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Originally given in Vietnamese, available from Lang Mai, the talk from Upper Hamlet, Plum Village is dated Sunday, December 15, 2013 and is the ninth talk of the 2013-2014 Winter Retreat. English translation, available below, is by Sr. Tue Nghiem.
10:35-25:42 UNESCO and Violence in Schools
25:42-44:30 The Seed on the Inside and the Seed on the Outside
44:30-55:40 The Seed of Pure/Impure
55:40-end Different Schools of Thought on Store Consciousness
In 2006, Thay gave at a talk at UNESCO in Paris where he suggested that UNESCO organize retreats for teachers from across the globe so that teachers can bring the practice of nonviolence into their classrooms. At the time, the manager at UNESCO was very supportive because in that year there had been 88,000 acts of violence in classrooms in France in 2006. The energy of violence is there is our young people and many parents and children don’t have methods for dealing with the anger in themselves. In our practice, we begin with generating peace in our body and mind to better manage our energy of anger and violence. We want to share these practices with others. If teachers can learn this practice, they will know how to help their students. Plum Village agreed to create documents and materials to support this effort of reducing violence. Two books – Anger and Cultivating True Peace – both teach on this theme. We have led retreats to Wake Up Schools. We have reached out to UNESCO again to see how can we better support UNESCO again to help train teachers? We have also drafted the Manifesto 2000 (which are based on the Five Mindfulness Trainings) with them, but it seems to have been forgotten. The United Nations have accepted some of our practices for nonviolence with the young people. In Spain, there has been an effort to bring this practice to schools.
One characteristic of seeds that we need to discuss is no-inside/no-outside – this is the tenth characteristic of seeds. There is a distinction between inside and outside – inside our mind and outside in the environment. This is a dualistic view and is double-grasping. In the four establishments of mindfulness there are four domains: body, feelings, mind, and objects of mind. In our mind is the phenomena. There are also teachings on karma and retribution in Buddhism. Our actions lead to retribution. The environment is where the body lives. The environment is ourselves also. These two things cannot be separated. This is the best teaching of manifestation-only teachings.
The eleventh characteristic of seeds is pure/impure – this is a teaching of Mahayana Buddhism. In manifestation-only teachings, different sutras explore this theme. The Five Skandhas and the Twelve Localities (Six Sense Organs and Six Sense Objects). The domains of existence – 18 realms. Thay is teaching on a specific verse where all phenomena are in store consciousness. There are six different pathways but there is also a seed of nirvana. The wholesome seeds are there too in the store consciousness. Nirvana is not outside of birth and death. This characteristics leads us to the teaching of the Heart Sutra where there is no defilement and no immaculate.
Neither wholesome/unwholesome, pure/impure. It is indeterminate. You can choose one of the six paths or you can choose nirvana. What do different teachings say about the different mental formations? The Five Particular Mental Formations. More teachings on store consciousness.
Again I thank all of you and especially Thay for this powerful teaching. I have been studying Vasubanhu’s writings for a while now, and Thay’s teaching helps to illuminate some of the discrepancies. I also enjoy all kinds of scientific theories, and most recently I’ve been looking into the universe as a hologram. I find that some extensions of the theory not only feel incorrect to me, but some parts of it – its anthropocentric basis, and the idea of an outside controlling force – are truly disturbing. I wondered, “Is the holographic universe theory what Thay is saying, too? Surely this couldn’t be so. For Thay is the only teacher I’ve experienced who honors our natural world as fully interbeing with us human species, and I am truly “home” with his illumination of a broader “sentience” and “consciousness” than what is usually supposed.” I listened with relief to these last six Dharma Talks, for no, Thay is not teaching the holographic universe theory, at least not the extensions of it. I will admit (like I heard in the audience’s responses) that these last several talks are difficult to understand! I usually take copious notes while I listen in order to refer back to them, and this time even with my notes I had to listen through the entire talks twice, and this last one three times to catch everything. Last night as I listened to this one for the third time, I finally just threw up my hands, chuckled, put down my pen, and closed my eyes to listen while drawing upon the much more powerful capacity of alaya to help me. I awoke this morning with delight, for it is all crystal clear. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I would also like to say what a delight it is to listen to Sr. Tue Nghiem’s translation. For one thing, she is amazing to understand and speak Vietnamese, English and French so well. But also I thoroughly enjoy her Vietnamese interjections, with our rather monotonous English being often interrupted by the melodic tones of the Vietnamese language as she ponders the best translation. We get to be one with her as she goes through the process, and it is delightful. I thank Thay, the Sangha, Sr.Tue Nghiem, and all of you who work hard to make this available on line to us. .