This is a session of questions and answers on August 23, 2014 from the Understanding Is Love Retreat with Thich Nhat Hanh at the European Institute of Applied Buddhism in Waldbrol, Germany. The questions and answers are given in both English and Dutch. We start with a series of questions from children followed by teens and adults. Both the audio and the video are available below.
Children and Teens
Do you know a better way to choose and to get rid of my doubts?
What does your name mean and do you have a sign to represent your name?
What should you do when you are really worried about something?
What does Thay love most about Buddhism?
Why did you become a Buddhist?
I would like to inspire my friends. How do I do this? How did you gain so much confidence?
I am confused about the word compassion. How can I be compassionate without suffering and still remain sensitive?
I have a question about a problem in my family. I have anger towards my brother but also wants to have compassion and take care of herself.
A question about attachment and letting go.
A question about self love and acceptance.
How do help someone who feels no connection to her ancestors and the world. She has shard that wants to end her life numerous times.
Continuing to reconcile with my mother who is an alcoholic and sex addict.
Non duality. Can you explain more about watering positive and negative seeds.
Written question on sexuality and the Third Mindfulness Training. Isn’t it to strict? Does it really need a “long term commitment”?
Right Livelihood and True Love. The livelihoods I love requires lots of time. How can we maintain True Love for ourselves, families, etc?
August 15, 2013. 102-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh from Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario during the 2013 Nourishing Great Togetherness teaching tour. This is the fourth dharma talk for the 6-day retreat with the theme Happy Teachers will Change the World. We begin with two chants from the monastics followed by a session of questions and answers.
Will you tell us of a struggle you’ve had and how meditation and the bell helped you to overcome it?
Recalling the dream in an earlier talk this week, how did it make you feel when the secretary said yes to you and not to the other person?
Will Thay sing us a song?
What made you want to become a zen master?
What is the difference between joy and happiness?
My father causes much suffering and doesn’t practice right view. I have lots of resentment I am fearful. How do I transform my suffering to peace and joy when he has hurt me so much?
How did mindfulness help you in your life?
How can I bring the practice to life for the ones I love without forcing it on them, especially those who have sexual misconduct or doing drugs?
A question about engaged Buddhism.
In the list of 51 mental formations, shame is identified as a wholesome formation. Can you explain this?
A question about hope. Fear and anger in society and future of human race and the planet.
Another question on the future. With favorable climatic conditions ending, how do we balance kindness/mindfulness for future generations and with present people?
A question about ending a relationship. What do you do when there isn’t an ability to leave a toxic relationship? How do we transform if we’re not strong enough in our practice? Also concerns about financial stability beyond the relationship.
A question from a person who can’t overcome her suffering. The pain seems insurmountable. The question comes with some question on how to continue living.
June 12, 2011. 105-minute Dharma Talk in Vietnamese, with translation provided by Sr. Chan Khong, given by Thich Nhat Hanh at New Hamlet, Plum Village, France. This is the first talk after being in Germany and Southeast Asia.
Thay reads a letter from a young monastic aspirant requesting a 5-year ordination because the parents will not give permission for a lifetime; they need the daughter to care for them as they age. She sees the freshness of a novice life. A monastic life. Each day is precious. Singing together with nature.
Our daily practice is to find happiness in all we do each day. How do we understand our parents? How are we their continuation? Do we really know our parents? I vow to live happily for you mother, for you father. We only see part of our parents, our partner, our children but we can discover more every day. The same is true with ourselves.
Sangha body and dharma body. The jewel of the sangha. The quality – brotherhood, sisterhood, joy, peace – where does it come from? The first fruit of the practice is “I have arrived, I am home.”
What is work? What is it’s relationship to the practice? Do we work to much? We need to look deeply in our sangha. What are our talents and how best to apply?
Happiness can be found in everything we do.
The talk was given in Vietnamese with English translation and is available below. There is a video version available too. Please note, we are missing just the first minute or two of the recording.
May 27, 2011. 105-minute question and answer session given in English, with consecutive translation into Dutch, with Thich Nhat Hanh. This is the fourth dharma talk offered by Thay in the Dutch Retreat at the European Institute of Applied Buddhism in Waldbröl, Germany.
Questions: (1) What does “Thich Nhat Hanh” mean? (2) What is the source of laziness and how can I overcome it? (3) How do we practice interbeing with those we don’t know? (4) If young people who have yet to cultivate awareness feel hate or misunderstanding, how can I help to release this tension and water the good seeds in their minds? (5) How can I balance between dealing with my issues and sharing them with my loved one? (6) How can i be mindful and compassionate with my children? (7) How can I transform my tendency to experience the pain of others? (8) How can we develop leadership and power based on mindfulness? (9) What are steps to help families overcome infidelities and divorce?
The talk was given in English and Dutch at the same time and is available below for listening or download. You may also view the video.
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.