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Day of Mindfulness English/German European Institute of Applied Buddhism

Healing through Reconciliation

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June 2, 2013. 67-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh from the European Institute of Applied Buddhism in Waldbrol, Germany. The sangha has just returned from a couple of months in Asia and will be at the EIAB for a month offering retreats. The talk is given in English with consecutive translation into German. This is a Day of Mindfulness.

The dharma talk is rain that can penetrate into the soul of our mind. Our mind is a garden with many good seeds within it. Seeds of happiness and compassion. The dharma talk is not a set of ideas to get and keep but is a rain that can let the good seeds sprout. To allow these seeds to spring up.

With mindfulness, we can create a feeling of joy and happiness. It is simple and easy. We just need to pay attention to our breath. We just need to pay attention to every step we take. It only takes 2-3 seconds to see that you are alive. The first enlightenment is that you are alive! You can become a free person.

How do we become aware of our body? How do we become aware of our feelings? Mindfulness functions to recognize and embrace. And the energy of mindfulness carries with it the energy of concentration and insight. How does this work with love an reconciliation?

Mindfulness of compassion, especially in regards to listening.

Thay gives instruction and application of walking meditation and eating meditation

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English/German European Institute of Applied Buddhism Retreats

Body and Mind Are One

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August 24, 2012. 100-minute dharma talk given in English, with consecutive translation into German, with Thich Nhat Hanh. This is the fifth Dharma talk offered by Thay on in the German Retreat, theme of Body and Mind Are One, at the European Institute of Applied Buddhism in Waldbröl, Germany.

Can the body be without the mind? Can the mind be without the body? By looking deeply, we see this is not possible. Without the body, we cannot take care of the mind. And vice versa.

The sixteen exercises on the full awareness of mindful breathing. Teachings on impermanence and nirvana (story of the wave). Three doors of liberation.

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English/German European Institute of Applied Buddhism Retreats

Can you take the father out of the son?

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August 22, 2012. 75-minute dharma talk given in English, with consecutive translation into German, with Thich Nhat Hanh. This is the third Dharma talk offered by Thay on in the German Retreat, theme of Body and Mind Are One, at the European Institute of Applied Buddhism in Waldbröl, Germany.

For the children, Thay teaches how we be more peaceful and less violent and angry. Remember to breathe and keep your freshness and beauty.

Yesterday we learned the noble path our of suffering. We have learned that we are not this body, but the actions we take every day. Nothing is born and nothing dies. The first law of thermodynamics. The teaching on Interbeing. Can you take the father out of the son? We are not only this body. Can we see our continuation right now? We continue with the noble eightfold path.

True Diligence. In Buddhist psychology, we see conciousness has at least two levels. How do we use the energy of mindfulness? What are the practices of True Diligence?

How do we practice Right Speech? Restoring communication.

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English/German European Institute of Applied Buddhism Retreats

It begins with Right View

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August 21, 2012. 102-minute dharma talk given in English, with consecutive translation into German, with Thich Nhat Hanh. This is the second Dharma talk offered by Thay in the German Retreat at the European Institute of Applied Buddhism in Waldbröl, Germany.

In a talk for the children, Thay talks about being a seed of corn and how we too began as a tiny seed.

What is the connection between happiness and suffering? If suffering exists, something else exists at the same time. It is like the left and the right. If suffering is there, there must be a cause. We can see this teaching in the Four Noble Truths. The Buddha taught a path from the cessation of suffering to happiness. It’s called the Noble Eightfold Path and it begins with Right View. With Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration, we can have breakthrough to Right View.

Conventional truth and Ultimate truth.

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English/German European Institute of Applied Buddhism Retreats

Aware of your Breath, Following your Breath

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August 20, 2012. 103-minute dharma talk given in English, with consecutive translation into German, with Thich Nhat Hanh. This is the first Dharma talk offered by Thay in the German Retreat at the European Institute of Applied Buddhism in Waldbröl, Germany.

In a talk for the children, Thay talks about how to be fresh, not be angry, and how to love. We can use meditation to be fresh, beautiful, and loving. We can use Pepple meditation.

Listening to the bell to be in touch with our breathing, connect with our ancestors, and release tensions and worries. This can be a very deep practice. Freedom can be attained with mindful breathing and the Buddha has provided an outline for practicing mindful breathing.

Teaching in living happily in the present moment.

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Day of Mindfulness English/German European Institute of Applied Buddhism

Healing Our Relationship

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August 26, 2012. 137-minute dharma talk given in English, with consecutive translation into German, with Thich Nhat Hanh. This is a Day of Mindfulness at the European Institute of Applied Buddhism in Waldbröl, Germany.

A day of mindfulness is a day of practice so that we can live each moment of our life very deeply. Anyone can generate the energy of mindfulness, bringing our mind home to our body. There are many wonders of life. And mindfulness is always mindfulness of something – drinking your tea. This can bring freedom and joy and happiness.

A couple of sweet moments when a local church bell is ringing and then a rain downpour. Every moment can be a pleasant moment. A miracle happens when you breathe in mindfully.

On a day of mindfulness we have time to sit and breathe together. We can stop our thinking every time we hear the sound of the bell. Enjoying the here and the now is the address for the pure land of the Buddha. Instruction on listening to the bell. Walking meditation and the country of the present moment. Instruction on walking meditation. This is followed by true communion and eating meditation.

Mindful listening and mindfulness of suffering. Many of the things we do in life are to cover up out suffering. How we help each other to suffer less? The chant of Avalokiteshvara can help touch suffering with mindfulness. When we listen to the chant, we should sit and listen and try to stop our thinking. Allow our body to relax. Chant begins at 1:20m into recording and the talk resumes again at 1:41m.

If a relationship had become difficult, there is always a way to transform it. In order to heal a relationship, you must heal yourself. We have Sutra on the Full Awareness of Breathing to help us heal ourselves.

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Day of Mindfulness English/German European Institute of Applied Buddhism

I Prefer Walking in the Kingdom of God

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May 22, 2011. 91-minute dharma talk given in English, with consecutive translation into German, with Thich Nhat Hanh. This is a Day of Mindfulness offered by Thay at the European Institute of Applied Buddhism in Waldbröl, Germany.

Communication in the family. Love and care for yourself allows you to love and care for another. We must begin with oneself. The teaching of the Buddha is clear. Thay speaks about calming and healing the body and mind, and about the art of bringing about happiness and reconciliation in our relationships. The practice is from the Exercises of Mindful Breathing (Anapanasati Sutta). We can learn the practice to transform our habit energies; Mindfulness can help us see our habit energies.

A special treat at 49-minutes when Thay chants to demonstrate the Interbeing nature of ourselves and the Buddha. The communication between the Buddha and us are one. The same is true between a father and a son.

Towards the end of the talk he offers an orientation on the practice of walking meditation.

The talk was given in English and German at the same time and is available below for listening or download. You may also view the video.

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English/German European Institute of Applied Buddhism Retreats

To Be Means to Interbe

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May 21, 2011. 127-minute dharma talk given in English, with consecutive translation into German, with Thich Nhat Hanh. This is the final talk Dharma talk offered by Thay in the German Retreat at the European Institute of Applied Buddhism in Waldbröl, Germany.

Right view and non-discrimination and non-dualistic thinking. Thoughts, speech, and action are three products of our daily life. These are out continuation into the future. Karma. With mindfulness, concentration, an insight we can assure a beautiful future. The Five Skandhas, the environment and retribution. Mindfulness can also transform the past.

Thay shares about the Eightfold Noble Path, particularly the three karmas of body, speech and mind. “What we produce in terms of thought, speech, and actions will never be lost. When this body of ours disintegrates, our karma continues always, and will be expressed in new forms of life. So the dissolution of this body does not mean our end. By practicing mindfulness, concentration, and insight it is possible to ensure a beautiful continuation into the future.”

The Three Doors of Liberation. Emptiness. Signlessness. Aimlessness.

The talk was given in English and German at the same time and is available below for listening or download. You may also view the video.

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English/German European Institute of Applied Buddhism Questions and Answers Retreats

Living Practice Communities for Young People

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May 20, 2011. 94-minute session of Question and Answers given in English, with consecutive translation into German, with Thich Nhat Hanh. This is the fifth day of the German Retreat at the European Institute of Applied Buddhism in Waldbröl, Germany.

Some of the questions from the session include:

How can we support the formation of living practice communities for young people? Thay invites Phap Linh to help respond to this question regarding leading groups of young people, particularly in the Wake Up! movement.

How can we transform our relationship with someone who hates us?

How do I deal with judgmental thoughts about other people?

Lately I feel that my true self is like a drop that has been taken out of the collective consciousness, as if from a cloud, and I feel as I’m aging that this drop that has been separated would like to re-enter the ocean. I would like to know if you know of this longing to be re-united as a drop with the ocean: how can I live with this contradiction of longing for the true self in the here and now, and my daily life?

Following the FIve Mindfulness Trainings, I try not to kill. Two years ago, when I saw some bugs in the kitchen, I left them in peace because there were not so many. I did the same thing last year. This summer there are so many that I felt I had to do something. You teach that when we follow the North Star this means we do not have to reach it. So I began to kill these bugs, always trying to keep a friendly mind, wishing a good rebirth for them in the next life. At first it felt OK. But when you are killing ten or more beings every day, when they wish to live as we do, it becomes too much. I felt it cannot be better to kill them by chemical means, where I don’t have to touch them personally. But to perform the act of killing again and again—is this not worse, with regard to the karmic imprints in our stream of consciousness, or do you have to decide not to kill at all, despite the disadvantages?

A question regarding my superiority complex: All my life I have found that I meet people, I judge them and find that I am superior. I used to go to school, at the end of each year we had the custom to invite the best of each year on stage and decorate them with a golden plaque that they could put on the wall. There is still this voice in me that wants to share that once I too received one of those golden plaques. But I have also discovered how this attitude has created a distance between myself and other people. By looking deeply I see that there is a mechanism in me that causes me to measure myself against my father, an archaic struggle against the father. I am deeply grateful for the teachings which have enabled me to transform this. I keep my father now in my heart, and the inner struggle has ceased. I am also touched that you talked so much about fathers and sons in this retreat. One reason for my feeling of superiority is that I have always tried to protect myself from a feeling of inferiority. However, this feeling of having to create a distance between myself and other people is still present. I feel I have already heard some answers to my question, particularly in the Sutra on Five Ways of Putting an End to Anger. I would still like to ask your advice on how to better manage this.

I had a deep crisis in my life about twelve years ago with those who I thought had been my friends. These were the people that I spent my time with, and who I practiced with. There came a moment when I was most in need of their help, and I was let down by them. Not only did they let me down, but they then attacked me and stabbed me in the back. Through all those years they had not seen me as I really was. This has led to me becoming very ill, and it has led me to losing all my trust in other people. In this way, it was shown to me that the friends of today can be the enemies of tomorrow, and perhaps the enemies of today can be the friends of tomorrow. These past twelve years I have spent with the question whether I would continue to live, because there was a moment when I felt I wouldn’t. But I felt I wanted to live because I felt that there were many things yet to learn. And I also felt I wouldn’t be able to live in this world if I were not able to open myself to something new. First, there was a moment when I needed to withdraw and move to a place where I would not see the people that had let me down. I have lived there withdrawn near nature, and near to Mother Meera. With the help of Mother Meera I have looked deeply, and I have tried to forgive myself and others. Now I am on a new path where I am trying to find trust again in both myself and others. Much has now changed for the better. There are still moments, and recently there has been an incident–I live in a very old house with many nice flats in it–in those other flats there are people living there who are not very mindful, and the communication with those people can be very difficult. Recently there have been a few instances where I have been verbally attacked by people, though I could not see how I did anything to cause such an attack to take place. I feel that this old wound is being touched again, where people cannot be trusted, and you never know what will happen in the next moment. This can cause a shock whereby I feel that I am not able to cope, and I feel I need to protect myself from this. My question is: How can I live in an open and trusting way, even with people who are not very mindful, and how am I also able to protect myself and my sensitivity?

The session was given in English and German at the same time and is available below for listening or download. You may also view the video.

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English/German European Institute of Applied Buddhism Retreats

Cooling Down the Fire of Anxiety

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May 19, 2011. 92-minute dharma talk given in English, with consecutive translation into German, with Thich Nhat Hanh. This is the third Dharma talk offered by Thay in the German Retreat at the European Institute of Applied Buddhism in Waldbröl, Germany.

We learn about verses of practice — Gathas — many are taken from Avatamsaka Sutra. Later, Thay wrote Gathas for modern society such as using the telephone and riding a bicycle. We continue the discussion on right view with a presentation on the opposites: being/non-being, birth/death, coming/going, and sameness/otherness. The last 15-minutes of the talk, Thay provides some instruction for education and mindfulness.

The talk was given in English and German at the same time and is available below for listening or download. You may also view the video.