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Plum Village Retreats

Bringing the Practice to Life

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July 12, 2012. 84-minute recording given at Upper Hamlet, Plum Village by Thich Nhat Hanh. This is the fifth dharma talk of the Summer Opening. We begin with chanting and the talk was originally given in French. This is an English translation.

With many questions about anger in yesterday’s questions and answers session, Thay offers a lovely 25-minute lesson for the children (and everyone of course!) on helping our friends who may have anger.

What can we tell our friends about meditation? Meditation is looking deeply with our eyes, mind, and your heart. Meditation is looking. We can see things other people can’t hear. Meditation is listening. Concentration. A person who meditates can see the cloud in the flower. There is much more there in the flower. To see the flower deeply you have to recognize the non-flower elements.

The same can be said about people. We all have non-human elements such as anger. We all have the seed of anger. What can we do to help those who suffer from anger and violence? If we practice meditation, we can see the seeds of compassion and kindness in that person. What can we do to water those seeds in him? We can water the seeds of kindness. We can practice selective watering of the good seeds. We can sign a peace and happiness treaty with our friends and our loved ones in order to support each other.

After the children leave, Thay reminds us that we need a spiritual dimension to deal with difficulties in our daily life. We need practices to deal with the difficulties. In the Buddhist tradition, we have a spiritual body in addition to our physical body. We are offered a teaching on dharmakaya (dharma body) and buddhakaya (Buddha body). If our dharma body is solid, we can deal with our difficulties. There is also a sangha body (sanghakaya). We should build and participate in a sangha to maintain our practice. Create a living sangha where we can generate mindfulness. We can use our time and energy to build sangha. To be a refuge.

We can use the Sutra on the Full Awareness of Breathing to cultivate our Buddha body. Sixteen exercises. We learn the first eight exercises.

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