November 18, 2010. 71-minute dharma talk given Thich Nhat Hanh at New Hamlet in Plum Village. The talk is in Vietnamese with English translation (French and original Vietnamese available too). This talk is part of a sutra commentary (Chinese Dhammada, Sutra #36) series and is being posted out of sequence due to the Asia Tour; you can hear Part I, Part II, Part III.
The primary theme of this sutra is nirvana. Our true nature.
Several different illustrations/parables are used in this talk. For example, the birds and deer can lose the sky and countryside if they are caged. Humans too can be caught (caged) by our own busyness, etc. and we too can lose. We need to return to the sky, the countryside and we are reminded that nirvana is within us. When people’s belief system is discredited or challenged, particularly by scientific evidence (round earth, center of the universe, evolution, etc.), then they can become lost and lose their ethics and become angry. With this, nirvana is the safest place for humans to be. The practice is not about metaphysical contemplations. As a practitioner, we need to know where we’re going and what we want to become. We have to be free and not be burned by the afflictions of anger, attachment, jealousy, etc. nirvana has to be lived and touched here and now.
Near the end of the talk, Thay returns to a common theme of sangha. Members of a sangha support and reflect each other. Individual happiness does not exist. He has often talked of the next Buddha of 21st century will be the sangha. It’s something that Martin Luther King called the beloved community – he didn’t have a chance to see his beloved community arrive, but Thay has been fortunate to teach and build the sangha into this century.
These are just some highlights. The talk is rich with material for practice. Enjoy.