Plum Village Retreats

The Stream of Our Ancestors


January 15, 2012. 94-minute dharma talk from Lower Hamlet of Plum Village, France. The sangha is in the 2011-2012 Winter Retreat. The talk is given in Vietnamese with English translation provided by Sr. Chan KhongIn Plum Village we have a gatha, a short poem of practice, that we can use when walking and breathing. It is an art and it can bring us peace.

The Buddha is breathing.
The Buddha is sitting.

Don’t try to look outside yourself. There is no separate self, there are only the five Skandhas: form, feelings, perceptions, mental formations, and conciousness. All our suffering is based in this idea of a separate self.

I accept myself and I am a part of the stream of my ancestors. I accept this stream. We can go together, thanks to mindfulness, we can recieve these qualities both good and bad. We don’t judge ourselves harshly. We accept, and we apply this to other people as well.

We continue the sutra study (@ 56-minutes) with gatha 38-41. We are studying the Paramartha Gathas, from the Yogacarabhumi Sastra of Asanga. This is the twelfth talk on this sutra.


One reply on “The Stream of Our Ancestors”

grandpa showed me



grandpa showed me how to witch for a

to lop a branch from a willow tree near
the base of a second crotch,

trim back to the next fork, then
measure a hand’s length along each run and cut


the result, a “Y” shaped tool fit to
meet the maker’s measure


he said to choose a time from one to
three days before a full moon

he said that period swelled the waters,
ran them faster through the veins

made it easier to feel the coldness

to see the flow

know its strength, its distance

from the surface


my grandpa

his grandpa’s grandpa  (and his
grandpa’s grandpa)

    flow deep below the surface



for me to find the tools necessary to build my aging bridge

reaching down and down thru spiral caverns emerging to a
damp fog haze

a sacred entry to a holy mountain range

    where I meet them face to
face to face


yes, grandpa showed me how to search and find the water for
a well




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