The Truth About Happiness

July 9, 2012. 94-minute recording given at New Hamlet, Plum Village by Thich Nhat Hanh. This is the third dharma talk of the Summer Opening. We begin with chanting and the talk begins at 15-minutes into the recording.

Bowing. Buddhahood. A lotus for you, a Buddha to be. The seed of Buddhahood.

Stories of being in Paris during the war. Supporting peace and practicing being together. Teaching on kingdom of God and the pure land. It is now or never.  This is the teaching of Plum Village. We can do everything  in the kingdom of God. Suffering and the noble truths. The buddhadharma can help you. We can love and understand our suffering.

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I Have Arrived, I Am Home

August 21, 2011. 110-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 second dharma talk of the Body and Mind Are One retreat.

We begin with a brief guided meditation on breathing with our parents.

For the children, we are encouraged to create a breathing room in our homes. Every civilized home in the 21st century should have such a room with a bell and a flower. Breathing with the bell we can bring out mind and body together. Thay speaks about how we are the continuation of our parents, using the example of a seed of corn that cannot remember, once it is a plant, that it was once a seed. “When you practice mindful breathing, we can invite our mother inside of us to practice breathing as well. Our father also.”

Thay speaks about touching the Kingdom of God, the Pure Land of the Buddha, right in the present moment. When we walk, we can touch the Kingdom. If you can walk like that, you can walk like a Buddha. “I have arrived, I am home: this is the shortest Dharma talk.” We, especially parents, try to transmit only the best parts of us and that which still needs work we keep in order to transform. Thay advises us, when we share, to not only share about our suffering but also to share our joy and our happiness. “We need not only people with suffering to come on a retreat, we also need people with lots of joy, so they can help those who are suffering.” The importance and role of the sangha.

We continue with the Sutra on Mindfulness of Breathing, with a recap of yesterday’s teaching and continuing on with the 7th and 8th steps: becoming aware of a painful feeling or emotion and embracing it. We see this practice with parents and children. Thay would also like to see this applied in schools. Applied ethics. How do we teach ethics to school children. We can teach children to breathe and if the school teacher knows the techniques then it can be transmitted. This can be secularized.

The following steps are: 9) aware of mental formations, 10) gladdening the mind, 11) concentrating the mind, 12) liberating the mind. Thay shares about the practice of right diligence: not touching the negative seeds, making sure any negative formations go back down to store consciousness, watering the good seeds, and keeping the good mental formations manifesting as long as possible.

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

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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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Touching the Wonders of Life

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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Maintaining Awareness, Transcending Discrimination

May 26, 2011. 90-minute dharma talk given in English, with consecutive translation into Dutch, with Thich Nhat Hanh. This is the second Dharma talk offered by Thay in the Dutch Retreat at the European Institute of Applied Buddhism in Waldbröl, Germany.

Thay shares about the notions of birth and death, creator and creature, and the practice of cultivating right view with regard to these notions. How do we transcend ideas of suffering and happiness, being and non-being, birth and death? Compassionate listening. Applying what we learned from Israeli and Palestinian retreats. Thay also touches on the three actions of body, speech, and mind as our true continuations.

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.

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Generating a Feeling of Joy

May 25, 2011. 84-minute dharma talk given in English, with consecutive translation into Dutch, with Thich Nhat Hanh. This is the first Dharma talk offered by Thay in the Dutch Retreat at the European Institute of Applied Buddhism in Waldbröl, Germany.

Learning to walk in the Kingdom of God, the Pure Land of the Buddha.

Suffering and happiness. Happiness is available through understanding and love. And first we must understand suffering. No mud. No lotus. This teaching can be found in the Four Noble Truths originally taught by the Buddha. This is Interbeing.

Next, we look at breathing and it’s role in Mindfulness to generate joy and happiness. Thay explains the first eight exercises from the Sutra on Mindful Breathing (Anapanasati Sutta).

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.

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The Noble Truth of Suffering

May 18, 2011. 86-minute dharma talk given in English, with consecutive translation into German, with Thich Nhat Hanh. This is the second Dharma talk offered by Thay in the German Retreat at the European Institute of Applied Buddhism in Waldbröl, Germany.

The Buddha considered the earth his Buddha land. He was a child of the earth. How we wall and listen can create our own Budda land. This is not philosophy. This is something you can experience. We can touch the Kingdom, the Pure land.

Enjoy walking in the ultimate dimension.
My hand is in his hand.
Many thousand years ago and many years to come, every one of us will go to the same direction.

In Buddhism we call this nirvana. In Christianity we call this the Kingdom of God. This is different than the historical dimension. We live in the historical dimension but we can get in touch with the ultimate dimension. In the historical we see birth and death, being and non-being. In the ultimate, these do not exist. Nirvana is the ground if everything. And yet the historical and the ultimate are not two realities.

We can take the hand of the Buddha or the hand of Jesus anytime in the here and the now. No reservations required. It is simple. Not complicated.

Bitter melon. Why do we call suffering a noble truth? What is so good about suffering? If we look deeply at dukkha, the first noble truth, we can also see all the other noble truths. The Four Noble Truths are not separate entities. There is a cloud in the flower. What are the elements of the flower?

The path leading to the end of suffering is called the Noble Eightfold Path. It begins with element called Right View. From there we have Right Thinking, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Mindfulness, Right Concentration.

We continue with a discussion of being and non-being. When we touch the ultimate, we are free from this idea of being and non-being, birth and death.

The talk was given in English and German at the same time and is available below for listening or download. You may also view the video.

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Zen is Eating

January 13, 2011. 75-minute Dharma Talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh, from Upper Hamlet, Plum Village, France. The recording begins with about 10-minutes of chanting.

Eating meditation. Delicious and healthy. Our sitting meditation should be the same. Healthy. Relaxed. Follow your breath to harmonize your body and mind. Sitting meditation is also a type of consumption. It should be the same for everything. Walking. Eating. Working. Resting. It is an art.

Zen is also eating. The meal is a moment of practice. And there is a collective awakening when you practice together with others. Each of us are a drop contributing to the river.

Every step is your joy. This is it. Thay talks about what his calligraphy called “This is It” means.

The continued sutra commentary begins at 48-minutes into the talk. The verses 17-20 19 Feelings. Perception. Suffering. Mental formations. Nirvana.

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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