Category Archives: Day of Mindfulness

Our Spiritual Ancestors in Vietnam

November 7, 2013. 93-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh from New Hamlet of Plum Village. We begin with two chants, one French and one Vietnamese, from the monastics. The talk is originally given in Vietnamese and this is an English translation by Sr. Chan Khong. 

Just let the dharma talk simply go into our store consciousness. No effort needed. You can be surprised later when the seeds of the dharma sprout. 

Noble path. Suffering and happiness are deeply linked. 

Waking up this morning, I smile. No judgement. Compassion. Gatha practice. Every second, every minute, every action. Insight can arise from simple practice. Walking. Sitting. Eating.  But it doesn’t mean we ignore our suffering. 

Story of Vietnamese patriarch – One Concentration. A history lesson on our spiritual ancestors in Vietnam. 

The Practice of Compassion

November 3, 2013. 101-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh from Stillwater Meditation Hall, Upper Hamlet of Plum Village. We begin with two chants from the monastics followed by a talk on the theme of compassion.

Thay begins with a follow-up on the visit to Stanford University where we had the topic of compassion. Sr. True Dedication is asked by Thay to begin the sharing. The talk at Stanford was sponsored by the organization CCARE, The Center for Compassion And Altruism Research And Education

Empathy. Research of the human mind. Compassion, empathy, and altruism are innate in us. The nature of compassion is like thunder, according to the lotus sutra.

First lesson: There is a relationship between suffering and compassion. Interbeing is the ground of meta-ethics. Compassion is born from understanding. Understanding what? Suffering. And if you know how to suffer then you suffer much less. Second lesson: Compassion should be directed to yourself first. Our civilization has a tendency to want to run away from ourselves. But we can go home to ourselves without fear. Third lesson: As a community, you can generate energy of compassion. This power can help others much more quickly.

There were a number of unanswered questions from the event that Thay spends time on now. Here’s a few of the questions:

  • Research has shown that compassion has extraordinary Health benefits, including a longer and have your life. From your perspective as a teacher, have you noticed this benefit of compassion?
  • Research suggests that the desire for compassion to help someone behavior is seen in primates and children. On the other hand we hear of adult capable of atrocious crimes. If compassion is innate, why do we not always display our compassion as we become adults?
  • Scientists have observed when compassion is more likely to manifest. The more similar then the more compassionate we may be.
  • Why are we able to feel more compassion when one person is in need of help versus a whole group of people in need of help?
  • What are the hindrances to compassion?
  • Is there such a thing as too much compassion, for example empathy fatigue?

The Horse is Technology

Editor’s Note: This talk is being posted out of order, and very soon after the last post, because it is a powerful teaching on technology and gives very specific instructions to those participating in the 90-day winter retreat that begins today in Plum Village. I will squeeze in the five missing talks (three from Mississippi and two from Plum Village) in the coming weeks.

November 10, 2013. 94-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh from Stillwater Meditation Hall, Upper Hamlet of Plum Village. The sangha is preparing for the upcoming 90-day winter retreat. We begin with two chants from the monastics.

It is five days before the winter retreat begins at Plum Village. The great ordination ceremony this coming year will take place beginning May 23, 2014 and the 21-Day retreat, starting on June 1, 2014, will have the theme What happens when you die?

For the monastics, during the winter retreat we will stay within the boundaries of Plum Village and this includes not going out on the Internet. There will be no individual email communication and all emails can be sent to one address only and be delivered to you. There is no need to check email. There is absolutely no Facebook too. Facebook is neither good nor evil but we will not use it during the winter retreat.

Making good use of technology. Thay relayed the story of visiting Google this last month and some of the questions they wanted to hear answers.  How can we innovate in order to take good care of ourselves? What is the interplay between intention, insight and innovation? How can technology be a force for integration rather than destruction?

How can we detach from our work? Thay shares about what he heard and observed at Google. What is the emotional health of Googlers? They want to use technology to solve what appears to be a technological disease. Technology is taking away our time. We need to look for the path to transform our ill being.

We begin with intention, by asking, what do we want? If technology can help us create happy and joyful feelings then we can make good use of technology. Can we reduce the amount of stress within ourselves?

Thay offers ideas for corporate and technology leaders. Good methods to use and apply technology. As part of the teaching, we look at two specific Mental Formations – contact and volition.

Four aspects of monastic life include learning to study, learning to practice, working, and playing. And yet these all interare.

For the practitioner, if we are doing it exactly like the people in the world then we may not be able to help the people in the world. No email and no Internet and no Facebook can be attractive and to allow us to become a real practitioner. It can be an awakening.

 

Tour Reflections

October 31, 2013. 70-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh from Stillwater Meditation Hall, Upper Hamlet of Plum Village. The sangha has recently returned from the North American tour. The talk was given in Vietnamese and this is the English translation by Sr. Chan Khong.

We begin with a summary of the 3-month teaching tour of North America that has just ended. Thay shares about the dry earth at the centers in North America and yet the rain came to each during the tour. Because we travel in so many buses and cars, Thay reminds us to be aware of our trip. Walk with the Buddha. Drive with the Buddha. Sit with the Buddha. Be aware of the Buddha with every breath and every moment.

How can we have the Buddha in our lives? Example of the bell master, even on the bus, and if that person is the only one with mindfulness and then that person and the energy of the bell can help carry into the sangha.

There are many who are thirsty for the practice is large and all our events sold out. We were able to stream the talk in Oakland with the support of Sounds True [video] and 35k listened online. We don’t have the capacity to meet all the needs but we are able allow for many to listen online, even with our retreats. We need more monastic and lay dharma teachers.

Suffering and happiness are two sides of one reality – like two sides of a piece of paper. If we know how to suffer, then we suffer very little and can enjoy our happiness. Just because we become a Buddha does not mean we do not suffer; it is because suffering and happiness Interare. For example, because we have a body then we will have disease. If we know how to suffer, we don’t let the second arrow cause us to suffer more.

We all have to practice something – to find a spiritual dimension for our lives. We must find time for this in our lives. Shares about the 2-day visit to the World Bank for their employees. Some thought it strange to have this monk and his students come to the World Bank but people discovered the value and were appreciative.

The four nutriments, especially for the business person; how to make money without being evil. Of particular importance is the fourth nutriment: volition. But don’t run away from your body and your mind.

We were also invited by Harvard University and Stanford University [video] to offer a teaching on mindfulness and compassion. Why is compassion important?

 

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

Healing through Reconciliation

June 2, 2013. 67-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh from the European Institute of Applied Buddhism in Waldbrol, Germany. The sangha has just returned from a couple of months in Asia and will be at the EIAB for a month offering retreats. The talk is given in English with simultaneous translation into German. This is a Day of Mindfulness.

The dharma talk is rain that can penetrate into the soul of our mind. Our mind is a garden with many good seeds within it. Seeds of happiness and compassion. The dharma talk is not a set of ideas to get and keep but is a rain that can let the good seeds sprout. To allow these seeds to spring up.

With mindfulness, we can create a feeling of joy and happiness. It is simple and easy. We just need to pay attention to our breath. We just need to pay attention to every step we take. It only takes 2-3 seconds to see that you are alive. The first enlightenment is that you are alive! You can become a free person.

How do we become aware of our body? How do we become aware of our feelings? Mindfulness functions to recognize and embrace. And the energy of mindfulness carries with it the energy of concentration and insight. How does this work with love an reconciliation?

Mindfulness of compassion, especially in regards to listening.

Thay gives instruction and application of walking meditation and eating meditation

Vesak Talk in Hong Kong

May 19, 2013. 32-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh from the Lotus Pond Temple in Hong Kong. The sangha is on the spring Asian Tour and this talk is given in English with simultaneous translation into Chinese. This is a Day of Mindfulness celebrating vesak.

Birth story of Siddhartha and the relationships in the family that effected his birth. Siddhartha left shortly after the birth of Rahula, his own son, in her to search for the way. He was doing that for all of us – his father, his mother, his country. When you become a monk or a nun, you do so for more than just yourself. He found a way to reduce tension in his body, to calm down his feelings,  to see the deep roots of suffering in himself and other people, found a way to restore communication, and most importantly the nature of no-birth and no-death. Today we celebrate Siddhartha’s birth.

The Buddha saw that happiness is possible and it’s made of understanding and love. It only takes a short time to learn this path. We can learn to release the tension in our body, to calm our painful feeling and emotions, to learn how to generate a feeling of joy and happiness, and to understand the suffering in oneself and in the other person. We can use the Sutra on the Four Foundations of Mindfulness and the Sutra on the Full Awareness of Breathing.

Shakyamuni is a Teacher and not a God.

Cultivating Peace and Happiness in School

May 18, 2013. 62-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh from the Hong Kong Institute of Education. The sangha is on the spring Asian Tour and this talk is given in English with simultaneous translation into Chinese. This is a Day of Mindfulness for educators and students.

There are a few practices a teacher can use in order to bring happiness to herself and the classroom. Mindful breathing and the energy of mindfulness. The pure land is here and now … you don’t have to wait until you die. Joy and happiness are possible in the present moment.

A good teacher knows how to take care of himself. Harmony is possible in herself. If we practice mindful breathing and mindful walking then we can create joy and happiness whenever you want.

The language of loving speech.

The story of Henry who was a mathematics school teacher in Toronto who transformed himself and his classroom.

Create a Moment of Happiness

March 10, 2013. 45-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh from Upper Hamlet at Plum Village during the Daffodil Festival. We have been quiet here on the archive because the sangha took time for lazy days as well as a monastic retreat (not distributed). This talk is given in English and the sangha is preparing for the arrival of 600 French in the coming week. A few suggested subjects for the retreat include: happiness is possible, healing is possible how to live more deeply, coming home, do not wander anymore, and go as a river.

The practice of Plum Village can be seen in two points. First, how to recognize the suffering and embrace it and transform it. We cannot avoid suffering. If you know how to suffer, you will suffer less. The art of suffering. We have blocks of suffering, but how to handle the little sufferings? How do we support those attending the retreat? How do we prepare the space so they know that healing is possible with every step and every breath? There is no way to healing, healing is the way. In order to heal, we have to stop. The Five Mindfulness Trainings can help us with this practice. They have the power to heal. It is possible to create moments of happiness in our daily lives. Learn how to enjoy and savor the little happinesses in life. Can you create a moment of happiness?

What can we do about the mental discourse in our head? Radio NST (Non-Stop-Thinking). One practice is to feel our body and our feelings. We can practice walking meditation. It is an opportunity to create moments of happiness and to heal. Eating in mindfulness is another practice. Being aware of the food and members of the sangha around you. This is not hard labor. The dharma is lovely and every minute of the practice can be healing and transforming.

Available here as a audio download or a video.

Be Free From Fear

November 1, 2012. 76-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh from New Hamlet at Plum Village. The sangha is enjoying the Autumn Retreat and this is a Day of Mindfulness. This is the 8th, and final, dharma talk of the fall retreat. Thay begins with a short review of what’s been covered in the last four weeks.

Today we will look more deeply into the nature of our birth and our death. We begin with an analysis of a cloud. What is a cloud and when does it exist? We have to look at the cloud with eyes of signlessness. The rain is the new form of the cloud. How do we appy this to our own being? Is there really birth and death? There is only continuation.

Collective action. In Buddhism, the notion of action is very important. It is called karma. Triple action: thought, speech, and action. With mindfulness we can recognize our thoughts and make a decision that they produce healing and reconciliation. In order to so, we need Right View and Right Understanding. What is the connection between birth, death, and karma?

We need mindfulness and concentration to gain the insight if Right View. Birth and death inter-are with each other. Thay teaches briefly on each of the other elements of the Noble Eightfold Path.

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