Many Pairs of Opposites


January 3, 2013. 110-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh from Upper Hamlet at Plum Village. The sangha is in the 90-day Rains Retreat (Winter Retreat). This is the seventeenth dharma talk of the retreat with the theme Are You The Soulmate of the Buddha? The talk is given in English and we begin with a chant.

There ia a sutra on the contemplation of the body and the body is a big subject of meditation. There is much suffering and misery in this world and some people want to get out of this world. Is there a way to get out of the world of suffering and misery by looking into your body? We can see the four elements – water, air, earth, and heat – in our body. There are six sense organs that can produce the six consciousnesses. When you look into the body deeply, you can see it is a community. Can you see all our ancestors by looking into the body? Is there a self? If we heal ourselves, we can heal our ancestors. We don’t just practice for ourselves, we practice for all our ancestors. Our body is a treasure and we should take care of our body. There is a Buddha in the body. How do we practice? The dharma and the sangha. We organize a “resistance” to keep our practice alive.

At about 30-minutes into the recording, we continue with the subject matter for the Winter Retreat. Pairs of opposites. We hear a teaching on the concepts of birth and death, being and non-being, ultimate and conventional truth, sameness and otherness. Interbeing and the path leading us to the ultimate truth. Everything is a formation, a conditioned dharma. Samsara and nirvana. You may wish to review the video, Thay wrote on the board quite a bit for this segment of the talk.

There is a way a path to this wisdom of adaptation.

By Chan Niem Hy

Dharma Teacher.


  1. Dear, dear Thay and Sangha,
    This is such a wonderful service you do for those of us who can’t be at Plum Village. This process by which we can ‘communicate’ is functioning as a Bodhisattva of a kind, with the components of each of you and available technology reaching out to us, the listener, Every day I am so thankful that i live in a time and place and state of being that I am able to have access to these teachings. Thank you.

  2. Dear Thay, Dear Brothers and Sisters who are recording and documenting Thay’s talks this Winter Retreat,

    I can’t thank you enough for your skillfulness and kindness in preserving these talks–particularly for those of us who wanted to be there in person but could not. The photograph of the whiteboard was especially helpful. And my heart was also warmed by hearing Sr. Pine’s lovely voice translating recently. I am there and not there.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    A deep bow of gratitude,



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