Peace, Understanding, and Compassion


August 24, 2010. 100-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh in Upper Hamlet, Plum Village, Dharma Cloud Temple. The talk occurs during the Retreat for Young People with the theme Truly Alive.

Thay feels alive to me when he begins by saying this is “dharma talk a la carte” and that he’ll invite about ten questions to get them started. He writes the questions on the white board and after about 20-minutes of audience questions, there are significantly more than ten questions. Our Teacher seems to enjoy hearing the questions as he continues to write on the board.

After the bell, we are reminded that all the questions appear to be linked together and if we answer one question then we can answer all the questions. The remain hour is spent hearing about peace, understanding, and compassion. The premise of this discussion is that even if we do get what we need, we still suffer. Examples of this are everywhere.

The question is how can I understand my own suffering. It is the art of listening. You have to train – to practice mindful living – so you can listen to the suffering in yourself. Intention is not good enough.


By Chan Niem Hy

Dharma Teacher.


  1. Hello I am Janet. There is a nun residing in me. I feel her as strong as if she sits beside me. I am not strong mostly I am weak and hopeless because I can’t fix up the messes I have created in my life so I suffer from what others would say are the consequences for my wrongs. I know this is just a story I make as if guilt and shame are things to blame me for being wrong not right so there is a fight.

    What question can i ask about this when I am so confused about who I am. If there is a nun in me why can’t I let her live in the for front of my life and not get swallowed up in having responsibility for things I cannot change. I do love the teachings of the wiser people men and women even children have great wisdom. I feel wretched and despicable often. You say about mind full living and listening to ones own suffering and that intention is not good enough. So acceptance then for things we cannot change. I try to respond to others who have pain and I want to help but fail myserably because they do not want these words I offer them because that is my logic my trying to fix them is a projection is it not. I ramble now as if words can help the sorrow. That is in my life every day and I collapse again and again into it down I go falling back into another bout of regression. For all the causes I can think of in the suffering world results in grief and loss. How long does it take to grieve before that had an end, is there some beauty here i am unable to discern if I grieve will that have an end. Triggers like a whip lashing at my mind and heart say I must suffer that I do not deserve to be happy. Who can say what that is about. If I sit here and cry in misery what useful means is that in resolving my pain or anyone else’s. When will I grow up from being a stupid child who has nothing to offer who does not belong.

    There is a nun in me who knows the answers can I be with her alone. I am so very alone here. From Janet TOOBY

  2. all these words give answers to our suffering no need to speak now when this man gives us answers we can listen to that he is enough. He does offer us peace, love and understanding. Listen to the calmness of his voice, that is enough, feel the words that is enough. He is a wise person I am not a wise person like this.

  3. I truly bebefit from the Dharma Talk, especially on deep listening and reminds me on how to deal with fear from inner child…Breathe & Smile, Simon

  4. I really don’t suffer so much anymore thanks in part, to Brother Togden, from the Meditation Center on New York Avenue, Hungtington, NY. I was gifted to be in his teachings during a period of my life! May he be blessed today!

  5. Thank you for your words and wisdom given so freely with love and compassion – we are inspired to live our lives following the five mindfulness trainings..

  6. Thank you for sharing this talk and the wisdom that emerges through Thich Nhat Hahn..
    What a gift to be able to listen and to recieve and learn while not having to travel far.. and wide..
    With gratitude,
    Laurie Schwartz-Friedman
    20 West 64th Street
    New York, N.Y. 10023
    New York Center for Somatic Psychotherapy and Trauma Resolution.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.