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Plum Village Retreats

Applied Mindfulness of Breathing

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January 4, 2012. 102-minute dharma talk by Thich Nhat Hanh from Lower Hamlet, Plum Village. The sangha is in the 2011-2012 Winter Retreat, but within that retreat is the 6-day Applied Ethics and Teachers Retreat. This talk is given in English. During the past six days we have practiced together as educators.

We begin with a teaching on the first eight steps of the Sutra on Mindful Breathing. Belly breathing. Rising and falling of the abdomen. We are much more than one emotion and with this practice we can realize this.

Thay continues (at 1:03) to share about the practices of loving speech and deep listening. Many of us suffer from our family relationships. If we can master these practices, we can transmit to our students and help them.
He also shares (at 1:25) the practice of how to die happily and peacefully.

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Blue Cliff Monastery Retreats

How Can I Not Suffer When People Are Not Being Good to this World?

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October 9, 2011. 105-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 third dharma talk for the Stepping Into Freedom, Savoring Life Retreat. Today we have a session of questions and answers.

Our practice to ask a question that will benefit everyone. We begin with the children, then teens, and finally the adults.

  1. When you are very upset, how can you show it without hitting?
  2. Do you ever get frustrated with yourself?
  3. How do I not suffer when people are not being good to this world?
  4. How young were you when you became a monk and what types of commitments did you need to make?// brief introduction and discussion on the Wake Up Movement by Br. Phap Luu //
  5. When I have positive and negative energy, what should I do with it?
  6. When I’m engaged in a conversation, I worry about other things. What does it mean to go home to yourself?
  7. Can we still have the consciousness of our loved ones after death? Can we communicate?
  8. A question about the Five Mindfulness Trainings and karma. Is it forgiven?
  9. When I get discouraged or frustrated, I sometimes compare myself to you and it keeps me away and I don’t feel connected to the sangha.
  10. A question about commitment and coming from a place of truth and an unclear understanding from when the commitment was originally made.
  11. A question about attachment, discrimination, and violence.
  12. As a person raised Christian and have felt Jesus, so how can I know absolute truth? Is this it?

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

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Retreats

The Flower is Full of Everything

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August 13, 2011. 86-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 is the final talk of the retreat.

Exercises of mindful breathing from the Anapanasati Sutta: the first four are (1) identify your breath, (2) follow your breath, (3) aware, and (4) release. From here we move to the feelings. They are (5) generate joy, (6) generate happiness, (7) aware of painful feelings, and (8) embrace the painful feeling. We then (9) recognize joy, (10) gladdening the mind, (11) concentrating the mind, (12) liberate the mind.

There are at least three types of concentration in Buddhism known as the Three Doors of Liberation: Emptiness, Signlessness, Aimlessness.  Thay provides an detailed explanation of each door.

The next four exercises are concentrations proposed by the Buddha, but we do explore these in depth during this talk. We also hear about no birth/no death, being/non-being, coming/going, and sameness/otherness.

Emptiness does not mean non-existence. A glass can be empty or full of tea, but in order to be empty or full the glass needs to be there. So emptiness does not mean non-existence. This glass is empty of tea, but it is full of air. So it is helpful for us to ask, ‘Empty of what?’ To be empty is always to be empty of something. When we contemplate a flower like this, we see the flower is full of everything: the cloud, the sunshine, the Earth, time, space, the gardener—everything has come together to help the flower to manifest. Why do we say it is empty? It is empty of only one thing: a separate existence. A flower cannot be by herself alone. A flower is full of non-flower elements. It is clear that the flower has to be interbe with everything in the cosmos. She cannot be by herself alone. To be by oneself alone is impossible. So we begin to see the interdependence of everything.

He uses the example of a match which requires the action of us striking it for a flame to manifest. In life we are the same: when we ask ‘Where do we come from?’ or ‘Where are we going?’ we see that we do not come from anywhere. “When conditions come together sufficiently, I manifest. My nature is the nature of no coming and no going. When conditions are no longer sufficient, I just stop manifestation and wait for a chance to manifest again. My nature is no coming, no going.”

This concludes the retreat in Vancouver. After a public talk on August 14, the sangha will travel to Colorado for a retreat at Estes Park.

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

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Retreats

If there is no death, there is no life

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August 10, 2011. 52-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 the second dharma talk.

Thay speaks about the nature of life and death. “We think that now is life, and death will be later. But in fact, left and right manifest together, above and below manifest at the same time… Death is happening right here in every moment. Why are we afraid of dying?” He goes on to talk about the nature of happiness: “If a father does not understand the suffering of his son, then it is impossible for that father to love and make his son happy. So understanding is very crucial to happiness. To love means to understand.

Right view is non-discriminative thinking. “In Buddhism, thinking is already action: by your thinking you can destroy the world, by your thinking you can save the world.” Thay goes on to share about the relationship between the Noble Eightfold Path and the Four Noble Truths.

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

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Plum Village Questions and Answers Retreats

Our Nature is Non-Local

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July 12, 2011. 111-minute Dharma Talk in English given by Thich Nhat Hanh at Upper Hamlet, Plum Village, France. This is the first question and answer session of the Summer Opening Retreat.

Thay takes questions from the children, the young adults, and from other retreatants.

Why do people lie? Why does anger come with sadness? Why do we so easily mixup sexual desire and love? How can we reconcile with someone we’ve hurt? How practice the Five Mindfulness Trainings in the corporate world? Why would someone want to be born into a world of suffering? How do we practice when we still are caught in the idea of having a separate personality? Is Thay a realized Buddha? How do we practice to forgive ourselves? How can we maintain our practice when we live in a place lacking compassion, without a Sangha? How can we make sense of the death of a child before they are born? How can we find happiness again?

The talk was given in English and is available below. There is a video version available too.

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Plum Village Retreats

Touching the Wonders of Life

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July 9, 2011. 45-minute Dharma Talk in French, with English translation by Sister Pine, given by Thich Nhat Hanh New Hamlet, Plum Village, France. This is the second talk of the Summer Opening Retreat.

Thay shares about the practice of mindful breathing. With each breath, we can fully in touch with life. The first exercise is being aware of your in and out breath. The second exercise is –following. Mindfulness is coming into the present moment. This brings concentration.

We continue learning about dualism. Birth and death.

The talk was given in French, with English translation, and is available below. There is a video version available too.

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Retreats

Understanding Our Mind: No Birth, No Death

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March 31, 2011. 155-minute dharma talk given in English, with consecutive translation into Thai, with Thich Nhat Hanh on the seventh (and final) day of the Understanding Our Mind retreat at Mahachulalongkornrajavidhayalaya Buddhist University (MCU) in Bangkok, Thailand.

After a brief review of manas and store consciousness, Thay speaks about the nature of no-birth and no-death discovered by the Buddha. Being and nonbeing – we can’t have something from nothing. How are we continuing the teacher. The young monks, nuns, lay practitioners are also Thay – their practice becomes my Thay’s continuation. Its like the Century plant that we have at Deer Park Monastery. One plant can become many plants.

Right thinking is your continuation. Thinking is already action. Karma. Our karma continues after The dissolution of the body.The second karma action is speech. The third is body. The way we eat. The way we drive. So, dissolution of the body is not our death.

Birth and death
Being and nonbeing
Coming and going
Sameness and otherness

The ultimate reality is free from all these notions. Suchness. The ultimate reality. It cannot be conceived of by ideas or notions. Nirvana is the other word for ultimate reality. The extinction of all notions.

At the end of the talk, Sister Chan Khong shares about the Thai Plum Village, inviting everyone to come to practice at the new international practice center in Thailand.

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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Retreats

Understanding Our Mind: Q & A

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March 30, 2011. 140-minute session of questions and responses provided in English, with consecutive translation into Thai, with Thich Nhat Hanh on the sixth day of the Understanding Our Mind retreat at Mahachulalongkornrajavidhayalaya Buddhist University (MCU) in Bangkok, Thailand.

Over a period of two hours, participants of the retreat ask Thay questions about the practice. The questions are sincere, heartfelt, and based in life experience. The questions pertain to topics such as: When we die, where does our mind go? Here we practice listening to the sound of the bell, but in our daily life we don’t have anyone to invite the bell, the bell we hear is people who scold us or admire us. How do I practice when people scold me or admire me? How do I deal with the emotions resulting from being treated not as well as my older brother? How do I practice to come back to myself, when I feel that I am lost? What is the role of medication in the treatment of mental illness? What is the difference between neutral feelings and joyful feelings?

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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English/French Plum Village Questions and Answers

Questions and Answers

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March 4, 2011. 111-minute Questions and Answers in French with Thich Nhat Hanh at Upper Hamlet, Plum Village, France. This is the fourth day of the 5-day French Retreat and the translation is provided by Sr. Pine.

Some of the topics include Sitting Meditation, Death, Euthanasia, Sex, Suicide, Non-action, Right Livelihood, Religion, Equality, Depression, and the Four Kinds of Nutriments.

There is a French recording as well as video version too – Part 1 and Part 2.