Monthly Archives: August 2012

Foundations of Mindfulness

August 16, 2012. 91-minute dharma talk given in English, with simultaneous translation into Dutch (though the Dutch is muted in this recording), with Thich Nhat Hanh. This is the fifth (and final) Dharma talk offered by Thay in the Dutch Retreat on the theme Body and Mind Are One at the European Institute of Applied Buddhism in Waldbröl, Germany.

Mindfulness is always mindfulness of something. An object. The first object of mindfulness is our body. Our body includes our in-breath and out-breath. There is a sutra on the contemplation of the body. The second object of our mindfulness is our feelings. Pleasant, unpleasant, and neutral feelings. The third object is our mind. It is comprised of mental formations. The fourth is the objects of our mind.

After a brief review of the first 8 exercises on the Full Awareness of Mindful Breathing, Thay moves ahead with the remaining exercises. Also, a teaching on impermanence, non-self, and Interbeing. Contemplating a cloud. The three concentrations. Emptiness. Aimlessness. Signlessness. Also known as the Three Doors of Liberation. Dwelling happily in the present moment.

Does A Dog Have Buddha Nature?

August 15, 2012. 103-minute dharma talk given in English, with simultaneous translation into Dutch (though the Dutch is muted in this recording), with Thich Nhat Hanh. This is the fourth Dharma talk offered by Thay in the Dutch Retreat on the theme Body and Mind Are One at the European Institute of Applied Buddhism in Waldbröl, Germany. This is a session of questions and answers. The recording isn’t perfect, but it can be improved by switching the balance at different points during the recording.

Children

  1. How can you prevent arguments?
  2. Why do I have bad dreams?

Teens and young people

  1. Can I give you a hug?
  2. How do you love someone who is very different than myself?
  3. Is it sometimes difficult to be so wise?

Adults

  1. a dilemma on when to confront someone
  2. How to transform knowledge to wisdom? But I am confused by the words of the Heart Sutra.
  3. A question about “no action” and  when to act.
  4. Several questions on watering good seeds. And, how do I feel love?
  5. Question on deep suffering related to the holocaust, family, EIAB, etc.

Creating Freshness and Beauty

August 14, 2012. 100-minute dharma talk given in English, with simultaneous translation into Dutch (though the Dutch is muted in this recording), with Thich Nhat Hanh. This is the third Dharma talk offered by Thay in the Dutch Retreat on the theme Body and Mind Are One at the European Institute of Applied Buddhism in Waldbröl, Germany.

Freshness and beauty are in you. If you know how to breath and how to walk then freshness and beauty can come out. we can also help others do the same because we all have it, but we don’t always know how to help it manifest. We all have a Buddha inside. That teaches what it means to bow to someone in a greeting. It’s not just a ritual, it is a practice.

How to use a mantra in your practice? The first is “Darling, I am here for you.” This one is to offer the other person your presence. The second mantra is to recognize the other person is something important to you. “Darling, I know you are there and I am very happy.”

Reconciliation. Mindfulness of compassion. Listening. Thay uses the story of Palestinians and Israelis coming to Plum Village on how to practice deep listening and loving speech.

Teaching on no birth and no death, being and non-being, coming and going, sameness and otherness. These are all notions. They are the ground of our suffering and our fear. These pairs of opposites can be the objects of our meditation.

The Palace of the Child

August 13, 2012. 122-minute dharma talk given in English, with simultaneous translation into Dutch (though the Dutch is muted in this recording), with Thich Nhat Hanh. This is the second Dharma talk offered by Thay in the Dutch Retreat on the theme Body and Mind Are One at the European Institute of Applied Buddhism in Waldbröl, Germany.

Teaching on the seed of corn and teaches the children about being a seed in the womb of your mother. We can use pebble meditation to learn how to breath again. To be fresh and beautiful. The children are excused about 42-minutes into the recording.

Thay begins with a story of a French journalist who wanted to write an article on the practice in Plum Village. Her article was titled “In the Country of the Present Moment.” She started with  walking meditation. I have arrived. How can we arrive 100% in each step? How do we train?

Right Diligence (Effort). In Buddhist psychology we talk about store consciousness and seeds (bija). Seeds for the soil of the mind. Seeds manifest as mental formations in the mind consciousness. Mindfulness is a seed that we can cultivate. How do we help  water the positive seeds in ourselves and others? What do we cultivate for right diligence?

(1:28) Right Speech and deep listening should go together. Thay shares the story of a soldier in the Vietnam war that poisoned children because he was so angry after his unit was ambushed, who then later came to Plum Village for a retreat.

The Body and Mind are One

August 12, 2012. 90-minute dharma talk given in English, with simultaneous translation into Dutch, with Thich Nhat Hanh. This is the first Dharma talk offered by Thay in the Dutch Retreat on the theme Body and Mind Are One at the European Institute of Applied Buddhism in Waldbröl, Germany.

Can the body be without the mind? Can you take the body out of the mind? And the mind out of the body? If we meditate on the question, we can discover the answer. The same inquiry can be applied to father and son, mother and daughter. Are they the same? Again, with meditation we can also see continuation. Interbeing. This was a very clear and gentle teaching for the children on a very deep topic.

The country of the present moment. Those who are in the present moment have body and mind together. Mindfulness helps this to happen. We can release the past, release our projects, and discover freedom. It only takes a few seconds. The conditions for happiness are present right here. Can we see the conditions for happiness?

The first eight exercises of mindful breathing and the three kinds of energy generated by meditation: mindfulness, concentration, and insight. The last segment is a teaching on the Four Noble Truths and the noble eightfold path.

Can nothing become something?

August 2, 2012. 92-minute recording given at New Hamlet, Plum Village by Thich Nhat Hanh. This is the twentieth dharma talk of the Summer Opening. The talk was originally given in French and this is an English translation.

We begin with a  meditation on the birth of the flame. Does “nothing” exist?  What is the existence of nothing?

What is our nature? Are we caught in the notions of birth, death, being, and non-being? These are the foundation of our fear and anxiety. In Buddhism, Right Thinking is being free of these notions.  There is only continuation and manifestation. Thinking is already an action.

We continue with a teaching on Right View, Right Speech.

This concludes the 2012 Summer Opening. 

Is it ever okay to tell a lie?

August 1, 2012. 87-minute recording given at Lower Hamlet, Plum Village by Thich Nhat Hanh. This is the nineteenth dharma talk of the Summer Opening and this is a session of questions and answers. Editor’s note, we have skipped the talks from July 29 & 31 here on this site; it may appear later.

Children

  1. Why is my brother always so nasty to me?
  2. Why does Thay do hand symbols (mudra) during chanting?
  3. Why do Buddhist shave their head?
  4. What should we do if we begin to hate someone we love?

Adults

  1. Is it correct to tell a lie if the truth would hurt the person you love?
  2. How can I be stable? How can I live with a person who doesn’t believe in spirituality?
  3. Why is it that monastics sisters have more precepts than monastic brothers? If it is because they have special problems, shouldn’t the brothers at least have the same number of precepts?
  4. How can you help a child recognize their father of they’ve never had te opportunity to know him? For example, artificial insemination.
  5. What was the biggest notion in your life that you’ve overcome?
  6. How do I practice this teaching with suicide?
  7. When you have arrived on the other shore. Do you still think? Do you still suffer?
  8. How do we build and organize a practice center?

Beginning of Fourth Week of Summer Opening

July 28, 2012. 93-minute recording given at Upper Hamlet, Plum Village by Thich Nhat Hanh. This is the sixteenth dharma talk of the Summer Opening and we are beginning the fourth and final week of the retreat. Please note, we have skipped the talk from July 26 here on this site; it may appear later.

Understanding of suffering. Compassionate listening. Embracing suffering brings relief. What are the monastics doing when they are chanting the name Avalokiteshvara?

Chanting begins at 18-m into recording. The main talk begins at 39-minutes.

Listening to the bell. Deep listening. Let peace and mindfulness penetrate into you. How do you feed your happiness? Where is your true home?

The Buddha proposed sixteen exercises of mindful breathing. What are the first four exercises? How can we use this for walking mindfully? This is applied Buddhism in our daily lives.

Question and Answer Session: Is there a life after death?

July 24, 2012. 80-minute recording given at Upper Hamlet, Plum Village by Thich Nhat Hanh. This is the fourteenth dharma talk of the Summer Opening and this is a session of questions and answers.

Children

  1. How can you make new friends after moving to a new school?
  2. If there is no such thing as death, then why is it wrong to kill?
  3. I suffer a lot from my father. I don’t want to see him anymore. Can I stop trying to change him?
  4. Why did you become a monk?

Adults

  1. I am the last child in my family linage and there is lots of suffering to transform. How do I help my parents generation? Secondly, why is there still discrimination against women in Buddhism?
  2. Is there life after death?

The Line of Life Meditation

July 22, 2012. 97-minute recording given at Upper Hamlet, Plum Village by Thich Nhat Hanh. This is the twelfth dharma talk of the Summer Opening and the talk was originally given in French. This is an English translation.

We start with a 22-minute talk for the children. How we can share meditation with our friends when we go back home from Plum Village? What does it mean to love? Freshness of a flower. We can offer this and using pebble meditation to teach us about freshness. We also have mantras such as “I am here for you.” Solidity. Space.

What is the deep connection between suffering and happiness? In Buddhism, we speak of Interbeing. What is meant by Interbeing? Being and non-being also uses this principle of Interbeing. What is Right Thinking? Free of notions. Applying the teaching to birth and death.

The Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold path.