation that is neutral. When we bring mindfulness to the neutral feeling, you find that it is quite nice. You see that you already have enough conditions for happiness with a neutral feeling. If you look deeply at the neutral feeling you see that it is wonderful. When you see your feelings passing by like a river, you see that 80% of your neutral feelings are quite pleasant. With mindfulness, our neutral feeling is transformed into happiness.

At the first teaching of the Buddha in the Deer Park, he spoke of the Four Noble Truths and the the eight correct practices. Never declare that you know already because you can always deepen your understanding and practice. The First Noble Truth is suffering. The Third Noble Truth talks of the cessation of suffering. This is the presence of happiness. Learn how to produce happiness. A good practitioner knows how to do this. Transform your difficulty and produce happiness. In Buddhism we recognize painful feelings, pleasant feelings, and neutral feelings. With mindfulness, you can transform a neutral feelings too. We should look deeply into our neutral feelings. We have many occasions to be happy. Thay encourages us to write a report on how you create happiness and send it to him.

After about 45-minutes, the talk transitions into a sutra commentary, continuing on the theme of nirvana. I believe we’re still on the sutra from the Dhammapada called Place of Peace and Wonder.

The talk was given in Vietnamese with English translation and is available below (French and original Vietnamese audio are also available, as well as video version).

The Good News of Oak Leaves Falling

January 6, 2011. 70-minute Dharma Talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh, from New Hamlet, Plum Village, France.

On the moon, now, there is no flower, no oak tree, no cloud. On our planet we have all these things. Every time I go out for walking meditation, I feel so happy to step on the oak leaves, to see the tiny stream by my hermitage. Everything is so beautiful. We can see that in the entire universe there is not another planet so beautiful. We are so lucky. Every day, though, we live on this planet, but we don’t realize how lucky we are. I wonder if the fish in the pond can see that beauty, the bird flying in the beautiful empty space, the deer in the field browsing. Do they know? But we, we know. Human beings, before, we were apes. We walked with four limbs. Then, at a certain moment, we stood up. Instead of having an ape’s name, we then had the name “Homo erectus“. We could use our two limbs in order to do things. Eventually we became “Homo sapiens“, humans who know. When we are mindful, we can call ourselves “Homo conscius.” We enjoy the manifestation of all these gifts in nature. This is mindfulness: being aware of what is going on. When we get in touch with what is beautiful, we transform the anguish in us into joy, happiness, and love.

Dharmakaya. The body of the dharma. One if three bodies – Buddhakaya. Sanghakaya. Each of us have these three bodies. The practice is to bring these bodies into harmony.

Understanding the Buddha body. All the species can become Buddha. In Buddhism, life is one. All have Buddha nature. People, animals, plants, minerals.

The dharma body is your spiritual practice. If it is strong, you can live with ease and lightness. Dharma body is also the teaching of the Buddha and can help you build your spiritual practice. Each day is a day for growing your dharma body.

The third body is the sangha body. Thay emphasizes this body in our community. If you have the sangha in your heart, you do not lose anything when you are away from the sangha.

As humans, we have the ability to see the beauty in the world around us. We can appreciate the beauty of this world. We are mindful. We are aware. I am present with the sky and the earth. Our consciousness allows us to do that. Other species may not be able to do that like homo sapiens.

Continue to grow the three bodies and you can ride the ocean of birth and death. The nature of the practice is to be in touch with nirvana.

The last twenty minutes of the talk is a Sutra commentary. Today we discuss stanza 9 and 10.

The talk was given in Vietnamese with English translation and is available below (French and original Vietnamese audio are also available, as well as video version).

Editor’s Note: The talk is actually on January 6 though the translator says January 7. Also, the talk is cut-off before it is complete and we are missing the last ten minutes. You may need to listen to the French, Vietnamese, or watch the video to catch the very end.

The Eye of Compassion

January 2, 2011. 81-minute Dharma Talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh, from the Stillwater Meditation Hall of the Upper Hamlet, Plum Village, France.

“We know how to embrace suffering. We see immediately that the other person suffers too. You understand him or her. We see the other person with the eye of compassion. The eye of compassion exists within us. We see that the other person is a victim of his own suffering. He or she makes others suffer. And when we see that, we have no more anger.

“Let us listen to each other. Let us be there for each other. This is applied Buddhism.”

Listen deeply. Consumption. First noble truth. Accepting our suffering. No mud. No lotus. When we embrace our suffering, we suffer less. We can look with the eyes of compassion.

This practice of deep listening can be applied between political groups, in society, in the classroom, in the family.

Let’s listen to each other. That’s the slogan for the new year.

Let’s be there for each other. The second part of the slogan.

The talk was given in French with English translation and is available below (original French and Vietnamese audio are also available, as well as video version).