Touching Life – Come Home to Yourself


The 53-minute dharma talk offered by Thich Nhat Hanh took place at the Lower Hamlet of Plum Village on November 3, 2005.

What does it mean, “I take refuge in the Buddha.” Buddha is the one who is mindful, awake, enlightened. Taking refuge is not believing in a God or deity. We all have a seed of mindfulness, understanding, and love. We can become a person who is fully awake, enlightened, just like the Buddha. Taking refuge is confirming the fact that you can be enlightened. You are a Buddha. This is not a declaration of faith, but a commitment to practice. In every breath we are taking refuge. In every mindful step we are taking refuge.

The way in is also the way out. Our spiritual life should be established in that vision – being truly ourselves. Practicing to bring a spiritual dimension into your life. Through drinking our tea, preparing our breakfast, or brushing our teeth. These are spiritual acts. Not being caught by the future or the past. This is being a Buddha.

Going home to ourselves. How is this act accomplished? Practicing in a community like Plum Village, everyone is supported by the sangha. This is taking refuge in the sangha. We have faith in the community. Helping to build this refuge for others.

Story of when the Buddha was about 80-years old and how he offered the teaching on taking refuge in the island of yourself. Here we can encounter the foundation of ourselves – the island includes the Buddha, dharma, and sangha. This is the practice of Plum Village also.

How do we respond when we are lonely, not feeling like ourselves? Our feelings of fear? Do we know how to practice going home to ourselves? Walking meditation is a method. Can we walk like a Buddha? Enjoying every step. This is a miracle.

The Buddha-nature is within you and through mindfulness, concentration, and insight it is you that is performing a miracle.

It is a practice of enjoyment.

Editor’s Note: If the play button or download link doesn’t work, please try again shortly. We are testing out a new service and there may be caps on the downloads. Thank you for the patience. 

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. Hello there – I just wanted to thank you for continuing to give us these older talks from Thay, I love them and have been learning a lot from them – and also to let you know of a lovely bit of synchronicity that occurred today – I was scrolling down through the website to check something and by chance came across your link for transcripts (I don’t know if this is a new link, or I just haven’t seen it before) so had a look at that and found a whole new treasure trove, as I have often wished I could print off some of the older talks – and that led me to check out a link to a Mindfulness Bell article from 2000, which led me to a long poem of Thay’s that I’ve been looking for for a few months now, I didn’t know its title as when I heard it in the talk a few months ago, the beginning was missing – its 2 pages long and is called “A teacher looking for his disciple” and is so lovely – many thanks as I have been wanting to also be able to read it, Trish

  2. Thank you Trish. Though I slowed down some since Thay’s stroke, I still love this project and will continue to dig. I have a series of talks from Fall 2005 to offer in the coming months.

    And yes, that transcript link is amazing! 🙂

  3. The pace is too fast. Thay is speaking in double time. What to do???

  4. Dear Kathryn. I am sorry to hear of the challenge you are having with the talk. Perhaps the speed has something to do with the player you are using? If you click on the talk here on the webpage to play, as I just did, it seems to be playing a the normal speed.

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