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Plum Village Retreats

Unanswered Questions

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January 13, 2013. 117-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh from Upper Hamlet at Plum Village. The sangha is in the 90-day Rains Retreat (Winter Retreat). This is the twentieth dharma talk of the retreat with the theme Are You The Soulmate of the Buddha? The talk is given in Vietnamese and this is a translation provided by Sr. Chan Không.

Here in Plum Village, when we walk, we don’t talk and we stop thinking. We bring our breathing and our step into the present moment. Concentrate in a relaxing manner. We can use walking as a bell of mindfulness.

How can we practice eating meditation? We turn off the TV, including the TV in your mind. We can use the Five Contemplations to help practice. Thay reviews the traditional contemplation and compares to the modern version.

Four Kinds of Nutriments. How do we help outr mind? What to do with negative thought? What is volition?

At 70-minutes, we turn to our ongoing sutra study. My teaching is to touch your suffering and transform your suffering. It is not an intellectual exercise. The Buddha only shared a few practical ideas to heal. There are some questions refused to answer. What are they?

The Buddha taught two things on many sutras. Non-self. Impermanence.

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English/French Plum Village Retreats

Nirvana and Samsara

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December 27, 2012. Dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh from Upper Hamlet at Plum Village. The sangha is in the 90-day Rains Retreat (Winter Retreat) and this is the the fifteenth dharma talk of the retreat with the theme Are You The Soulmate of the Buddha? The talk was originally given in French and this is the English translation.

What does it mean to have a spiritual dimension in our life? Why is it important for daily life?

The Four Noble Truths and the path in the second versus the path in the fourth. Two paths to choose. To well being or to ill being. We in Plum Village look at these two paths with the eyes of Interbeing.

What creates suffering? How do we take care of our suffering? The path leading to awakening. How and how much time does it take to reach enlightenment? Enlightenment is available in every moment. There is no way to enlightenment, enlightenment is the way. This is the teaching of Interbeing.

Love and reconciliation. What is nirvana? Is nirvana possible? What is the relationship to samsara?

The Buddha taught the Three Dharma Seals.

  1. All formations are impermanent.
  2. All things are without self.
  3. Nirvana

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21 Day Retreats Plum Village Retreats

The Ground of Right View

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June 12, 2012. 111-minute dharma talk by Thich Nhat Hanh from Upper Hamlet in Plum Village during the 21-Day Retreat with the theme The Science of the Buddha. The talk is given in English and this is the eighth dharma talk (of 15).

Seven Factors of Enlightenment (relaxation, joy, investigation, etc)
Separate investigation of phenomena and noumenal

We should not mixup the two dimensions of conventional and ultimate. When considering the Four Noble Truths, the first two must be investigated in the realm of conventional truth. Conditional Dharma. The same cloud can be both investigated from conventional truth and ultimate truth.

The Second Noble Truth and the Fifth Mindfulness Training can be described in terms of food. Nutriments. The Sutra of the Son’s Flesh gives this teaching on nutriments. Thay explains the Four Kinds of Nutriments: edible foods, sensory impressions, volition, and consciousness. Discusses Mencius’ Mother (China); also known as Meng Ze.Thay would like to see the Sutra on Four Kinds of Nutriments in the next edition of chanting book.

Mindfulness in schools.

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English/French Plum Village Retreats

The Noble Truths of Nourishment

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May 13, 2012. 76-minute recording given at Plum Village by Thich Nhat Hanh. This is the first talk given during the Health Retreat and the talk was given in French. This recording is the English translation.

Listen, Listen to this sound of the bell. Every breath is a pleasure. Mindfulness. Concentration. Insight.

Thay talks about the relationship between food and the four noble truths and explains the four types of nutriments.

Edible foods
Sense impressions (eye, ears, mind, body)
Volition (deepest desire)
Collective conciousness

Physical health may not be possible without spiritual health. Without compassion, happiness is impossible.

The talk ends with instruction on eating in freedom.

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Deer Park Monastery

Jesus is the Bread

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September 4, 2011. 91-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 Day of Mindfulnss during a month-long stay in Escondido.

This is a happy moment. When you love someone, you want him or her to be there for you. How can you love if you are not there? To love is a practice. To practice mindful walking and mindful breathing. You can then offer yourself. You are truly there. The most precious gift is your true presence.

Children are flowers in the garden of humanity. Each of us are born as a flower. We need to preserve our flowerness. To be a true lover we need to know how to take care of ourselves. This is a Buddhist practice.

The First Mantra is “Darling, I am here for you.” And, when you want someone to know of your love then you can practice the Second Mantra. “Darling, I know you are there and it makes me happy.

Thay also teaches on listening to the bell, and the establishment of a breathing room for the family to restore your flowerness.

Thay shares with us the about the nature of bread, that contains the whole cosmos: the Buddha, Jesus, all things are in the bread. “You don’t need to think, there is just awareness. Awareness and insight, but no thinking. No thinking is the secret. We can eat every morsel of our lunch in that way.”

He continues to share about the story of the young couple in the Sutra on the Son’s Flesh who decide to move to another country with their son. Faced with starvation in the desert, they decide to kill their little boy and eat his flesh, crying and beating their chests as they do so. “After the Buddha told this story to the monks, he turned to them and said, ‘Dear friends, do you think the parents enjoyed eating the flesh of their own son?’ ‘No, it is impossible that they could enjoy it.’

The Buddha said, ‘Let us eat in such a way that we preserve our compassion and mindfulness, otherwise when we eat it is like we are eating the flesh of our own son.'” “We should be the aware that many of the items that we consume, with the eyes, the ear, the body, the mind, can be very toxic. A television program, an article, may be full of anger, hate and violence. If we allow our children to consume these items, the toxins will go into their consciousness. Even conversations can sometimes be very toxic.”

The talk is available below. A video version is available in two parts: children’s talk and Jesus is the Bread.

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Retreats

The Buddha is the Sitting Itself

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August 24, 2011. 122-minute dharma talk with Thich Nhat Hanh from YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park, Colorado. The sangha is on the North American Tour and this is the fourth and final talk of the Body and Mind Are One retreat.

We begin with a short guided meditation.

I invite the Buddha to breathe. I invite the Buddha to sit. I don’t have to breathe. I don’t have to sit.
Buddha is breathing. Buddha is sitting.
I enjoy the breathing. I enjoy the sitting.
Buddha is the breathing. Buddha is the sitting.
I am the breathing. I am the sitting.
There is only the breathing. There is only the sitting.
There is no-one breathing. There is no-one sitting.

We are our action. We are our karma. Everyday we produce speech and our action. There is no thinker outside the thoughts. The act of breaking the bread is Jesus. The quality of the sitting is the Buddha. When there is an in-breath is there, you know the Buddha is there. We don’t need a breather. This has to do with the lack of subject and object in our experience of reality. “In breathing and sitting, there is no breather or sitter. There is just the breathing, there is just the sitting.” “When you say ‘The wind blows’, it is very funny. If it does not blow, how can it be the wind? It is like saying ‘The rain is raining.’ If it is not raining, how can it be rain? The same is true for thinking. The thinker and the thought—they are not separate things; they are one.” We can touch the nature of no-self. Emptiness.

A teaching on deep listening and loving speech is illustrated with stories of people attending retreats and transforming their communication. We also hear examples of Israeli and Palestinians coming together. In a discussion about the Five Mindfulness Trainings, particularly the fifth, Thay introduces and shares about The Sutra on the Son’s Flesh, to point out the nature of nutriment and the Four Kinds of Nutriments. He continues on to discuss the three kinds of concentration: emptiness, signlessness and aimlessness.

The talk is available below. A video version is available: Buddha is the Sitting.

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English/French Plum Village Retreats

I Know You Suffer

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July 27, 2011. 93-minute dharma talk with Thich Nhat Hanh, translated from the French by Sr. Pine, from Upper Hamlet, Plum Village, France. The sangha is in the annual Summer Opening Retreat

Thay teaches four mantras that can help us resolve difficult situations with our loved ones: 1) I am here for you; 2) I know you are there, and I am happy; 3) I know you suffer, and I want you to know that I am here for you; 4) I suffer, please help.

Thay also teaches the story of Mr. Truong and Nam Xuong, who lose their love, and her life, due to actions based on a wrong perception. “In our society we have a fear of suffering, but to understand the suffering in ourselves and in the other person is very important. When we are able to understand the suffering inside, we suffer less. And we can see more easily the suffering in the other person; we can understand them.” To go deeper into how we nourish the seeds of anger inside,

Thay explains the teaching on the Four Nutriments: 1) edible food, 2) sense impressions, 3) volition, 4) consciousness.

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

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Plum Village

Body and Mind Are One

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March 10, 2011. 96-minute Dharma Talk in French given by Thich Nhat Hanh at Assembly of Stars, Lower Hamlet, Plum Village, France.

The body and the mind. Two sides of the same thing. Both the mind and body are aspects of our being. Both belong to the same thing. One supports the other. So, to take care of your mind is to take care of your body (and vice-versa).

We can contemplate our body, and it begins with mindfulness. Sutra on Mindful Breathing has sixteen exercises. The fourth exercise is about resting. This is something we have forgotten how to do and it is very important. Relax. Tension and pain exist both in body and mind. We only hear of the first four.

How do we eliminate toxins in our body and mind? Toxins like hatred, anger, greed. We can learn with our practice. Deep breathing is one method. There are four kinds of nutriments – these are explained. Thay focuses on what we consume and how it impacts us, our well being.

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

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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.