Monthly Archives: January 2012

A Peaceful River

January 26, 2012. 105-minute dharma talk from New Hamlet of Plum Village, France. The sangha is in the 2011-2012 Winter Retreat. The talk is given in Vietnamese with English translation.

We have learned that birth and death are nirvana. There is nothing separate. The river of life can either be nourishing or less nourishing depending on the inputs. We also have outputs. A river will also continue. It cannot die, so we need be in a way to make life more beautiful. We don’t have to aim at anything – aimlessness. This is the first door of liberation. We are already what we are searching for. With that deep vision, the river can run peacefully.

Today we begin a new text, Praising the Buddha of Light. Amit?bha Buddha. With each renewal of a text, what we’re doing here, we have to reflect back to the original. There are also texts in the Mahayana tradition that were written hundreds of years after the Buddha. Sometimes of these later texts are even more profound (such as the Avata?saka sutra). Thay talks about how Buddhism is different depending on the country and the time.┬áPure land is in your heart. You are of the nature of Amitabha. Every living being has a Buddhanature.

Letting Go and Nirvana

January 19, 2012. 91-minute dharma talk from Upper Hamlet of Plum Village, France. The sangha is in the 2011-2012 Winter Retreat. The talk is given in Vietnamese with English translation provided by Sr. Chan Khong. This is the last talk on the Paramartha Gathas we have been studying this winter retreat.

Breathing in, I smile to life. We are present to life. And closely related: I am of the nature to die. I cannot escape death. Many people also fear growing old. I am of the nature of growing old. I cannot escape old age. I am of the nature to be sick. I cannot escape sickness. We can look deeply at sickness, old age, and death. We should also let go of all our titles, money, degrees, family, etc. Then when it’s time to die, you can go easily. The fruit of my thinking, speaking, and action is what will continue. Birth and death. Past. Present. Future. Nirvana is in life. In affliction.

We complete the sutra study (@ 52-minutes) with the last few gathas.

The Stream of Our Ancestors

January 15, 2012. 94-minute dharma talk from Lower Hamlet of Plum Village, France. The sangha is in the 2011-2012 Winter Retreat. The talk is given in Vietnamese with English translation provided by Sr. Chan KhongIn Plum Village we have a gatha, a short poem of practice, that we can use when walking and breathing. It is an art and it can bring us peace.

The Buddha is breathing.
The Buddha is sitting.

Don’t try to look outside yourself. There is no separate self, there are only the five Skandhas: form, feelings, perceptions, mental formations, and conciousness. All our suffering is based in this idea of a separate self.

I accept myself and I am a part of the stream of my ancestors. I accept this stream. We can go together, thanks to mindfulness, we can recieve these qualities both good and bad. We don’t judge ourselves harshly. We accept, and we apply this to other people as well.

We continue the sutra study (@ 56-minutes) with gatha 38-41. We are studying the Paramartha Gathas, from the Yogacarabhumi Sastra of Asanga. This is the twelfth talk on this sutra.

The Production of Happiness

January 12, 2012. 108-minute dharma talk from Upper Hamlet of Plum Village, France. The sangha is in the 2011-2012 Winter Retreat. The talk is given in Vietnamese with English translation provided by Sr. Chan Khong.
Suffering

Happiness is something that we need to produce. Suffering is part of this producing. Suffering and happiness are one. We can discover happiness every day by being in touch. See the moon. See the flowers. We can use the second mantra. I know you are there and it makes me happy. We also learn the other four mantras of Plum Village. In this section of the talk, we also learn about the three different kinds of feelings.

We continue the sutra study (@ 72-minutes) with gatha 34-36. We are studying the Paramartha Gathas, from the Yogacarabhumi Sastra of Asanga. This is the eleventh talk on this sutra.

The View of a Self

January 8, 2012. 75-minute dharma talk from New Hamlet of Plum Village, France. The sangha is in the 2011-2012 Winter Retreat. The talk is given in Vietnamese with English translation provided by Sr. Chan Khong.

After a teaching on the nature of suffering, Thay continues the sutra study begins (at 34-minutes) with gatha 29-33. We are studying the Paramartha Gathas, from the Yogacarabhumi Sastra of Asanga. This is the tenth talk on this sutra, the last one being on December 21, 2011.

Applied Mindfulness of Breathing

January 4, 2012. 102-minute dharma talk by Thich Nhat Hanh from Lower Hamlet, Plum Village. The sangha is in the 2011-2012 Winter Retreat, but within that retreat is the 6-day Applied Ethics and Teachers Retreat. This talk is given in English. During the past six days we have practiced together as educators.

We begin with a teaching on the first eight steps of the Sutra on Mindful Breathing. Belly breathing. Rising and falling of the abdomen. We are much more than one emotion and with this practice we can realize this.

Thay continues (at 1:03) to share about the practices of loving speech and deep listening. Many of us suffer from our family relationships. If we can master these practices, we can transmit to our students and help them.
He also shares (at 1:25) the practice of how to die happily and peacefully.

Foundation for a Cosmic Religion

December 31, 2011. 97-minute dharma talk by Thich Nhat Hanh from Upper Hamlet, Plum Village. The sangha is in the 2011-2012 Winter Retreat and this is talk was given in English on New Year’s Eve.

Let’s visualize the new year coming as a giant bird; coming from the far east and traveling west. We are going somewhere; where are we going? When mindfulness and concentration are present, then we can gain insight to not be carried away by afflictions. The practice of mindfulness can help us enjoy life deeply and also help us to handle difficult emotions and feelings.

The Four Noble Truths and Right View for the transformation of suffering. The science of no birth and no death. The energy of thought and action.

The earth as bodhisattva. Freshness. This year we have an opportunity to continue our experiments, experiments with our insight, particularly as it relates to science. In 2012, we can lay the foundation for a cosmic religion (Einstein reference). The scientists and us can do this together.

There is no soul. No self. There are only the five Skandhas (aggregates) – body, feelings, perceptions, mental formations, conciousness. But these do continue in other forms.

Editors Note: some periods of silence exist in audio, but the listener is not missing any part of the talk.

Appease the Suffering

December 28, 2011. 105-minute dharma talk by Thich Nhat Hanh from New Hamlet, Plum Village. The sangha is in the 2011-2012 Winter Retreat and this is talk was given in French with English translation provided by Sister Pine.

Thay teaches on the Noble Eightfold Path, and how concrete practices can help us to cultivate this path. “Thought can make us suffer; we need to be able to stop our thinking in order to be capable of happiness. If we look at the sun but cannot get deeply in touch with it in the present moment, we only see suffering, we cannot see all the conditions of happiness that are already present. If you can see all thoughts just as notions, you can penetrate the reality of no-birth and no-death.”

Right View And it’s relationship to Concentration and the practice of Mindfulness. Right Thinking is characterized by non-discrimination. We also learn of the three practices of concentration (Three Doors of Liberation) present in all Buddhist traditions: emptiness, signlessness, and aimlessness. He also teaches on the nature of karma (body, speech, and mind) – Right Action and Right Livelihood. Finally, the four practices of Right Diligence.