September 1, 2013. 118-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh from Blue Cliff Monastery in Pine Bush, New York during the 2013 Nourishing Great Togetherness teaching tour. This is a public Day of Mindfulness when approximately 1400 people came to Blue Cliff to learn about the practice.
June 9, 2013. 100-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 Dutch. This is the fifth dharma talk of the Dutch Retreat on the theme Understanding Our Emotions.
We do not need to call ourselves a Buddhist to practice Buddhism. We can use practice verses, little poems, to help us with our practice. Thay shares a number of these verses for us to memorize.
Mindfulness is an energy that lets us do at least two things. The first is to be there – to be truly here in the present moment. The second is to be aware of what is going on – such as your in breath. We can use mindfulness to take care of the body. In the Sutra on the Full Awareness of Breathing, the Buddha gave a set of exercises on mindfulness of the body.
Aware of my breath
Follow your in breath all the way to the end
To beware of your body
Release the tension in the body
These are simple exercises and anyone can practice. After we take care of our body, we can move on to our feelings.
Generate a feeling of joy
Generate a feeling of happiness
Awareness of the painful feeling
Calm the painful emotions
After the body and the feelings, we move to taking care of the mind. In particular, working with mental formations. What is a mental formation? Thay also shares a little about the Shining Light Ceremony and how we can use this with our practice.
gladdening the mind
aware of mental formations
concentrating the mind
liberating your mind
The last four exercises of the sutra have to do with the objects of mind. We conclude with teachings on birth and death, being and non-being.
October 25, 2012. 105-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh from Lower Hamlet at Plum Village. The sangha is enjoying the Autumn Retreat and this is a Day of Mindfulness.
Last week we learned about the Four Kinds of Nutriments and having to do with the Fifth Mindfulness Training.
Power. Some people think if they have power, they will be happy. It takes a great deal of understanding. The mind of love; of enlightenment. Bodhicitta. This comes from the practice of mindfulness and concentration. Understanding your own suffering helps you understand the suffering of others around you. I’m the family and in the nation. Love and understanding. Understanding is the foundation of love. The mind left uncultivated will bring lots of suffering. We need a spiritual dimension in our daily life. This is our practice. Bodhicitta is a tremendous source of energy.
Mental formations. There are mental formations that make us suffer, but they can be transformed.
Samadhi. Maintaining awareness.
Meditation on impermance. We have to keep this alive in us. Treasure the moments we have. Impermanance is a characteristic of life.
The Three Doors of Liberation. Concentrations. Emptiness. Signlessness. Aimlessness. This teaching includes an exploration of birth and death. Being and non-being. Impermanance. Non-craving. Nirvana.
October 7, 2012. 105-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh at Plum Village. The sangha is enjoying the Autumn Retreat and this is a Day of Mindfulness.
Thay begins his talk today with reminiscences from Vietnam in the 60s. Forty-six years ago, Thay was invited by Cornell University to give a series of lectures on the conditions in Vietnam. The Vietnamese were fighting each other with foreign ideologies and foreign weapons. We were not allowed to use our voices for peace, but there was a peace movement in Vietnam. Thay wrote a book of poems and a book, Lotus in the Sea of Fire, that needed to be published and distributed underground. We also trained many social workers to help orphans and children. Those supporting peace were often threatened and murdered. We need a spiritual dimension in our life so we don’t lose ourselves to despair and to help sustain us.
What do you do when you’re practicing sitting meditation? Sitting isn’t “doing” but it’s more about “being” – harmony, joy, and healing are possible. Sitting is an art. There is no need to do anything. Mind and body must be together to live in the preset moment. One mindful in-breathe may be enough to come home. We don’t need to worry about the future. Teaching on mindfulness of body – it is a wonder, a mystery.
The Kingdom of God. Dharmachaya. The body of the cosmos. Suchness. Reality as it is. We cannot use our notions to describe God. This is available in the here and the now.
Exercises on mindful breathing. Enlightenment is not far away; it can be immediate with mindfulness. Breathing in you can have enlightenment. No thinking. No planning. No fear. Then your concentration becomes stronger. Brings insight to transform our suffering and bring happiness. This is not prayer, this is practice. Happiness does not depend on the outside, it depends on our way of looking at things.
Walking on Mother Earth. Samskara. Formation. We calm down the body formation.
May 4, 2012. 92-minute dharma talk by Thich Nhat Hanh from Lower Hamlet in Plum Village during the 12th annual Francophone Retreat. The talk is given in French with English translation. This is the final dharma talk.
We begin with a teaching on the Four Noble Truths and the noble eightfold path. We spend quite a bit of time on Right Concentration. A review of the exercises of mindful breathing is included. As part of these teachings, we learn of birth and death. being and non-being. Three Doors of Liberation.
April 29, 2012. 55-minute dharma talk by Thich Nhat Hanh during the 12th annual Francophone Retreat. Thay says we have become a big family. The talk is given in French with English translation. This is the first dharma talk.
Creating a spiritual practice. Drinking tea is a spiritual practice. Becoming one with your in breath can create freedom; freedom from our worries, anxiety, etc. The things that make life difficult. You can touch the present moment with mindful breathing.
We can use our breathing to cultivate our spiritual practice. Our mindfulness. What is happening in the present moment.
Recognizing our breathing.
Following our breathing
We continue learning the next six exercises of mindful breathing.
April 6, 2012. 115-minute dharma talk given at The University of Nottingham by Thich Nhat Hanh. The sangha is on the UK and Ireland Tour and this is the first dharma talk for the Cultivating Happiness Family Retreat. The recording begins with a couple of practice songs before Thay enters the meditation hall followed by 10-minutes of chanting.
At 18-minutes into the recording, Thay gives a talk for the children present at the retreat. Cultivating happiness. We begin with a story of a teacher who implements coming back to oneself in the classroom by breathing and resting together. The practice helped the students and teacher in the classroom. The teacher used a bell in a classroom, so Thay teaches us about inviting the bell and how to be a bell master.
At 56-minutes into the recording, we begin the primary talk. The focus of our talk is on mindful breathing. This has to do with our suffering and our happiness. Exercise #5, from the Sutra on Full Awareness of Breathing, is cultivating joy, followed by #6 on cultivating happiness and #7 is to recognize a painful feeling and #8 is calming the painful feeling.