August 15, 2013. 102-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh from Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario during the 2013 Nourishing Great Togetherness teaching tour. This is the fourth dharma talk for the 6-day retreat with the theme Happy Teachers will Change the World. We begin with two chants from the monastics followed by a session of questions and answers.
Will you tell us of a struggle you’ve had and how meditation and the bell helped you to overcome it?
Recalling the dream in an earlier talk this week, how did it make you feel when the secretary said yes to you and not to the other person?
Will Thay sing us a song?
What made you want to become a zen master?
What is the difference between joy and happiness?
My father causes much suffering and doesn’t practice right view. I have lots of resentment I am fearful. How do I transform my suffering to peace and joy when he has hurt me so much?
How did mindfulness help you in your life?
How can I bring the practice to life for the ones I love without forcing it on them, especially those who have sexual misconduct or doing drugs?
A question about engaged Buddhism.
In the list of 51 mental formations, shame is identified as a wholesome formation. Can you explain this?
A question about hope. Fear and anger in society and future of human race and the planet.
Another question on the future. With favorable climatic conditions ending, how do we balance kindness/mindfulness for future generations and with present people?
A question about ending a relationship. What do you do when there isn’t an ability to leave a toxic relationship? How do we transform if we’re not strong enough in our practice? Also concerns about financial stability beyond the relationship.
A question from a person who can’t overcome her suffering. The pain seems insurmountable. The question comes with some question on how to continue living.
January 3, 2013. 110-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh from Upper Hamlet at Plum Village. The sangha is in the 90-day Rains Retreat (Winter Retreat). This is the seventeenth dharma talk of the retreat with the theme Are You The Soulmate of the Buddha? The talk is given in English and we begin with a chant.
There ia a sutra on the contemplation of the body and the body is a big subject of meditation. There is much suffering and misery in this world and some people want to get out of this world. Is there a way to get out of the world of suffering and misery by looking into your body? We can see the four elements – water, air, earth, and heat – in our body. There are six sense organs that can produce the six consciousnesses. When you look into the body deeply, you can see it is a community. Can you see all our ancestors by looking into the body? Is there a self? If we heal ourselves, we can heal our ancestors. We don’t just practice for ourselves, we practice for all our ancestors. Our body is a treasure and we should take care of our body. There is a Buddha in the body. How do we practice? The dharma and the sangha. We organize a “resistance” to keep our practice alive.
At about 30-minutes into the recording, we continue with the subject matter for the Winter Retreat. Pairs of opposites. We hear a teaching on the concepts of birth and death, being and non-being, ultimate and conventional truth, sameness and otherness. Interbeing and the path leading us to the ultimate truth. Everything is a formation, a conditioned dharma. Samsara and nirvana. You may wish to review the video, Thay wrote on the board quite a bit for this segment of the talk.
There is a way a path to this wisdom of adaptation.
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.
August 1, 2012. 87-minute recording given at Lower Hamlet, Plum Village by Thich Nhat Hanh. This is the nineteenth dharma talk of the Summer Opening and this is a session of questions and answers. Editor’s note, we have skipped the talks from July 29 & 31 here on this site; it may appear later.
Why is my brother always so nasty to me?
Why does Thay do hand symbols (mudra) during chanting?
Why do Buddhist shave their head?
What should we do if we begin to hate someone we love?
Is it correct to tell a lie if the truth would hurt the person you love?
How can I be stable? How can I live with a person who doesn’t believe in spirituality?
Why is it that monastics sisters have more precepts than monastic brothers? If it is because they have special problems, shouldn’t the brothers at least have the same number of precepts?
How can you help a child recognize their father of they’ve never had te opportunity to know him? For example, artificial insemination.
What was the biggest notion in your life that you’ve overcome?
How do I practice this teaching with suicide?
When you have arrived on the other shore. Do you still think? Do you still suffer?
June 17, 2012. 93-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 twelfth dharma talk (of 15). This talk is a session of Questions and Answers.
I want to go home because cooking materials needed for my special diet is being stolen from my tent in Lower Hamlet. I feel unsafe here. What should I do?
How do we handle training people in mindfulness to address concerns of global warming, food shortages, war, etc.? How fast should we go? How much practice do we need before we can teach?
Can you help me understand the new language in the revised Third and Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings, especially the line about “being known to my family and friends” as it relates to LBGT community?
I have my own ideas/understanding, I’ve been using the practice of “no” (koan) as you described in Zen Keys. Is this good practice?
How to practice letting go?
Three written questions on transmission and karma of illness through the family. For example, suicide.
What role does Parallax Press and your books have in sharing the dharma and the mindfulness Trainings?
How do I work with internal anger (maybe manifested via external illness)?
April 9, 2012. 118-minute recording given at The University of Nottingham by Thich Nhat Hanh. The sangha is on the UK and Ireland Tour and this is the question and answer session for the Cultivating Happiness Family Retreat. After the monastics do chanting, the questions begin about 12-minutes into the recording. A good question can help many people, so we should ask a question of the heart.
Questions from the children
If feels as if my mother treats my brother better than me; how can I make it feel fair?
Have you ever hurt someone on purpose?
Where do get ideas for your books?
When you started learning meditation, did you suffer?
What is it like in Plum Village?
From your point of view, why is the meaning of life, the universe, and everything?
Questions from teens and adults.
Do you have a special object?
What are the benefits of being a monk?
What are your views on assisted suicide?
Is there a difference between engaged Buddhism and applied Buddhism?
What is consciousness? Mind?
How can I build confidence without external substances?
How do I help a family with four children whose father committed suicide?
What is the importance of dreams?
What is the role of competition within mindfulness?
How can we be free in our thinking?
February 12, 2012. 79-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.
Learning to connect with oneself. In Plum Village, our practice is simple. First, we learn how to breathe. We can start to connect with ourselves through the in-breath. The in breath is us. If you practice, the quality will improve. More gentle. More light. We use a gatha: In. Out. Deep. Slow. Calm. Ease. Smile. Release. Present moment. Wonderful moment.
Working with feelings through our breath is also possible. This is taught in the Sutra on the Full Awareness of Breathing. Practicing means taking care of our body and our mind. We have the five Skandhas. There is still suffering alongside the well being, but we can be harmony with ourselves. Make peace with ourselves. We don’t need to commit suicide.
At 21-minutes we resume the sutra study of “Alambanapariksha and Vrtti” with gatha #7. Last time we talked of the image of perception. The subject and the object take refuge in each other; like the right and the left. We call this Interbeing (in science this is called Entanglement). They must manifest at the same time and serve as conditions to each other. Thay then teaches the six characteristics of bija (seeds).