Tag Archives: Asanga

Removing the Net of Doubt

January 29, 2012. 101-minute dharma talk from Lower Hamlet of Plum Village, France. The sangha is in the 2011-2012 Winter Retreat. The talk is given in Vietnamese with English translation by Sister Chan Khong. French and Vietnamese versions are also available.

Practicing mindfulness the whole day long. We are kind of like a big power plant producing mindfulness all day. There are five kinds of power. The first one is faith. The opposite of faith is doubt. The faith comes from your living experience. This year our parallel sentence includes “Removing the Net of Doubt” with the other side being “Lighting the Torch of Wisdom.” this comes from your deep vision. Insight. But remember, no suffering, no enlightenment. The second power is vision. The flash of vision must be continuous so it can transform into action. Keep steady throughout the day. The architecture of suchness. We can use the three doors of liberation. With diligence we can maintain the third power: concentration. We practice appropriate attention.

In this talk we also return to the Paramartha Gathas we’ve been studying most of the winter retreat. Thay discusses different types of science as It relates to the teachings of the patriarchs. We can use out knowledge to compare and understand better. If you have been listening this winter, and you have some insight, please write to us so we can prepare for the 21-Day Retreat on the topic of science of the Buddha.

Letting Go and Nirvana

January 19, 2012. 91-minute dharma talk from Upper Hamlet of Plum Village, France. The sangha is in the 2011-2012 Winter Retreat. The talk is given in Vietnamese with English translation provided by Sr. Chan Khong. This is the last talk on the Paramartha Gathas we have been studying this winter retreat.

Breathing in, I smile to life. We are present to life. And closely related: I am of the nature to die. I cannot escape death. Many people also fear growing old. I am of the nature of growing old. I cannot escape old age. I am of the nature to be sick. I cannot escape sickness. We can look deeply at sickness, old age, and death. We should also let go of all our titles, money, degrees, family, etc. Then when it’s time to die, you can go easily. The fruit of my thinking, speaking, and action is what will continue. Birth and death. Past. Present. Future. Nirvana is in life. In affliction.

We complete the sutra study (@ 52-minutes) with the last few gathas.

The Stream of Our Ancestors

January 15, 2012. 94-minute dharma talk from Lower Hamlet of Plum Village, France. The sangha is in the 2011-2012 Winter Retreat. The talk is given in Vietnamese with English translation provided by Sr. Chan KhongIn Plum Village we have a gatha, a short poem of practice, that we can use when walking and breathing. It is an art and it can bring us peace.

The Buddha is breathing.
The Buddha is sitting.

Don’t try to look outside yourself. There is no separate self, there are only the five Skandhas: form, feelings, perceptions, mental formations, and conciousness. All our suffering is based in this idea of a separate self.

I accept myself and I am a part of the stream of my ancestors. I accept this stream. We can go together, thanks to mindfulness, we can recieve these qualities both good and bad. We don’t judge ourselves harshly. We accept, and we apply this to other people as well.

We continue the sutra study (@ 56-minutes) with gatha 38-41. We are studying the Paramartha Gathas, from the Yogacarabhumi Sastra of Asanga. This is the twelfth talk on this sutra.

The Production of Happiness

January 12, 2012. 108-minute dharma talk from Upper Hamlet of Plum Village, France. The sangha is in the 2011-2012 Winter Retreat. The talk is given in Vietnamese with English translation provided by Sr. Chan Khong.
Suffering

Happiness is something that we need to produce. Suffering is part of this producing. Suffering and happiness are one. We can discover happiness every day by being in touch. See the moon. See the flowers. We can use the second mantra. I know you are there and it makes me happy. We also learn the other four mantras of Plum Village. In this section of the talk, we also learn about the three different kinds of feelings.

We continue the sutra study (@ 72-minutes) with gatha 34-36. We are studying the Paramartha Gathas, from the Yogacarabhumi Sastra of Asanga. This is the eleventh talk on this sutra.

The View of a Self

January 8, 2012. 75-minute dharma talk from New Hamlet of Plum Village, France. The sangha is in the 2011-2012 Winter Retreat. The talk is given in Vietnamese with English translation provided by Sr. Chan Khong.

After a teaching on the nature of suffering, Thay continues the sutra study begins (at 34-minutes) with gatha 29-33. We are studying the Paramartha Gathas, from the Yogacarabhumi Sastra of Asanga. This is the tenth talk on this sutra, the last one being on December 21, 2011.

The Revolution of Buddhism

December 21, 2011. 97-minute dharma talk from Upper Hamlet of Plum Village, France. This is the ninth talk offered in the 2011-2012 Winter Retreat. The talk is given in Vietnamese with English translation.

We begin with the First Noble Truth. Why did the Buddha begin with suffering. Suffering and happiness are rooted in our own mind and are two sides of the same coin. With the Second Noble Truth, the Buddha saw the cause of suffering. From here we have the Noble Eightfold Path. It starts with Right Thinking. Suffering or not suffering all begins with our mind. It is not because of the environment. We need to have peace inside of us first before we can change (see!) the outer environment. This is the revolution of Buddhism. This is important for the social activist.

We resume the sutra study at 53-minutes with Gatha 26-29.

26. Because of the difference between previous and present life and because the cause is found in the effect, we do not say that the one who acts and the one who enjoys the fruit of the action are different from each other.

27. Because the process of cause (and effect) is uninterrupted the process of action is due to completion. These two processes contain their own cause and also the object of the action.

28. When the cause is the delight in the proliferation of ideas then there is action that is wholesome or unwholesome. With the ripening of all the seeds comes a desired or undesired fruit.

29. Relying on the ripening of seeds, the view of self arises. At that point there is a recognition of an inner knower which is formless and invisible.

The next dharma talk will be our annual Christmas Eve talk on the topic of God Can Be a Person.

Dharma Happiness

December 18, 2011. 117-minute dharma talk from Lower Hamlet of Plum Village, France.  This is the eight talk offered in the 2011-2012 Winter Retreat. The talk is given in Vietnamese with English translation provided by Sr. Chan Khong.

We learn of a new prayer that Thay has been working on for the past several months. It is called Prayer for the Pure Mother Earth but the full text is not available yet. We also learn a new chant. A teaching on happiness and joy is illustrated through several stories on bread making, soybean collecting, walking under the moon, getting teeth removed, washing clothes, sewing.

At 49:45 minutes, we resume Paramarthah Gathas of Asanga’s Yogacarabhumi sutra study at Gatha 22-25.

22. The present disintegrates immediately. The past does not remain anywhere. The unborn depends on conditions to be born. The mind evolves in accordance with the three times.

23. In absolute terms there is association or disassociation. Whether mind is associated or not associated with all formations, it is said to evolve accordingly.

24. in this stream there is no ending, no same and no different. Everything is in accord with the view of a separate self resulting from the relative truth and it is not inexistent.

25. If our physical form is subject to destruction, then our psychological form is also subject to destruction; still it is said that in this life we lay down the cause and in the next life we enjoy the fruit.

The Five Aggregates Are Empty

December 15, 2011. 101-minute dharma talk from New Hamlet of Plum Village, France. This is the seventh talk offered in the 2011-2012 Winter Retreat. The talk is given in Vietnamese with English translation provided by Sr. Chan Khong.

Insight from touching the earth. Truth is a kind of insight and the object of our religion is truth, goodness, and beauty. We pay respect to Buddha, to God, to Allah in order to gain this insight. When we bow down, we don’t need to personalize the statue but rather something concrete. Understanding. Compassion. Wisdom. Everyone can keep their own religion; touching the earth is not something inanimate. Mother Earth is a great Boddhisatva.

With medicine and health, we can’t just rely on one thing. The same is true in regards to religion. We have to pay attention to our body. Bring out mind back to our body. You have time for your computer, but not time for your body? We are organizing a Health Retreat to restore the well being in your body and your mind (April 2012). If we can breath in, and bring our mind back to our body, then we can stop the alienation created by external forces such as computers, tv, cell phones, etc. Stopping. Calming. Concentration. The breath can be the object of your mind and stop the situation from being dispersed.

About an hour into talk, we resume the Paramarthah Gathas of Asanga’s Yogacarabhumi sutra study with Gatha 17-21, particularly focusing on the verses dealing with the ephemeral nature of all things we think of as ourselves.

17-18. The physical body is like foam. Feelings are like bubbles on the surface of the water. The perceptions are like a magic city. The mental formations are like the stem of a banana tree. The consciousness is like a magic show. That is what the Buddha has taught.

19. Ignorance does not make ignorance ignorant, nor does it make others ignorant. Another does not make ignorance ignorant. Nevertheless ignorance is not non-existent.

20. Ignorance is born from inappropriate attention. Inappropriate attention arises in the ignorant person.

21. Merit, lack of merit and immovability; these formations are imagined in a threefold way. All things have three kinds of karma and these karma’s are not compatible with each other.

Mother Earth Accepts All

December 11, 2011. 87-minute dharma talk from Upper Hamlet of Plum Village, France. This is the sixth talk offered in the 2011-2012 Winter Retreat. The talk is given in Vietnamese with English translation provided by Sr. Chan Khong.

We learn of mother. The buddha is the son of his mother, his foster mother, the mother earth. We learn of the story Suddana in Avatamsaka Sutra where each of us can birth a Buddha. We can meet the mother of the Buddha. She is the mother of all the Buddhas in the present and in the past. She is one with the planet earth. Mother earth is so large and can accept everything without discrimination.

The autumn leaves are still on the ground here at Plum Village. They are in transformation, but some still remain on the tree. The leaves live a short life, but they enjoy being whereas humans have lot of worries, anxiety, etc. it is the price of being human. To be a pine tree is beautiful. Maybe next life we can be a tree or a bird.

We always have a need for a place to return. Every part of us will return to the earth. As Buddhists we need to see things in a non-duality way and that we are one with the planet earth. The planet is the mother of every being. The nature of reality is no coming, no going; no birth, no death. If we look deeply, we can see everything continues. The earth is alive.

At 49-minutes into the talk, we continue learning the sutra beginning with Gatha 14. Sub-atomic science still cannot grasp the nature reality. In Buddhism, we have the concept of non-attainment. You cannot grasp the true nature. We cannot grasp in time and space. In quantum science, they try to grasp the nature of every particle. They see forces/fields such as gravity, electromagnetism, and nuclear. But science rarely speak of our mind and the force of karma. For example, the destruction of the Twin Towers was a force of the mind – hatred. The mind can also be positive with just as much power. In this Gatha, there are these fields we cannot grasp even if they have manifested.

14. It is not inside, nor is it outside. It is not something between inside and outside. Before (samskaras) conditioned things have arisen it is not possible to grasp them (in terms of time and space).

15. Moreover after conditioned things have arisen it is not possible to grasp them. The future does not have any sign (by which we can grasp it). The past can be an object of our discriminating mind (imagined).

16. We are able to discriminate the things we have been in touch with, we can also discriminate the things we have not yet been in touch with. Although there is no beginning of samskaras, the discriminating mind can still use the concept of beginning.

17-18. The physical body is like foam. Feelings are like bubbles on the surface of the water. The perceptions are like a magic city. The mental formations are like the stem of a banana tree. The consciousness is like a magic show. That is what the Buddha has taught.

Psyche and Soma Are Not Separate

December 8, 2011. 103-minute dharma talk from Lower Hamlet of Plum Village, France. This is the fifth talk offered in the 2011-2012 Winter Retreat. The talk is given in Vietnamese with English translation provided by Sr. Chan Khong.

The happiness of the dharma. When listening to a dharma talk, walking, eating, cleaning the toilet, or sitting meditation, this is dharma happiness. When you put the practice into your daily activities, then you can have happiness. We just need to look a little deeper with concentration. Today we can learn about eating mindfully. A piece of bread contains the body of the cosmos. We also learn how to sit correctly.

At 38-minutes we switch to sutra study. The Paramartha Gathas of Asanga from the Yogacarabhumi Sastra. He shares in particular about the 12 Links of Interdependent Origination as a new theory of knowledge, or epistemology. When we look at them deeply we see there is no subjective observer; we are participants in what we observe. Without this insight we fall into the wrong perception that body and mind are separate.