Monthly Archives: March 2012

Communication and the Mind

March 25, 2012. 110-minute talk from Upper Hamlet in Plum Village, France. The talk is given in English. We begin with 10-minutes of chanting in Vietnamese and French.

Communication. We trust to much in our instruments of communication – mobile phone, email Skype, etc. Behind the instruments is our mind, and the question to ask is whether you can communicate with yourself. Many of us are angry or don’t respect ourselves. It is a mess inside. In that situation, how can we communicate with another person?

In Plum Village, we try to teach you how to come back to yourself. We learn to breath in mindfulness. We learn to eat in mindfulness. We learn to walk in mindfulness. We connect with our body and our mind. We need to let go our thinking – the practice of non-thinking.

Related to our suffering and being connected to our body is our consumption. We read a book, listen to music, drive the car, etc. We look to consumption to help us forget the pain their ourselves. Again, learning mindful breathing and walking we can gain the energy of mindfulness and be able to look at the pain and the sorrow. If you have mindfulness, you are no longer afraid.

Mindfulness is generated from your practice. And when we are together, we can generate collective mindfulness.

At 56-minutes, the talk switch to Vietnamese with English translation. [Editors Note: a group of Vietnamese exchange students were up for the day and Thay responded to some questions.] Questions about personal relationships, relationship with Vietnam and the Vietnamese government, ethics and relationship to the government

“Breathing In” is not just for Beginners

March 22, 2012. 80-minute talk from New Hamlet in Plum Village, France. The talk is given in English. We begin with 4-minutes of chanting in Vietnamese.

In Plum Village, our practice is to always go back to the present moment. We do this in many ways, like mindful breathing and mindful walking. Simple, but very important practices. We have the Sutra on the Full Awareness of Breathing is one of the most important sutras. In this talk we review the first six exercises.

When going through a difficult situation can be supported with these practices. It can be your second body. That is the Buddha.

Thay briefly discusses the Abidhamma literature – super dharma. Stick to the sutras and what they stay and don’t venture into metaphysical speculation.

Though past, present, and future look different, they are actually the same.
They are ideas. Notions. This is Interbeing.

Nothing is born. From nothing you cannot create something. This removes the notion of creation. This is something stated by science. This is the product of the intellect and is equivant to our idea of no birth and no death. Nothing has a separate existence.

“Breathing In” is not just for beginners. It is the most wonderful thing to do.

Questions about Global Climate Change

March 18, 2012. 70-minute talk from Upper Hamlet in Plum Village, France. It is a rainy day today and we hear responses to a series of questions presented by a magazine in the UK on the topic of climate change and global warming.

  1. Do you believe humans can avoid a global ecological collapse, or are we driving ourselves towards one?
  2. The urban population across the world is growing. What if anything is lost by our increasing switch towards being an urban species?
  3. Are we a vulnerable species or one still in control of our destiny?
  4. There is strong support for engineered solutions to our ecological problems, for example reflecting the sun’s rays, sucking up carbon emissions, or lab-grown meat. Is this the right approach for us to be taking?
  5. Most of us in the West are still attached to a high-consumption lifestyle. We like to buy new and exciting things. Is there a strong enough alternative lifestyle out there that can convince us to leave this high-consumption lifestyle we have?
  6. Have we found a new narrative, one that can help us learn to live more sustainably before it is too late?
  7. What is the hardest part of the lifestyle you have chosen to live, and how do you attract young people to follow?
  8. Can we strive for financial and spiritual contentment, or are they mutually exclusive?
  9. Most environmentalists narrow down the problems we face into two issues: overconsumption and overpopulation. Where do you stand?

Answering Questions about Global Climate Change from Plum Village Online Monastery on Vimeo.