Third Week of Summer Opening

July 22, 2013. 73-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh from Upper Hamlet of Plum Village during the 2013 Summer Opening. This is the ninth talk of the summer.

Mindfulness is always mindfulness of something. It could be breathing, walking, or washing the dishes. It allows us to know what is happening. In our body, feelings, emotions, and perceptions. It is the energy of mindfulness is holy. Mindfulness can being you insight and enlightenment.

Today we explore mindfulness of suffering and compassion. Beginning at 28-minutes, we listen to the monastics invoke the name of Avalokiteshvara to help relieve the suffering in ourselves and in the world. Editor’s Note: there is some skipping during the chant, but it’s still lovely to listen to. Following the chant, Thay leads the sangha through a few mindful movements. The main talk continues at 49-minutes into the recording.

How to listen to the bell. The bell helps us return to our true home. Our true home is not located in space or time but it is in the present moment.

How to practice walking meditation and eating meditation.

Note: some skipping occurs in this talk but the essence of the teaching is available. If I can get a better recording copy, I will post again.


Play

Be Yourself. Be Beautiful.

July 18, 2013. 95-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh from Lower Hamlet of Plum Village during the 2013 Summer Opening. This is the seventh talk of the summer and this is a session of questions and answers.

Children

  1. Why are there bad days and why are there good days?
  2. Where does the spirit go when it leaves the body?
  3. How did Thay become a monk?
  4. What is the difference between the soul and the spirit?
  5. How old do you have to be to become a monk?
  6. How can I make my mother happy when she is angry with me?

Adults

  1. Do we have to forgive everything and how can we do that?
  2. A question about students and masters.
  3. If Buddhism supports the love of nature then why doesn’t it support romantic love?
  4. How can I help people who have sadness and loneliness in their hearts?
  5. Question about the “be yourself. Be beautiful” verse And Mother Earth

Play

Meditation on the Corn Seed

July 16, 2013. 81-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh from Upper Hamlet of Plum Village during the 2013 Summer Opening. This is the sixth talk of the summer and this is an English translation from the French. The recording begins with a talk for the children and then the main talk begins (at 18-minutes).

Meditation on the corn seed. Meditation is having the time to look and to listen. There is knowledge in this seed and it is alive. Does the plant remember when it was a little seed? Has the corn seed died? Meditation can help us see things that other people cannot see. Looking into the corn plant we can see the seed.

A teaching from the Sutra on the Full Awareness of Breathing. The exercises of breathing are simple yet can be very profound on us. The first is recognizing. Bringing our attention to our in-breath. We can let go of our past, of our projects, etc. and we can immediately be free. Buddhism is made of three kinds of energy: mindfulness, concentration, insight.

The second exercise is to follow the breath. We focus entirely on the in-breath and the out-breath. The third is awareness if body and then fourth we calm our body.

The next two are giving rise to a feeling of joy and happiness. We can do this anytime. The seventh exercise is recognizing a painful feeling. Then we calm the feeling in the eighth.

The art of happiness. The art of suffering.

Play

Meditation on the Flame

July 19, 2013. 110-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh from New Hamlet of Plum Village during the 2013 Summer Opening. This is the eighth talk of the summer.

Editor’s Note: This talk coming slightly out of order as I catch up on the recordings. The sixth (July 16) and seventh (July 18) talk of summer will be posted soon. 

Teaching using the meditation on the flame. The flame is there but it is hidden. Maybe in the box? It is hidden by the conditions, and there are conditions that help the flame manifest. Where does the flame go? Her nature is no coming and no going. We know this with mindfulness, concentration, and insight. When conditions are no longer sufficient, the manifestation ceases to continue. The same is true for those we love. This is a very deep teaching.

We continue the teaching on the Four Noble Truths. The first is dukkha, translated as ill-being/suffering. The second is the making of ill-being; how suffering is made. This is seeing the cause of our suffering. With the third, we have the cessation of ill-being. The path, or the way, leading to well-being is the the fourth. The Five Mindfulness Trainings contain this path and is called the Noble Eightfold Path that leads to healing and out of suffering.

  • Right View
  • Right Thinking
  • Right Speech
  • Right Action
  • Right Livelihood
  • Right Diligence
  • Right Mindfulness
  • Right Concentration

The Noble Truths in the context of mindful consumption and the fifth mindfulness training. Nothing can survive without food. In Buddhism, we speak of Four Kinds of Nutriments.

  1. Edible Food
  2. Sense impression
  3. Volition
  4. Consciousness

We’ve been taking mostly about the second and fourth noble truth so far. The talk continues here with looking more closely at Right View and the other elements if the path.

Play

Listening to the Bell and Walking Meditation

July 15, 2013. 96-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh from Upper Hamlet of Plum Village during the 2013 Summer Opening. This is the fifth talk of the summer and the beginning of the second week of the retreat.

Understanding suffering and listening to the chant. Invoking the name of Avalokiteshvara. The energy of compassion. Chant begins at 22-minutes followed by about 10-minutes of mindful movements.

The main talk starts at 55-minutes into the recording. We begin with a 20-minute instruction on listening to the bell. How do we use the bell to practice mindfulness?. No talking and no thinking and we go back to our breathing. The bell is the voice of the Buddha. The voice of the Buddha inside. One in breath is enough to be free. One mindful breath. The bell is here to help call us back to our true home.

Walking mediation  (1:17) is another foundational mediation practice. Every step is there to help you arrive in the here and the now. How can we walk on Mother Earth? Using a gatha to help us focus our concentration on walking.

Play

Five Fingers Living in Harmony

July 12, 2013. 100-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh from New Hamlet of Plum Village during the 2013 Summer Opening. This is the fourth talk of the summer and this is an English translation from the French. The recording begins with four chants followed by a talk for the children (at 16-minutes) and then the main talk begins (at 28-minutes).

You should plant this question in our heart. A question is a seed. It’s a lesson from when Thay was a boy. In my hand are five fingers and each finger has it’s name. They live in harmony. How are they a able to do that?

We continue from a few day ago (July 9) when we learned about the Sutra on the Full Awareness if Breathing.  The last time we covered the first eight exercises. First we review briefly with mind and store consciousness and the role of seeds. The practitioner had to be present I recognize the mental formation.

  • Recognize each mental formation
  • Beautify/Gladden the mind

Watering the good seeds, especially in our relationships. Maybe sign a peace and happiness treaty. How do we work with our mental formations to have a happy and healthy life?

First, we try not to water the seeds of suffering.  Second, if a seed if suffering exists then we can invite a wholesome seed to manifest. Third, when a good seed is manifesting, we try to maintain the positive energy. Fourth, we try to keep the good seeds alive. This is the practice if right diligence. The art of happiness.

The first aspect of the noble eightfold path is right view. The insight of interbeing acquired through meditation. This is followed by right thinking. Free of all notions. No discrimination. The third is right speech. With these we can practice loving speech and deep listening.  The Five Mindfulness Trainings are an expression of the Noble Eightfold Path.

Play

Offering Beauty and Freshness

July 9, 2013. 103-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh from Upper Hamlet of Plum Village during the 2013 Summer Opening. This is the second talk of the summer and this is an English translation from the French. The recording begins with two chants followed by a talk for the children (ends at 12-minutes) and then the main talk begins (begins at 33:40-minutes).

What does it mean to say I love you? What is the most precious gift? We can offer beauty and freshness. Meditation can help; the meditation on flower/fresh. How do we cultivate stability?

Peace in the body. Peace in the feelings. Peace in the perceptions. This is possible. Joy and happiness too. The practitioner should know how to generate these. What does it mean to cultivate? We need energy, and the first is mindfulness. The next energy, and linked to mindfulness, is concentration. And if these two are strong enough, we can bring about insight. There are 16-exercises of mindful breathing that can help is cultivate these three energies.

  • Recognizing breath is the first exercise.
  • Following breath is the second exercise. 
  • The third is recognizing your body. 
  • Calming the body is the fourth. 

With the next set of exercises we move from body to the realm of feelings.

  • Generating joy
  • Generating happiness 
  • Recognizing a painful feeling
  • Calm the painful feeling

Discussion and explanation of habit energy.

We now move to the realm of perceptions. The five universal mental formations: contact, attention, feeling, perception, volition. What are mental formations? Mind and store consciousness along with the manifestation of seeds. Buddhist psychology. Along with five universals are the five particulars: intention, determination, mindfulness, concentration, insight.

Play

Children and their Experience of Divorce

July 11, 2013. 82-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh from Lower Hamlet in Plum Village during the 2013 Summer Opening. This is the third talk of the summer and it is a session of questions and answers.

Children

  1. Why does the world exist?
  2. I don’t understand about love because my parents got divorced and they yelled at each other.
  3. What does God look like to you?
  4. How long are you/I going to live?

Teens and Adults

  1. When parents get divorced, why do they fight in front of the children and also say they love the children?
  2. I have a friend who is always unkind to me and then later he is concerned about me. Why does he do that?
  3. How can have stillness and joy?
  4. How can transform the guilt inside for my parents getting divorced?
  5. I don’t know how to deal with my anger, especially when I am angry. What can I do?
  6. How do I practice with my parents/grandparents when I haven’t met or seen him?
  7. A friend is on drugs. How can I deal with being overwhelmed by this person?

French Television

  1. What is the meaning of prayer in Buddhism?
  2. What are the different kinds of prayer in Buddhism?
  3. What can prayer offer to humanity?

Play

Why do we practice walking meditation?

July 8, 2013. 100-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh from Upper Hamlet in Plum Village during the 2013 Summer Opening. This is the first talk of the summer.

Note: the brief segment at the beginning is missing.

We begin with a 25-minute introduction on listening to the chant. The art of suffering. If we know how to suffer then we suffer much less. It’s like an organic gardener who knows it is useful to keep the garbage in order to nourish the flowers and vegetables. Understanding suffering is very important and we can use the energy of mindfulness to take care of our suffering. This is the heart of the Buddhist teaching. The first noble truth is there is suffering. The monks and the nuns will practice chanting this morning saying the name of Avalokiteshvara. They are getting in touch with the suffering.

The monks and nuns begin chanting the name Namo Avalokiteshvara from 25-minutes to 48-minutes. The main talk begins at 53-minutes into the recording.

As meditation practitioners, we should know how to generate peace, happiness, and joy. We can do this while walking, sitting, eating, drinking, etc. We can train ourselves. Listening to the bell is a reminder. Being alive in the present moment. It only takes 2-3 seconds to being mind and body together.

We have a 30-minute explanation of how and why we do walking meditation.

If you know how to handle the present moment then we are taking care of the future. I have arrived. I am home.

Play

Domains of Mindfulness Practice

June 16, 2013. 112-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh from the European Institute of Applied Buddhism in Waldbrol, Germany. The talk is given in English with consecutive translation into German. This is the final dharma talk of the German Retreat on the theme Are You Sure?

We start with the three kinds of energies — mindfulness, concentration, insight — and they can produced anytime while doing any activity. We can see things more deeply and remove wrong perceptions. Mindfulness is always mindfulness of something. Concentration is the same.

Four Foundations of Mindfulness – the four domains or objects of mindfulness. The first domain is body. The second domain are the feelings. The mind is the third object. The final domain is objects of mind – in Buddhist psychology there are 51 mental formations. What is object of mind? The Five Skandhas (also known as the five aggregates). We discuss store consciousness and mind consciousness.

Science and Buddhism. Conventional truth and ultimate truth. Transmitter and receiver. What is emptiness? Birth and death. Being and non-being. These are just notions and can lead to wrong views.

Right View, part of the noble eightfold path, is the insight that is free from all wrong views. Right Thinking is the kind of thinking that is also free of notions of birth and death, being and non-being.

Play