Relaxing in the Present Moment

The 58-minute dharma talk offered by Thich Nhat Hanh took place at the New Hamlet of Plum Village on November 10, 2005. The audio is linked below and video is available for our donors on Patreon.

Please note, the recording begins with a few minor sound issues, but the dharma talk doesn’t begin until it is resolved by the sound team. We left it in the recording because it adds some character.

When we speak about dwelling in the present moment, we mean living deeply in every moment of our daily life. Do we know how to live in the present moment? It begins with relaxing ourselves and to stop running. To release our worries. Our tensions. Stopping our mental discourse. Do we know how to rest after a long day of work? To relax our mind and body? Mindfulness tells us the conditions for testing are there for us.

Awareness of breathing is exactly what we need to stop our mental discourse. To touch the conditions of happiness that are there. This is not hard work. We can free from our thinking and our body begins to relax, and to heal itself. Simple. We have to stop the mental discourse so we can be free in the present moment.

Walking to be present and aware of the present moment is also possible. We can relax during walking meditation too.

This practice is a practice freedom. 

A teaching on the historical and ultimate dimension as illustrated through drinking our tea, our coffee. Can you drink your tea in the ultimate dimension? Avata?saka S?tra.

In China, there was a time when they tried to bring Zen and the Pure Land together. In Plum Village, we practice Zen using the energy of mindfulness and insight but we also say the Pure and is available in the here and the now. The pure land is now or never. Thay shares a koan from that time that is still practiced today.

Who is the person invoking the name of the Buddha? 

This is the subject of our mediation. Both Zen and Pure Land practice this. Thay teaches on this koan – what is the purpose of this koan? This koan is an invitation. Thay then shares a Chinese story of two philosophers contemplating fish swimming. Are the fish happy?

Ni?m – mindfulness, recollection

We should always ask ourselves with any teaching, what does this teaching have to do with my suffering? It is not intellectual.


“Breathing In” is not just for Beginners

March 22, 2012. 80-minute talk from New Hamlet in Plum Village, France. The talk is given in English. We begin with 4-minutes of chanting in Vietnamese.

In Plum Village, our practice is to always go back to the present moment. We do this in many ways, like mindful breathing and mindful walking. Simple, but very important practices. We have the Sutra on the Full Awareness of Breathing is one of the most important sutras. In this talk we review the first six exercises.

When going through a difficult situation can be supported with these practices. It can be your second body. That is the Buddha.

Thay briefly discusses the Abidhamma literature – super dharma. Stick to the sutras and what they stay and don’t venture into metaphysical speculation.

Though past, present, and future look different, they are actually the same.
They are ideas. Notions. This is Interbeing.

Nothing is born. From nothing you cannot create something. This removes the notion of creation. This is something stated by science. This is the product of the intellect and is equivant to our idea of no birth and no death. Nothing has a separate existence.

“Breathing In” is not just for beginners. It is the most wonderful thing to do.