What is Right Thinking


June 12, 2013. 102-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 first dharma talk of the German Retreat on the theme Are You Sure?

Following two chants by the monastics, the talk begins at 12-minutes into the recording. 

We begin immediately with the concept of dualist thinking and Right Thinking. How do we see the interconnection between things? For example, between happiness and suffering or all the elements of a lotus flower. The lotus is made of non-lotus elements. A good gardener knows how to make good use of the mud just as a good mindfulness practitioner knows how to make good use of her suffering. The goodness of suffering. When you understand suffering then understanding and compassion arises – the foundation of happiness.

From the Sutra on the Full Awareness of Breathing, we have exercises handed down by the Buddha to help our practice with suffering.

  • Generate a feeling of joy
  • Generate a feeling of happiness 
  • Recognize painful feelings 
  • Calm down the painful feeling 

Mindfulness is an energy that helps us know what is going on in our body and our feelings. How do we bring relief to our painful feelings and emotions?

Three kinds of energies we should try to generate: mindfulness, concentration, and insight.

Four elements of True Love and being present for those we love. Taking care of our suffering and our live we can learn to take care of the world.

In the last 10-minutes, we get walking meditation instructions.

By Chan Niem Hy

Dharma Teacher.


  1. This is one of the more profound talks TNH has given I think, perhaps in the exact words he uses this time.

    Two key statements for me:

    “If we understand the suffering of each other (in the context of two people), we will come to understand the suffering of the world.”

    “Our true love (in the context of true love between two people) will grow and embrace everyone.”

    These two statements help us to see that is a pretty far-reaching thing to develop our own mindfulness/concentration/insight enabling us to do the hard work of rescuing/maintaining/enriching our personal relationships – further enabling us to understand the suffering of the world and embrace everyone. This is an awesome aspiration!

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