Domains of Mindfulness Practice

June 16, 2013. 112-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh from the European Institute of Applied Buddhism in Waldbrol, Germany. The talk is given in English with consecutive translation into German. This is the final dharma talk of the German Retreat on the theme Are You Sure?

We start with the three kinds of energies — mindfulness, concentration, insight — and they can produced anytime while doing any activity. We can see things more deeply and remove wrong perceptions. Mindfulness is always mindfulness of something. Concentration is the same.

Four Foundations of Mindfulness – the four domains or objects of mindfulness. The first domain is body. The second domain are the feelings. The mind is the third object. The final domain is objects of mind – in Buddhist psychology there are 51 mental formations. What is object of mind? The Five Skandhas (also known as the five aggregates). We discuss store consciousness and mind consciousness.

Science and Buddhism. Conventional truth and ultimate truth. Transmitter and receiver. What is emptiness? Birth and death. Being and non-being. These are just notions and can lead to wrong views.

Right View, part of the noble eightfold path, is the insight that is free from all wrong views. Right Thinking is the kind of thinking that is also free of notions of birth and death, being and non-being.

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Fear, Anger, and Suspicion

June 13, 2013. 76-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh from the European Institute of Applied Buddhism in Waldbrol, Germany. The talk is given in English with consecutive translation into German. This is the second dharma talk of the German Retreat on the theme Are You Sure?

We begin with a story of being in the womb and then our birth. A moment of fear may have arrived at the moment of our first breath after being taken care if the 9-months in the womb. A second emotion arose at that moment too. Desire. Many of our other emotions were also transmitted to us by our ancestors.

Obama said that “peace is possible” between Palestine and Israel. But how? Last month Thay also spoke about peace in Korea. The main issue is the amount of fear we have. With no fear, no anger, and no suspicion then we wouldn’t need to use nuclear weapons. It’s not the weapons. We need to remove the fear, the anger, the suspicion. This is how peace is possible. Right now, both sides are suspicious and fearfully but it has to be removed from both sides. Obama could do this in Korea but making nuclear weapons a condition of negotiation is not going to help in reducing fear. It’s not that people don’t want to reconcile but there is so much anger and fear. We have to reduce this fear.

The American nation is also suffering and experiencing anger, fear, and despair. In 2001, Thay suggested a session of deep listening for the American people and invite those who have compassion and understanding to be present to support the listening seasons. We have to understand our own suffering. This is the same recommendation Thay have to South Korea last month.

One solution is to train our leaders to reduce fear, anger, and suspicion. To call on those who know how to do these things. A retreat can be organized so people can come express their fear, their anger, their suspicion. We can practice compassionate listening and look at our block of suffering. When these emotions of anger and fear have a collective energy, it can be so dangerous and there could be a war.

Compassionate listening and loving speech. Thay gives a few more examples, such as the work done by Plum Village with Israelis and Palestinians, of how to do this in our lives. Today.

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Questions and Answers – German Retreat

June 15, 2013. 85-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh from the European Institute of Applied Buddhism in Waldbrol, Germany. The talk is given in English with consecutive translation into German. This is the fourth dharma talk, a session of questions and answers, of the German Retreat on the theme Are You Sure?

Questions

  1. Who are we if we are not our feelings, body, perceptions, or consciousness? What is left?
  2. Is it okay to suffer and feel for my son who was paralyzed in an accident?
  3. What makes a man a man and what makes a woman a woman? Is it important to know the distinction? What should we teach our children?
  4. If there is no thinker then how can there be a doer?
  5. How do work with feelings of pain, guilt, and shame?
  6. I want to reconcile, how can I call my father if he’s dead?
  7. How can you help someone who is suffering from violent emotions, especially if they can’t see it themselves?

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Teaching on Consumption and the Fifth Training

June 14, 2013. 87-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh from the European Institute of Applied Buddhism in Waldbrol, Germany. The talk is given in English with consecutive translation into German. This is the third dharma talk of the German Retreat on the theme Are You Sure?

Following two chants by the monastics, the talk begins at 16-minutes into the recording.

One thing we can be sure of is that there is suffering in yourself and the world. From here, the Buddha built his practice and teaching. Nothing can be by itself alone, it must inter-be with something else. Suffering is the First Noble Truth. Dukkha is ill-being, but we must confirm its opposite as well. This is the Third Noble Truth – the existence of well-being. This way of thinking is the opposite of dualist of thinking and based on Interbeing.

How do we explain interbeing? A further explanation of the Four Noble Truths along with a teaching on consumption in relationship to these Truths. In our community, it is the Fifth Mindfulness Training that shows a way out.

Everything requires food. What are we feeding ourselves? According to the Buddha, there are Four Kinds of Nutriments.

  1. Edible food
  2. Sensory impressions
  3. Volition
  4. Consciousness

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What is Right Thinking

June 12, 2013. 102-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh from the European Institute of Applied Buddhism in Waldbrol, Germany. The talk is given in English with consecutive translation into German. This is the first dharma talk of the German Retreat on the theme Are You Sure?

Following two chants by the monastics, the talk begins at 12-minutes into the recording. 

We begin immediately with the concept of dualist thinking and Right Thinking. How do we see the interconnection between things? For example, between happiness and suffering or all the elements of a lotus flower. The lotus is made of non-lotus elements. A good gardener knows how to make good use of the mud just as a good mindfulness practitioner knows how to make good use of her suffering. The goodness of suffering. When you understand suffering then understanding and compassion arises – the foundation of happiness.

From the Sutra on the Full Awareness of Breathing, we have exercises handed down by the Buddha to help our practice with suffering.

  • Generate a feeling of joy
  • Generate a feeling of happiness 
  • Recognize painful feelings 
  • Calm down the painful feeling 

Mindfulness is an energy that helps us know what is going on in our body and our feelings. How do we bring relief to our painful feelings and emotions?

Three kinds of energies we should try to generate: mindfulness, concentration, and insight.

Four elements of True Love and being present for those we love. Taking care of our suffering and our live we can learn to take care of the world.

In the last 10-minutes, we get walking meditation instructions.

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