Purification of Speech


This 13-minute segment is from the first dharma talk during the November 1997 retreat in Key West (Florida) and Thich Nhat Hanh offers us a teaching on silence.

The practice of purification of speech. How do we practice with silence during the first four days of the retreat. In the retreat, we will use a notebook to write down the things that we want to say – we can observe the habit energy in us. We can also use the notebook to communicate with others if it’s absolutely necessary. Learning to observe your feelings and ideas during this period of silence. Do you know how to observe and look deeply at your feelings? We can train ourselves to recognize and embrace our feelings.

If you appreciate this teaching, please consider making a donation to support the ongoing efforts of the online monastery. Please make a note with your donation that it was because of this talk.

By Chan Niem Hy

Dharma Teacher.


  1. Wonderful heard it first at Key West nineteen years ago.. I was struck at the depth of Thay’s teachings then, however feel they have become even deeper. Silence – interesting that our dear wonderful teacher is silent these days did you choose it because of this? Thanks so much Kenley for letting us listen – I must get out my old tapes from the Retreat – however may find it hard to find something to play them on! Jeanie

  2. Hello there – many thanks for continuing to give us these archives – re the previous one, Geese flying south, I wonder if you can tell me where the reading at the beginning came from, twas lovely, is it from one of Thay’s poems or books? Trish

  3. Trish ~ I wish that information about the text read was available, but I don’t have that information. I’ll see if that’s something that can be discovered.

  4. Jeanie ~ thank you for the kind words and question. It’s a wonderful talk and I was randomly looking through the archives and picked this series because the audio quality was decent and it looked like an interesting retreat. I’m planning on posting more from this retreat too.

  5. Love to hear Thay’s voice speaking so wisely yet simply. Many thanks. Emily

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