Category Archives: Public Talk

Closing Summer Opening 2013 – You Are, Therefore I Am

August 2, 2013. 86-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh from Upper Hamlet of Plum Village during the 2013 Summer Opening. This is the sixteenth talk of the summer and this is the final talk for the summer.

Thay begins a 17-minute teaching for the children on no coming, no going and no sameness, no otherness. He uses a picture of himself as a teenager to illustrate sameness and otherness. Is it the same person as a picture of him today? Thay also uses the flame of a match to illustrate. Is it the same? This is the nature of things and we can see this if we meditate. The teaching of the middle way is a very deep teaching.

Thay continues with the adults. The third pair of opposites is no birth, no death and the fourth is no being, no non-being. We can live with no fear if we remove these four pairs of opposites and have Right View. Removes discrimination and produces understanding and compassion.This is enlightenment. Awakening. Interbeing.

You Are, Therefore I Am

With Right View, we have understanding and we generate Right Speech. Speech that is filled with understanding and compassion and restore communication.

Right Action – thought, speech, and behavior. With Right View we can also have Right Livelihood, Right Dligence, Right Mindfulness, Right Concentration.

A brief teaching on the Doors of Liberation – emptiness, signlessmees, and aimlessness. These too can help remove fear, anger, and despair.

Insight of No-Self

July 26, 2013. 90-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh from New Hamlet of Plum Village during the 2013 Summer Opening. This is the twelfth talk of the summer.

The bell of mindfulness. In a short talk for children, this is something Thay wants us to bring home with us when you leave Plum Village. This can help to bring peace to the family. He then tells the story of Henry who was a math teacher in Toronto, Canada. How to be a bell master – Thay provides concise instructions for inviting the bell.

The main talk begins at 31-minutes. Karma, retribution, reincarnation teachings have been around a very long time. Before the Buddha. But this is not at the heart of Buddhist teaching. It is the insight of no-self. Teaching on the actor. Impermanence. Sameness and otherness.

To illustrate, we hear the story of a serial killer at the time of the Buddha who then joined the sangha. Transformation.

The self is only made of non-self elements. We don’t need to be dogmatic and caught by words – er can say “self” too. If you are not open then you are not Buddhist. Buddhism too is only made of non-Buddhist elements.

Non-self is Interbeing.

Right thinking is the element that goes along with this teaching. It has a lot of understanding and compassion. We continue with an explanation in several other aspects of the noble eightfold path.

Happiness is the Way

May 27, 2013. 69-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh from Hong Kong Coliseum. The sangha is on the spring Asian Tour and this talk is given in English with simultaneous translation into Chinese. This is the Public Talk.

Thay has a few questions to ask the audience and the questions might touch something very deep in you and provide you with insight to see the way to go. Allow the question to penetrate into your heart.

  • Are you in love? 
  • Are you still in love? 
  • Do you want to reconnect with the person you used to love? 
  • Do you think that he or she is happier than you are now? 
  • Do you have the time for each other or are you both to busy? 
  • Have you been able to preserve your freshness and beauty for yourself and for the other person? 
  • Are you capable to offer him or her freshness and beauty everyday? 
  • Do you know how to handle the suffering within yourself? 
  • Are you able to help handle the suffering in the other person? 
  • Do you understand your own suffering and the roots of that suffering? 
  • Are you able to understand the suffering in the other person? 
  • Do you have the capacity to help the other person suffer less? 
  • Have you learned the way to calm down your painful feelings and emotions? 
  • Do you have the time to listen to yourself, your suffering, your difficulties, and your deepest desire? 
  • Do you have the time to listen to him or her and help him or her to suffer less? 
  • Do you know the Buddhist way of restoring communication and bringing about reconciliation? 
  • Are you capable of creating a feeling of joy and happiness for yourself? 
  • Are you capable of helping the other person to create a feeling of joy and happiness? 
  • Do you really think you have a clear spiritual path to go? 
  • Do you have the feeling of peace and contentment within yourself? 
  • Do you know to nourish your love everyday? 
  • Have you ever met a person who is truly happy? 

During the most recent retreat at the YMCA camp in Hong Kong, we learned about walking meditation. How can we arrive with every step in the here and the now. We also learned how to breatha and sit in order to transform our suffering. In order to understand and recognize the suffering in ourselves and the other person. We only need a short time of practice to gain understanding.

What is compassionate listening and loving speech? How can we create reconciliation?

Making the Five Precepts relevant to our time. The precepts and noble eightfold path are based on the insight of Right View and allow you to transcend all discrimination.

The first training is protecting life. The second is about true happiness. Next we have true love. We’ve already touched on deep listening and loving speech, the subject of the fourth. The last training is about consumption. We cover the Four Kinds of Nutriments.

Public Talk in Bangkok

April 9, 2013. 116-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh from Paragon in Bangkok, Thailand. The sangha is on the spring Asian Tour and this talk is given in English with simultaneous translation into Thai.

We begin with an introduction to listening to the chant by Thich Nhat Hanh. How do we have the capacity to listen that can lead to understanding? How can we get in touch with the suffering of the other person? We hear the monastics chant the name of Avalokiteshvara at 18-minutes.

The main talk begins at 38-minutes. When we hear the bell, we stop thinking and allow our body to relax.

The theme for the talk is how to suffer less, how to create happiness in our daily lives. What is happiness? Do we have time to love and take care of our beloved ones? Do I have the capacity to love? What can we offer those who we love? To love is to be there.

Using the Sutra on the Full Awarness of Mindful Breathing to cultivate love.

Walking to arrive in the present. How should we walk? What other daily activities can we do with mindfulness? Can you see the many conditions of happiness?

Editor’s Note: the very end of the talk is cutoff in the recording. We apologize for this error. 

“Oh my happiness”

September 6, 2012. 111-minute dharma talk given in English, with simultaneous translation into Italian, with Thich Nhat Hanh at a public talk in Rome, Italy.

Listening to the chant to generate powerful energy of mindfulness and peace. Mindfulness of compassion.

Everyone needs a spiritual dimension in their life. Spirituality can be with or without religion. Mindfulness is an energy that can be cultivated with awareness of our body, feelings, perceptions, and environment. Bring our body and mind together. The other energies are concentration and insight. How can we get int touch with the wonders of life?

Happiness in an intimate relationship. Finding happiness despite obstacles in our lives. A spiritual dimension can help us.

How can we cultivate civic happiness in Rome? Practicing reconciliation. Applying mindfulness to civic discourse.

Mindfulness and Inner Peace

August 28, 2012. 130-minute dharma talk given in English, with simultaneous translation into Dutch, with Thich Nhat Hanh. This is a public talk given at World Forum Theatre in The Hague, The Netherlands spoknsored by the Mindful Living Foundation.

Inner peace is possible and mindfulness helps us take care of our body, feelings, and perceptions. There is a practice called mindfulness of suffering. Mindfulness is always mindfulness of something. Our suffering has often been ignored and the energy of mindfulness can help touch our suffering. The chanting of the name of the bodhissatva of compassion and deep listening – Avalokiteshvara. The monastics chant at 28m into recording.

How do we listen to the bell? How do we take care of our body and our feelings? The exercises of mindful breathing as outlined in the sutra in the Full Awareness of Mindful Breathing. A short teaching on the noble truths and Right View.

The talk concludes with a song from Sr. Chan Khong.

Cooling the Flames in Dublin

April 11, 2012. 160-minute recording given at he Dublin Convention Centre by Thich Nhat Hanh. The sangha is on the UK and Ireland Tour and this is the public talk in Ireland. Though it has been over twenty years, this is Thay’s second trip to Ireland. The recording begins with singing and a guided meditation led by monastics.

At 23-minutes into the recording, Thay gives an introduction to chanting. With compassion and love, we can be a happy person. How can we generate understanding and love as energies? They can be generated by a spiritual practice, a spiritual dimension. A nation can do the same. We have to learn how to handle our own suffering. Suffering within ourselves and in the world. The monastics have learned to generate compassion by chanting the name of Avalokiteshvara. We listen to the chant 43-minutes into the recording.

The main talk begins at 1:04 into the recording. Mindfulness is an energy for our practice. We can begin with breathing and discover the conditions of happiness in the here and now. At the conclusion, about 2:13 into recording, there is a period of questions and answers.

Cooling the Flames: Live from the Convention Centre Dublin from Plum Village Online Monastery on Vimeo.

True Peace and Happiness

March 29, 2012. 73-minute talk from the Royal Festival Hall in London, England. The sangha is on a tour of the United Kingdom and this is the first public event. The recording here is the main talk of the evening activities.

We focus our attention on our breath. One in-breath is enough to bring enlightenment. The teaching is from the Sutra on the Full Awareness of Breathing – we look at the first eight exercises.

Near the end, a few questions are taken from the audience. (1) When you live in the here and now, do you actually forget the past? (2) How do you resolve someone pushing in front of you on the Tube? (3) How can I practice with pain I have caused someone in the past? (4) How do you practice with forgiveness?

I Am Made Only of Non-Me Elements: Library of Congress Talk

October 26, 2011. Coolidge Auditorium, Jefferson Building, at the Library of Congress.. Washington DC is the final stop on the 2011 North American Tour before Thay returns to France.

Annual Walter Capps-Bill Emerson Memorial Lecture co-hosted by Faith and Politics Institute, U.S. Institute of Peace and Walter K. Capps Center for the Study of Ethics, Religion, and Public Life. Introductions by Mark Farr, Congresswoman JoAnn Emerson (R-MO) and Congresswoman Lois Capps (D-CA).

We need a spiritual dimension in our lives. With a spiritual dimension, we can overcome our difficulties. It is important to move beyond the intellectual dimension and bring the body and mind together. We can nourish and restore ourselves in order to help other people. In our practice we can see that we are made of non-me elements. This is a wonder. The wonder of the Kingdom of God. Breathing in, we can be present right now. This can link the body and the mind.

Mindfulness is always mindfulness of something. And mindfulness can be generated by us. Happiness arises from compassion. Understanding suffering gives rise to compassion. Terrorists are victims of misunderstanding and wrong perceptions. In order to remove terrorism, we must remove wrong perceptions. It can’t be done with bombs and killing. We need compassion, not the energy of fear and suspicion.

A member of congress is a cell in the body of the congress. Each cell has a responsibility to provide clarity, compassion, and courage. We can nourish the congress and make it a healthy body. Mindfulness can help cultivate these qualities. We can generate a feeling of happiness, a feeling of joy. Then we can also handle a painful feeling or emotion.

Mindfulness of compassion is what we need. We use loving speech and compassionate listening. Hearing examples of reconciliation makes this real and practical.

Making good use of our suffering. We can listen to the suffering inside of us, the other person, and in the world. We don’t run away from it. We can cultivate peace and understanding from this place of suffering. Thay’s vision is our understanding the suffering.

We conclude with a few questions.

Energies of Buddhism

September 3, 2011. 101-minute dharma talk with Thich Nhat Hanh from the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, CA. The sangha is on the North American Tour and this is the only Public Talk in California. For those who regularly read this podcast, we are posting this talk now as we have not completed preparing the last two talks from the retreat at Deer Park – they will be posted soon.

Mindfulness, concentration, and insight are the energies of Buddhism similar to the Holy Spirit being the energy of God.

We all have the capacity for understanding and love. It comes from the inside and comes with the practice of Mindfulness and concentration. This is the Buddha nature in us. We can generate a feeling of joy, a feeling of happiness in any moment. The Sutra on Mindful Breathing offers sixteen-exercises. Breathing in and breathing out with Mindfulness is a practice of resurrection. Thay takes us through the first eight exercises.

For me, the word wonderful means full of wonder. This is a wonderful moment. Our body is a wonder, and it belongs to the kingdom of God. We can touch the kingdom of God. In the Christian gospel, there is a story of a farmer who discovers a treasure on a piece of land and he sold everything except this piece of land. This is the kingdom of God. This is all you need. Happiness is possible in present moment. A good practitioner can generate happiness.

The importance of sangha. Taking refuge in the sangha. How do we handle suffering? A painful feeling? With a sangha.

True happiness needs suffering too. No mud. No lotus. They interare. This is right view. We should make good use of suffering.

How can we be liberated from despair and anger?

Applied ethics. Mindfulness in schools. How to handle painful or difficult emotions.