Conditions of Happiness

July 8, 2012. 68-minute recording given at Lower Hamlet, Plum Village by Thich Nhat Hanh. This is the second dharma talk of the Summer Opening and it was originally given in French. This is an English translation.

Peace. Freshness. Solidity. We all have these elements in the form of seeds. We can learn how to water these seeds. We all have a Buddha-nature in us. With meditation, we can offer this to ourselves and others. We can use pebble meditation and inviting the bell.

Discovering conditions of happiness. Being the mind back to the body. Established in the present moment.  Mindfulness, the first energy, is the heart of meditation. The second energy is concentration. And the third energy is insight. The practice of walking and sitting should bring pleasure. These three energies allow you to identify the conditions of happiness. Meditation is possible all day long.

I have arrived, I am home.

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The Six Mantras

June 16, 2012. 99-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 eleventh dharma talk (of 15).

Four (six) Mantras of Love (45-minutes)

  1. Darling, I am here for you.
  2. Darling, I know you are there and it makes me happy.
  3. Darling, I know you suffer. 
  4. Darling, I suffer, please help. 
  5.  (This is a Happy Moment.)
  6. (Darling, you are partly right.)

The last one is new and for when someone congratulates or criticizes you.

Perception and our mind. Subject of cognition and object of mind. The mind can be both the observed and the observer.

Three parts acting together. The notion of superposition. Three but one.

  1. The observer
  2. The observed
  3. Consciousness

The third part is the base, the foundation, for the observed. Thay has used the example of a piece of paper. The first two are the right and left side and the third is the paste (the paper itself). The third part has many names – different types of consciousnesses. For example, store consciousness.

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The Holiness of Mindfulness, Concentration, and Insight

April 30, 2012. 90-minute dharma talk by Thich Nhat Hanh from Lower Hamlet in Plum Village during the 12th annual Francophone Retreat. The talk is given in French with English translation. This is the second dharma talk.

We all have a spiritual body. We practice with our body as well as our mind. The body and the mind are together. Bhavana. To cultivate, produce. We need seeds, soil, water, etc. We want to cultivate the good seeds. Cultivate understanding and love. We use mindfulness. And mindfulness brings the energy of concentration. Then we arrive at the energy of insight. This is the Buddhanature.

Thay describes pepple meditation as a method to be truly present. Then we can use the mantra, Darling I here for you. In Plum Village, we also use the Five Mindfulness Trainings, the basis of which is Right View.

We continue with teachings on being, non-being, and the noble eightfold path.

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Dharma Talk Francophone Day 2 from Plum Village Online Monastery on Vimeo.

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Repairing the Past

April 8, 2012. 115-minute recording given at The University of Nottingham by Thich Nhat Hanh. The sangha is on the UK and Ireland Tour and this is third dharma talk for the Cultivating Happiness Family Retreat. We begin with Br. Phap Trien singing with the children, Sr. Chan Khong sharing about the Thich Nhat Hanh Continuation Fund (UK Donation, US Donation), monks and nuns chanting “From the Depths of Understanding” and then a short talk for the children on people meditation and the first mantra. The main talk begins at 55-minutes into the recording.

With the three kinds of energies – mindfulness, concentration, and insight – we can produce Right View, Right Thinking, Right Speech, Right Action (karma), Right Livelihood, and Right Diligence. The Noble Eightfold Path.

What if yesterday I have produced a thought of hate, and I had the intention to punish? Is it too late, because I produced that thought yesterday, you may ask? It’s not good to produce such a thought. Because it is going on now. It is your continuation. And that is not a beautiful continuation. You don’t want to be continued like that. So today, looking back, I regret that I have produced such a thought of anger, hate, and what should I do? So the practice is to sit down and breathe and produce a thought of the opposite nature, a thought of non-discrimination, a thought of compassion, understanding, and as soon as the new thought is produced, full of understanding and love, that thought will catch up very easily with the other thought, and neutralise it. Right away. Because the nature of our thought is nonlocal. It doesn’t have to travel much, it can catch up the thought of yesterday very easily, and you can neutralise it. Everything comes from the mind. So it is possible to repair the past. The past is still available. And if you are established in the here and the now, you have the opportunity to repair the past. Even if our parents have done something regrettable, even if our ancestors had done something regrettable, the past is still there, and we continue to suffer, and our ancestors continue in us to suffer. So with the Dharma, with the practice, we sit down and we embrace that, and produce the kind of thought, of compassion, understanding, that can neutralise what was wrong, wrongly done in the past. It is possible. It liberates us, and liberates our parents and ancestors. This is possible. Our ancestors expect us to do that. It is nice to encounter the teaching and the practice, and with that practice, we can change the past. And of course, change the future.

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Repairing the Past from Plum Village Online Monastery on Vimeo.

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Beloved Community

September 9, 2011. 92-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 third dharma talk for the Together We Are One retreat.

Thay teaches the children the practice of pebble meditation: 1) Flower: Fresh, 2) Mountain: Solid, 3) Water: Calm, 4) Space: Free. And talks of the first two mantras.

In Buddhism, we known the Buddha is a human being and we also believe in Mahayana Buddhism that we all have a Buddhanature. Building a practice community, a sangha, was one if the first things he did in order to help people. With a sangha, the practice is easier. The Buddha needed a sangha and so do we. We should build a sangha, and this is a noble practice. In Buddhism, the sangha is one of the Three Jewels. A good sangha is one that practices Mindfulness, concentration, and insight. Each of us is a cell in the body of the sangha. If we can save this planet, we will need this kind of energy. The energy generated by a sangha.

Thay shares with us about the nature of God and the nature of the Buddha, and how the we can find the Buddha-nature in everyone. He continues to share about the project of the Beloved Community started by Martin Luther King, Jr., and specifically the history of how Thay left Vietnam, was exiled, and met Dr. King. “Everyone of us can make a step mindfully, everyone of us can look mindfully and recognize the beauty of life. If we can recognize the beauty of the Dharma, we can recognize the Kingdom of God–we get in touch with the Kingdom of God. We don’t have to look anywhere outside, anywhere else.

A living sangha carries the living dharma. The way you practice. It can’t be found in a book. When you produce a thought of compassion, of understanding. If this is present, then the living Buddha is there also. You are also a cell in the body of the Buddha. You are a Buddha. Each one of us can take a step mindfully and see the beauty of life. When we are in touch with the flower, then we are in touch with the kingdom.

We are the Buddha. We are the dharma. We are the sangha.

We return to Buddhist psychology with the idea if store and mind consciousness. There is also a realm of non-thinking for other beings. We can practice samadhi to train ourselves to stop the thinking. We can enjoy our breathing. Enjoy the feeling. Leave the thinking.

There is the “mind base” – manas – this is unconcious. Eye. Ear. Nose. Tongue. Body. And the sixth is manas (mind). It is characterized by pleasure seeking and avoiding suffering. Manas ignores the goodness of suffering. Manas ignores the law of moderation.

“When you bow to the Buddha, you don’t view the Buddha as an entity wholly separate from you. I am in you, and you are in me. There is no longer any complex. That is the wisdom of non-discrimination: nirvikalpajnana.”

The talk is available below. A video version is available in two parts: children’s talk and beloved community.

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Applied Buddhism, or Applied Ethics

May 17, 2011. 120-minute dharma talk given in English, with consecutive translation into German, with Thich Nhat Hanh. This is the first Dharma talk offered by Thay in the German Retreat at the European Institute of Applied Buddhism in Waldbröl, Germany.

Being present with walking. Every step is to celebrate that you are alive. Walking meditation can be a festival. You can be in the Kingdom of God, I’m the Pure Land. When you can do this, you don’t need anything else. The Kingdom is love; it is understanding; it is freedom. Then you can offer it to others.

There are two aspects to this freedom. The first is to stop. To stop running into the future. Happiness is possible in the here and now. The second aspect is to calm. To release. The Buddha offered a number of exercises to stop and calm.

Mindfulness, Concentration, Insight. Happiness and suffering – these are linked. The Buddha talked about suffering and happiness in his very first dharma talk through the Four Noble Truths. The Buddha offered the Sixteen Exercises of Mindful Breathing.

Thay teaches pebble meditation, mindfulness of breathing, and on the practice of applied ethics.

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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Now is the Time: Mantras and Sutras

April 18, 2011. 112-minute dharma talk given in English, with consecutive translation into Mandarin, with Thich Nhat Hanh. This is the second day of a five-day retreat in Taipei, Taiwan. Please note, the first 20-minutes of the talk has really low volume but it does improve after that.

The Four Noble Truths. Suffering and happiness are inseparable. Offering your true presence. In this talk, Thay introduces the Four Mantras in the context of the Anapanasati Sutta. Included is also an introduction to pepple meditation and some mindful movements.

The first mantra is, darling, I am here for you.

The Buddha taught exercises for mindful breathing. Recognize and follow are the first two exercises. By following, there is no interruption of mindfulness. The third exercise is being aware of your whole body. Formations. Everything is a formation. My body is a formation. And the fourth exercise is to release the tension in my body.

Producing a feeling of joy and of happiness are the fifth and sixth exercises. These are mental formations. Breathing in, I know that I am alive. Breathing out, I smile to life.

The next exercises ask you to recognize and embrace painful feelings. Today we will talk of mindfulness of anger. Recognize the anger and embrace with mindfulness.

We now return to the mantras. The third is darling, I know that you suffer and I am here for you. The forth is much more difficult. Darling, I suffer and I want you to know it. I am trying my best to practice. Please help me.

The Sutra on Mindful Breathing is a wonderful text for practice.

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Understanding Our Mind: Subject and Object

March 27, 2011. 105-minute dharma talk given in English, with consecutive translation into Thai, with Thich Nhat Hanh on the third day of the Understanding Our Mind retreat at Mahachulalongkornrajavidhayalaya Buddhist University (MCU) in Bangkok, Thailand.

Thay speaks about mental formations and the nature of their manifestation in the mind. Specific topics covered in this talk include begin present, the five mantras (first two only), pepple meditation, and non-duality. On subject and object: each of the mental formations have a subject and an object and they manifest at the same time. On cause and effect: this is because that is. On the Five Skandha: there are five sections that represent form, feelings, perceptions, mental formations, consciousness but they manifest from the same thing.

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

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Teachings on Love

March 2, 2011. 100-minute Dharma Talk in French given by Thich Nhat Hanh at Assembly of Stars, Lower Hamlet, Plum Village, France. This is the second day of the 5-day French Retreat and the translation is provided by Sr. Pine.

Let’s love each other. In order to be there for each other, there is a practice. We have to stop all the inner talking. Practice breathing in with Mindfulness to bring our mind back the the body. To love is offering your presence.

The second mantra of Plum Village. I know you are there, and I am very happy. When I walk with the sangha, it is exactly the same because the sangha is my love.

Walking meditation together on the hill of the 21st century. Our collective energy can heal and transform us. To walk is to love. The same can be said about sitting meditation. Peace. Concentration. Happiness.

Thay discusses a story from the Little Prince followed by a review of Pebble Meditation that is taught to children.  Four pepples: Flower. Mountain. Still water. Space.

In true love, we should enjoy each other. It has been said, to love is not to look at each other, but to look in the same direction.

Elements of True Love. Maitri. Lovingkindness. Love is first friendship. To produce happiness. Karuna. Compassion. To transform suffering. Mudita. Joy. We offer joy to ourself and the. Upeksha. Equanimity. Absence of boundary. Non- discrimination. Your joy is my joy. These four elements are the Four Immeasurable Minds.

Love begins with myself.

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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