Four Energies and Mindful Educators

Thich Nhat Hanh along with the monks and nuns of Plum Village are on their first tour of Spain this month. An Educators Retreat at the University of Barcelona and this is the first talk providing an orientation to the practice taught by Thay. The date of the recording is May 9, 2014. The audio and the video are both available below.

We begin with an introduction to the practice of breathing and the role it plays in mindfulness practice.There is an energy of mindfulness that is born during the time we are breathing. Life is available in the present moment because the past is already gone the future has not yet come. To go home to the present moment is easy…breath in mindfully. We can get in touch with our body when we are breathing mindfully. Our body is the first wonder of life. Maybe when we get in touch with our body, we may notice tension in our body. If we notice this tension while breathing, we can release this tension while breathing out. If we learn to do this well, then we can learn to transmit this to our students. There is another energy of the practice called concentration. This energy is born from the energy of mindfulness. It let’s us focus. (Editor’s Note: short skip in the recording here) The third energy is insight. Insight arises from concentration and mindfulness. The French novelist Camus spoke of this through the story of the prisoner. Breathing in, I know I am alive. This is already an insight and it is a true miracle. Mindfulness allows us to live deeply each moment we are alive and has the power to liberate us.

Conditions of happiness. Can we see all the conditions of happiness right here in this moment? We can begin with mindfulness of our eyes. A good practitioner of mindfulness should be able to create a feeling of joy and a feeling of happiness at any moment. The practice of walking is another method to discover a moment of happiness. I have arrived.

True happiness is made of mindfulness, concentration and insight. And this will bring compassion, love, and joy.  This is the art of living. With this practice, you can also handle a painful feeling or emotion. Many of us consume in order to not encounter our suffering. We are afraid of our own suffering. Mindfulness can help you know how to suffer. How do we do this? We can use mindfulness to not be overwhelmed by the pain inside. We can recognize and embrace the pain. Once we learn this practice, we can do the same for our students and help our students to suffer less as well.

Understanding will always bring about compassion. Compassion is the fourth kind of energy and has the power to heal and transform anger. Once we know our own suffering transformed, how can we help another person to suffer less.

Thay draws a circle representing the school teacher. How do we work with difficult aspects in our school environments. We can start with our loved ones, then our colleagues, and finally our students. The first thing to do is going home to ourselves through the practice of mindful breathing and mindful walking. We can do this with the support of co-practitioners.

Instruction on walking meditation, mindful eating, and listening to the bell.

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Orientation for Applied Ethics Retreat

April 4, 2013. 116-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh, Brother Phap Dung, and Sr. Tue Nghiem 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.

We begin with an introduction to listening to the chant by Thich Nhat Hanh. How do we move from mindfulness of suffering to mindfulness of compassion leading to our transformation and healing? We hear the monastics chant the name of Avalokiteshvara at 14-minutes.

The main talk by Thich Nhat Hanh begins at 36-minutes. Happy teachers will change the world. What to do when we hear the bell? How will it help our breathing? Being established on the present moment. Gives us the power to heal. What is walking meditation? Why do we practice walking?

Beginning at 60-minutes two monastics, Brother Phap Dung and Sister Tue Nghiem, teach about the breathing practice, sitting practice, eating practice, and noble silence practice.

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Open Mind Open Heart Retreat: Orientation

August 8, 2011. 45-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.

This retreat launches 3-months of touring in North America. We have over 800 people attending the retreat here in Vancouver and this is the first gathering where we are provided with an orientation. Thay speaks about the practices of breathing and walking meditation, and about how we can recognize the conditions for happiness that are already present in the here and the now.

The talk and chant are available below. There is a video version available too.

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I Prefer Walking in the Kingdom of God

May 22, 2011. 91-minute dharma talk given in English, with consecutive translation into German, with Thich Nhat Hanh. This is a Day of Mindfulness offered by Thay at the European Institute of Applied Buddhism in Waldbröl, Germany.

Communication in the family. Love and care for yourself allows you to love and care for another. We must begin with oneself. The teaching of the Buddha is clear. Thay speaks about calming and healing the body and mind, and about the art of bringing about happiness and reconciliation in our relationships. The practice is from the Exercises of Mindful Breathing (Anapanasati Sutta). We can learn the practice to transform our habit energies; Mindfulness can help us see our habit energies.

A special treat at 49-minutes when Thay chants to demonstrate the Interbeing nature of ourselves and the Buddha. The communication between the Buddha and us are one. The same is true between a father and a son.

Towards the end of the talk he offers an orientation on the practice of walking meditation.

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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