The Universe is a Single Flower

February 17, 2011. 78-minute Dharma Talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh in the Assembly of Stars Mediation Hall at Lower Hamlet, Plum Village, France. We begin with 8-minutes of chanting. This is the final dharma talk of the Winter Retreat before the Great Ordination Ceremony and the close of the retreat. Here we continue discussing the Sutra of Flowers and Fragrance.

Seeing the Earth in that way he felt a deep compassion for all the people who live on the Earth. They are trying to do something to protect our environment. Only from very far away do you look back and see the fragility of our planet, and you feel compassion.

One astronaut said that when he left the Earth and looked back, then he became a humanitarian, because I feel that I have to take care of the people on that planet. The vision is so important from far away. If you are a schoolteacher, or parents, you try to help your students to get in touch with this. Continue reading

The Girl Without a Button

February 13, 2011. 76-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh from New Hamlet, Plum Village. We begin with chanting – The Heart of Perfect Understanding in French and The Three Refuges in English.

Sitting here, we try to look deeply at the other person. The person we love. What are they doing? If we know how to sit quietly, then we see that person clearly even if they are not present. Sometimes we need to be far away in order to see the relationship more clearly. Thay shares a story by Hans Christian Andersen called A Great Grief.

We travel to space and look at the earth. It is so dark in space, but when we look back we see how earth is so beautiful. If we look deeply, we can see the billions of people and what they are doing to each other. Sometimes we need to go far away to see the value. This is what some astronauts have said upon return.

How do we treasure that person? How do we treasure the planet? That picture from space can be a bell of mindfulness. To understand and to see. To wake up. We need to teach our children the preciousness of the planet, of life.

Sutra of Flowers and Fragrance from the dhammapada. So far, we have learned three chapters from the Chinese texts and these only exist in the Chinese, but this sutra is also available in the Pali. However, the Chinese has 13 more verses. We have drafted an English text. today we learn the first four verses.

The talk was given in Vietnamese with English translation and is available below (French and original Vietnamese audio are also available, as well as video version).

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The Arrow of Desire

February 10, 2011. 92-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh from the Dharma Cloud Temple, Upper Hamlet, Plum Village. We begin with 17-minutes of chanting and singing.

Sources of happiness. Freshness of the morning air. Water from the tap. Mindfulness is the water and air for the mind. With mindfulness you can look deeper and you can be happier. From there we gain insight from our awareness of breathing. And this insight can help you to undo knots inside you. We can face our fear. We have non-fear.

The perfect non-fear helps us to overcome the fear totally. There are many links that bind us: fear, irritation, anger, doubt, arrogance, desire, etc. Non-fear means we are free of these bonds. Call each one it’s true name.

The next monastic ordination family. There are eight aspirants at Upper Hamlet. They will be called Violet Bamboo family. We must practice like a bamboo; nothing inside. Empty all the knots and wounds inside. We must remove the arrow of craving and be empty like bamboo.

Sutra reference. Verses 33-36 of The Most Peaceful Dwelling Sutra.

33. If you want to completely liberate yourself from fear and end all internal formations and doubts, You must know that if you haven’t pulled out the arrow of desire, then you haven’t understood yet that this body is suffering.

34. Among the highest things that people call the most divine Nirvana is the highest. You must cut off all ideas and attachments and do not be deceived by words.

35. Knowing how to refrain or not to refrain that is the highest practice of letting go. If in our heart there are thoughts of practice the shell will be cracked.

36. Of all offerings, that of the Dharma is the most precious. Of all kinds of happiness, that happiness based on the Dharma is the greatest. Of all strengths, patience is the most powerful because it can put an end to attachment and bring the happiness of Nirvana.

The talk was given in Vietnamese with English translation and is available below (French and original Vietnamese audio are also available, as well as video version).

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Understanding is the Basis of Love

February 2, 2011, on the Eve of the Lunar New Year of the Cat, in the New Hamlet of Plum Village. He reads poetry of Xuân Diu and talks of the beauty of fidelity in a relationship.

Self-love is the foundational of love for another.

We should see something very simple and basic: understanding is the basis of love. The understanding of our suffering we can accept and understand the others. We have communication. The practice helps us to a develop our love and understanding to remove the feeling of loneliness inside.

The talk was given in Vietnamese with English translation and is available below (French and original Vietnamese audio are also available, as well as video version).

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Ten Days

January 30, 2011. 85-minute Dharma Talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh, from Lower Hamlet, Plum Village, France. We begin with 7-minutes of chanting. Thay reads some Vietnamese Poetry and a love story that takes place during the Lunar New Year.

Breathing in, I dwell on my unborn
Breathing out, no birth and death

Speaks of dualistic views and uses God as the basis for the analysis. Learning to touch the unborn. This is it. Sudden enlightenment.

Today we learn two more particular mental formations. The first is about deep desire, expectation of waiting for something. Feeling very empty. Lack of something. It’s why we check our email. Thay uses a story from a 1995 (Vietnamese) short story to make the point. The title is Ten Days. Ten days of expectation. It’s quite a funny story about young love and waiting.

Drops of Emptiness.

The talk was given in Vietnamese with English translation and is available below (French and original Vietnamese audio are also available, as well as video version).

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