Nirvana and Samsara


December 27, 2012. Dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh from Upper Hamlet at Plum Village. The sangha is in the 90-day Rains Retreat (Winter Retreat) and this is the the fifteenth dharma talk of the retreat with the theme Are You The Soulmate of the Buddha? The talk was originally given in French and this is the English translation.

What does it mean to have a spiritual dimension in our life? Why is it important for daily life?

The Four Noble Truths and the path in the second versus the path in the fourth. Two paths to choose. To well being or to ill being. We in Plum Village look at these two paths with the eyes of Interbeing.

What creates suffering? How do we take care of our suffering? The path leading to awakening. How and how much time does it take to reach enlightenment? Enlightenment is available in every moment. There is no way to enlightenment, enlightenment is the way. This is the teaching of Interbeing.

Love and reconciliation. What is nirvana? Is nirvana possible? What is the relationship to samsara?

The Buddha taught the Three Dharma Seals.

  1. All formations are impermanent.
  2. All things are without self.
  3. Nirvana

By Chan Niem Hy

Dharma Teacher.


  1. Dear friends of the recording team,

    thank you so much for your loving work, so precious for laypeople living far from Plum Village!
    Two questions, please:

    1) I’m interested in the original speech in French of Nirvana and Samsara (27 December 2012); is it possible to find it somewhere, as audio or text?

    2) browsing the textes in these pages looking for something else, I catched a glimpse of some lines about the Sutra on the best way to live alone, where Thay explained his vision about this puzzling title. Later I could no more find the speech. I have the impression it was not too old (2011,12, or 13); I would be very grateful if you could help me to find it.

    Thanks for your answers, and for your precious work with these teachings!
    A lotus bud and a smile
    Diana, Italy

  2. Many many thanks, Kenley.
    All my gratitude. I wish a wonderful 2014 to you and to our beloved Master.

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