English/French Plum Village Retreats

Pebble Meditation: Children’s Talk


July 16, 2011. 56-minute dharma talk for the children. Thich Nhat Hanh speaks in French, with English translation provided by Sister Pine, from New Hamlet, Plum Village, France. The sangha is in the annual Summer Opening Retreat.

Four positions of the body. We should hold our body in order to have peace. How can we sit on a lotus flower. When we have peace, we can have freedom and happiness.

Happiness is also possible using mantras. The first is “My dear, I am here for you.” To be there is a practice. We can do this by bringing our mind and body together. The second is “I know you are there and I’m very happy.” It’s just as easy to apply as the first. The person you love is there. The first was to recognize our own presence and the second is to recognize the other.

The quality of our presence is also important. One practice we can use to help with quality is Pebble Meditation. Using a sack of four pebbles to practice a self-guided meditation on being fresh as a flower, solid as a mountain, reflective like water, and free as space. Specific instruction is given for each step.

In the concluding 15-minutes, we are led through the mindful movements.

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

Plum Village

The Girl Without a Button


February 13, 2011. 76-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh from New Hamlet, Plum Village. We begin with chanting – The Heart of Perfect Understanding in French and The Three Refuges in English.

Sitting here, we try to look deeply at the other person. The person we love. What are they doing? If we know how to sit quietly, then we see that person clearly even if they are not present. Sometimes we need to be far away in order to see the relationship more clearly. Thay shares a story by Hans Christian Andersen called A Great Grief.

We travel to space and look at the earth. It is so dark in space, but when we look back we see how earth is so beautiful. If we look deeply, we can see the billions of people and what they are doing to each other. Sometimes we need to go far away to see the value. This is what some astronauts have said upon return.

How do we treasure that person? How do we treasure the planet? That picture from space can be a bell of mindfulness. To understand and to see. To wake up. We need to teach our children the preciousness of the planet, of life.

Sutra of Flowers and Fragrance from the dhammapada. So far, we have learned three chapters from the Chinese texts and these only exist in the Chinese, but this sutra is also available in the Pali. However, the Chinese has 13 more verses. We have drafted an English text. today we learn the first four verses.

The talk was given in Vietnamese with English translation and is available below (French and original Vietnamese audio are also available, as well as video version).