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Retreats

Ambassador of the Buddha

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April 6, 2013. 92-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh from Mahachulalungkornrajavidyalaya University in Bangkok, Thailand. The sangha is in the 5-Day Applied Ethics Retreat as part of the spring Asian Tour. The talk is given in English with consecutive translation into Thai. This is the second talk.

Inviting the bell. The bell is the ambassador of the buddha to our home. How do we use the bell in our home? How do we listen to the bell? We can use the sound to calm our feelings. Using a breathing room along with the bell in your home environment. Listening and using the bell has been of great help to many families.

The story of Henry and his transformation of using mindfulness in the classroom. How he enjoys his class and his students. The whole school benefited from his incorporation of mindfulness. He wrote a book and became a dharma teacher.

How do we help the students suffer less? Compassionate listening and loving speech. Transform our classroom into a family, into a sangha. No Buddhist terms are needed. Then you can build a sangha of teachers. Using loving speech is a tool for teachers. How do we listen?

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Day of Mindfulness Plum Village

What is the Fourth Mindfulness Training?

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October 14, 2012. 67-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh from New Hamlet at Plum Village. The sangha is enjoying the Autumn Retreat and this is a Day of Mindfulness. We begin with the chant May the Day Be Well followed by a brief guided meditation by Thay.

What is a bodhissatva? Mother Earth is a great bodhissatva.

Mind and matter are not two separate entities. What is Interbeing? The mind of non-discrimination. What is suffering an how do we respond? If you understand suffering, then already have a kind of enlightenment. A bodhissatva for yourself.

The practice if the fourth mindfulness training – loving speech. This is the work of a bodhissatva. This also includes compassionate listening. Restore communication and bring about reconciliation.

Thay tells the story of a catholic woman who suffers greatly in her marriage and wants to commit suicide except for the help of a Vietnamese Buddhist friend who helps her learn about the fourth mindfulness training and reconciliation.

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Day of Mindfulness English/German European Institute of Applied Buddhism

Healing Our Relationship

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August 26, 2012. 137-minute dharma talk given in English, with consecutive translation into German, with Thich Nhat Hanh. This is a Day of Mindfulness at the European Institute of Applied Buddhism in Waldbröl, Germany.

A day of mindfulness is a day of practice so that we can live each moment of our life very deeply. Anyone can generate the energy of mindfulness, bringing our mind home to our body. There are many wonders of life. And mindfulness is always mindfulness of something – drinking your tea. This can bring freedom and joy and happiness.

A couple of sweet moments when a local church bell is ringing and then a rain downpour. Every moment can be a pleasant moment. A miracle happens when you breathe in mindfully.

On a day of mindfulness we have time to sit and breathe together. We can stop our thinking every time we hear the sound of the bell. Enjoying the here and the now is the address for the pure land of the Buddha. Instruction on listening to the bell. Walking meditation and the country of the present moment. Instruction on walking meditation. This is followed by true communion and eating meditation.

Mindful listening and mindfulness of suffering. Many of the things we do in life are to cover up out suffering. How we help each other to suffer less? The chant of Avalokiteshvara can help touch suffering with mindfulness. When we listen to the chant, we should sit and listen and try to stop our thinking. Allow our body to relax. Chant begins at 1:20m into recording and the talk resumes again at 1:41m.

If a relationship had become difficult, there is always a way to transform it. In order to heal a relationship, you must heal yourself. We have Sutra on the Full Awareness of Breathing to help us heal ourselves.

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English/Dutch Retreats

Creating Freshness and Beauty

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August 14, 2012. 100-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 third 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.

Freshness and beauty are in you. If you know how to breath and how to walk then freshness and beauty can come out. we can also help others do the same because we all have it, but we don’t always know how to help it manifest. We all have a Buddha inside. That teaches what it means to bow to someone in a greeting. It’s not just a ritual, it is a practice.

How to use a mantra in your practice? The first is “Darling, I am here for you.” This one is to offer the other person your presence. The second mantra is to recognize the other person is something important to you. “Darling, I know you are there and I am very happy.”

Reconciliation. Mindfulness of compassion. Listening. Thay uses the story of Palestinians and Israelis coming to Plum Village on how to practice deep listening and loving speech.

Teaching on no birth and no death, being and non-being, coming and going, sameness and otherness. These are all notions. They are the ground of our suffering and our fear. These pairs of opposites can be the objects of our meditation.

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Plum Village Retreats

Beginning of Fourth Week of Summer Opening

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July 28, 2012. 93-minute recording given at Upper Hamlet, Plum Village by Thich Nhat Hanh. This is the sixteenth dharma talk of the Summer Opening and we are beginning the fourth and final week of the retreat. Please note, we have skipped the talk from July 26 here on this site; it may appear later.

Understanding of suffering. Compassionate listening. Embracing suffering brings relief. What are the monastics doing when they are chanting the name Avalokiteshvara?

Chanting begins at 18-m into recording. The main talk begins at 39-minutes.

Listening to the bell. Deep listening. Let peace and mindfulness penetrate into you. How do you feed your happiness? Where is your true home?

The Buddha proposed sixteen exercises of mindful breathing. What are the first four exercises? How can we use this for walking mindfully? This is applied Buddhism in our daily lives.

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Retreats

Ireland Retreat: Orientation

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April 12, 2012. 112-minute recording given at Gleneagle Hotel in Killarney, Ireland by Thich Nhat Hanh. The sangha is on the UK and Ireland Tour and this is orientation for the Mindful Living Today retreat.

Everyone is capable of generating mindfulness. But many of are caught by the past or by the future – a kind of prison. Mindfulness can help us to be free an settle in here and now. There are simple practices to help us to touch mindfulness. In this retreat we will learn about mindful breathing and mindful walking. Mindfulness can be practiced any time in our daily life. One method of healing our suffering is through mindful chanting. Thay provides instruction on listening to the chant.

The monastics chant the name Avalokiteshvara (29:50). Following the chant, Thay leads the sangha in mindful movements and the talk resumes at 58:37.

Listening to the bell. Stopping our talking. Stopping our thinking. Calm our body. Releasing the tension in our body. Instruction for walking meditation. Eating meditation.

In the last 20-minutes, two monastic sisters give additional teachings on sitting and smiling.

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Retreats

A Cultivated Mind Can Bring Happiness

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April 5, 2012. 125-minute dharma talk given at The University of Nottingham by Thich Nhat Hanh. The sangha is on the UK and Ireland Tour and this is orientation for the Cultivating Happiness Family Retreat.

We begin with an introduction to chanting. By recognizing the suffering in ourselves and the world, we can gain understanding and compassion. The Avalokiteshvara chant begins about 23-minutes into the recording.

About 46-minutes into the recording, a short dharma talk is given by Thay. A cultivated mind can bring a lot of happiness. This is the practice that can transform the suffering. How do we cultivate? Awareness of breathing is a form of enlightenment. We are practicing to come back to the here and now. Following this talk, the monastics (Brother Phap Ung and Brother Phap Lai) continue with some of the basic practices such as listening to the sound of the bell, eating, noble silence, and listening to dharma talks.

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Cultivating the Mind: Nottingham Retreat Orientation from Plum Village Online Monastery on Vimeo.

 

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Retreats

Orientation for Educators’ Retreat

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March 30, 2012. 64-minute dharma talk and orientation by Thich Nhat Hanh from The American School in London. The sangha is on the UK and Ireland Tour and this is the orientation for the Educators’ Retreat: An Exploration of Mindful Education. A video version may also be available.

We begin by learning about suffering. We begin with transforming our own personal suffering, followed by the suffering in the family, and finally the suffering in the classroom. The remainder of the talk focuses on the basic practices of breathing, walking, listening to the bell, and mindful eating.

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Plum Village Retreats

What You Know Could Be An Obstacle

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November 24, 2011. 95-minute dharma talk with Thich Nhat Hanh from the Full Moon Meditation Hall in New Hamlet, Plum Village, France. This is the first dharma talk for the 2011-2012 Winter Retreat. The talk was given in Vietnamese and translated into English by Sr. Chan Khong [Vietnamese version].

Thich Nhat Hanh begins by talking about the importance of putting into practice what we learn when we study about Buddhism. Listen. Look Deeply. Put into Action. This is how we achieve the gate of liberation. We can also learn to think skillfully. Right Thinking and wisdom can arrive. The main teaching of Thay is to have arrived in the present moment. To be home. And yet, there are those who have heard this thousands of times but they have not reached a place of deep wisdom. It is not just an accumulation of knowledge.

“When we share the Dharma it should come from a place of happiness. Some people, including monastics, can give very good Dharma talks on ‘I have arrived, I am home,’ but they are not truly happy.”

We don’t need to use what we know when listening to a dharma talk. This leads to comparing. You just receive it. The Buddha said some students receive enlightenment just like that. Right away. Not the fruit of your knowledge. What you know, could be an obstacle. It is only intellectual.

He then begins study of the Paramartha Gathas, from the Yogacarabhumi Sastra of Asanga. Asanga is a very profound teacher who began in Theravada, but then followed Mahayahana Buddhism. This Gatha speaks about the Absolute Truth. It’s been translated three times from the Sanskrit. We have the Chinese texts as well as a Vietnamese translation by Thay. English is being produced for this teaching. [Note: When texts become available, they will be posted]

The first verse:

There is absolutely no subject, no agent and no one who enjoys the fruit of action. No dharma has any effect. Nonetheless, the passing on of one effect to another does take place.

Thay shares about physics in the light of this teaching: “What is the electron made of? All things are composite. There are many things that come together to make everything. When we look skillfully we see only action: we don’t see any owner, actor or inheritor.”

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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.