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Plum Village Questions and Answers Retreats

Our Nature is Non-Local

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July 12, 2011. 111-minute Dharma Talk in English given by Thich Nhat Hanh at Upper Hamlet, Plum Village, France. This is the first question and answer session of the Summer Opening Retreat.

Thay takes questions from the children, the young adults, and from other retreatants.

Why do people lie? Why does anger come with sadness? Why do we so easily mixup sexual desire and love? How can we reconcile with someone we’ve hurt? How practice the Five Mindfulness Trainings in the corporate world? Why would someone want to be born into a world of suffering? How do we practice when we still are caught in the idea of having a separate personality? Is Thay a realized Buddha? How do we practice to forgive ourselves? How can we maintain our practice when we live in a place lacking compassion, without a Sangha? How can we make sense of the death of a child before they are born? How can we find happiness again?

The talk was given in English and is available below. There is a video version available too.

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Plum Village Retreats

Touching the Wonders of Life

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July 9, 2011. 45-minute Dharma Talk in French, with English translation by Sister Pine, given by Thich Nhat Hanh New Hamlet, Plum Village, France. This is the second talk of the Summer Opening Retreat.

Thay shares about the practice of mindful breathing. With each breath, we can fully in touch with life. The first exercise is being aware of your in and out breath. The second exercise is –following. Mindfulness is coming into the present moment. This brings concentration.

We continue learning about dualism. Birth and death.

The talk was given in French, with English translation, and is available below. There is a video version available too.

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Plum Village Retreats

Children of the Earth

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July 8, 2011. 55-minute Dharma Talk in English, given by Thich Nhat Hanh Lower Hamlet, Plum Village, France. This is the first talk of the Summer Opening Retreat.

Thay speaks on free will as something available to us in every moment, and on the Pure Land and the Kingdom of God. When mindfulness is there, forgetfulness is no longer there. Mindfulness is the light that allows us to be there, to be fully present in the here and the now, to be fully alive. And that is not very difficult. Thay also shares about arriving at every moment and every step, printing your seal of arrival on the Earth, how the Buddha is not a God but a human being like us, how there is no happiness without freedom, and no lotus without mud, how we can generate a collective energy of mindfulness by practicing together as brothers and sisters in the practice, how everyone is a Sangha-builder in his or her way of breathing and walking, how to exercise our sovereignty, how if you feel comfortable in the here and the now you are already home, and how to become solidly established in the here and the now.

We apologize for a few brief errors in the recording.

The talk was given in English and is available below. There is a video version available too.

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Day of Mindfulness Plum Village

The Young Heart of Ethics

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June 30, 2011. 52-minute Dharma Talk in Vietnamese, with translation provided by Sr. Chan Khong, given by Thich Nhat Hanh in Stillwater Meditation Hall, Upper Hamlet, Plum Village, France.

Thay speaks about the tradition of monastic day in the Sangha, and as well about the Four Nutriments. Thay also shares about the Wake Up Movement, and how to build a Sangha of lay people, bringing the practice into schools. In particular, Thay focuses on how to bring the practice of global ethics into schools.

The talk was given in Vietnamese with English translation and is available below. There is a video version available too.

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Day of Mindfulness Plum Village

Each Day I Choose a Joy

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June 23, 2011. 100-minute Dharma Talk in Vietnamese, with translation provided by Sr. Chan Khong, given by Thich Nhat Hanh in Lower Hamlet, Plum Village, France.

Thay speaks about the life of the Vietnamese anti-war songwriter and musician Trinh Cong Son, and the experience of Thay, Sister Chan Khong, and Thay Phap An in the 1960s. Experiences such as being a child in the war and others writing anti-war poetry. One book of 60-poems by Thay had to be published underground – Joining Your Palm in Order for the Dove to Appear. We need to be aware of this era and the despair it caused. Sr. Chan Khong sings a couple songs but the recording is not so good because we are listening to translation; you can turn it up during this period. He goes on to share about the Great Requiem Ceremonies in Vietnam in 2007.

The rest of the talk Thay continues teaching about practicing while touring with the Sangha.

  1. Touring from the Heart
  2. Touring as a Practice. Everyday and second is a practice.
  3. Sangha happiness. The aim is to be happy.
  4. We are not tourists.
  5. Keep our seatbelt properly tight. Precepts.
  6. Fine Manners
  7. Practice Second Body system.
  8. Caring for Second Body.
  9. Walking meditation. Every step.
  10. Stop to talk
  11. Precious moment. Attend all activities.
  12. Sangha confidence.
  13. We are not performers of the dharma. We practice and teach with our heart. It’s not the form.
  14. Mobile Monastery
  15. All activities are equally important.
  16. Time to rest. Especially Thay…one activity per day.
  17. Keep our togetherness.
  18. Mindful electronics. Be discreet.

The talk was given in Vietnamese with English translation and is available below. There is a video version available too.

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Day of Mindfulness Plum Village

Touring from the Heart

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June 19, 2011. 76-minute Dharma Talk in Vietnamese, with translation provided by Sr. Chan Khong, given by Thich Nhat Hanh in Stillwater Meditation Hall, Upper Hamlet, Plum Village, France.

Thay speaks about mindfulness of taste and eating, and about three stages of our relationship to the path: seeing the path, practicing the path, and realizing the path. You can do this with everything you do – eating, walking, experiencing loss. Mindfulness is not unique to Buddhism. You only need to practice and then you realize.

Sutra #239 Agama. Thay had started it last time, but the message was not clear.

Happiness and enjoying friends around us. The text is a guide for those on the upcoming tour. Every hour of touring a joy of practice. How to practice as monastics during upcoming Summer Opening and the North American Tour this year. It is a part of our training. Fine manners. Second body. What makes a monastic different? Walking finely, beautifully. Sitting. Working. This inspires people. The purpose is to bring happiness. To yourself and to others.

The talk was given in Vietnamese with English translation and is available below. There is a video version available too.

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Day of Mindfulness Plum Village

Recognizing the Fruit of Our Habits

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June 16, 2011. 70-minute Dharma Talk in Vietnamese, with translation provided by Sr. Chan Khong, given by Thich Nhat Hanh in Assembly of Stars Meditation Hall, Lower Hamlet, Plum Village, France.

In this talk we study the Sutra on Keeping a Pure Mind While Doing Alms Round (#236). The sutra demonstrates that the practice is all day long and in all positions. Walking. Sitting. Eating. Etc. The practice today is the same as the time of the Buddha. The sutra also speaks of emptiness samadhi (deep concentration). Recognizing and embracing is the third aspect of the sutra.

Impermanence, Non-self, and Nirvana. The Three Dharma Seals. Some schools call the third as suffering, but Thay feels this is not correct. Emptiness, Signlessness, and Aimlessness. These also are known as dharma seals (Tripitaka) – sometimes called the Three Doors of Liberation.

We then move to another sutra (#293), a sutra about interdependent co-arising conditions, and Thay recognizes this is very difficult. At the end he reminds us to drink some tea.

The talk was given in Vietnamese with English translation and is available below. There is a video version available too. Please note, we are missing just the first minute or two of the recording.

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Day of Mindfulness Plum Village

Every Step for my Mother and Father

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June 12, 2011. 105-minute Dharma Talk in Vietnamese, with translation provided by Sr. Chan Khong, given by Thich Nhat Hanh at New Hamlet, Plum Village, France. This is the first talk after being in Germany and Southeast Asia.

Thay reads a letter from a young monastic aspirant requesting a 5-year ordination because the parents will not give permission for a lifetime; they need the daughter to care for them as they age. She sees the freshness of a novice life. A monastic life. Each day is precious. Singing together with nature.

Our daily practice is to find happiness in all we do each day. How do we understand our parents? How are we their continuation? Do we really know our parents? I vow to live happily for you mother, for you father. We only see part of our parents, our partner, our children but we can discover more every day. The same is true with ourselves.

Sangha body and dharma body. The jewel of the sangha. The quality – brotherhood, sisterhood, joy, peace – where does it come from? The first fruit of the practice is “I have arrived, I am home.”

What is work? What is it’s relationship to the practice? Do we work to much? We need to look deeply in our sangha. What are our talents and how best to apply?

Happiness can be found in everything we do.

The talk was given in Vietnamese with English translation and is available below. There is a video version available too. Please note, we are missing just the first minute or two of the recording.

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English/Dutch European Institute of Applied Buddhism Questions and Answers Retreats

Development Leadership with Mindfulness: Q&A Session

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May 28, 2011. 105-minute question and answer session given in English, with consecutive translation into Dutch, with Thich Nhat Hanh. This is the fourth dharma talk offered by Thay in the Dutch Retreat at the European Institute of Applied Buddhism in Waldbröl, Germany.

Questions: (1) What does “Thich Nhat Hanh” mean? (2) What is the source of laziness and how can I overcome it? (3) How do we practice interbeing with those we don’t know? (4) If young people who have yet to cultivate awareness feel hate or misunderstanding, how can I help to release this tension and water the good seeds in their minds? (5) How can I balance between dealing with my issues and sharing them with my loved one? (6) How can i be mindful and compassionate with my children? (7) How can I transform my tendency to experience the pain of others? (8) How can we develop leadership and power based on mindfulness? (9) What are steps to help families overcome infidelities and divorce?

The talk was given in English and Dutch at the same time and is available below for listening or download. You may also view the video.

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English/Dutch European Institute of Applied Buddhism Retreats

Discussing a Strategy of Consumption

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May 27, 2011. 86-minute dharma talk given in English, with consecutive translation into Dutch, with Thich Nhat Hanh. This is the third Dharma talk offered by Thay in the Dutch Retreat at the European Institute of Applied Buddhism in Waldbröl, Germany.

The Five Mindfulness Trainings can be seen as applied ethics. It is also a holy path. The profane and the sacred are of an organic nature. With Mindfulness and concentration, anything can become holy. Practicing the Five Mindfulness Trainings, we become a holy person.

The first concentration is impermanence. The first nine exercises in the Sutra of Mindful Breathing help us with the remaining concentrations. To touch the good and wholesome seeds. Selective watering. We then hear teaching regarding the remaining exercises.

Thay speaks about Right Mindfulness as part of the Noble Eightfold Path. “Mindfulness helps us to get in touch with the Kingdom of God, the Pure Land of the Buddha, which is present in the here and the now.” “In the old times, nirvana was a word that was used by people in the countryside. When they made a fire to cook their rice or their chapati, then they would leave the fire overnight so that by morning it was completely extinguished. They could put their fingers up to the fire and they would not be burned. So nirvana is a word to describe a state of cooling down, no more suffering. We can safely describe nirvana as the extinction of all notions, and of all the suffering that arises due to these notions.”

The talk was given in English and Dutch at the same time and is available below for listening or download. You may also view the video.