Cooling the Flames in Dublin

April 11, 2012. 160-minute recording given at he Dublin Convention Centre by Thich Nhat Hanh. The sangha is on the UK and Ireland Tour and this is the public talk in Ireland. Though it has been over twenty years, this is Thay’s second trip to Ireland. The recording begins with singing and a guided meditation led by monastics.

At 23-minutes into the recording, Thay gives an introduction to chanting. With compassion and love, we can be a happy person. How can we generate understanding and love as energies? They can be generated by a spiritual practice, a spiritual dimension. A nation can do the same. We have to learn how to handle our own suffering. Suffering within ourselves and in the world. The monastics have learned to generate compassion by chanting the name of Avalokiteshvara. We listen to the chant 43-minutes into the recording.

The main talk begins at 1:04 into the recording. Mindfulness is an energy for our practice. We can begin with breathing and discover the conditions of happiness in the here and now. At the conclusion, about 2:13 into recording, there is a period of questions and answers.

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Cooling the Flames: Live from the Convention Centre Dublin from Plum Village Online Monastery on Vimeo.

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True Peace and Happiness

March 29, 2012. 73-minute talk from the Royal Festival Hall in London, England. The sangha is on a tour of the United Kingdom and this is the first public event. The recording here is the main talk of the evening activities.

We focus our attention on our breath. One in-breath is enough to bring enlightenment. The teaching is from the Sutra on the Full Awareness of Breathing – we look at the first eight exercises.

Near the end, a few questions are taken from the audience. (1) When you live in the here and now, do you actually forget the past? (2) How do you resolve someone pushing in front of you on the Tube? (3) How can I practice with pain I have caused someone in the past? (4) How do you practice with forgiveness?

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I Am Made Only of Non-Me Elements: Library of Congress Talk

October 26, 2011. Coolidge Auditorium, Jefferson Building, at the Library of Congress.. Washington DC is the final stop on the 2011 North American Tour before Thay returns to France.

Annual Walter Capps-Bill Emerson Memorial Lecture co-hosted by Faith and Politics Institute, U.S. Institute of Peace and Walter K. Capps Center for the Study of Ethics, Religion, and Public Life. Introductions by Mark Farr, Congresswoman JoAnn Emerson (R-MO) and Congresswoman Lois Capps (D-CA).

We need a spiritual dimension in our lives. With a spiritual dimension, we can overcome our difficulties. It is important to move beyond the intellectual dimension and bring the body and mind together. We can nourish and restore ourselves in order to help other people. In our practice we can see that we are made of non-me elements. This is a wonder. The wonder of the Kingdom of God. Breathing in, we can be present right now. This can link the body and the mind.

Mindfulness is always mindfulness of something. And mindfulness can be generated by us. Happiness arises from compassion. Understanding suffering gives rise to compassion. Terrorists are victims of misunderstanding and wrong perceptions. In order to remove terrorism, we must remove wrong perceptions. It can’t be done with bombs and killing. We need compassion, not the energy of fear and suspicion.

A member of congress is a cell in the body of the congress. Each cell has a responsibility to provide clarity, compassion, and courage. We can nourish the congress and make it a healthy body. Mindfulness can help cultivate these qualities. We can generate a feeling of happiness, a feeling of joy. Then we can also handle a painful feeling or emotion.

Mindfulness of compassion is what we need. We use loving speech and compassionate listening. Hearing examples of reconciliation makes this real and practical.

Making good use of our suffering. We can listen to the suffering inside of us, the other person, and in the world. We don’t run away from it. We can cultivate peace and understanding from this place of suffering. Thay’s vision is our understanding the suffering.

We conclude with a few questions.

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Energies of Buddhism

September 3, 2011. 101-minute dharma talk with Thich Nhat Hanh from the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, CA. The sangha is on the North American Tour and this is the only Public Talk in California. For those who regularly read this podcast, we are posting this talk now as we have not completed preparing the last two talks from the retreat at Deer Park – they will be posted soon.

Mindfulness, concentration, and insight are the energies of Buddhism similar to the Holy Spirit being the energy of God.

We all have the capacity for understanding and love. It comes from the inside and comes with the practice of Mindfulness and concentration. This is the Buddha nature in us. We can generate a feeling of joy, a feeling of happiness in any moment. The Sutra on Mindful Breathing offers sixteen-exercises. Breathing in and breathing out with Mindfulness is a practice of resurrection. Thay takes us through the first eight exercises.

For me, the word wonderful means full of wonder. This is a wonderful moment. Our body is a wonder, and it belongs to the kingdom of God. We can touch the kingdom of God. In the Christian gospel, there is a story of a farmer who discovers a treasure on a piece of land and he sold everything except this piece of land. This is the kingdom of God. This is all you need. Happiness is possible in present moment. A good practitioner can generate happiness.

The importance of sangha. Taking refuge in the sangha. How do we handle suffering? A painful feeling? With a sangha.

True happiness needs suffering too. No mud. No lotus. They interare. This is right view. We should make good use of suffering.

How can we be liberated from despair and anger?

Applied ethics. Mindfulness in schools. How to handle painful or difficult emotions.

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Every act of mindfulness is an act of resurrection

April 12, 2011. 52-minute dharma talk given in English, with consecutive translation into Mandarin by Sister Hui-jiny, at Sun Yat-Sen University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan. This talk is very similar in content to the April 2 talk given in Thailand.

The present moment. The Anapanasati Sutta gives this lesson. Can relieve our concern about the past or future. Ww can discover many conditions of happiness in the present moment. It could be our sight, or our hearing, or our feet. It is possible to be happy in the present moment.

Aware of joy and happiness are two exercises proposed by the Buddha. Mindfulness as a kind of resurrection (this week is Easter). There is a lot of light with mindfulness. Walking meditation too can bring you to the present moment of happiness. To walk like a Buddha.

Thay speaks on reducing suffering through stopping and the practice of deep listening. Mindfulness of compassion.

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

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Everyday Practicing

April 2, 2011. 87-minute dharma talk given in English, with consecutive translation into Thai, with Thich Nhat Hanh on a Day of Mindfulness at the Buddhadasa Indapanno Archives, Bangkok, Thailand.

Thay shared about the Anapanasati Sutta, Mindful breathing exercises. Awareness of body and releasing tension. Mentions bell on computer as a method to return to our breathing. Going back to our breathing using sounds like a clock, telephone, etc. Stopping. Breathing.

Eating as a family. Using bell. Smiling to each other for a moment before eating. If you can’t smile, perhaps the situation is difficult between the married couple; then we need to try and communicate. Thay offers suggestions for cultivating the relationship.

What are suffering and happiness? The teaching of the four noble truths are about suffering and happiness. Using deep looking and loving speech is a method to nourish the relationship. This practice was recommended by the Buddha in the Eightfold Noble Path. Just a few hours of practice can help us. The same practice can be applied to other relationships, such as with parents.

Mindfulness in the supermarket. Shop and consume in a way so not to be intoxicated with awareness of the environment and the earth. Thay shares also about the revised version of the Five Mindfulness Trainings, and the practice of mindful eating.

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

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