June 15, 2013. 85-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 fourth dharma talk, a session of questions and answers, of the German Retreat on the theme Are You Sure?
Who are we if we are not our feelings, body, perceptions, or consciousness? What is left?
Is it okay to suffer and feel for my son who was paralyzed in an accident?
What makes a man a man and what makes a woman a woman? Is it important to know the distinction? What should we teach our children?
If there is no thinker then how can there be a doer?
How do work with feelings of pain, guilt, and shame?
I want to reconcile, how can I call my father if he’s dead?
How can you help someone who is suffering from violent emotions, especially if they can’t see it themselves?
December 27, 2012. Dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh from Upper Hamlet at Plum Village. The sangha is in the 90-day Rains Retreat (Winter Retreat) and this is the the fifteenth dharma talk of the retreat with the theme Are You The Soulmate of the Buddha? The talk was originally given in French and this is the English translation.
What does it mean to have a spiritual dimension in our life? Why is it important for daily life?
The Four Noble Truths and the path in the second versus the path in the fourth. Two paths to choose. To well being or to ill being. We in Plum Village look at these two paths with the eyes of Interbeing.
What creates suffering? How do we take care of our suffering? The path leading to awakening. How and how much time does it take to reach enlightenment? Enlightenment is available in every moment. There is no way to enlightenment, enlightenment is the way. This is the teaching of Interbeing.
Love and reconciliation. What is nirvana? Is nirvana possible? What is the relationship to samsara?
October 14, 2012. 67-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh from New Hamlet at Plum Village. The sangha is enjoying the Autumn Retreat and this is a Day of Mindfulness. We begin with the chant May the Day Be Well followed by a brief guided meditation by Thay.
What is a bodhissatva? Mother Earth is a great bodhissatva.
Mind and matter are not two separate entities. What is Interbeing? The mind of non-discrimination. What is suffering an how do we respond? If you understand suffering, then already have a kind of enlightenment. A bodhissatva for yourself.
The practice if the fourth mindfulness training – loving speech. This is the work of a bodhissatva. This also includes compassionate listening. Restore communication and bring about reconciliation.
Thay tells the story of a catholic woman who suffers greatly in her marriage and wants to commit suicide except for the help of a Vietnamese Buddhist friend who helps her learn about the fourth mindfulness training and reconciliation.
September 6, 2012. 111-minute dharma talk given in English, with simultaneous translation into Italian, with Thich Nhat Hanh at a public talk in Rome, Italy.
Listening to the chant to generate powerful energy of mindfulness and peace. Mindfulness of compassion.
Everyone needs a spiritual dimension in their life. Spirituality can be with or without religion. Mindfulness is an energy that can be cultivated with awareness of our body, feelings, perceptions, and environment. Bring our body and mind together. The other energies are concentration and insight. How can we get int touch with the wonders of life?
Happiness in an intimate relationship. Finding happiness despite obstacles in our lives. A spiritual dimension can help us.
How can we cultivate civic happiness in Rome? Practicing reconciliation. Applying mindfulness to civic discourse.
August 14, 2012. 100-minute dharma talk given in English, with simultaneous translation into Dutch (though the Dutch is muted in this recording), with Thich Nhat Hanh. This is the third Dharma talk offered by Thay in the Dutch Retreat on the theme Body and Mind Are One at the European Institute of Applied Buddhism in Waldbröl, Germany.
Freshness and beauty are in you. If you know how to breath and how to walk then freshness and beauty can come out. we can also help others do the same because we all have it, but we don’t always know how to help it manifest. We all have a Buddha inside. That teaches what it means to bow to someone in a greeting. It’s not just a ritual, it is a practice.
How to use a mantra in your practice? The first is “Darling, I am here for you.” This one is to offer the other person your presence. The second mantra is to recognize the other person is something important to you. “Darling, I know you are there and I am very happy.”
Reconciliation. Mindfulness of compassion. Listening. Thay uses the story of Palestinians and Israelis coming to Plum Village on how to practice deep listening and loving speech.
Teaching on no birth and no death, being and non-being, coming and going, sameness and otherness. These are all notions. They are the ground of our suffering and our fear. These pairs of opposites can be the objects of our meditation.
February 19, 2012. 58-minute dharma talk from Upper Hamlet in Plum Village, France. The sangha is in the 2011-2012 Winter Retreat. The talk is given in Vietnamese with English translation. A French translation is also available. This is the last dharma talk for the Winter Retreat.
We recognize the great happiness associated with spending three months together in practice. We also know people can practice at home and participate by listening online to the talks. This retreat goes all the way back to the time of the Buddha. If Thay is still in good health, maybe we extend to four months next year.
We can find joy and happiness with sitting, walking, eating. Every step and every breath is like a jewel. A jewel found in your heart. This is real kung fu – the regular, daily practice, training. The time for sitting is a time for training. Train to touch the joy. Our duty is to practice together, even if we have difficulties and suffering. We try to heal these together, even if it deep down in our store conciousness. The worldly way is to dig down and pull out this suffering and destroy in order to be healed. Sometime we can practice differently – we can lullaby them as sleeping seeds; we don’t need to pull them out. We can water with the beautiful things of life. Thay shares his great suffering of being exciled from his homeland and how he transformed. Slowly Thay learned to feel at home wherever he is – everywhere is my homeland.
Story of a lay practitioner asking Thay if he has any dream to complete before he dies? Thay does not desire anything – everything already exists right here now. When Thay was a young monk he had a dream of a fourfold sangha that could practice together. Thay continues sharing stories of being in Vietnam during the war and reconciliation.
August 23, 2011. 122-minute dharma talk with Thich Nhat Hanh from YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park, Colorado. The sangha is on the North American Tour and this is the fourth and final talk of the Body and Mind Are One retreat.
We begin with a short guided meditation.
I invite the Buddha to breathe. I invite the Buddha to sit. I don’t have to breathe. I don’t have to sit.
Buddha is breathing. Buddha is sitting.
I enjoy the breathing. I enjoy the sitting.
Buddha is the breathing. Buddha is the sitting.
I am the breathing. I am the sitting.
There is only the breathing. There is only the sitting.
There is no-one breathing. There is no-one sitting.
We are our action. We are our karma. Everyday we produce speech and our action. There is no thinker outside the thoughts. The act of breaking the bread is Jesus. The quality of the sitting is the Buddha. When there is an in-breath is there, you know the Buddha is there. We don’t need a breather. This has to do with the lack of subject and object in our experience of reality. “In breathing and sitting, there is no breather or sitter. There is just the breathing, there is just the sitting.” “When you say ‘The wind blows’, it is very funny. If it does not blow, how can it be the wind? It is like saying ‘The rain is raining.’ If it is not raining, how can it be rain? The same is true for thinking. The thinker and the thought—they are not separate things; they are one.” We can touch the nature of no-self. Emptiness.
A teaching on deep listening and loving speech is illustrated with stories of people attending retreats and transforming their communication. We also hear examples of Israeli and Palestinians coming together. In a discussion about the Five Mindfulness Trainings, particularly the fifth, Thay introduces and shares about The Sutra on the Son’s Flesh, to point out the nature of nutriment and the Four Kinds of Nutriments. He continues on to discuss the three kinds of concentration: emptiness, signlessness and aimlessness.