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Retreats

Being a Better Christian through Mindfulness

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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.

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Deer Park Monastery Retreats

Hello, my Anger

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September 7, 2011. 118-minute dharma talk with Thich Nhat Hanh from the Ocean of Peace Mediation Hall at Deer Park Monastery in Escondido, CA. The sangha is on the North American Tour and this is the first dharma talk for the Together We Are One retreat.

Usually in our retreats, children learn how to invite the bell. The bell is a kind of friend, so we have a chance to practice. The bell master is responsible for inviting the bell and should be calm and solid. It should inspire people to practice. There are four lines to learn when inviting the bell.

Body, speech and mind in perfect oneness.
I send my heart along with the sound of the bell.
May all who listen awaken from forgetfulness.
And transcend all anxiety and sorrow.

Thay continues providing instruction on inviting the bell followed by instruction on listening to the bell. Listen, listen to this wonderful sound of the bell, calling me back to my true home.

Thay shares with us the about the practice of mindfulness of breathing. Awareness of our in-breath and our out-breath. It’s quite simple. This can helps us to release the past and release the future. This can become the only object of our mind. We get some freedom right away. It is always true that mindfulness and concentration bring insight; and insight is something that can liberate us. We do not practice like a machine: we are alive. We are not caught in the form of the practice. That is why every moment we experience nourishment and healing. Each exercises is included in each of the subsequent ones. This teaching is from the Sutra on the Full Awareness of Breathing (Anapanasati Sutta). In this talk we look at the first eight breathing exercises.

In Buddhist psychology we see the mind as having two parts: mind consciousness and store consciousness. Your store consciousness is part of your body and it can operate without mind consciousness. The first four breathing exercises has to do with mind. Mind and store should function well together. This brings us to a discussion of mental formations cittasamskara and it manifests in the form of a seed bija.

He goes on to talk about the four practices of right diligence: 1) recognize the negative seeds and make sure they don’t come up, 2) if a negative seed has already come up, embrace the formation and invite it to go back down, 3) invite good seeds to come up, 4) maintain the good mental formations for a long time.

When looking at the fifth and sixth exercises, producing joy and happiness, we have to be aware of our ideas. We all have our ideas of happiness, and that idea may be an obstacle to our happiness. This is very deep practice. That object of craving, object of desire, may be an obstacle. Have the courage to let go.

He also discusses in detail how we can embrace our difficult mental formations just like a mother embraces her crying baby.

The talk is available below. During a middle portion of the recording, the sound is listenable but degraded. A video version is available in two parts: children’s talk and hello my anger.

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Retreats

Understanding Our Mind: Supercomputer

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March 28, 2011. 138-minute dharma talk given in English, with consecutive translation into Thai, with Thich Nhat Hanh on the fourth day of the Understanding Our Mind retreat at Mahachulalongkornrajavidhayalaya Buddhist University (MCU) in Bangkok, Thailand.

Today Thay speaks about keeping a bell in our home to remind us to come back to ourselves, and he transmits the Second, Third, and Fourth Mantras: “Darling, I know you are there, and I am happy.” “Darling, I know you suffer, that is why I am here for you.” “My dear I suffer. Please help me.”

He also shares about the nature of store consciousness, discussing specifically the first two verses of Vasubandhu’s Thirty Verses.

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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Plum Village

The Sound of the Bell

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January 20, 2011. 77-minute Dharma Talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh, from Lower Hamlet, Plum Village, France

The talk begins with a discussion on bell inviting. The first bell discussed is the large temple bell. We have fifty-four verses to recite while inviting the Temple Bell. Do this twice for a total of 108 verses. This helps you come back to your breathing. Another bell is the activity bell. It is to inform you. It has ten sounds.

The second part of the talk is a discussion of the Four Noble Truths. The Four Noble Truths inter-are. Some scholars frame as phenomenal world and ontological world. Existence and non-existence.

The final element, beginning about 47-minutes into the talk, is the continued sutra commentary. Today we discuss verses 21-25 and Thay exposes some flaws in the translations. Phenomenon, it comes and goes. This is the twelfth in a series of talks offered during the Winter Retreat of 2010-11 on translations of the Dharmapada and Udanavarga from the Chinese Canon

The talk was given in Vietnamese with English translation and is available below (French and original Vietnamese audio are also available, as well as video version).

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Retreats

Taking Care of Pain, Generating Happiness

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September 16, 2010. 127 minute dharma talk in English with consecutive translation into Chinese. This is the second day of the retreat in Malaysia taking place at Tiara Beach Resort in Port Dickson.

The bell is a significant element in many practitioners experience. How the bell sounds can effect our practice as well as the practice of those around us. The first 25-minutes Thay gives a review on how to correctly invite the bell.

A common story given in dharma talks is that one given by the Buddha where a person goes into the cellar, brings up a bag of different types of beans, opens the bag and identifies the different types. The Sutra on the Contemplation of the Body is the same where we can apply mindfulness to the different parts of the body. We are reminded to spend more time on those parts that suffer. Bringing our awareness to those elements of the body can help bring healing and happiness. This contemplation also includes being aware of the position of our body (sitting, standing, walking, lying down, etc.) – we are aware when we’re in these positions.

A good practitioner should know how to handle painful feelings and not to run away from them , sometimes by listening to music, eating, and other entertainment. We need to use mindfulness to transform our pain. Transforming, by embracing, our pain can cultivate happiness. If you are a beginner, you may not have enough mindfulness yet. In that case, you can borrow the energy of mindfulness from the sangha. Thay provides a brief review of sangha and how it has unfolded in the west.

How do we bring a moment of joy, of happiness? Letting go (including the idea of happiness), mindfulness, concentration, and insight.

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