December 9, 2010. 96-minute dharma talk given Thich Nhat Hanh in the Full Moon Mediation Hall at New Hamlet in Plum Village. The talk was given in Vietnamese with English translation (French and original Vietnamese available and video version). The monastery is in the 2010-2011 Winter Rains Retreat.
This is a happy moment.
In the past we have used “engaged” Buddhism, but today we use “applied” Buddhism. Buddhism in our daily life. In 1945, we had magazine called Liberation in Vietnam created by some advanced practitioners to study Buddhism and find practices to put into our daily life – into everything. It’s kind of an applied metaphysics.
There are many universities today where you can study Buddhism and get a degree, but most are not applied Buddhism. It is more of a scholastic knowledge – theoretical knowledge. We are determined not to do this at Plum Village, EIAB, Deer Park, etc. We try to transmit the practice of Applied Buddhism.
Creating True Peace (2003), published by Free Press, is a textbook for applied Buddhism originally written at the request of unesco staff. The book contains many examples, and the talk now moves into giving some examples.
The importance of a retreat. Start with one day, then a weekend, and ideally a 7-day retreat. With the longer retreat, the more traditional length, you can soften your mind to see ways out of your suffering, your difficulty.
Please don’t come here to gain knowledge. Learn to apply Buddhism so you can share it with others. Every single piece of knowledge is for putting into practice. To produce peace. To produce happiness. To be a dharma instrument.
At about 45-minutes, we transition to the sutra commentary and finish the last four stanzas. We finish here with Part X and stanza’s 33-36 of Chinese Dhammada, Sutra #36. You can hear other parts of this commentary.
Teaching of the Buddha gathered together by the patriarchs on a specific topic, sometimes reordered. These teachings are from the earliest times o the Buddha. This sutra belongs to the chapter on nirvana. Sometimes you can see links between stanzas because the patriarchs tried to put this together in a flow, not necessarily given exactly in form by the Buddha.
For example, some sutra will speak of the ultimate reality and some will not. Heart of Prajnaparamita is an ultimate sutra – go beyond the world. So some people think you must go beyond, but there are other sutra that speak of the non-ultimate dimension. If you are a scholar, you must know that and when looking at these 36-stanzas you must know to which the stanza belongs – the ultimate or non-ultimate dimension – to not be caught and not to be confused. You use your deep mind, but Thay will give you some hints by reviewing other parts of the sutra that we began exploring back in July.
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