November 24, 2013. 116-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh from Lower Hamlet of Plum Village. This is the third talk of the 2013-2014 Winter Retreat. We begin with two chants (17-minutes) from the monastics. The talk was given in Vietnamese and this is an English translation by Sr. Tue Nghiem.
Shares a little about the chant in Vietnamese; it’s about love. The purpose of the practice is to generate joy/happiness and to take care of our suffering. How do we do this? We do tis with mindfulness, concentration, and insight. The foundations of the Four Noble Truths in Plum Village. Walking and sitting meditation should be viewed as a privilege. Freedom can be found in our busyness. Every action can bring happiness, it is a path of happiness.
A mental formation such as contact is present when three things are present. The organ, object, and consciousness. All three must be present. Mind and consciousness. When is consciousness active? The mind still works when there is no consciousness. This is the store consciousness.
The eighth consciousness that comprise the store consciousness. The store consciousness can learn good things and bad things; it is neutral. Door consciousness can be both individual and collective.
Interdependent co-arising; Interdependent nature of phenomenon. One thing gives birth or arising to another thing. Suchness. Transcending the idea of being and non-being. Inter arising of suchness.
Inter arising of all phenomenon. Where is store consciousness? Example of H2O to illustrate.
The characteristics of manas. Manas. The lover. The seventh consciousness. What are the dangers of manas? Manas does not know the goodness of suffering. The sixth consciousness is the gardener and can bring Mindfulness to the seventh consciousness.
No self, so no complex of inferiority for superiority or quality.
October 13, 2013. 105-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh from Deer Park Monastery in Escondido, California during the 2013 Nourishing Great Togetherness teaching tour. This is the second dharma talk for the 6-day retreat with the theme Finding Our True Home. We begin with two chants from the monastics.
Brief overview of the Four Kinds of Nutriments from yesterday’s talk followed by further explanation on volition followed by consciousness.
What is the ultimate concern with our lives? It is important to sit with our partner, our loved ones, to discover what this might be. How can we help each other realize our dream?
Suffering is the first awareness…the first noble truth. Many don’t know how to handle the pain in ourselves. We have the tendency to run away from ourselves and seek forgetfulness. In doing so, we become alienated from those around us. If we can’t take care of ourselves, we cannot take care of our loved ones. Further teaching on how this might apply to a corporate leader. Maybe a new kind of volition can be born. We are losing ourselves in consumptions and the corporation is helping people run away from themselves when they could take it as their aim to help people come home to themselves.
Plum Village operates without any personal telephone, personal bank account and yet happiness is possible with simple living. We don’t have to consume a lot if we have enough brotherhood, sisterhood, and mutual understanding and compassion. A corporation, like Plum Village, can become a happy community. The business leader should come home to herself – that is the first step. When you take care of yourself, then you can take care of others.
Deep and compassionate listening. First, we have to listen to ourselves and take care of the wounded child inside. Then we can take care of our family. Loving speech - the object of the fourth mindfulness training – can become natural if we learn how to use this type of speech. We can experience the miracle of reconciliation. Going back to ourselves, recognizing our suffering, and when we are lighter we can more easily understand the suffering in the other person, and then it is very easy to use loving speech. We provide this type of teaching at our Institute of Applied Buddhism in Europe and Hong Kong.
The role of a sangha in applying these teachings. We need a sangha is very important. We can transform our corporation into a sangha as well. The employees may not only be working to get a good salary. The volition of the leader can be shared with all the members of the corporation. The noblest aspiration is to help people to suffer less. As a good corporate leader, you have to listen to the many thousands of people in your corporation. You can start small and train a small group who can learn the art of deep listening and loving speech.
The political leader can do the same. Story of talking with Martin Luther King. We use the word sangha, but he used beloved community. It is the same concept. Without a sangha, the Buddha could not do too much. The same is true with a corporate leader, a school teacher, or a political leader. Civilization is going in the wrong direction because we are running away from ourselves, our families, our society, and our planet. We can help humanity to come home to themselves and move in the right direction.
The fourth kind of nutriment is consciousness - individual and collection consciousness. In Buddhism we talk about store consciousness and mind consciousness - the two parts. The seeds of our store consciousness that become a mental formation in our mind consciousness. For example, the seed of compassion. The art of suffering and the transformation of suffering. The practice of selective watering – determine to only water the good seeds in yourself. We practice not to give a negative seed a chance to manifest – don’t water the negative seed. If they do manifest, we try to help them return to store consciousness as quickly as possible. Our practice is one of non-violence – we don’t try to fight or suppress the feeling, but we recognize and embrace the negative seed with mindfulness. The second method is to invite the opposite mental formation to come up (aka, changing the CD). Third, we water only the good seeds in ourselves and each other. The fourth method is when a good seed is present, we try to keep it there for as long as possible. Transformation at the base with Right Diligence.
December 2, 2012. 82-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh from New Hamlet at Plum Village. The sangha is in the 90-day Rains Retreat (Winter Retreat). This is the eighth dharma talk of the retreat with the theme Are You The Soulmate of the Buddha? The talk was originally given in Vietnamese and this English translation is provided by Sister Chan Khong.
Walking. Using the power and concentration of walking meditation. Not thinking. Entrust your problems to your store conciousness. There is a lot of wisdom there from all the generations before you. What is collective consciousness? Store conciousness? How so you feed your conciousness?
At 23-minutes, we begin the sutra commentary. Enjoying the Space Outer Space. Touching the freedom in the present moment, this is the outer space. Also, it is sometimes called the sutra of Nirvana. Gatha #13. Formation is conditioned things. Condition and conditioned. The act and actor. According to the wisdom of the Buddha, you can see that you can’t have the action without the actor.
What is the view that transcends all notions? This isn’t nihilism.
July 16, 2012. 91-minute recording given at New Hamlet, Plum Village by Thich Nhat Hanh. This is the eighth dharma talk of the Summer Opening and we begin with seven minutes of chanting.
Last week the children also learned pepple meditation. When you practice this, you become more stable, fresh, and calm.
Story of the rich businessman who doesn’t have enough time to spend with his family. All the little boy wanted was his father to be truly present. Also told the story of the German businessman who thought he was indispensable to his business.
The first mantra is, “Darling, I am here for you.” We can learn this mantra by using pepple meditation. Thay wants you to learn both. Then, we have the second mantra. “Darling, I know you are there and it makes me happy.”
Product of our action. Our karma. It I out environment. Retribution. We have been living in such a way that we’ve destroyed our environment. We are our environment. Thought, speech, and action are energies that cannot be destroyed. We are talking about the noble eightfold path.
Thay continues fromm yeaterday by giving a teaching on Right Livelihood and Right Diligence. Includes a teaching on store and mind consciousnesses.
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 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 7, 2012. 99-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 fifth dharma talk (of 15).
This is an excellent session of questions and answers.
What is the difference between feelings and mental formations?
Is euthanasia okay? Is it Right Action? Can we relieve physical Pain?
How do I practice with the teaching of inferiority and equality complexes?
How can we support out dharma teacher when s/he is not so skillful?
How do I practice with the last four exercises from the sutra on the full awareness of breathing?
Question on consciousness and impermanence.
What happens to the mind after the body dies?
How can you take refuge in the sangha if you don’t trust? How can we build trust?
Severe mental illness, such as bipolar, requires medicine to balance emotion. Can you clarify this as it relates to the practice?