Solidity and Freedom – German Retreat

The first dharma talk of the Nourishing Happiness in our Hearts 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 German. The talk was given on August 13, 2014 and both the audio and the video are available below.

Topics

  • Story of the corn seed.
  • The realm of Dharma. Everything is a wonder.
  • The kingdom of God and the cosmos.
  • Living happily in the present moment.
  • Three kinds of energy; Mindfulness, insight, and concentration.
  • The art of happiness – being able to generate a feeling of joy and a feeling of happiness.
  • The art of suffering.
  • Interbeing
  • Elements of meditation
  • Freedom and walking meditation.

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Meditation on the Corn Seed

July 16, 2013. 81-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh from Upper Hamlet of Plum Village during the 2013 Summer Opening. This is the sixth talk of the summer and this is an English translation from the French. The recording begins with a talk for the children and then the main talk begins (at 18-minutes).

Meditation on the corn seed. Meditation is having the time to look and to listen. There is knowledge in this seed and it is alive. Does the plant remember when it was a little seed? Has the corn seed died? Meditation can help us see things that other people cannot see. Looking into the corn plant we can see the seed.

A teaching from the Sutra on the Full Awareness of Breathing. The exercises of breathing are simple yet can be very profound on us. The first is recognizing. Bringing our attention to our in-breath. We can let go of our past, of our projects, etc. and we can immediately be free. Buddhism is made of three kinds of energy: mindfulness, concentration, insight.

The second exercise is to follow the breath. We focus entirely on the in-breath and the out-breath. The third is awareness if body and then fourth we calm our body.

The next two are giving rise to a feeling of joy and happiness. We can do this anytime. The seventh exercise is recognizing a painful feeling. Then we calm the feeling in the eighth.

The art of happiness. The art of suffering.

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Basic Teachings in Italian and English

September 2, 2012. 84-minute dharma talk given in English, with consecutive translation into Italian, with Thich Nhat Hanh at the Italian Retreat with the theme Peace in Action. The retreat took place at Fraterna Domus in Rome, Italy.

How do we let freshness and beauty arise? The teaching on the seed of corn.

Listening to the bell to get in touch with every cell in our body. The noble truths and noble eightfold path. Right View is the foundation of the othe seven. The topic of no-birth and no-death are examined. The wisdom of non-discrimination.

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The Palace of the Child

August 13, 2012. 122-minute dharma talk given in English, with consecutive translation into Dutch (though the Dutch is muted in this recording), with Thich Nhat Hanh. This is the second Dharma talk offered by Thay in the Dutch Retreat on the theme Body and Mind Are One at the European Institute of Applied Buddhism in Waldbröl, Germany.

Teaching on the seed of corn and teaches the children about being a seed in the womb of your mother. We can use pebble meditation to learn how to breath again. To be fresh and beautiful. The children are excused about 42-minutes into the recording.

Thay begins with a story of a French journalist who wanted to write an article on the practice in Plum Village. Her article was titled “In the Country of the Present Moment.” She started with  walking meditation. I have arrived. How can we arrive 100% in each step? How do we train?

Right Diligence (Effort). In Buddhist psychology we talk about store consciousness and seeds (bija). Seeds for the soil of the mind. Seeds manifest as mental formations in the mind consciousness. Mindfulness is a seed that we can cultivate. How do we help  water the positive seeds in ourselves and others? What do we cultivate for right diligence?

(1:28) Right Speech and deep listening should go together. Thay shares the story of a soldier in the Vietnam war that poisoned children because he was so angry after his unit was ambushed, who then later came to Plum Village for a retreat.

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You Don’t Have to Die Just Because of One Emotion

October 7, 2011. 109-minute dharma talk with Thich Nhat Hanh from Blue Cliff Monastery in Pine Bush, NY. The sangha is on the North American Tour and this is the second dharma talk for the Stepping Into Freedom, Savoring Life Retreat. Over a thousand people are in attendance.

When the Buddha breaths, the quality of breathing is superb. When the Buddha sits, the quality of sitting is superb. And the Buddha is always inside of you and if you invite the Buddha to sit or breathe with you then you can benefit. High class breathing. Today we return to the mantras for being truly present and bringing happiness to yourself and to your loved ones. We should express our appreciate and this is the practice of mindfulness. This isn’t a Buddhist practice; anyone can practice the mantras.

Darling, I am here for you.
Darling, I know you are there and it makes me happy.

Thay offers the story on a grain of corn. In the grain of corn is also a plant of corn. This is a common story given to illustrate signlessness and is usually offered for the children. Meditation is to look deeply and see things that other people cannot see. Interbeing. Can we take the cloud out of the tea? Can we take the mother or father out of the child?

Continue with the Sutra on the Full Awareness of Breathing.

Aware of our in breath and our out breath.
Follow our in breath and our out breath.
Aware of our body.
Releasing tension in the our body.

The importance of abdomen/belly breathing. It is the trunk. No thinking. You are much more than one emotion. We should memorize this, especially when strong emotions arise. Thich Nhat Hanh recently met with California Governor Jerry Brown to suggest bringing this practice into the public schools. It is non-sectarian. Emotions are impermanent.

The mind is a river with drops of water called mental formations. Meditation is sitting on the bank of the river and not being carried away by the mental formation. The 10th exercise of breathing is to cultivate the mind. To make the mind more beautiful.

Four aspects of the practice of Right Diligence. First, we don’t water the negative seeds. Second, if a negative seed arises we try to help it not stay to long in our mind consciousness. We don’t fight or supress, but invite up a good seed. The third aspect is to bring the good seeds to have many chances to arise in the mind. To beautify the mind. Fourth, once you have a good mental formation then we try to keep it as long as possible. This is transformation at the base.

The 11th and 12th exercises on breathing are concentrating the mind and liberating the mind. The last four (13-16) exercises are presented. These last four have three concentrations: emptiness; signlessness, and aimlessness. The Three Doors of Liberation. Finally, we learn about the Buddha-body, the Dharma-body, and the Sangha-body.

You may listen or download the audio from this site or watch the video.

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The River of Mind

September 8, 2011. 87-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 second dharma talk for the Together We Are One retreat.

Our father is inside every cell of our body and we can breathe in and out together. Our talk today begins with a guided meditation connecting us to our parents and ancestors.

A story about Italian retreats starts the talk for the children. Thay says there are always a lot of children at Italian retreats and he recalls giving them an assignment. . Thay speaks about how we are the continuation of our parents, using the example of a seed of corn that grows up to become a plant of corn. “When you practice mindful breathing, we can invite our mother inside of us to practice breathing as well. Our father also.”

Thay shares with us the about the practice of looking deeply into the river of the mind, using the exercises from the Mindfulness of Breathing Sutra. At the beginning of this portion, Thay writes down the first 8 exercises on the board (the audio is cut on the first two, but only for a moment). Today we continue with the 9th exercise – this is about recognizing the mental formation that has manifested. There are 51 categories of mental formations in our tradition of practice. There are positive and negative mental formations. Every mental formation is like a drop of water in the river of the mind. The practitioner sits on the bank of the river and watches and observes. Aware of the mental formations. We continue with exercises 9-12.

“As a practitioner we know how to practice selective watering of the seeds in our consciousness.” “Life is impossible without impermanence. Without impermanence a grain of corn can never become a plant of corn, and your little baby can never become a little girl. So impermanence is the nature of things. Your love is also impermanent. If you do not know how to take care of your love, your love will die.

Things are impermanent; because we believe things to be permanent we suffer.” We can use impermanence to get out of anger. “To get out of your anger, you can close your eyes and visualize the other person in 300 years. What will they become? Ash. And you too. It may take only 3-5 seconds for you to touch impermanence. That way you can see that it is not wise to let anger overwhelm you like that.”

Thay finishes the talk with the teaching on the Three Doors of Liberation: 1) emptiness, 2) signlessness, 3) aimlessness.

The talk is available below. A video version is available in two parts: children’s talk and river of mind.

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Growing Corn

August 11, 2011. 26-minute dharma talk with Thich Nhat Hanh from War Memorial Gym at University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. The sangha is on the North American Tour and this talk is especially for the children.

Story of corn seeds. Grain of corn to be planted and remember to water everyday. And when it becomes a plant of corn, maybe 2-3 leaves, you come and ask the plant a question. “My dear little plant of corn, do you remember when you were a tiny seed?” The plant may not remember, but you do. The plant of corn is only a continuation of the grain of corn. You too were like the grain of corn and we don’t remember, so we need a friend in the dharma to help us. We believe that our father and our mother are outside of us, but that is not true. In addition to being outside of us, they are inside of us; every cell of our body. We are a continuation of our father and of our mother and we can make our father and mother more beautiful into the future. We can bring them into the future.

The talk is available below. There is a video version available too.

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