Category Archives: 2010 Spring Retreat

Net of Love Sutta (Part VII)

May 23, 2010. 50-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh in New Hamlet, Plum Village. The talk was given Vietnamese and is translated into English by Sr. Chan Khong. This is the seventh in a series (Part IPart IIPart IIIPart IVPart V, Part VI). It is the conclusion of this commentary.

The talk is a little shorter than the others because some of the gathas have been discussed in other dharma talks as they are repeated here in the sutra. The focus of this section is the hero and freedom.

Here is the current translation (subject to change) of the gatha’s covered in this talk.

29.  The five kinds of sensual desires arise, when our mind feels satisfied by them.  When we can speedily put an end to those five kinds of sensual desires, we can truly be called a Hero.

30. When we no longer have sensual desire, we have no more fear. At that point we are free, peaceful and happy.  When desire is ended the internal formations also end and because of that the practitioner comes out of the deep abyss.

31. Dear sensual love, I know your roots:  the desiring mind comes from misperceived wishes and wrong perceptions.  Now I don’t have any more wishes or wrong perceptions about you.  So how can you arise?

32. If we have felled the tree of sexual desire, but we have not pulled up its roots, it will sprout again.  If the monk or nun felled the tree of sexual desire and completely uprooted it, he or she will realize nirvana.

33. If a person doesn’t want to cut down the tree of sexual desire, its branches and leaves will continue to a greater or lesser extent arise.  When our mind is still caught in sexual desire, we are still like the calf that always needs its mother’s utter.

This concludes the Spring 2010 Retreats at Plum Village.

Net of Love Sutta (Part VI)

May 20, 2010. 70-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh in Lower Hamlet, Plum Village. The talk was given Vietnamese (found here) and is translated into English by Sr. Chan Khong. This is the sixth in a series (Part IPart IIPart III, Part IV, Part V).

Breathing Meditation for Sitting, Lying Down and Walking. The first 40-minutes of the talk explore this idea of breathing. If you really want to let your mind rest, then follow your breath. It’s very delicious, like ice cream. But, if you make an effort then it is not correct. Don’t force.

You can have happiness today. What I teach is what I’ve tried myself. Trust Thay.

The talk is followed by learning to sing the Five Contemplations, practiced before eating a meal.

In the final 30-minutes, Thay provides a commentary on the following gathas of the Net of Love (Attachment) sutta.

24. Seeing and understanding the true nature of things without being caught in any of them and we know how to undo the ties of sexual desire in our mind. Then we have grasped the meaning of the Buddha’s teachings.

25. Offering the right teaching is the most precious offering.  The scent of morality is the most fragrant one of all.  The most effective way to live according to right teaching is the greatest happiness amongst all kinds of happiness.  The practice of putting an end to sensual love once and for all is the practice of putting an end to sexual desires.
 
26-27. The ignorant person often ties himself with the rope of sensual desire.  He doesn’t yet desire to cross to the other shore.  Craving creates corruption and brings about disasters and misfortune to others and himself.  The greedy mind is the field; craving, anger and ignorance are the seeds.  For those who are capable of practicing generosity and liberating others, the merit he harvests is immeasurable.
 
28. With few traveling companions but a large amount of merchandise to convey, the merchant falls into the state of anxiety and panic. The wise ones don’t run after desires, because they know that the infatuation with sensual pleasures is the brigand, who can destroy his life.

Net of Love Sutta (Part V)

May 16, 2010. 68-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh in Upper Hamlet, Plum Village. The talk was given Vietnamese (found here) and is translated into English by Sr. Chan Khong. This is the fifth in a series (Part IPart IIPart III, Part IV).

Thay provides a commentary on Gathas 20-23 and some of the language is being changed as the dharma talks occur. For example, it has been suggested that the sutta be called Net of Attachment. This is a work in progress.

20-21. By tying ourselves in the net of sensual love and taking shelter under an umbrella of sensual love, we are binding ourselves in the cycle of attachment like a fish that swims into his own trap.  Caught by age and death, we just circle around the object of our love like a calf looking for his mother’s utter.  If we are able to let go of desires and do not follow the tracks of the love vehicle, we can get out of the net of sensual love and nothing else can harm us anymore.

22. If we are able to go the whole way, leave behind all the fetters of attachment and suffering, and if we are liberated from all kinds of discrimination and go beyond all dualistic notions, we are a monk of great understanding.

23. Don’t keep company with those who go against the true teachings and don’t let yourself be pulled along on the path of attachment.  If the practitioner has not yet transcend time and space, he is still caught in dualist views.

Listen closely to the commentary on the 22nd stanza because Thay mentions this is the very seed of the middle path – very Mahayana. The talk ends with a lovely letter written by a young nun of her experience of this sutra.

As a reminder, this text is from Chinese Dhammapada and originally in the sanskrit (Taisho #213). The sutra has 32 chapters, has 752 stanzas, and was translated to Chinese in the 3rd century.

Net of Love Sutta (Part IV)

May 13, 2010. 56-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh in Upper Hamlet, Plum Village. The talk was given Vietnamese (found here) and is translated into English by Sr. Chan Khong. This is the fourth in a series (Part IPart II, Part III).

Thay provides a commentary on Gathas 12-18. Since the translation into English continues to be a work in progress, I will not transcribe the gathas here at this time. When they become available, it will be posted. In the meantime, enjoy the talk and translation as it is provided.

As a reminder, this text is from Chinese Dhammapada and originally in the sanskrit (Taisho #213). The sutra has 32 chapters, has 752 stanzas, and was translated to Chinese in the 3rd century.

In our dharma sharing, we are encouraged to look deeply impermanence. Thay also recognizes that in some cases it may be appropriate for lay and monastic, young and older, to share separately.

Net of Love Sutta (Part III)

May 9, 2010. 54-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh in Upper Hamlet, Plum Village. The talk was given Vietnamese (found here) and is translated into English by Sr. Chan Khong. This is the third in a series (Part I, Part II).

Thay provides a commentary on Gathas 8-11. Since the translation into English continues to be a work in progress, I will not transcribe the gathas here at this time. When they become available, it will be posted. In the meantime, enjoy the talk and translation as it is provided.

As a reminder, this text is from Chinese Dhammapada and originally in the sanskrit (Taisho #213). The sutra has 32 chapters, has 752 stanzas, and was translated to Chinese in the 3rd century.

In our dharma sharing, we are encouraged to look deeply into pride (superiority, inferiority, and equality) and especially our habit energies.

Net of Love Sutta (Part II)

May 6, 2010. 75-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh in Upper Hamlet, Plum Village. The talk was given Vietnamese (found here) and is translated into English by Sr. Chan Khong. This is the second in a series (Part 1).

Before Thay begins his continued commentary on the Net of Love, he spends about 25-minutes re-examining the Three Jewels (Buddha, Dharma, Sangha) and how important it is to take care of ourselves. We uses the tree metaphor, found in the sutra too, to illustrate how we need to be strong in our practice by having strong roots.

In the remaining 45-minutes, Thay provides a commentary on a few more of the gathas found in the Sutra on Net of Love (Gathas 7-10). As a reminder, this text is from Chinese Dhammapada and originally in the sanskrit (Taisho #213). The sutra has 32 chapters, has 752 stanzas, and was translated to Chinese in the 3rd century.

Practitioners are encouraged to explore the themes presented in local dharma sharing. He would like to hear of the fruit from the dharma sharing.

Net of Love Sutta (Part I)

May 2, 2010. 80-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh in Full New Meditation Hall, New Hamlet, Plum Village. The talk was given Vietnamese (found here) and is translated into English by Sr. Chan Khong. This is the first in a series.

The Sutra on Net of Love, as discussed here, is from Chinese Dhammapada and originally in the sanskrit (Taisho #213). The sutra has 32 chapters, has 752 stanzas, and was translated to Chinese in the 3rd century. The topic is sensual love and has historically been a sutra for the monastic community. Sensual love is like a net that can imprison us. However, Thay believes that lay people (non-monastic) can benefit from it too though it is easier for monastic because they are in a safe environment. The main intention of sutra is to help monastic keep celibacy.

A portion of the sutra being discussed today are Gathas 1-6.

When the mind goes in the direction of sex, the tree of sexual desire springs up and quickly sprouts branches.
With sex as the object of mind, a fire will burst up in us and cause the mind to be dispersed.
Those who look for sex are like monkey’s that search for fruit, jumping from branch to branch.

Sensual love inflicts us with suffering and ties us to worldly life.
Worries and accidents caused by sensual love grow day and night like an invasive grass with tangled roots.
Blinded by love, sooner or later, we fall into passion.
Obsession grows daily like a trickle of water filling a pond.

In life there are many worries and sorrows, but there is no greater worry than that brought by sensual love.
Being able to let go sexual desire, releases all worry.
If we want to happy and joyful, then we must be determined to let go of sensual love.

Free from sensual love, we are no longer caught in the circle of samsara.
Nor burdened by anxiety.
Nor restlessly searching for what is unwholesome.
The absence of attachment will lead to true peace and joy.

If we have been deeply caught in love, then on our death bed, surrounded by relatives, we will see just how long the path of worry and suffering is before us.
The suffering caused by love often leads us into unsafe situations and numerous disasters.
As a practitioner, we should not go in the direction of sensual love that it’s roots can no longer sprout.
It is not simply cutting reeds above ground.

The roots of sensual love are deep and firm.
The tree may be cut, yet branches and leaves sprout again.
When sensual love is not uprooted, the suffering it causes will come back.

Like a monkey that jumps from one tree to another, people jump from one prison of sensual love to another.
The mind of attachment is like a stream of water that goes with the flow of habit energy and pride.
Our thoughts and perceptions can be embellished by the colors of sensual love and then we ourselves hide the truth and cannot see it.

That is all available in English at this time. The lines may “broken” at incorrect places, as this has been transcribed verbally. Please post any comments, suggestions, or corrections below.

Update: the sutra as written above is the initial English translation and a couple of drafts are still in development. Look in future posts for updated versions.

Exploring our Feelings

March 14, 2010. A short 55-minute dharma talk given in English by Thich Nhat Hanh at the Upper Hamlet of Plum Village. This talk is given a month after the end of the Winter Retreat and also the annual period a rest. Spring is beginning to arrive in Plum Village and our Teacher reminds us this is a moment of happiness.

The focus of this talk is our feelings – painful, neutral, and pleasant feelings. Short, simple and clear. Please enjoy.

Update: Later that day he said, “anyone who has a chance to listen to this talk is very lucky…. and that this one talk alone is enough for a lifetime of practice.”

Your Heart is like a Flower

April 4, 2010. This 65-minute dharma talk was given by Thich Nhat Hanh in Dharma Cloud Temple, Upper Hamlet, Plum Village.

I have a couple other talks from March to post, but am starting with the latest talk given by our Teacher. Please enjoy. Some of he the themes explored are:

It’s spring time and every flower is open. Your heart is like a flower. Let your heart be open like a flower. The Kingdom is here and now.

Right Thinking. We suffer because we don’t know how to think. What is Right Thinking?

Our environment is created by our Right Thinking. You can be protected by the right environment to transform your suffering. The Upper Hamlet is a product of all of us who want to create a right environment with the collective energy of mindfulness. Thinking is already acting.

In Buddhism we speak of retribution – the retribution of our action. Karma. Our action consists of thinking, speaking, and doing. There are two aspects of retribution. The first result is our five skandhas.