Category Archives: 2010 Southeast Asia Tour

Being Present

September 17, 2010. 104-minute dharma talk with Thich Nhat Hanh in English. This is the third day of the retreat in Malaysia taking place at Tiara Beach Resort in Port Dickson. We are honored to hear two songs from the children present before the talk begins followed by a short meditation on parents. Thay is very good with supporting the children.

We are reminded of the relationship between Teacher and Student. Why is it important and what is the role we each play. We should practice kindness for our teacher just as our teacher practices kindness for the student.  Practicing mindfulness is the practice of being kind to our teacher; to honor and follow what we are taught. The teacher must do the same so only what is directly experienced is taught. With awareness we can see the miracle of walking on earth and see the Buddha is in each of us.

Some discussion on the Sutra on the Full Awareness of Breathing is included. How do we handle strong emotions? Just like a tree in a storm where there is a lot of movement near the top of the tree but solidity in the middle and bottom, we too must come down out of our head and practice abdomen breathing when we encounter the strong emotions.

The last part of the talk reviews the Four Mantras:

  1. Darling, I am here for you.
  2. Darling, I know that you are here and it makes me very happy.
  3. Darling, I know that you are suffering and that is why I am here for you.
  4. Darling, I am suffering and I need your help.

Practicing being present and learning to listen with compassion.

Taking Care of Pain, Generating Happiness

September 16, 2010. 127 minute dharma talk in English with simultaneous translation into Chinese. This is the second day of the retreat in Malaysia taking place at Tiara Beach Resort in Port Dickson.

The bell is a significant element in many practitioners experience. How the bell sounds can effect our practice as well as the practice of those around us. The first 25-minutes Thay gives a review on how to correctly invite the bell.

A common story given in dharma talks is that one given by the Buddha where a person goes into the cellar, brings up a bag of different types of beans, opens the bag and identifies the different types. The Sutra on the Contemplation of the Body is the same where we can apply mindfulness to the different parts of the body. We are reminded to spend more time on those parts that suffer. Bringing our awareness to those elements of the body can help bring healing and happiness. This contemplation also includes being aware of the position of our body (sitting, standing, walking, lying down, etc.) – we are aware when we’re in these positions.

A good practitioner should know how to handle painful feelings and not to run away from them , sometimes by listening to music, eating, and other entertainment. We need to use mindfulness to transform our pain. Transforming, by embracing, our pain can cultivate happiness. If you are a beginner, you may not have enough mindfulness yet. In that case, you can borrow the energy of mindfulness from the sangha. Thay provides a brief review of sangha and how it has unfolded in the west.

How do we bring a moment of joy, of happiness? Letting go (including the idea of happiness), mindfulness, concentration, and insight.

Remembering our Seeds

September 9, 2010. 82-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh in Singapore during the Peaceful Mind, Open Heart Retreat at the Kong Meng San Pu Jue Zen Monastery. The talk is given in English on the second day of the retreat.

Our talk begins with a gentle and loving talk to the children with the story of the corn seed growing into a corn plant. Thay suggests that we talk to the corn plant and remind it of being a seed just as we need to remember being a seed once ourselves.

The remaining 55-minutes we are taken through exercises for identifying our breath and mindfulness.

Breathing in, I know this is an in breath
Breathing out, I know this is an out breath

Breathing in, following the in breath all the way through
Breathing out, following the out breath all the way through

These are steps for dwelling happily in the present moment. It allows for the three energies to arise: mindfulness, concentration, insight. The next exercise is useful for body scanning.

Breathing in, I am aware of my whole body
Breathing out, I am aware of my whole body

Breathing in, I release the tension in my body
Breathing out, I release the tension in my body

This talk contains common themes, but ones that are always good to be reminded of for our daily practice. Enjoy.

Please note, some parts of the audio recording sounds like it is skipping. These are all minor and a problem with the source recording.

Breathing our Feelings

September 10, 2010. 100-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh in Singapore during the Peaceful Mind, Open Heart Retreat at the Kong Meng San Pu Jue Zen Monastery. The talk is given in English and Chinese simultaneously. I apologize for posting this out of order – you can hear the previously posted second part of this discourse at Mindful Breathing: Mind and Objects of Mind.

The retreat is exploring the  Discourse on the Full Awareness of Breathing (also known as the Anapanasati Sutta).  The first eight have the two broad categories of body and feelings. The discourse is explored in more detail in The Path of Emancipation.

1. ‘Breathing in a long breath, I know I am breathing in a long breath.
Breathing out a long breath, I know I am breathing out a long breath.

2. ‘Breathing in a short breath, I know I am breathing in a short breath.
Breathing out a short breath, I know I am breathing out a short breath.

3. ‘Breathing in, I am aware of my whole body. Breathing out, I am aware of my whole body.’ He or she practices like this.

4. ‘Breathing in, I calm my whole body. Breathing out, I calm my whole body.’ He or she practices like this.

5. ‘Breathing in, I feel joyful. Breathing out, I feel joyful.’ He or she practices like this.

6. ‘Breathing in, I feel happy. Breathing out, I feel happy.’ He or she practices like this.

7. ‘Breathing in, I am aware of my mental formations. Breathing out, I am aware of my mental formations.’ He or she practices like this.

8. ‘Breathing in, I calm my mental formations. Breathing out, I calm my mental formations.’ He or she practices like this.

Mindful Breathing: Mind and Objects of Mind

September 12, 2010. 113-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh in Singapore during the Peaceful Mind, Open Heart Retreat at the Kong Meng San Pu Jue Zen Monastery. The talk is given in English. The audio link is below and there is also an optional video version.

During the previous four days of the retreat, the community had been exploring the first eight exercises of the Discourse on the Full Awareness of Breathing (also known as the Anapanasati Sutta).  The first eight have the two broad categories of body and feelings, but here we focus on the last eight exercises to mindful breathing – the mind (or mental formation) and the objects of mind. Mind and object of mind are always together. The discourse is explored in more detail in The Path of Emancipation.

9. ‘Breathing in, I am aware of my mind. Breathing out, I am aware of my mind.’ He or she practices like this.
10. ‘Breathing in, I make my mind happy. Breathing out, I make my mind happy.’ He or she practices like this.
11. ‘Breathing in, I concentrate my mind. Breathing out, I concentrate my mind.’ He or she practices like this.
12. ‘Breathing in, I liberate my mind. Breathing out, I liberate my mind.’ He or she practices like this.
13. ‘Breathing in, I observe the impermanent nature of all dharmas. Breathing out, I observe the impermanent nature of all dharmas.’ He or she practices like this.
14. ‘Breathing in, I observe the disappearance of desire. Breathing out, I observe the disappearance of desire.’ He or she practices like this.
15. ‘Breathing in, I observe the no-birth, no-death nature of all phenomena. Breathing out, I observe the no-birth, no-death nature of all phenomena.’ He or she practices like this.
16. ‘Breathing in, I observe letting go. Breathing out, I observe letting go.’ He or she practices like this.
In this talk, Thay discusses #15 in terms of nirvana and reflects that this is the most wonderful exercise. We can contemplate our true nature. No birth. No death. No coming. No going. That is nirvana. The highest point in Buddhist teaching. God is nirvana.

Living Here and Now

UPDATE: The audio file has been fixed; thank you for the patience.

September 11, 2010. 112-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh in Singapore during the Peaceful Mind, Open Heart Retreat at the Kong Meng San Pu Jue Zen Monastery. The talk is given in English and then translated into Chinese. The theme of the talk is the art of living here and now.

Thay reminds us there are many sutras on this topic of living happily in the present moment. We have the ability to live in Amit?bha’s Pure Land. He shares the story of a businessman who brings 500 other businessmen to hear the Buddha talk. In the discourse given, the Buddha mentions happiness five times because he knew this was what the businessmen needed to hear.

It is possible to live happily in the present moment and mindful breathing and mindful walking can bring us to the present moment. Discussion of dharmakaya, the dharma body. Dharma body is the same as practice. We need a good practice and this produces living dharma; mindfulness of the dharma. To nourish the dharma body, we need the sangha body. If we cultivate a living sangha, then you can find the Buddha.

Thay spends a few minutes presenting the true love mantra. This is our ability to be present. We are reminded that breathing and walking are the key to you free. And to love someone is to offer our true presence to him. To her.

The last third of the talk focuses on the Five Mindfulness Trainings. We need to see the suffering of society and this global spiritual ethic manifested in the Five Mindfulness Trainings has been offered to the world.

Orientation to Practice

September 8, 2010. 72-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh in Singapore during the Peaceful Mind, Open Heart Retreat at the Kong Meng San Pu Jue Zen Monastery. The talk is in English and the last portion is giving by Thay Phap Hai and Sr. Concentration. During the months of September and October, Thay will be traveling throughout Southeast Asia giving retreats and talks. This is the first stop.

The primary focus of this talk is to provide instructions for enjoying the retreat. The retreat is an opportunity to practice Applied Buddhism. We learn the basic practices such as listening to the bell, connecting body and mind, mindful walking, brushing our teeth, eating meditation, and more.

It is a short talk with a specific focus, but the reminders are good to bring home and practice wherever we are. Please enjoy.