Inviting the Bell



Thay teaches us how to invite the bell in this 12-minutes excerpt from a 2009 dharma talk at Plum Village.

English/Dutch European Institute of Applied Buddhism Retreats

Professor Buddha and the Bell


The third dharma talk of the Understanding Is Love Retreat with Thich Nhat Hanh at the European Institute of Applied Buddhism in Waldbrol, Germany. The talk is given in English with consecutive translation into Dutch. In this talk on August 22, 2014, Thay teaches on using the bell and the noble eightfold path. Both the audio and the video are available below.


  • The Bell. How to use the bell in the family. (40-minutes)
  • Object of our mindfulness
  • Producing Mindfulness, Concentration, and Insight
  • Right Thinking
  • Right Speech
  • Right Action
  • Right Livelihood
  • Four kinds of nutriments
  • Right Diligence


The Voice of the Buddha


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.

0:00 Chanting
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.

Blue Cliff Monastery Retreats

Let Freedom Ring


August 28, 2013. 105-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh from Blue Cliff Monastery in Pine Bush, New York during the 2013 Nourishing Great Togetherness teaching tour. This is the third dharma talk for the 6-day retreat with the theme Transformation and Healing – The Art of Suffering.


  • Today President Obama invites us to “Let Freedom Ring” on the 50th anniversary of the MLK speech at the Lincoln Memorial. How do we realize the dream of King?
  • Thay’s dream of being a student
  • Being a bell master
  • Establishing a meditation hall in the home
  • Thay’s dream is to build a sangha. Harmony. Sisterhood. Brotherhood.
  • Nonviolent action and war in Vietnam
  • MLK, Thay, and Vietnam
  • Why self- immolation is non-violent
  • Beloved Community = Sangha Building
  • Building sangha in France. In exile.
  • Mindfulness today
  • The Four Kinds of Nutriments

Plum Village Retreats

The Buddha Has Suffered


July 29, 2013. 119-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh from Upper Hamlet of Plum Village during the 2013 Summer Opening. This is the thirteenth talk of the summer.

Even the Buddha was a human and suffered. In just one week we can know the art if suffering in order to generate joy and happiness. There is a usefulness to the suffering. We are always trying to run away from suffering. We use consumption to run away fr our suffering. The Buddha teaches us to do the opposite. Do you have time to look deeply at your suffering and the suffering of the other person? Can we listen to the suffering in the world and inside yourself?

The chant calling the name of Avalokiteshvara is about listening to the suffering. t’s energy can also heal your suffering. The monastics begin the chant at 36-minutes into recording.

The main talk begins at 59-minutes. Teaching on signlessmees. We do not have a separate self. We have the practice of hearing the bell to let all our cells and ancestors to listen with us. This is deep listening. We listen as a stream and we practice for everyone.

How do we practice mindfulness in our every day activities? How do we use our breath as a tool for mindfulness. How do we do walking meditation using “I have arrived. I am home.” The Kingdom of God is available everyday by the practice of mindful breathing and mindful walking.

Why is walking meditation important?

Public Talk Retreats

Insight of No-Self


July 26, 2013. 90-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh from New Hamlet of Plum Village during the 2013 Summer Opening. This is the twelfth talk of the summer.

The bell of mindfulness. In a short talk for children, this is something Thay wants us to bring home with us when you leave Plum Village. This can help to bring peace to the family. He then tells the story of Henry who was a math teacher in Toronto, Canada. How to be a bell master – Thay provides concise instructions for inviting the bell.

The main talk begins at 31-minutes. Karma, retribution, reincarnation teachings have been around a very long time. Before the Buddha. But this is not at the heart of Buddhist teaching. It is the insight of no-self. Teaching on the actor. Impermanence. Sameness and otherness.

To illustrate, we hear the story of a serial killer at the time of the Buddha who then joined the sangha. Transformation.

The self is only made of non-self elements. We don’t need to be dogmatic and caught by words – er can say “self” too. If you are not open then you are not Buddhist. Buddhism too is only made of non-Buddhist elements.

Non-self is Interbeing.

Right thinking is the element that goes along with this teaching. It has a lot of understanding and compassion. We continue with an explanation in several other aspects of the noble eightfold path.


Ambassador of the Buddha


April 6, 2013. 92-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh from Mahachulalungkornrajavidyalaya University in Bangkok, Thailand. The sangha is in the 5-Day Applied Ethics Retreat as part of the spring Asian Tour. The talk is given in English with consecutive translation into Thai. This is the second talk.

Inviting the bell. The bell is the ambassador of the buddha to our home. How do we use the bell in our home? How do we listen to the bell? We can use the sound to calm our feelings. Using a breathing room along with the bell in your home environment. Listening and using the bell has been of great help to many families.

The story of Henry and his transformation of using mindfulness in the classroom. How he enjoys his class and his students. The whole school benefited from his incorporation of mindfulness. He wrote a book and became a dharma teacher.

How do we help the students suffer less? Compassionate listening and loving speech. Transform our classroom into a family, into a sangha. No Buddhist terms are needed. Then you can build a sangha of teachers. Using loving speech is a tool for teachers. How do we listen?

Day of Mindfulness English/German European Institute of Applied Buddhism

Healing Our Relationship


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.

Plum Village Retreats

Conditions of Happiness


July 8, 2012. 68-minute recording given at Lower Hamlet, Plum Village by Thich Nhat Hanh. This is the second dharma talk of the Summer Opening and it was originally given in French. This is an English translation.

Peace. Freshness. Solidity. We all have these elements in the form of seeds. We can learn how to water these seeds. We all have a Buddha-nature in us. With meditation, we can offer this to ourselves and others. We can use pebble meditation and inviting the bell.

Discovering conditions of happiness. Being the mind back to the body. Established in the present moment.  Mindfulness, the first energy, is the heart of meditation. The second energy is concentration. And the third energy is insight. The practice of walking and sitting should bring pleasure. These three energies allow you to identify the conditions of happiness. Meditation is possible all day long.

I have arrived, I am home.


Being a Better Christian through Mindfulness


April 13, 2012. 99-minute recording given at Gleneagle Hotel in Killarney, Ireland by Thich Nhat Hanh. The sangha is on the UK and Ireland Tour and this is the first dharma talk for the Mindful Living Today retreat.

We begin with a teaching for the children on pepple meditation and inviting the bell.

We have the seed for the kingdom of God.

We need to learn how to make good use of our suffering. Happiness and suffering. We should not be afraid of suffering.

We need to recognize the kingdom of god in the here and now. The practice of mindfulness will help.

Finally, we can rediscover Jesus as a spiritual teacher. Learn to live like Jesus by using Buddhist meditation. The teaching of here and now is also in the gospel.

Working with strong emotions using your breath. We have sixteen exercises of mindful breathing. That teaches on the first 8-exercises.