Monthly Archives: May 2011

Walking in Nirvana

May 5, 2011. 87-minute Dharma Talk given in Vietnamese by Thich Nhat Hanh at the new Lotus Pond Temple in Ngong Ping, Lantau Island, Hong Kong. This recording is translated by Sr. Dang Nghiem and is the third talk from this temple (Editors note: I have been unable to get a recording for the first two talks given earlier in the week on April 28 and May 1).

Renew Buddhism is really necessary in Buddhist countries to make it relevant to the younger generation. We have been trying to teach Applied Buddhism. This is doable. We want to do that here in Hong Kong and we believe young people will come as they have in Vietnam, Thailand, and France. We are trying to establish a way if life that is beautiful.

In Buddhism we talk about Nirvana but many still think it is something after death. But Nirvana is a state that is present now. We can enter nirvana in the present moment. This is wonderful. Nirvana means cooling off.

Happiness and suffering. Without suffering you cannot generate happiness. Now, how can happiness be present without the two elements of understanding and love?

People are longing for understanding. Many are so lonely. If we can understand the other person will suffer less right away. The more we understand, the more we love. The First Noble truth is there is suffering and the Second is to understand the suffering.

Right View. No more misunderstanding. No more hatred. This is nirvana. Then we have Right Thinking. This is thinking that goes in the direction of understanding and compassion. This is followed by Right Action. The fruit of the action is karma. Actions of body, mind, and speech.

The kingdom is now or never. Buddhism is not a promise of the future. It is to manage the present moment.

The talk was given in Vietnamese with English translation and is available below. There is a Vietnamese recording as well as video version too.

Now is the Time: Both by nature empty

April 21, 2011. 104-minute question and answer session given in English, with simultaneous translation into Mandarin, with Thich Nhat Hanh and others. This is the fifth day of a five-day retreat in Taipei, Taiwan.

The Sixteen Exercises of Mindful Breathing (Anapanasati Sutta) – we are encouraged to memorize these exercises. Here we review each of these again. For example, the concentration of impermanence (13th exercise) should not just be an idea.

In addition, there are other meditations (concentrations) that can help us liberate ourselves. Emptiness. Signlessness. Aimlessness.

Mindfulness brings about concentration and we gain wisdom of Right View and we can be liberated.

With signlessness we can see the impermanent nature of all beings.

No birth. No death.
Being and nonbeing.
No coming. No going.
No sameness. No otherness.

The talk was given in English and Mandarin at the same time and is available below for listening or download. You may also view the video.

Now is the Time: Q&A

April 20, 2011. 124-minute question and answer session given in English, with simultaneous translation into Mandarin, with Thich Nhat Hanh and others. This is the fourth day of a five-day retreat in Taipei, Taiwan.

Unfortunately, the first 8-minutes of the talk, the English can’t be heard very well. What you are missing is Thay Phap Dung introducing a few other monastics at the request of Thich Nhat Hanh. A few of the monastics he introduces are Phap Luu (Br. Stream), Sr. Pine, Sr. Purification (violinist), Sr. Dang N., and Sr. Lien N. (in Thailand). The introductions are very sweet and take about 30-minutes in total.

The remainder of the recording are the questions and answer. Thay reminds us to ask a question of the heart. Not about Buddhism, but about suffering and happiness.

Being present for those around us through touching the earth. Meditating on sad or negative emotions. Don’t we have enough different Buddhist groups in Taiwan. Question on the fourth mantra – please help.Asking for help. As adopted child, who are my ancestors? Who are my parents? Questioning a lesbian relationship; how do I work with my suffering?. What is relationship between happiness and sadness?

The talk was given in English and Mandarin at the same time and is available below for listening or download. You may also view the video.

Now is the Time: Aware of What’s Going On

April 19, 2011. 97-minute dharma talk given in English, with simultaneous translation into Mandarin, with Thich Nhat Hanh. This is the third day of a five-day retreat in Taipei, Taiwan.

Before we begin the dharma talk, Thay took a few minutes to introduce two of the monastics. The first is Phap Lien, who is English and has been a strong support for the Wake Up Movement and the second was Phap De, also known as Young Brother, who is an American practicing both Christianity and Buddhism.

We continue the Anapanasati Sutta (we covered the first six exercises during the April 18 talk). Working with strong emotions. Provides meditation instruction of focusing on abdomen breathing. The seventh exercise is to become aware of a painful feeling. We should recognize it and return to our breathing.

Mental formations. There is a river of mind flowing with many feelings and emotions. To meditate is to sit on the bank of the river. The tenth exercise is to touch the wholesome mental formations. Feelings like love, compassion, and joy. We all have mental formations in the form of a seed. When we come to a retreat like this, the seed of goodness is watered in us. In Buddhist psychology, we talk of store and mind consciousness. In store they are seeds and in mind they are mental formations. Flower watering is a method of selective watering of the wholesome seeds in others.

In this segment of the talk, Thay talks about restoring communication, especially with our loved ones. Our wife. Our husband. Father. Mother. Son. Daughter. How can we do it? Practical steps are offered.

The talk was given in English and Mandarin at the same time and is available below for listening or download. You may also view the video.

Now is the Time: Mantras and Sutras

April 18, 2011. 112-minute dharma talk given in English, with simultaneous translation into Mandarin, with Thich Nhat Hanh. This is the second day of a five-day retreat in Taipei, Taiwan. Please note, the first 20-minutes of the talk has really low volume but it does improve after that.

The Four Noble Truths. Suffering and happiness are inseparable. Offering your true presence. In this talk, Thay introduces the Four Mantras in the context of the Anapanasati Sutta. Included is also an introduction to pepple meditation and some mindful movements.

The first mantra is, darling, I am here for you.

The Buddha taught exercises for mindful breathing. Recognize and follow are the first two exercises. By following, there is no interruption of mindfulness. The third exercise is being aware of your whole body. Formations. Everything is a formation. My body is a formation. And the fourth exercise is to release the tension in my body.

Producing a feeling of joy and of happiness are the fifth and sixth exercises. These are mental formations. Breathing in, I know that I am alive. Breathing out, I smile to life.

The next exercises ask you to recognize and embrace painful feelings. Today we will talk of mindfulness of anger. Recognize the anger and embrace with mindfulness.

We now return to the mantras. The third is darling, I know that you suffer and I am here for you. The forth is much more difficult. Darling, I suffer and I want you to know it. I am trying my best to practice. Please help me.

The Sutra on Mindful Breathing is a wonderful text for practice.

Now is the Time: Taiwan Retreat Orientation

April 17, 2011. 47-minute orientation given in English, with simultaneous translation into Mandarin, in Taipei, Taiwan. This is the first day of a five-day retreat. The orientation is provided by Thay Phap Dung and Sister Dinh Nghiem and introduces the basic practice.

The talk was given in English and Mandarin at the same time and is available below for listening or download. You may also view the video.

Every act of mindfulness is an act of resurrection

April 12, 2011. 52-minute dharma talk given in English, with simultaneous translation into Mandarin by Sister Hui-jiny, at Sun Yat-Sen University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan. This talk is very similar in content to the April 2 talk given in Thailand.

The present moment. The Anapanasati Sutta gives this lesson. Can relieve our concern about the past or future. Ww can discover many conditions of happiness in the present moment. It could be our sight, or our hearing, or our feet. It is possible to be happy in the present moment.

Aware of joy and happiness are two exercises proposed by the Buddha. Mindfulness as a kind of resurrection (this week is Easter). There is a lot of light with mindfulness. Walking meditation too can bring you to the present moment of happiness. To walk like a Buddha.

Thay speaks on reducing suffering through stopping and the practice of deep listening. Mindfulness of compassion.

The talk was given in English and Mandarin at the same time and is available below for listening or download. You may also view the video.

Everyday Practicing

April 2, 2011. 87-minute dharma talk given in English, with simultaneous translation into Thai, with Thich Nhat Hanh on a Day of Mindfulness at the Buddhadasa Indapanno Archives, Bangkok, Thailand.

Thay shared about the Anapanasati Sutta, Mindful breathing exercises. Awareness of body and releasing tension. Mentions bell on computer as a method to return to our breathing. Going back to our breathing using sounds like a clock, telephone, etc. Stopping. Breathing.

Eating as a family. Using bell. Smiling to each other for a moment before eating. If you can’t smile, perhaps the situation is difficult between the married couple; then we need to try and communicate. Thay offers suggestions for cultivating the relationship.

What are suffering and happiness? The teaching of the four noble truths are about suffering and happiness. Using deep looking and loving speech is a method to nourish the relationship. This practice was recommended by the Buddha in the Eightfold Noble Path. Just a few hours of practice can help us. The same practice can be applied to other relationships, such as with parents.

Mindfulness in the supermarket. Shop and consume in a way so not to be intoxicated with awareness of the environment and the earth. Thay shares also about the revised version of the Five Mindfulness Trainings, and the practice of mindful eating.

The talk was given in English and Thai at the same time and is available below for listening or download. You may also view the video.