Blue Cliff Monastery Retreats

Beginning Our Practice of Mindfulness


August 26, 2013. 87-minute dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh from Blue Cliff Monastery in Pine Bush, New York during the 2013 Nourishing Great Togetherness teaching tour. This is the first dharma talk for the 6-day retreat with the theme Transformation and Healing – The Art of Suffering. We begin with two chants from the monastics.


  • Why do we want to practice breathing-in and breathing-out? We don’t have to suffer and we can produce the energy of joy.
  • First exercise of mindful breathing
  • Walking in the kingdom is an end in itself
  • Three Energies: Mindfulness, Concentration, Insight
  • Second exercise of mindful breathing
  • Third exercise of mindfulbreathing – aware of body
  • Fourth exercise of mindful breathing – relax body
  • Fifth exercise of mindful breathing – producing joy
  • Sixth exercise of mindful breathing – producing happiness
  • Seventh exercise of mindful breathing – aware of painful feeling
  • Eighth exercise of mindful breathing – embrace painful feeling
  • Store and mind consciousness with mental formations
  • Teaching of The Second Arrow
  • Five Universal Mental Formatioms (Contact, Attention , Feeling , Perception, Volition)
  • Five Particular Mental Formations (intention, resolution, mindfulness, concentration, and insight)

Plum Village Retreats

Mind, Mindfulness, and the Three Concentrations


July 19, 2012. 119-minute recording given at Upper Hamlet, Plum Village by Thich Nhat Hanh. This is the tenth dharma talk of the Summer Opening and the talk was originally given in French. This is an English translation. We begin with chanting and a short guided meditation getting in touch with our parents.

The teaching on “nothing is born and nothing dies” for the children. How do we live with happiness?

At 34-minutes, Sister Chan Khong introduces Alexandra from L’Express magazine who is preparing  a special issue on happiness. She will interview Thay  because he is a master of happiness.

  1. How can zen Buddhism help us westerns who are in a crisis in our society ?
  2. Can we reach our children to be happy?
  3. What is your definition of happiness?

We can use the exercises on mindful breathing starting with the first eight exercises. Mental formations are explored in the ninth exercise. The three concentrations taught in all Buddhist traditions: emptiness, signlessness, aimlessness.