Tag Archives: children

Applying Buddhist Teachings to the Classroom

April 2, 2012. 115-minute dharma talk given at The American School in London by Thich Nhat Hanh. The sangha is on the UK and Ireland Tour and this is part four (and final part) of the Educators’ Retreat: An Exploration of Mindful Education.

Memorizing gathas to help us establish mindfulness. There are four domains of mindfulness: body, feelings, mental formations, and objects of mind. Mindfulness can help us be together in these four realms. Once we have established mindfulness, we can have concentration. The final kind of energy is insight – this can liberate you from your fear. This is not the product of your thinking, it is the insight of Interbeing. True education should be based in this insight of Interbeing.

In order to see things, we need an organ (for example, the nose to receive oder). The organ of thinking it is called manas, and there is a lot of mis-perception in this organ. For example, the view of a separate self – this is at the base of all our complexes (inferiority, superiority, and equality). We can use mindfulness to gain the insight of non-discrimination. In the field of education, it is the same thing. The happiness of the students is the happiness of the teacher. We need non-discrimination to enjoy the teaching and the learning.

In the teaching of the four noble truths, the first truth is there is suffering. In education, the first thing we should do is identify the suffering and acknowledge it to each other. We have to see the truth so that real change can happen through a collective awakening. Thay continues with the application of the second, third, and fourth noble truth in our lives.

We learn about what is meant by sangha and how it can be applied to the community of teachers. What is suffering and why is it important? The last part of the talk looks closely at the Five Mindfulness Trainings.

Happy teachers will know how to generate understanding and love that will help the younger generation change the world.

A video version may be available.

Happy Teachers will Change the World

April 1, 2012. 67-minute dharma talk given at The American School in London by Thich Nhat Hanh. The sangha is on the UK and Ireland Tour and this is part three of the Educators’ Retreat: An Exploration of Mindful Education. The first few minutes the audio is bad but then improves.

In this talk we learn about being present through mindfully eating a tangerine – it is a spiritual experience.  Why is this important? Happy teachers will change the world. Invest in every breath, every step to have more peace and more concentration.  The three kinds of power can help you. First is the power to understand. The second power is love. And the third is to let go. The classroom can be a second chance for a suffering child to learn about love.  The last segment of the talk is on walking meditation.

A video version may also available.

Taking Care of the Teacher

March 31, 2012. 53-minute dharma talk given at The American School in London by two senior dharma teachers. The sangha is on the UK and Ireland Tour and this is part two of the Educators’ Retreat: An Exploration of Mindful Education. Normally this site would only post talks given by Thich Nhat Hanh, but in this case we are posting a retreat series and the talk is given by Chan Chau Nghiem (Sr. Jewel) and Thay Phap Dung. The talk focuses on how to take care of the teacher and this results in taking care of the student in the classroom. A video version may also be available.

Applied Mindfulness of Breathing

January 4, 2012. 102-minute dharma talk by Thich Nhat Hanh from Lower Hamlet, Plum Village. The sangha is in the 2011-2012 Winter Retreat, but within that retreat is the 6-day Applied Ethics and Teachers Retreat. This talk is given in English. During the past six days we have practiced together as educators.

We begin with a teaching on the first eight steps of the Sutra on Mindful Breathing. Belly breathing. Rising and falling of the abdomen. We are much more than one emotion and with this practice we can realize this.

Thay continues (at 1:03) to share about the practices of loving speech and deep listening. Many of us suffer from our family relationships. If we can master these practices, we can transmit to our students and help them.
He also shares (at 1:25) the practice of how to die happily and peacefully.

The River of Mind

September 8, 2011. 87-minute dharma talk with Thich Nhat Hanh from the Ocean of Peace Mediation Hall at Deer Park Monastery in Escondido, CA. The sangha is on the North American Tour and this is the second dharma talk for the Together We Are One retreat.

Our father is inside every cell of our body and we can breathe in and out together. Our talk today begins with a guided meditation connecting us to our parents and ancestors.

A story about Italian retreats starts the talk for the children. Thay says there are always a lot of children at Italian retreats and he recalls giving them an assignment. . Thay speaks about how we are the continuation of our parents, using the example of a seed of corn that grows up to become a plant of corn. “When you practice mindful breathing, we can invite our mother inside of us to practice breathing as well. Our father also.”

Thay shares with us the about the practice of looking deeply into the river of the mind, using the exercises from the Mindfulness of Breathing Sutra. At the beginning of this portion, Thay writes down the first 8 exercises on the board (the audio is cut on the first two, but only for a moment). Today we continue with the 9th exercise – this is about recognizing the mental formation that has manifested. There are 51 categories of mental formations in our tradition of practice. There are positive and negative mental formations. Every mental formation is like a drop of water in the river of the mind. The practitioner sits on the bank of the river and watches and observes. Aware of the mental formations. We continue with exercises 9-12.

“As a practitioner we know how to practice selective watering of the seeds in our consciousness.” “Life is impossible without impermanence. Without impermanence a grain of corn can never become a plant of corn, and your little baby can never become a little girl. So impermanence is the nature of things. Your love is also impermanent. If you do not know how to take care of your love, your love will die.

Things are impermanent; because we believe things to be impermanent we suffer.” We can use impermanence to get out of anger. “To get out of your anger, you can close your eyes and visualize the other person in 300 years. What will they become? Ash. And you too. It may take only 3-5 seconds for you to touch impermanence. That way you can see that it is not wise to let anger overwhelm you like that.”

Thay finishes the talk with the teaching on the Three Doors of Liberation: 1) emptiness, 2) signlessness, 3) aimlessness.

The talk is available below. A video version is available in two parts: children’s talk and river of mind.

Growing Corn

August 11, 2011. 26-minute dharma talk with Thich Nhat Hanh from War Memorial Gym at University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. The sangha is on the North American Tour and this talk is especially for the children.

Story of corn seeds. Grain of corn to be planted and remember to water everyday. And when it becomes a plant of corn, maybe 2-3 leaves, you come and ask the plant a question. “My dear little plant of corn, do you remember when you were a tiny seed?” The plant may not remember, but you do. The plant of corn is only a continuation of the grain of corn. You too were like the grain of corn and we don’t remember, so we need a friend in the dharma to help us. We believe that our father and our mother are outside of us, but that is not true. In addition to being outside of us, they are inside of us; every cell of our body. We are a continuation of our father and of our mother and we can make our father and mother more beautiful into the future. We can bring them into the future.

The talk is available below. There is a video version available too.

Make Yourself Available

August 10, 2011. 22-minute dharma talk with Thich Nhat Hanh from War Memorial Gym at University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. The sangha is on the North American Tour and this talk is the first dharma talk for the children.

Thay speaks about how to be truly present for our parents, and how to ask our parents to be truly present for us, using the four mantras. The first one: “I am here for you.” “In order for the mantra to work, you have to be there. ‘I am here’ is not a declaration; it is a practice.’ Sometimes your body is there, but your mind is not there: you are not really there.” “You may like to pat your father on the shoulder and ask, ‘Is anybody home?'” The second mantra: “I know you are there, and I am happy.” The third mantra: “Darling, I know you suffer. That is why I am here for you.”

The talk is available below. There is a video version available too.

Relaxing My Body

July 20, 2011. 34-minute dharma talk with Thich Nhat Hanh in French, with English translation, from Upper Hamlet, Plum Village, France. The sangha is in the annual Summer Opening Retreat. This is a talk for the children.

Thay teaches the children the practice of relaxing the body, smiling to life, and seeing our parents inside. He uses the example of a seed of corn show how our parents are present in every cell of our body: we cannot separate the father from the son. The Buddha is also in us, and we can breathe with him when we breathe.

The talk was given in French and English translation is available below. There is a video version available too.

I am Here for You: Talk for Children

July 13, 2011. 30-minute Dharma Talk given in French for the children, with English translation by Sr. Pine from Stillwater Meditation Hall in Upper Hamlet, Plum Village, France. The sangha is in the annual Summer Opening Retreat.

I am here for you – a mantra we can easily learn. We hear the story of the boy who wishes for his birthday the presence of his father. How do we truly be there? If the dad has been to Plum Village at least once, he will know what to do be there.

When we can be there for ourselves, then we can be there for others. We only need yo take one step to bring our mind back to the body. The most precious thing we can offer is our own presence and it only takes one mindful breath.

A second mantra we can learn is “I know that you are there, and I am happy.” – this is meditation. This is to recognize the happiness and to express it.

Please learn these two mantras.

The talk was given in French and the English translation is available below. There is a video version available too.

Development Leadership with Mindfulness: Q&A Session

May 27, 2011. 105-minute question and answer session given in English, with simultaneous translation into Dutch, with Thich Nhat Hanh. This is the fourth dharma talk offered by Thay in the Dutch Retreat at the European Institute of Applied Buddhism in Waldbröl, Germany.

Questions: (1) What does “Thich Nhat Hanh” mean? (2) What is the source of laziness and how can I overcome it? (3) How do we practice interbeing with those we don’t know? (4) If young people who have yet to cultivate awareness feel hate or misunderstanding, how can I help to release this tension and water the good seeds in their minds? (5) How can I balance between dealing with my issues and sharing them with my loved one? (6) How can i be mindful and compassionate with my children? (7) How can I transform my tendency to experience the pain of others? (8) How can we develop leadership and power based on mindfulness? (9) What are steps to help families overcome infidelities and divorce?

The talk was given in English and Dutch at the same time and is available below for listening or download. You may also view the video.