Listen to Thay’s experience in India.
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.
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This is a short message from your editor and host. It has been a month since our last dharma talk post and over two months since Thay has shared a dharma talk with the sangha. This is a short update to let you know that Thay did talk at the Francophone Educators Retreat earlier this week and if the talk becomes available, then it will be posted here.
In the meantime, please support our efforts by visiting http://patreon.com/plumvillage. For as little as $1 per dharma talk, you can show your ongoing support. The donations are always in your control. You can limit the total per month and a total per dharma talk. This helps to pay for our internet services, hosting and equipment for bringing the talks to you.
Thank you for the comments, support, and most especially for your practice.
This talk from the New Hamlet of Plum Village is dated Thursday, March 20, 2014. The talk on this day is in English. In this talk we learn about taking refuge and exercises 5-8 from the Sutra on the Full Awareness of Breathing. Thay also teaches on inviting the bell (18-min) and the four qualities of happiness (13-min) – these two topics could be listened to independently from the other parts of the talk. Both the audio download and the video stream are available below. The time stamps listed here are for audio download.
9:30 Inviting the Bell
27:02 Taking Refuge
37:27 Four Qualities of Happiness using Pebble Meditation
50:46 Practical Refuge
1:04:15 Mindful Breathing Exercises 5-8
When we hear the bell, we practice together listening to the bell. We invite the bell to sound. Before we invite, we breathe in and out to prepare three times. There is a verse to learn to be qualified as a bell master. We calm our body and calm our feelings. The sound of the bell is the voice of the Buddha inside calling us to come home to ourselves. If you are a bell master then please be generous. When we come home to ourselves, we can discover the island of self. The Buddha recommended, don’t rely on anyone or anything, rely on the island within. Every time we hear the bell, we can practice going home to the island within. We are protected. This is the practice of taking refuge. There is also the practice of deep listening. Every cell of your body can recognize and get in touch with your ancestors within. They can join you in listening to the bell. With this, peace can penetrator every cell. We can feel calm and light. Many people have a bell of mindfulness on their computer. It allows us to stop and breath in and out three times to arrive home in ourselves.
Last time we spoke of the mental formation called restlessness. The practice of mindful breathing and walking help us to calm down our feelings. In the Christian tradition, they call this resting in God. This is taking refuge. Taking refuge is an art. If you know how, you can have peace right away. The Buddha, the dharma, and the sangha are something solid. Very much the same idea as the Trinity for Christians. But resting does not mean doing nothing. Many people are looking for someone for refuge but many have chosen someone who is not stable. Rely on the island of yourself. Cultivate stability and solidity and also look for that in the other person. Learn how to breath and walk.
We have the practice of pebble meditation to cultivate the four qualities of happiness. The first is freshness – fresh as a flower. The second is stability – solid as a mountain. The third is peace/tranquility – still water. And the fourth is freedom – space. These qualities bring a happy person. The more you can let go, the freer you become.
I take refuge in the Buddha. What does that mean? Do we have an dea of the Buddha? Taking refuge in your in breath and out breath – this is much more concrete than an idea. With our breathing, we gain mindfulness, concentration, and insight. Buddha is mindfulness – this is taking refuge. This is the island within yourself. You can also take refuge in your steps. While making that step, you generate concentration and insight. I take refuge in my in breath. I take refuge in my steps. This is not abstract and it is our Buddhanature. Nirvana. No birth and no death. We are nirvana in the here and the now.
Review of the first four exercises of mindful breathing. We continue with the next set of exercises. The fifth and sixth exercises are to generate a feeling of joy and happiness. This is the art of happiness. The seventh is to recognize a painful feeling. We should not run away from a painful feeling or emotion. We don’t need to be afraid because we can also generate an energy of mindfulness. And the eighth is to calm our painful feeling or emotion.
I know you are there and it makes me happy.
Thich Nhat Hanh and the monastics are traveling in the United States this month offering days of mindfulness and retreats. Since our last post, there has been a public talk in New York, a day of mindfulness in Washington DC, a public talk in Boston, and two retreats in Mississippi. The last day of mindfulness, before heading to California, is today at Magnolia Grove Monastery in Mississippi.
Unfortunately, we have not been able to share the talks from these events because of licensing restrictions (with the venue), semi-private events, or due to extremely poor internet service (as in the case with Mississippi).
In the month of October we will be able to post most of the talks taking place at Deer Park Monastery (October 4-8 and 11-16) plus the Day of Mindfulness on October 20. We are also very excited to offer the Oakland Public Talk on October 26 as a free live stream event in partnership with Sounds True. Please register now so you have access for this special event.
Look for the podcasts to resume next week. Peace.
The talks from South Korea needed to be temporarily removed from the site because of an agreement with a television network in South Korea. I will share them again after our agreement with them has been completed. At some point, the talks from Hong Kong will also become available. Very soon we’ll have talks from the EIAB in Dutch and German.
Thank you for patience and understanding.
Hello listening community. We have been relatively quiet here on the archive the past weeks and I want to provide an update. Following the Winter Retreat, our Teacher held a Monastic Retreat and a French Retreat. The monastic retreat is for the monastics only and the French retreat teachings were given in French and I have been unable to secure an English translation for the archive. If one becomes available, it will be posted.
At this point, our Teacher and monastics of Plum Village have traveled to Thailand to begin the two month Asia Tour where they will teach in Thailand, South Korea and Hong Kong. In all likelihood, these teachings will be given in English with consecutive translation into Thai, Korean, and Mandarin (respectively). I will be making every effort to provide these teachings as they become available. The first event begins on April 4 in Bangkok.
A lotus for you.
– Chan Niem Hy (Kenley)