May 23, 2010. 50-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh in New Hamlet, Plum Village. The talk was given Vietnamese and is translated into English by Sr. Chan Khong. This is the seventh in a series (Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI). It is the conclusion of this commentary.
The talk is a little shorter than the others because some of the gathas have been discussed in other dharma talks as they are repeated here in the sutra. The focus of this section is the hero and freedom.
Here is the current translation (subject to change) of the gatha’s covered in this talk.
29. The five kinds of sensual desires arise, when our mind feels satisfied by them. When we can speedily put an end to those five kinds of sensual desires, we can truly be called a Hero.
30. When we no longer have sensual desire, we have no more fear. At that point we are free, peaceful and happy. When desire is ended the internal formations also end and because of that the practitioner comes out of the deep abyss.
31. Dear sensual love, I know your roots: the desiring mind comes from misperceived wishes and wrong perceptions. Now I don’t have any more wishes or wrong perceptions about you. So how can you arise?
32. If we have felled the tree of sexual desire, but we have not pulled up its roots, it will sprout again. If the monk or nun felled the tree of sexual desire and completely uprooted it, he or she will realize nirvana.
33. If a person doesn’t want to cut down the tree of sexual desire, its branches and leaves will continue to a greater or lesser extent arise. When our mind is still caught in sexual desire, we are still like the calf that always needs its mother’s utter.
This concludes the Spring 2010 Retreats at Plum Village.
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May 20, 2010. 70-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh in Lower Hamlet, Plum Village. The talk was given Vietnamese (found here) and is translated into English by Sr. Chan Khong. This is the sixth in a series (Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V).
Breathing Meditation for Sitting, Lying Down and Walking. The first 40-minutes of the talk explore this idea of breathing. If you really want to let your mind rest, then follow your breath. It’s very delicious, like ice cream. But, if you make an effort then it is not correct. Don’t force.
You can have happiness today. What I teach is what I’ve tried myself. Trust Thay.
The talk is followed by learning to sing the Five Contemplations, practiced before eating a meal.
In the final 30-minutes, Thay provides a commentary on the following gathas of the Net of Love (Attachment) sutta.
24. Seeing and understanding the true nature of things without being caught in any of them and we know how to undo the ties of sexual desire in our mind. Then we have grasped the meaning of the Buddha’s teachings.
25. Offering the right teaching is the most precious offering. The scent of morality is the most fragrant one of all. The most effective way to live according to right teaching is the greatest happiness amongst all kinds of happiness. The practice of putting an end to sensual love once and for all is the practice of putting an end to sexual desires.
26-27. The ignorant person often ties himself with the rope of sensual desire. He doesn’t yet desire to cross to the other shore. Craving creates corruption and brings about disasters and misfortune to others and himself. The greedy mind is the field; craving, anger and ignorance are the seeds. For those who are capable of practicing generosity and liberating others, the merit he harvests is immeasurable.
28. With few traveling companions but a large amount of merchandise to convey, the merchant falls into the state of anxiety and panic. The wise ones don’t run after desires, because they know that the infatuation with sensual pleasures is the brigand, who can destroy his life.
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May 16, 2010. 68-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh in Upper Hamlet, Plum Village. The talk was given Vietnamese (found here) and is translated into English by Sr. Chan Khong. This is the fifth in a series (Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV).
Thay provides a commentary on Gathas 20-23 and some of the language is being changed as the dharma talks occur. For example, it has been suggested that the sutta be called Net of Attachment. This is a work in progress.
20-21. By tying ourselves in the net of sensual love and taking shelter under an umbrella of sensual love, we are binding ourselves in the cycle of attachment like a fish that swims into his own trap. Caught by age and death, we just circle around the object of our love like a calf looking for his mother’s utter. If we are able to let go of desires and do not follow the tracks of the love vehicle, we can get out of the net of sensual love and nothing else can harm us anymore.
22. If we are able to go the whole way, leave behind all the fetters of attachment and suffering, and if we are liberated from all kinds of discrimination and go beyond all dualistic notions, we are a monk of great understanding.
23. Don’t keep company with those who go against the true teachings and don’t let yourself be pulled along on the path of attachment. If the practitioner has not yet transcend time and space, he is still caught in dualist views.
Listen closely to the commentary on the 22nd stanza because Thay mentions this is the very seed of the middle path – very Mahayana. The talk ends with a lovely letter written by a young nun of her experience of this sutra.
As a reminder, this text is from Chinese Dhammapada and originally in the sanskrit (Taisho #213). The sutra has 32 chapters, has 752 stanzas, and was translated to Chinese in the 3rd century.
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