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English/French Plum Village Retreats

Let There Be Light

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July 20, 2011. 80-minute dharma talk with Thich Nhat Hanh in French, with English translation, from Upper Hamlet, Plum Village, France. The sangha is in the annual Summer Opening Retreat.

Thay begins with a story of creation: God said, “Let there be light,” and the light said, “Wait.” “What are you waiting for?” “I’m waiting for the shadow and darkness in order to manifest together.” There is no subject without object; the two have to manifest together. Further, object and subject are the same thing.

Buddha’s first teaching was on the Four Noble Truths: suffering, the creation of suffering, happiness, and the path to happiness. If we confirm the existence if ill-being, then we also confirm the opposite. This is Interbeing. Buddha’s teaching is both on suffering and on happiness. The first Truth, helps us identify the second Truth.

We can begin a discussion of the Eightfold Noble Path with Right View, the goal of our practice. When we look at a father and a son, we should not see them as two separate entities. Everything is that way.

Thay teaches the Eightfold Noble Path, elaborating on Right Thought, Right Speech and Right Action (three aspects of our daily life) as the development of skillful means with regard to the three types of karma: mind, speech, and bodily action.

What we call death is not really death. Our karma (our actions) continue after we are no longer here in this bodily form. We continue right now in the present moment through our actions. There are two kinds of retribution for our actions: ourselves (our five skandhas), and our environment (relating to Right Livelihood).

We conclude with Right Diligence, Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration. Our view on a global ethic is based on these teachings. We have a path and we don’t have to worry.

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

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English/German European Institute of Applied Buddhism Retreats

The Noble Truth of Suffering

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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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English/French Plum Village

The Five Mantras and Noble Eightfold Path

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March 5, 2011. 96-minute dharma talk in French with Thich Nhat Hanh at Plum Village, France. This is the fifth day of the 5-day French Retreat and the translation is provided by Sr. Pine.

The fifth Mantra. This is a happy moment.

Mindfulness is the source of happiness. Smirti. We should be able to transform any moment into happiness with mindfulness. This moment is worth living. Moment after moment.

I’m here for you. This is the First Mantra. This is for generating your concentrated presence.

My dear, I know you are there and I’m so happy. This is the Second Mantra. To recognize the presence of your lived one. Your loved can be anything.

My dear, I know you suffer and I am here for you. The Third Mantra. Used when you notice something is not right. Not well.

My dear, I am suffering and I want you to know. I’m doing my best. Please help me. The Fourth Mantra. This is the most difficult because it’s when you are suffering and you think you’re loved one is the cause. We want to punish. After you have tried to cool the flames, maybe 24-hours, then you can practice this mantra. Tell him in a calm voice. If you are not able, then write it down.

Right thinking is thinking that goes in the direction of non-discrimination in the direction of understanding. We can always produce a thought of right thinking using mindfulness. Anger is no longer possible with this type of action. Karma (action) is our continuation. Thought is our action. If your thinking is beautiful then you action will be as well. With Right Thinking you can bring Right Speech and Right Action.

The path recommended by the Buddha begins with Right View. In addition to Right Thinking, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Concentration, Right Effort, and Right Livelihood. The noble eightfold path. This path leads to the end of suffering. The fourth noble truth. This is the presence of happiness.

A discussion on the Ultimate and Historical dimensions – they are not separate. Nirvana. Suchness. With the instrument of mindfulness and concentration, we can see the nature of reality. Being and non-being disappear.

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