Practices for the New Year

December 31, 2009. This 75-minute dharma talk in English given by Thich Nhat Hanh in Upper Hamlet, Plum Village. Also streamed live to Thailand and received at the monasteries at Deer Park and Blue Cliff.

Thich Nhat Hanh encourages us to practice metta mediation in the first three days of the new year. On the first day we practice for ourselves. On the second day we practice for the other person we love. On the third day we practice for the other person (or institution) that makes us suffer. Concrete practices are described for the coming year.

Transcript of the meditation’s text:

May I be peaceful and light in my body and in my mind.
May I be safe and free from accidents.
May I be free from anger, unwholesome states of mind, fear and worries.
May I know how to look at myself with the eyes of
understanding and compassion.
May I be able to recognize and touch the seeds of joy and happiness in myself.
May I learn how to nourish myself with joy each day.
May I be able to live fresh, solid and free.
May I not fall into the state of indifference or be caught in
the extremes of attachment or aversion.

May you be peaceful and light in your body and in your mind.
May you be safe and free from accidents.
May you be free from anger, unwholesome states of mind, fear and worries.
May you know how to look at yourself with the eyes of understanding and
compassion.
May you be able to recognize and touch the seeds of joy and happiness in
yourself.
May you learn how to nourish yourself with joy each day.
May you be able to live fresh, solid and free.
May you not fall into the state of indifference or be caught in
the extremes of attachment or aversion.
(And I may help. Just as good as I can.)

May all beings be peaceful and light in their body and in their mind.
May all beings be safe and free from accidents.
May all beings be free from anger, unwholesome states of mind, fear
and worries.
May all beings know how to look at themselves with the eyes of
understanding & compassion.
May all beings be able to recognize and touch the seeds of joy and
happiness in themselves.
May all beings learn how to nourish themselves with joy each day.
May all beings be able to live fresh, solid and free.
May all beings not fall into the state of indifference or be caught in
the extremes of attachment or aversion.

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46 Replies to “Practices for the New Year”

  1. What if I'm not close to anyone? There is no “other person” in my life. It sometimes seems like this practice is for people who have no problems.

  2. Amy: If you find it difficult to practice Metta on someone you know, perhaps it would be easier to practice with someone you don't know at first. Thay perhaps?

  3. what a joice to receive
    the song of bells
    the voice of bells

    happy new year to every one
    inès

  4. In Christ we are all one. The key is “in Christ”. This perspective is not intended to diminish the beauty and practical application of meditation and the practice of mindfulness. In fact God Himself commands us to be still and know that He is God. When we are still, we can focus on our breathing and contemplate that first breath that God used to breath life into the first human being. We share that same breath. God's breath is our breath. As such we are all connected. That which may seem highly personal to one is often times most universal to all. So if you feel you do not know anyone or are not connected in any way, contemplate the suffering of another technically unknown to you and consider that but for the grace of God, that person and their plight could be yours. We are to share our burdens. When we cultivate the seeds of understanding and love within our hearts and minds, humility should natrually arise. We create nothing in and of ourselves. If we are in good fotrune, we should give thanks and practice generosity in that moment. When we face difficulty, trial and challenge, we should seek to find that which we can learn through that process and realize that we are not alone as, when we are in Christ, we carry the breath of God in us and we share that breath with every other human being on earth. We are no better and no worse than any other person as we are all equal in the eyes of our Lord. May the peace of the Lord be with you throughout this New Year and your life. Be of good cheer as He has promised to never leave you nor forsake you. So, if you find yourself facing a challenge of any kind; fear, anxiety, lonliness, lack, a sense of emptiness, anger, sorrow, please know that I am praying for you right now. As you read this, pray to God and let Him know your concerns and circumstances. Please pray for me too as I am filled with gratititude for your prayers. You are loved. You are special. You are a child of God and your life has meaning and purpose no matter how nominal you perceive your existance to be. Every life matters. Know that you are loved. Peace, joy and the knowledge of God's love be with you now and always.

  5. Thank you, Thay! It's one of my GREATEST BLESSINGS that I could listen to Thay's Dharma Talk on the New Year day in Hong Kong to practise the first day of Love Meditation! You inspired and encouraged me a lot in your talk! Thank you!

    I had been waiting for the audio recording for 1 whole day and am now so happy to have received it eventually.

    Besides, as our monastic and lay sangha members are also in Plum Village, France, in the EIAB, Germany and in Thai Plum Village Practice Center during this New Year holiday, I feel extra-connected with Thay and our 4-fold Sangha through this Dharma Talk and the practice!

    May all beings including YOU learn how to nourish ourselves with joy each day!

    With boundless loving-kindness to you,
    Gabriel
    from Hong Kong

  6. Dear Thay, with deep gratitude and wide smile for the incredibly good fortune of the Dharma and you as our teacher, timeless signless metta-maitri-maitreya.

  7. Dear Thay, Dear Sangha: The mindful practice of placing our attention on what is truly present with the energy of maitri, karuna, mudita and upeksha is the healing of our worls and our species. We bow in gratitude for each other, for our teacher and for the chance to practice.

  8. I can guess there are no people alive that have no problems. The practice is good for anyone who wants to find peace and joy. It's a way to become the person you choose to be. I don't think it's particularly easy all the time for anyone. It's particular a challenge in the every day modern world. I think that's why Thay stresses the need for a sangha that actually practices. When I do the practice it always helps me. Sometimes more than others.

  9. Send Love to the one that is waiting for you. By practicing mindfulness and being mindful of the blessings in our life, we attract all of the things that make us happy! Blessings to you!

  10. I may not be right but I interpret someone you are close to or someone you love not necessarily as a partner, husband, etc, but rather as someone you feel love for, someone you are close to as opposed to someone you do not like. I hope this helps you.

  11. Dear Amy, the whole purpose is to open our heart, to let love , understanding to pervade in every cell of our body, with equanimity,i.e unconditional, without discrimination. Consequently , if initially one feel “there's no other person” in one's life , one can always cultivate to increase loving kindness by including “a neutral person” such as the postman, in our meditation. Slowly one would find ample of space in one's heart to accomodate many people without discrimination. Happy Metta meditation .

  12. I wonder if the responses given to you helped? It seems that your question comes from the depth of your aching heart and I wonder whether cyberspace is equipped to deal with one's heart?

  13. Dear Thay, Dear Sangha,
    Thank you so much for making these dharma talks available to the wider sangha. What a wonderful gift! I will share these practices for the new year with my baby sangha in Maine tonight.
    I am deeply happy to learn that some of the young Vietnamese monastics are practicing now in Thailand.
    May the fruits of our practice be of benefit to all beings,
    Marty Soule
    True Land of Light
    Chan Quong Do

  14. Hello. I really enjoyed this talk which defined many key points worth rememmbering for 2010. Thank you! In the talk, Thay mentioned a sheet that was passed out to the audience of the talk and it seemed like that could be very helpful. Is it available for download anyplace? Peace

  15. Have you considered that the person you are addressing might be of another religion or agnostic or atheist, and that your reference to Christ might not resonate for them at all. That said, Thich Nhat Hahn's practice has nothing to do with believing in a higher being and everything to do with recognizing and embracing your humanity and the humanity of those around you. Spirituality resides within, it does not require giving over to anyone or anything but yourself.

  16. Cher Sangha,
    Merci pour ce cadeau!
    Merci d'amener tant de compassion et d'amour dans notre pratique. Merci d'ĂŞtre toujours lĂ  pour nous tous
    Tous mes voeux pour cette nouvelle année.
    I love you

  17. Thank you Thay for this new year's beginning meditation…and for your beautiful writings.

  18. Hi Joseph,

    Beautiful reflection. You remind me of the fact that when John Main (the founder of Centering Prayer) went to study at a Buddhist monastery in Indonesia during World War II, he was told by the head monk that he was a Christian (even though Main did not believe himself to be Christian the the time), and because he was Christian, he would have to study Buddhism as a Christian. He did so, and later brought Buddhist meditation to his Benedictine Abbey in Montreal. Why should it not be politically correct to connect Christian belief and Buddhism, yet politically correct for others to exclude the beliefs of Christians? Thich Nhat Hanh himself connected the two in his book “Jesus and the Buddha as Brothers”.

  19. My sense is that you haven't absorbed Th?y's teachings or you would not have sent this kind of reply in defense of your views. I have studied and practiced Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh's teachings for many years. I have traveled with him throughout Vietnam and have been in residence in Plum Village as a member of his Order of Interbeing. I stand by my original comment.

  20. Again, I stand by my original comment. I don't think you have absorbed Thay's teachings or you wouldn't respond with this type of comment.

  21. To,
    Master Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh.
    Plum Village,Upper Hamlet,
    Lay Pay, 24240, Thenac,
    France

    Sub: – Spontaneous and willingly please send your Monk or Nun
    Disciples to Nagpur, India.

    Respected Sir,

    We are sending our deep regards and salutation to you; Plum village
    Teaching is very precious and developing Moral knowledgeable character personality, Buddhist cultural courtesy and peace. Hope when you find this request you will in good health and happiness with whole human. Buddha has given moral value through his enlightenment for welfare of human being in this way our interest and high degree of affection and faith as regards to Buddha. The teaching of engage Buddhism is inspirational to human and we are inspired.
    We are doing Dharma Propagation in exploited people of Socio-economical who are to live remote area, which is part of India. We continuously remember about your visit of Nagpur, India in during the period of Oct-2008. By All India Dr. Bababasaheb Ambedkar Engineers Association and me arranged your Dharma talk at Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Cultural Hall, Nagpur, India. People were much inspired from your teaching of engage Buddhism.
    Nagpurs people cannot forget to you because your teaching is needful to socio-economic development and peaceful equality, liberty, fraternity and Justice in India and this purpose we are walking in the footsteps of Buddha for welfare of human being and peace in this way you are reverent to human.
    Therefore “The Buddha Seva Sangha with some Buddhist organization” is deciding to arrange residential novice retreat on basis of “Dana” for youth in the month of April 17 to May 17-2011 at Kelzer, (NR. Sevagram) Tah- Selu, District. Wardha, Maharashatra state, India. Please accept our humble request for teaching of Engage Buddhism to us and send spontaneous and willingly your 2 or 4 Monk or Nun’s disciples to Nagpur, India to our retreat for 5 or 10 days as disciple’s time availability in April 17 to May 17-2011. We will highly oblige you to help to us.
    My reverence with you
    Your in the Dhamma
    Satyajit Chandrikapure
    833, Vaishali Nagar, Nagpur-440017
    India +91-9860186680

  22. metta is giving happiness due to the Buddha’s teaching. as the Mahayanist practitioners, since the first vow taken by us to enter the monastic order, our primary duty is trying to offer the happiness to the suffering beings who are transmigrating in the cyclic birth and death. based on the metta, the Karuna, the compassion are produced, which is the root to the great vehicle in Arya tsongkapa’s statements. as he said if we all could love the living beings as the mother loves her dear child with the determination to free all the sufferings of the child no matter how much sufferings she should bear in this Samsara. this is the great love of the Bodhisattva, which taught by the blessed one. Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh, one of the greatest Zen Master, are carrying on the Buddha’s teaching to integral it to the modern life. for instance, he used to encourage us to step the earth as kiss her by our lips mindfully. another exemplary discourse from him is as he told us to link our awareness to even the piece of cloud when we are reading the books, as he declared that without the cloud, the rain could be caused, and without the rain , the forest could be raised, without the forests, where could we get the material to produce the papers…….both aforementioned discourses, are teaching us to meditate the dependent co-arsing to develop the metta then compassion to our partners who are consist of the planets with us together from the four different kinds of rebirths. so in my personal view, the teaching of the dependent-co arising, are the great love from Buddha to us.
    Sadhu-3s!

  23. Beautiful way to start the new years, love yourself, then love others. Then love the ones who may try and persecute you, I hope this message spreads and echoes through eternity.
    Namaste

  24. This moment is perfect.
    May I be happy, light and peaceful in body speech and mind.
    May you be happy, light and peaceful in body speach and mind.
    May all beings be happy, light and peaceful in body speech and mind.
    Happy Peaceful Light filled New Year 2016
    Today, tommorrow, every day.
    This moment is precious, perfect, peaceful, happy and light.

    Thank you Thay.
    Thank you Sangha.
    Thank you Buddha.

    Happy New Year

  25. God’s not a man! Quit with the “he, himself, him…” It doesn’t have physical sex organs! It’s Love Energy Source that flows through us all if we allow it to do so! We’re extensions of it. We are only temporarily in these bodies! I’m so sick of that ignorant rhetoric. It’s sooooooo misleading dishonest and patriarchal for people to slap that untrue pronoun on God Source! Enough already!!!… Think about what you say. Love Energy Source is no more a male than it is a female!

  26. However the True Self is GOD, Nirvana, Supreme Consciousness, which is what Christ taught and demonstrated. No-one is ‘wrong’ here, it is only a mater of terms that each of us understands.

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