June 16, 2013. 112-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh from the European Institute of Applied Buddhism in Waldbrol, Germany. The talk is given in English with simultaneous translation into German. This is the final dharma talk of the German Retreat on the theme Are You Sure?
We start with the three kinds of energies — mindfulness, concentration, insight — and they can produced anytime while doing any activity. We can see things more deeply and remove wrong perceptions. Mindfulness is always mindfulness of something. Concentration is the same.
Four Foundations of Mindfulness – the four domains or objects of mindfulness. The first domain is body. The second domain are the feelings. The mind is the third object. The final domain is objects of mind – in Buddhist psychology there are 51 mental formations. What is object of mind? The Five Skandhas (also known as the five aggregates). We discuss store consciousness and mind consciousness.
Science and Buddhism. Conventional truth and ultimate truth. Transmitter and receiver. What is emptiness? Birth and death. Being and non-being. These are just notions and can lead to wrong views.
Right View, part of the noble eightfold path, is the insight that is free from all wrong views. Right Thinking is the kind of thinking that is also free of notions of birth and death, being and non-being.
July 15, 2012. 121-minute recording given at Lower Hamlet, Plum Village by Thich Nhat Hanh. This is the seventh dharma talk of the Summer Opening and the talk was originally given in French. This is an English translation.
We begin with a talk for the children. What is the Buddha? How can we make use of suffering? What can we do with anger? What is loving speech? The story of the corn plant. The method of meditation called Signlessness. Uses the birth of a child to illustrate.
Following the talk for children, the main talk begins at 53-minutes into the recording. In classical science things are all outside of each other. In modern science, quantum physics, we see that things are inside each other. In Buddhism, we try to look this way. There is no separate self. Coexistence. This is, because that is. Interbeing.
A teaching in the Four Noble Truths. Why do we have suffering? Hiw do we get understanding and love? How can we see the all in the one?
The noble eightfold path beginning with Right View (the fruit of our meditation). The notions of being and non-being. Right Thinking. Right Speech. Right Action.
June 20, 2012. 79-minute dharma talk by Thich Nhat Hanh from Upper Hamlet in Plum Village during the 21-Day Retreat with the theme The Science of the Buddha. The talk is given in English and this is the fifteenth dharma talk (of 15). No chanting. This is the final dharma talk of the retreat.
We are all cells in the sangha body. Sangha building.
Suffering and happiness.
The mind of non-discrimination.
Four pairs of opposites
Scientists and practitioners can let go of notions.
Thay reads from The Paramartha Gathas of Asanga Gathas on the Absolute Truth. This is because that is - Condition Genesis
Both the self and the elements that give rise to the self are empty. They are just constructions of our perverted (confused) mind. The separate-self nature ofall the sentient species is also empty. The only thing that is, is the causing andconditioning of one dharma upon another.
And the following from The Discourse on the Adaptation of Conditioned Genesis Connected with Emptiness
Profound indeed is this, namely conditioned genesis; even more profound,more difficult to see is this, namely the extinction of all attachment, the destructionof craving, the fading away of desire, the cessation of all suffering: nirvana.
June 20, 2012. 70-minute dharma talk by Thich Nhat Hanh from New Hamlet in Plum Village during the 21-Day Retreat with the theme The Science of the Buddha. The talk is given in English and this is the fourteenth dharma talk (of 15). No chanting, but began with some mindful movements.
True Happiness comes from understanding and compassion. I am capable of understanding. The seeds of Buddhahood are there. Right Thinking is the kind of thinking that can produce compassion. One in-breath can create compassion and we can create new habits.
The Four Attainments are the fruits of our practice.
Dwell peacefully where you are. Froglessness.
I have arrived.
Does the soul exist?
Thay reads from The Paramartha Gathas of Asanga Gathas on the Absolute Truth, verse 44, on Birth. Death. Nirvana.
Living beings is the name of a continuous stream and all phenomena as theobject of perception are only signs. Therefore there is no real change of birthinto death and death into birth and no person who realizes nirvana.
June 19, 2012. 117-minute dharma talk by Thich Nhat Hanh from Upper Hamlet in Plum Village during the 21-Day Retreat with the theme The Science of the Buddha. The talk is given in English and this is the thirteenth dharma talk (of 15).
Thay announced the names of apprentice Dharma Teachers for the coming year. There will about 50 from the monastic Sunflower family and about 15 lay students (Belgium, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, and USA). We are reminded that a dharma teacher can create happiness for those around them and can handle a painful/unpleasant feeling. Even with some suffering, dharma teachers can discover this is a happy moment.
Climbing a mountain, arriving with every step. Illustrated from a story of traveling China with the sangha.
Five Universal Mental Formations.
Always present and always together. A neural pathway that can lead to happiness or suffering. Creates a habit. We don’t need to focus on our suffering. Create a habit of happiness.
Contact – eyes, ears, etc.
Attention - To be able to select the object of your attention. This is good practice. Appropriate attention.
Perception / Conception
Five Particular Mental Formations
Desire / Intention
Resolution / Determination
Types of Consciousness
Mind (this consciousness can instruct manas – the work of meditation)
Manas (the ground the first six lean upon – wrong view; seeks pleasure)
Store (everything manifests from here – all the seeds)
June 17, 2012. 93-minute dharma talk by Thich Nhat Hanh from Upper Hamlet in Plum Village during the 21-Day Retreat with the theme The Science of the Buddha. The talk is given in English and this is the twelfth dharma talk (of 15). This talk is a session of Questions and Answers.
I want to go home because cooking materials needed for my special diet is being stolen from my tent in Lower Hamlet. I feel unsafe here. What should I do?
How do we handle training people in mindfulness to address concerns of global warming, food shortages, war, etc.? How fast should we go? How much practice do we need before we can teach?
Can you help me understand the new language in the revised Third and Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings, especially the line about “being known to my family and friends” as it relates to LBGT community?
I have my own ideas/understanding, I’ve been using the practice of “no” (koan) as you described in Zen Keys. Is this good practice?
How to practice letting go?
Three written questions on transmission and karma of illness through the family. For example, suicide.
What role does Parallax Press and your books have in sharing the dharma and the mindfulness Trainings?
How do I work with internal anger (maybe manifested via external illness)?
June 16, 2012. 99-minute dharma talk by Thich Nhat Hanh from Upper Hamlet in Plum Village during the 21-Day Retreat with the theme The Science of the Buddha. The talk is given in English and this is the eleventh dharma talk (of 15).
Four (six) Mantras of Love (45-minutes)
Darling, I am here for you.
Darling, I know you are there and it makes me happy.
Darling, I know you suffer.
Darling, I suffer, please help.
(This is a Happy Moment.)
(Darling, you are partly right.)
The last one is new and for when someone congratulates or criticizes you.
Perception and our mind. Subject of cognition and object of mind. The mind can be both the observed and the observer.
Three parts acting together. The notion of superposition. Three but one.
The third part is the base, the foundation, for the observed. Thay has used the example of a piece of paper. The first two are the right and left side and the third is the paste (the paper itself). The third part has many names – different types of consciousnesses. For example, store consciousness.
June 14, 2012. 86-minute dharma talk by Thich Nhat Hanh from Upper Hamlet in Plum Village during the 21-Day Retreat with the theme The Science of the Buddha. The talk is given in English and this is the tenth dharma talk (of 15).
The Four Recollections
Joy and happiness with the three kinds of energies: mindfulness, concentration, and insight. When we focus on our breath, we are only our breath. We are not our sorrow or our regret.
Joy while breathing
Happiness while sitting
Joy is the breathing
Happiness is the breathing
Thay tells a story of the Buddha visiting a disciple who was very attached to the Buddha, but was now dying. His name was Vakali to help him die peacefully. The story illustrates the concept of the dharma body (dharmakaya). Our practice is our dharma body. The sangha and our teacher can help is develop our dharma body. Our practice also creates the living dharma.
We also have a sangha body (sanghakaya); a community of practice. The sangha body is in yourself.
We also learn the last two of the Four Recollections: Buddha body (buddhakaya) and the Mindfulness Trainings (silakaya). We practice to cultivate these four bodies.
June 13, 2012. 124-minute dharma talk by Thich Nhat Hanh from New Hamlet in Plum Village during the 21-Day Retreat with the theme The Science of the Buddha. The talk is given in English and this is the ninth dharma talk (of 15).
Investigation of the phenomenonal and noumenal worlds. We use our mind of discrimination to investigate the conventional truth. If we use the practice to look more deeply, we can see the ultimate truth of the same object. We use the mind of non-discrimination for the ultimate truth. And in Buddhism we take care of the mind. We need to train our mind so to create a strong instrument for investigation. The yogi has to be skillful.
The teaching of the Dharma as a finger. A skillful practitioner should not be caught in notions.
The Wisdom of Adaptation. Being and nonbeing. A flower is made of non-flower elements and this principle applies to everything. In the 2nd paragraph of the Heart of Perfect Understanding. Form is emptiness and Emptiness is not form. Form is free from being and nonbeing. They are neither produced nor destroyed. We can apply the Law of Thermodynamics – the conservation of matter and energy. We look then at the Discourse on the Adaption of Conditioned Genesis Connected with Emptiness (Samyukta Agama 293).
June 12, 2012. 111-minute dharma talk by Thich Nhat Hanh from Upper Hamlet in Plum Village during the 21-Day Retreat with the theme The Science of the Buddha. The talk is given in English and this is the eighth dharma talk (of 15).
Seven Factors of Enlightenment (relaxation, joy, investigation, etc)
Separate investigation of phenomena and noumenal
We should not mixup the two dimensions of conventional and ultimate. When considering the Four Noble Truths, the first two must be investigated in the realm of conventional truth. Conditional Dharma. The same cloud can be both investigated from conventional truth and ultimate truth.
The Second Noble Truth and the Fifth Mindfulness Training can be described in terms of food. Nutriments. The Sutra of the Son’s Flesh gives this teaching on nutriments. Thay explains the Four Kinds of Nutriments: edible foods, sensory impressions, volition, and consciousness. Discusses Mencius’ Mother (China); also known as Meng Ze.Thay would like to see the Sutra on Four Kinds of Nutriments in the next edition of chanting book.