Category Archives: Blue Cliff Monastery

Mindfulness in Our Everyday Lives

September 1, 2013. 118-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh from Blue Cliff Monastery in Pine Bush, New York during the 2013 Nourishing Great Togetherness teaching tour. This is a public Day of Mindfulness when approximately 1400 people came to Blue Cliff to learn about the practice.

  • What is a dharma talk?
  • How to listen?
  • What is walking meditation?
  • Our True Nature
  • What is mindful eating?
  • Healing our suffering
  • Chanting (from 33-minutes to 49-minutes)
  • Conditions of happiness
  • Art of Suffering
  • Understanding and compassion
  • Effortlessness
  • Practice of mindful breathing
  • Joy and happiness
  • Deep listening and loving speech
  • Wake Up Schools
  • What is mindfulness?
  • Four Mantras

Creating Loving Relationships

August 30, 2013. 91-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh from Blue Cliff Monastery in Pine Bush, New York during the 2013 Nourishing Great Togetherness teaching tour. This is the final dharma talk for the 6-day retreat with the theme Transformation and Healing – The Art of Suffering.

Topics

  • How to love – Four Elements of True Love (also known as Unlimited Mind or the Four Brahma Viharas)
  • Maitri (loving kindness) – capacity to offer well being and happiness.
  • Karuna (compassion) – capable of removing the pain
  • Mudita (joy)
  • Upeksha (equanimity or inclusiveness)
  • Continue instructiom on the exercises of mindful breathing (#9-#16)
  • 9: Recognize every mental formations
  • 10: make the landscape of the mind beautiful – gladdening the mind. Watering good seeds.
  • True Diligence (four aspects)
  • 11: concentrate our mind on the mental formation
  • 12: liberating the mind
  • 13: contemplating impermanence
  • 14: contemplating non-craving
  • 15: nirvana
  • 16: letting go
  • Three Doors of Liberation (emptiness, signlessness, aimlessness)

The Art of Suffering Retreat – Question and Answer Session

August 29, 2013. 117-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh from Blue Cliff Monastery in Pine Bush, New York during the 2013 Nourishing Great Togetherness teaching tour. This is a session of questions and answers during the 6-day retreat with the theme Transformation and Healing – The Art of Suffering.

Children

  1. Why do people get so angry sometimes and their hearts filled with anger?
  2. Why do people have to suffer?
  3. What do you have to do to have a calm mind?

Teens

  1. If you could live your life again, would you choose the same path?
  2. My sister (a monastic aspirant) has been staying with the monastics and it’s been hard for me. How do I practice non-attachment?
  3. What made you decide to become a monk?
  4. What is the hardest thing that you practice?
  5. How have you detached from your strongest attachments in life?
  6. Can we be fast and mindful, especially with sports?

Adults

  1. A father who has suffered greatly from violence – his son died at Sandy Hook Elementary. What could have happened differently? What could we have done differently?
  2. Another parent shares about the teen child who died from leukemia. Her question is whether or not she can ever truly be happy again.
  3. If you were Obama’s spiritual advisor, what would you tell him? Referring to Syria.
  4. UN disarmament negotiator. How can we approach young men who are recruited by groups like Al Qaeda that can offer so much?
  5. How to practice joyfully with physical limitations?
  6. How do I forgive myself because of trusting someone who sexually abused him as a child?
  7. A question on depression and anxiety.

Let Freedom Ring

August 28, 2013. 105-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh from Blue Cliff Monastery in Pine Bush, New York during the 2013 Nourishing Great Togetherness teaching tour. This is the third dharma talk for the 6-day retreat with the theme Transformation and Healing – The Art of Suffering.

Topics

  • Today President Obama invites us to “Let Freedom Ring” on the 50th anniversary of the MLK speech at the Lincoln Memorial. How do we realize the dream of King?
  • Thay’s dream of being a student
  • Being a bell master
  • Establishing a meditation hall in the home
  • Thay’s dream is to build a sangha. Harmony. Sisterhood. Brotherhood.
  • Nonviolent action and war in Vietnam
  • MLK, Thay, and Vietnam
  • Why self- immolation is non-violent
  • Beloved Community = Sangha Building
  • Building sangha in France. In exile.
  • Mindfulness today
  • The Four Kinds of Nutriments

Looking Deeper into our Minds

August 27, 2013. 101-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh from Blue Cliff Monastery in Pine Bush, New York during the 2013 Nourishing Great Togetherness teaching tour. This is the second dharma talk for the 6-day retreat with the theme Transformation and Healing – The Art of Suffering.

Topics

  • Tea meditation – a cloud in my tea
  • A cloud in the calligraphy
  • Working with strong emotions
  • Smile to our anger
  • Mindfulness is to embrace and calm
  • Happiness and suffering
  • Four Noble Truths
  • Ill being and well being
  • Second and Fourth as Path and Nutriments
  • Interbeing of pairs of opposites
  • Right View
  • Right Thinking
  • The notion of self (Diamond Sutra)
  • Right Mindfulness
  • Right Concentration
  • Right Speech
  • Right Action

Beginning Our Practice of Mindfulness

August 26, 2013. 87-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh from Blue Cliff Monastery in Pine Bush, New York during the 2013 Nourishing Great Togetherness teaching tour. This is the first dharma talk for the 6-day retreat with the theme Transformation and Healing – The Art of Suffering. We begin with two chants from the monastics.

Topics

  • Why do we want to practice breathing-in and breathing-out? We don’t have to suffer and we can produce the energy of joy.
  • First exercise of mindful breathing
  • Walking in the kingdom is an end in itself
  • Three Energies: Mindfulness, Concentration, Insight
  • Second exercise of mindful breathing
  • Third exercise of mindfulbreathing – aware of body
  • Fourth exercise of mindful breathing – relax body
  • Fifth exercise of mindful breathing – producing joy
  • Sixth exercise of mindful breathing – producing happiness
  • Seventh exercise of mindful breathing – aware of painful feeling
  • Eighth exercise of mindful breathing – embrace painful feeling
  • Store and mind consciousness with mental formations
  • Teaching of The Second Arrow
  • Five Universal Mental Formatioms (Contact, Attention , Feeling , Perception, Volition)
  • Five Particular Mental Formations (intention, resolution, mindfulness, concentration, and insight)

Orientation to the Practice

August 25, 2013. 108-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh from Blue Cliff Monastery in Pine Bush, New York during the 2013 Nourishing Great Togetherness teaching tour. This is the orientation talk for the 6-day retreat with the theme Transformation and Healing – The Art of Suffering.

Peace, happiness, and love are skills we can learn. The art of happiness and the art of suffering. We suffer less if we learn how to suffer. With this start, we are reminded to take care of our happiness and our suffering. Following the introduction, the monastics chant the name of Avalokiteshvara.

Following the chant, Thay turns the orientation over to two senior monastics who orientate the retreatants on the practice.

You Have to Feed your Love Properly

October 10, 2011. 122-minute dharma talk with Thich Nhat Hanh from Blue Cliff Monastery in Pine Bush, NY. The sangha is on the North American Tour and this is the final dharma talk for the Stepping Into Freedom, Savoring Life Retreat.

“Walking on the planet Earth is a wonder. The Zen Master Lin Chi said the miracle is to walk on earth. Like Neil Armstrong on the moon, we should be mindful of each step. Happiness should be possible with each step.”

Time is a product of our mind. This is dualistic thinking, but we can touch eternity and transcend time. We can transcend birth and death, being and non-being. Walking can bring a lot of joy, but also the highest enlightenment. You can bring this practice home and enjoy every moment of daily life.

Before you bow to the Buddha, you have to meditate. You have to communicate with the Buddha. There is a verse we can learn to touch emptiness. A Christian can practice the same way when bowing to Jesus. Thay continues to share about the Three Doors of Liberation (emptiness, signlessness, and aimlessness) and the four signs, from the Diamond Sutra, in which we may get caught: the concept of a self, of man, of living beings, and of a lifespan.

You may listen or download the audio from this site or watch the video.

How Can I Not Suffer When People Are Not Being Good to this World?

October 9, 2011. 105-minute dharma talk with Thich Nhat Hanh from Blue Cliff Monastery in Pine Bush, NY. The sangha is on the North American Tour and this is the third dharma talk for the Stepping Into Freedom, Savoring Life Retreat. Today we have a session of questions and answers.

Our practice to ask a question that will benefit everyone. We begin with the children, then teens, and finally the adults.

  1. When you are very upset, how can you show it without hitting?
  2. Do you ever get frustrated with yourself?
  3. How do I not suffer when people are not being good to this world?
  4. How young were you when you became a monk and what types of commitments did you need to make?

    // brief introduction and discussion on the Wake Up Movement by Br. Phap Luu //

  5. When I have positive and negative energy, what should I do with it?
  6. When I’m engaged in a conversation, I worry about other things. What does it mean to go home to yourself?
  7. Can we still have the consciousness of our loved ones after death? Can we communicate?
  8. A question about the Five Mindfulness Trainings and karma. Is it forgiven?
  9. When I get discouraged or frustrated, I sometimes compare myself to you and it keeps me away and I don’t feel connected to the sangha.
  10. A question about commitment and coming from a place of truth and an unclear understanding from when the commitment was originally made.
  11. A question about attachment, discrimination, and violence.
  12. As a person raised Christian and have felt Jesus, so how can I know absolute truth? Is this it?

You may listen or download the audio from this site or watch the video.

Breathing In, I Know I am Alive

October 8, 2011. 109-minute dharma talk with Thich Nhat Hanh from Blue Cliff Monastery in Pine Bush, NY. The sangha is on the North American Tour and this is the third dharma talk for the Stepping Into Freedom, Savoring Life Retreat.

The Buddha is a teacher of love. At the time of the Buddha, the people of India were followers of Brahma and Brahma was love. So the Buddha taught about love and gave us the Four Elements of True Love – the Four Brahmaviharas.

The first element is maitri, It’s a difficult word to translate, but many people translate into lovingkindness.  Loving oneself is the foundation of loving someone else. The Buddha made himself happy and then he helped other people be happy. When you have freedom and calmness, then it is easy to help other people be happy. The second element of true love is karuna. This is usually translated as compassion. This is one is to remove suffering, to transform suffering. The third element is mudita – this is joy. This is the sign of true love. And most of the truth lies in the fourth element – upeksa. Scholars have usually translated this as equanimity but Thay shares the real meaning is non-discrimination. In true love there is no place for discrimination.

The wisdom of non-discrimination. In the teaching of the Noble Eightfold Path, the Buddha speaks of Right View. Right View is the type of insight that is free from discrimination. Right View is usually mentioned as the first element of the Noble Eightfold Path, but it also comes from Right Concentration and Right Mindfulness. Coming from Right View, we can produce Right Thinking, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, and Right Diligence. Today we will focus more on the practice of Right View and Right Concentration, but these are the eight elements of the path proposed by the Buddha. It is the Path of True Love. When we take the Five Mindfulness Trainings, they represent this path.

The teaching of no-birth and no-death, being and non-being. This has to do with the practice of emptiness, one of the three doors of liberation. There is a word, Sahabhu, it means co-being. We cannot exist by ourselves. Thay also speaks of our ideas and notions, including the notion of impermanence. Do we have insight?

Action has three aspects. Thinking. Speaking. Body. This is our product. Our continuation. Anything you produce will bear your signature. This is karma. We are our action.

With this path we can create happiness. True understanding and compassion.

You may listen or download the audio from this site or watch the video.