Nottingham Retreat: Final Talk

April 10, 2012. 97-minute recording given at The University of Nottingham by Thich Nhat Hanh. The sangha is on the UK and Ireland Tour and this is final dharma talk for theĀ Cultivating Happiness Family Retreat.

In this talk we review the 16-exercises from the Sutra on the Full Awareness of Breathing followed by the teaching on the Three Doors of Liberation: emptiness, signlessness, and aimlessness.

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Nottingham Retreat: Question & Answer Session

April 9, 2012. 118-minute recording given at The University of Nottingham by Thich Nhat Hanh. The sangha is on the UK and Ireland Tour and this is the question and answer session for the Cultivating Happiness Family Retreat. After the monastics do chanting, the questions begin about 12-minutes into the recording. A good question can help many people, so we should ask a question of the heart.

Questions from the children

If feels as if my mother treats my brother better than me; how can I make it feel fair?
Have you ever hurt someone on purpose?
Where do get ideas for your books?
When you started learning meditation, did you suffer?
What is it like in Plum Village?
From your point of view, why is the meaning of life, the universe, and everything?

Questions from teens and adults.

Do you have a special object?
What are the benefits of being a monk?
What are your views on assisted suicide?
Is there a difference between engaged Buddhism and applied Buddhism?
What is consciousness? Mind?
How can I build confidence without external substances?
How do I help a family with four children whose father committed suicide?
What is the importance of dreams?
What is the role of competition within mindfulness?
How can we be free in our thinking?

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Nottingham Retreat: Question & Answer Session 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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Hands Practicing Non-Violence

April 7, 2012. 130-minute recording given at The University of Nottingham by Thich Nhat Hanh. The sangha is on the UK and Ireland Tour and this is second dharma talk for the Cultivating Happiness Family Retreat. We begin with the new chant by Br. Phap Linh called “Praising the Three Jewels,” followed by a short talk for the children. The main talk begins at 54-minutes into the recording.

Flower Fresh. Breathing in, I see myself as a flower. Breathing out, I feel fresh and I smile. The whole body of a child is a flower. We are all flowers in the garden of humanity. With meditation, we can keep our flowerness for a long time. Thay teaches us how to offer each other a greeting in mindfulness by offering each other a lotus flower.

“I don’t think that the Buddha is outside of me. He is inside of me. Because I got a lot from the Buddha, I learn a lot of the Dharma, if I have compassion, understanding and non-discrimination, that’s thanks to the Buddha, so the Buddha is in me. And my hand also contains the hand of the Buddha. This hand has been practising non-violence. My two hands have not for a long time harmed any living beings. They practise protecting life, not killing. There is a compassion, there is love in my two hands. So I know the Buddha is in my two hands. So every time I want the Buddha to touch me, that is easy. I just put my hand here and I see the hand of the Buddha touching me, it’s wonderful. Now you might like to try.”

The most tricky word is “to be” because nothing can be itself alone. Everything is composed of everything else. Interbeing. This is because that is. This is the foundation of Buddhist ethics. Both The Five- and Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings are grounded in this concept of Interbeing. Birth. Death. Being. Nonbeing.

Thay outlines some important aspects and teachings from the five mindfulness Trainings. In particular, the fourth training on loving speech and deep listening.

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Hands Practicing Non-Violence from Plum Village Online Monastery on Vimeo.

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Cultivating Happiness with the Bell

April 6, 2012. 115-minute dharma talk given at The University of Nottingham by Thich Nhat Hanh. The sangha is on the UK and Ireland Tour and this is the first dharma talk for the Cultivating Happiness Family Retreat. The recording begins with a couple of practice songs before Thay enters the meditation hall followed by 10-minutes of chanting.

At 18-minutes into the recording, Thay gives a talk for the children present at the retreat. Cultivating happiness. We begin with a story of a teacher who implements coming back to oneself in the classroom by breathing and resting together. The practice helped the students and teacher in the classroom. The teacher used a bell in a classroom, so Thay teaches us about inviting the bell and how to be a bell master.

At 56-minutes into the recording, we begin the primary talk. The focus of our talk is on mindful breathing. This has to do with our suffering and our happiness. Exercise #5, from the Sutra on Full Awareness of Breathing, is cultivating joy, followed by #6 on cultivating happiness and #7 is to recognize a painful feeling and #8 is calming the painful feeling.

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I Send My Heart Along with the Sound of this Bell from Plum Village Online Monastery on Vimeo.

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A Cultivated Mind Can Bring Happiness

April 5, 2012. 125-minute dharma talk given at The University of Nottingham by Thich Nhat Hanh. The sangha is on the UK and Ireland Tour and this is orientation for the Cultivating Happiness Family Retreat.

We begin with an introduction to chanting. By recognizing the suffering in ourselves and the world, we can gain understanding and compassion. The Avalokiteshvara chant begins about 23-minutes into the recording.

About 46-minutes into the recording, a short dharma talk is given by Thay. A cultivated mind can bring a lot of happiness. This is the practice that can transform the suffering. How do we cultivate? Awareness of breathing is a form of enlightenment. We are practicing to come back to the here and now. Following this talk, the monastics (Brother Phap Ung and Brother Phap Lai) continue with some of the basic practices such as listening to the sound of the bell, eating, noble silence, and listening to dharma talks.

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Cultivating the Mind: Nottingham Retreat Orientation from Plum Village Online Monastery on Vimeo.

 

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