Sunday, May 31, 2015

Body, Feeling, Mind and the Object of Mind

Thay's message in the following video is very interesting. 
(From 19:48)

And we know that in the teaching of the Buddha, everything is connected with everything else. Although these four exercises have to do with the body, but they have to do with the feeling, with the mind and with the object of mind at the same time. We have not spoken of feelings and emotions. But we have not done anything in order to help our calming and transform our feelings and emotions. But by doing so, we already have effects on our feelings and on our emotions. Just taking care of our body, we take care of our feelings and emotions. Because while taking care of our body, we can already stop the mental discourse into us. We can already begin generating the feeling of joy, contentment, peace. So, the feelings are already here (in the first four exercises). Interbeing (interdependent co-arising). So, this kind of distinction is the arbitrary. 

With the fifth exercise, we officially come to the domain of feelings. Officially only. 
"Breathing in, I am aware of the feeling of joy in me." 
"Breathing out, I am aware of the feeling of joy in me." 

The sixth is about the happiness. 
"Breathing in, I am aware of the feeling of happiness in me." 
"Breathing out, I am aware of the feeling of happiness in me." 

And of course, this is not the practice of the auto-succession. Because the teaching is clear. Practitioners have the capacity of bringing in the feeling of joy and happiness. And the Buddha is very aware that we should be nourished in order to be able to bring our practice into completion. And how to nourish ourselves with joy and happiness, how to produce the feeling of joy, how to produce the feeling of happiness. And all of us, not only adults but the children need the feeling of joy and happiness in order to sustain ourselves. 

Thich Nhat Hanh

Saturday, May 30, 2015


Thay's message in the following video is very interesting. 
(from 11:40)

And we introduce the smile into the practice. Though smiling can be very relaxing, there are hundreds of your muscles on you face. And when you are tense, when you are angry, you can see the tension. When you look at the mirror, you can see all the tension on your face. The face of someone who is angry, who is worried, but if that person can bring himself or herself to smile, and then there will be a relaxation of all muscles. And the face is completely transformed. It's much more pleasant to look at. 

So, smiling has an effect of releasing all the muscles. And there are those who protest that kind of a smile, smiling. They may say , "If you don't have joy, why do you have to force yourself to smile?" But smiling here is a practice. It's a yoga practice, the yoga of the mouth. Because you have to respect your body. Our body is very important. We don't discriminate against our body. Our body should be respected as our mind. We respect our mind that we have to respect our body. Sometimes the mind takes the initiative. Sometimes the body should take the initiative. When you have a joy, you smile. That is the mind taking the initiative. When you just smile, then the joy will come later. Why do you have to discriminate against your body? Your body can initiate. --- So, we have to respect and see the value of the body. And we should allow our body to take initiatives from time to time. It's very important. Your love, your happiness depends on your body a lot. And your body can do a lot of things in order to bring about peace and happiness and respect and reverence.  

And we can go very far. Breathing in, I'm aware of a half smile of my lips. Breathing out, I smile to that smile. And then, you have a double smile. So, breathing in, I'm aware of my body. Breathing out, I smile to my body. It is very kind of you to smile to your body. You have been neglecting it. You have neglected your body for a long time. You have treated your body not with a lot of respect or gentleness. It's time to go home to the body and recognize it as something very precious and reconcile to it, smile to it. And that is what the Buddha suggested us to do. Aware of our body and allow our body to relax. So, to remove all the tension in the body, this is the very basic condition for healing. And we can see the universal value of the teaching and the practice. And not only the patient has to practice but the doctor has to practice also.

Everyone can be a victim of a burnout. And the practicing according to the Sutra on Mindful Breathing can prevent burnouts, can allow open the door of the healing. The Sutra on Mindful Breathing should be studied together with the Sutra of  Four Foundations of Mindfulness and the Sutra on the Contemplation of the Body (The Kayagatasati Sutta).


Thich Nhat Hanh

Friday, May 29, 2015

Breath and Body

Thay's message in the following video is very interesting.

The second exercise proposed by the Buddha is to follow your breath all the way through. Long or short. If your in-breath is short, allow it to be short. If your in-breath is long, allow it to be long. Just recognize it. You don't try to bend to work on your breath. No working here. Just enjoying. You recognize your in-breath as in-breath. If it is short, you recognize your in-breath as a short in-breath. If it is a long in-breath, you recognize as a long in-breath. Simple recognition is the word. Don't try to make it long or short. It is short or long, it does not matter.What is important is to follow your breath all the way through. And this is called the practice of following your breath. This (1st exercise) is identification, to identify your breath and this (2nd exercise) is to follow your breath. The quality of your in-breath and out-breath will improve naturally by itself. So, the deep/slow will come by itself. 

And the third exercise of mindful breathing belonging to the category of body is the aware of the body, the whole body. Breathing in, aware of the whole body, breathing out. --- Being aware of my whole body, I breathe in. Be conscious of the whole body, I breathe out. --- So, it's very clear that on the third step, your attention comes to the body and not only to the breath. In the first two exercises, the object of mindfulness is the pure breath, pure breathing. With the third exercise, mindfulness embraces the whole body. Aware of my whole body, I breathe in. Aware of my whole body, I breathe out. Your energy of mindfulness embraces the whole body, the totality of your body, whether you are sitting or standing or lying down. 

And the fourth exercise. "Calming down the whole body, I breathe in. Calming down the whole body, I breathe out" is very methodic. It's very scientific. And step by step like that. 

1st: Aware of i/b and o/b  (i/b: in-breath, o/b: out-breath)
2nd: To follow the i/b and o/b all the way through
3rd: Become aware of the whole body
4th: Allowing your whole body to relax

This is the practice of healing of the body. There is no thinking. There is only mindfulness, focusing on the breath and the body. There is the concentration on the in-breath and the out-breath. There is the concentration on the body. So, the practice of deep total relaxation is based on these four exercises. --- We go further. We recognize each part of our body from the head to the toes. And we practice scanning our body. --- In our practice, we scan our body with the ray of mindfulness.


Thich Nhat Hanh

Thursday, May 28, 2015


Thay's message in the following video is very interesting.

(from 3:13)
In Plum Village, you are offered gathas (short verses):
in / out
deep / slow
calm / ease
smile / release
present moment / wonderful moment

The most wonderful thing that happens during your practice is the mental discourse is stopped. When you focus your attention on in-breath and out-breath and just pay attention to your in-breath and out-breath, the thinking stops. The mental discourse that has been going on always stops. The state of non-thinking happens. And this is very important.

Our initial thinking and our applied thinking usually take us away from the here and the now. And it is the mental discourse that is always going on in our mind. We are preoccupied by that discourse. And the mental discourse brings about worry, fear, irritation, all kinds of afflictions that prevent the healing of our body and of our mind. And that is why it is very important to stop the mental discourse. Without the practice of mindful breathing, it's difficult to stop the mental discourse.

If the mental discourse is stopped and if you begin to enjoy in-breath and out-breath, your body will restore its capacity of self-healing. And we have to believe in our body. Our body is a nature. It has a capacity of healing by itself.

The animals in the forest, they still have a capacity of resting. Every time the animal gets wounded, the animal knows what to do. It looks for a quiet place. It just lies down. Because the experience of several generations of that species according to it, the only way to heal is to rest, to lie down and rest. And the animals in the forest, they still know that. They have a capacity of resting. Because to allow your body to rest and do not put it under pressure, that is the basic condition of healing.

But we humans, we have lost our capacity of healing. When we get wounded, we get sick, we worry, we go to the doctor, we get a lot of prescriptions and the medicines. But what we need the most, is resting. We don't do it. We can not do it. We don't have a capacity of allowing our mind to rest. We don't have a capacity of allowing our body to rest. That is the basic obstacles of healing of ourselves and of the world. And the practice of mindful breathing can come and rescue us from them. Because when you breathe in and out mindfully, and if you know how to enjoy your in-breath and out-breath, you can stop suppressing, you can stop the turbulence in your mind. You can stop the unrest in your body. You are able to rest and that is the basic conditions of healing.

And that is why all of us, whether we are physicians or nurses or patients, we know the practice of mindful breathing will benefit all of us. Whether you are a healer or a sick person to be healed, you can benefit from the practice of mindful breathing because it can bring calm and it can bring release to the mind and body. If you just allow, authorize your body and your mind to rest, the healing will come by itself. And we get to have confidence in nature, in our body, the capacity of self-healing.

Yesterday I said, "I did not sleep well, very well", but I don't worry. Because if you worry, you prevent the healing. You have to have deep trust in nature, in your body. So, breathing in and breathing out, you express your trust to your body. You don't have to ask some supernatural power very far away to help you. You just express your trust to your body.


Orangutan, Indonesia Photo by Rob Kroenert

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

"Recommendation" 「忠告」

by Thich Nhat Hanh

Promise me,
promise me this day,
promise me now,
while the sun is overhead
exactly at the zenith,
promise me:

Even as they
strike you down
with a mountain of hatred and violence;
even as they step on you and crush you
like a worm,
even as they dismember and disembowel you,
remember, brother,
man is not our enemy.

The only thing worthy of you is compassion - 
invincible, limitless, unconditional.
Hatred will never let you face
the beast in man.

One day, when you face this beast alone,
with your courage intact, your eyes kind,
(even as no one sees them),
out of your smile 
will bloom a flower.
And those who love you
will behold you
across ten thousand worlds of birth and dying.

Alone again,
I will go on with bent head,
knowing that love has become eternal.
On the long, rough road,
the sun and the moon
will continue to shine. 

ティク・ナット・ハン 作






Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Just one mindful in-breath

Thay's message in the following video is very interesting.

It's clear that the practice is not only for the sitting meditation but the practice can be there every moment. He knows how to protect his body and six senses. And the energy of protection is the energy of mindfulness generated by the practice of breathing and walking. With the mindful breathing and mindful walking, your mind is always there for you, with you, with the body. So, that is protection. If you are not there, who will do the work of protection? So, to protect means you are there. You should be there. Body and mind together.

He holds his mindfulness in front of him. This is the way of speaking. Mindfulness is always mindfulness of something. Whether it is mindfulness of breathing or walking or sitting, the subject of mindfulness and the object of mindfulness are always together. Holding our mindfulness in front of us means to keep our mindfulness always there, always mindful. Releasing all worries' persuit, it means that you don't think any more of your projects, of your business, of what to do next. You release all preoccupations in order to be free for the practice and let go of his anger, pervert, restlessness, regret, doubt. These are five kinds of obstacles, hindrances. And a good practitioner is always able to remove these five elements of the mind.

In fact, our breathing belongs to the category of body, part of the body. There are four foundations of mindfulness. The first is the body(身), the second is the feelings(受), the third is mind(心) and the fourth is the object of mind(法). And the four exercises of mindful breathing, the first four proposed by Buddha focus on the contemplation of the body on the body. And usually we classify six sense organs to the category of body, and our breath belongs to the body.

And this is the first attempt to bring the mind back to the body. The first thing we have to do is to bring the mind back to the body. And the royal entrance is our breathing. That is the main door. That is why we touch our body with the mind. It's like when you enter a house, you use the door. So, the breathing is the door by which you can enter the body. That is why I said that is the "royal path, royal door, royal way" to return to yourself. You have been neglecting yourself. You have abandoned yourself. You have run away from your body. And now is time to go back. And you go back by the way of breathing. And you can go home very quickly, riding on your in-breath. So, breathing in, I know I'm breathing in. During the first two seconds of your breathing in, your mind is already touching your body through your breath. It is a matter of a second, bringing your mind back to your body. Breathing in, I know this is my in-breath. So, the mind touches the body, the mind touches the breath.

Suppose this is my in-breath.The beginning is here and the end is here. And without my mind. My mind is the finger. So, I breathe without my mind. This is not mindful breathing. Now I begin to breathe mindfully. Breathing in, I know I'm breathing in. Mind together with the breath. Mindfulness is mindfulness of breathing. Because mindfulness is always mindfulness of something. The mind does not exist separately. Whether it is with the breath or with something else. Mind can not be mind without subject. This is very important to know and to remember. Consciousness is always consciousness of something. There can not be subject without object. It's like the left and the right, above and below. You can not imagine mind as a separate entity from its subject, from its object. This is impossible. So, mindfulness is the part of the mind. Mindfulness should always be mindfulness of something. If there is mindfulness, and then there is the object of mindfulness at the same time. Mindfulness of drinking, mindfulness of walking, mindfulness of breathing.

We know very well that when our mind is not there with the body, this situation is called the distraction, life is not real. Because we are not exactly there. So, mindful breathing helps you to establish yourself in the here and the now. And that is possible because mind and body join together. And this is done with the mindful breathing. Suddenly, you are there. Suddenly, you are present. Suddenly, you become alive, just thanks to one mindful in-breath. So, this is the miracle already. So, the breath is something like a bridge between the body and the mind. The body is the here (left suspension) and the mind may be there (right suspension), separated. But once the mind touches the breath, breathing in, I know I'm breathing in, body and mind come together. And with the one in-breath, you can realize the fruit called the oneness of body and mind. Just a few seconds help you to realize the fruit of the practice, oneness of the body and mind. With the oneness of the body and mind, you are established in the here and the now where life is available

Suddenly, you become alive. Suddenly, you become present. Fully alive, fully present. That depends on the energy of mindfulness in you. If the energy of mindfulness is solid and strong, you become very alive and very present. And you are in a situation to be in touch with life inside and around you, in touch deeply. And the energy of mindfulness has been generated and you are inhabited by the energy of mindfulness. And you are very close to being the Buddha because the Buddha is always inhabited by the energy of mindfulness, concentration and insight. And we know that the energy of mindfulness carry within itself the energy of concentration and insight


Thich Nhat Hanh

Monday, May 25, 2015

Right Thinking

CHAPTER TEN - Right Thinking
(from "The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching" by Thich Nhat Hanh)

The followings are Thay's precious messages in this Chapter and my commentaries.

1. "When Right View is solid in us, we have Right Thinking." 
⇒ If the subject (thinker) is mindful and has the right view (we are all the same, namely the whole cosmos), s/he (non-separate self) has right thinking. So, there is no danger of wrong thinking based on the wrong view (I am special, separate) by separate self.

2. "Thinking is the speech of our mind." 
⇒ Thinking is the mental action. (Speech is the verbal action.)

3. "Right Thinking is needed to take us down the path of Right Action." 
⇒ Right thinking leads us to the right speech and action. So, right thinking is the positive thinking or the positive motivation without ill feeling.

4. "Right Thinking reflects the way things are. Wrong thinking causes us to see in an "upside-down way"." 
⇒ In order to see the reality as it is (suchness), we need to stop thinking and be mindful. So, right thinking is possible when we are mindful after stopping thinking. 

5. "When we concentrate on our breathing, we bring body and mind back together and become whole again." 
⇒ If the subject is separate self (ego), mind and body are not unified. If the subject is non-separate self (true self), mind and body are unified. Mindfulness (eg. conscious breathing) is the key.

6. "Descartes said, "I think, therefore I am". Thay said, "I think, therefore I am not"." 
⇒ Descartes means that "ego thinks, therefore ego is". Thay means that "ego thinks, therefore true self is not".

7. "Mindful breathing helps us stop being preoccupied by sorrows of the past and anxieties about the future. It helps us be in touch with life in the present moment." 
⇒ Life is only available in the here and the now. So, we need to be mindful always.

8. "In the first stage of meditative concentration, both kinds of thinking (initial thought and developing thought) are present. In the second stage, neither is there. We are in deeper contact with reality, free of words and concepts."
⇒ We need to stop thinking to touch the wonders of life. Words and concepts are obstacles to attain insight.

9. "There are four practices related to Right Thinking:
(1) "Are You Sure?"
Ask yourself this question again and again. Wrong perceptions cause incorrect thinking and unnecessary suffering.
⇒ Be sure!

(2) "What Am I Doing?"
"Sometimes I ask one of my students, "What are you doing?" to help him release his think about the past or the future and return to the present moment. Asking yourself, What am I doing? will help you overcome the habit of wanting to complete things quickly. When your thinking is not carrying you away and you do things in mindfulness, you will be happy and a resource for many others."
⇒ Do just one thing in mindfulness!

(3) "Hello, Habit Energy. "
"Our way of acting depends on our way of thinking, and our way of thinking depends on our habit energies. When we recognize this, we only need to say, "Hello, habit energy," and make good friends with our habitual patterns of thinking and acting. When we can accept these ingrained thoughts and not feel guilty about them, they will lose much of their power over us." 
⇒ Make good friends with your Habit Energy!

(4) "Bodhichitta (mind of love)"
"Our "mind of love" is the deep wish to cultivate understanding in ourselves in order to bring happiness to many beings. It is the motivating force for the practice of mindful living. With bodhichitta at the foundation of our thinking, everything we do or say will help others be liberated."
⇒ Have the deep wish to cultivate understanding in ourselves in order to bring happiness to many beings!

10. The Buddha offered many ways to help us to transform troublesome thoughts. Two examples are as follows:
(1) to replace an unwholesome thought with a wholesome one by "changing the peg."
(2) to keep unwholesome thoughts from arising by living in a
wholesome environment, a community that practices mindful living.

⇒ There are many ways but we need to transform ourselves from separate self (ego) to non-separate self (true self) at the end.

11. "Right Thinking is thinking that is in accord with Right View. When you practice Right View and Right Thinking, you dwell deeply in the present moment, where you can touch seeds of joy, peace, and liberation, heal and transform your suffering, and be truly present for many others."
⇒ For that, we need to practice Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration. 

12. "Think non-thinking" is a well-known statement in Zen.":

When Priest Yaoshan was sitting in meditation, a monk asked, 

“What do you think about, sitting in steadfast composure?” 

Yaoshan said, “I think not thinking.” 

The monk said, “How do you think not thinking?” 

Yaoshan said, “Non-thinking.” 

(The Commentary): Abide in neither thinking nor not thinking. Thinking is linear and sequential, a separation from the reality that is the subject of thought, and thus is an abstraction rather than the reality itself. Not thinking is suppressive. It cuts away thoughts the moment they arise, making the mind into a great impenetrable mountain - dead, unresponsive. Non-thinking has no such edges. It is the boundless mind of samadhi that neither holds on to, nor lets go of, thoughts. It is the manifestation of the buddha mind in which the dualism of self and other, thinking and not thinking dissolve. This is the dharma of thusness that is the right thought of all the buddhas in the ten directions.

⇒ It depends on who is thinking "non-thinking", whether separate self (ego) or non-separate self (true self).


Lotus flower at Plum Village

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Fruits of the practice of mindful breathing

Thay's message in the following video is very interesting. 

If we practice correctly, the practice will become joyful, pleasant. And what you obtain as the fruits of the practice of mindful breathing and mindful walking are: 

1) peaceful dwelling (安住) (cf. froglessness)
You feel good within yourself. You are capable of accepting yourself as you are. You don't feel the need of becoming another person, going somewhere else. You have peace within you. You feel that you have the stability. You don't envy the appearance, the situation of another person. You don't want to be another person. And you are satisfied where you are and who you are.

2) arriving (I have arrived, I'm home.)
You have the capacity of living happily in the present moment. You realize that life is available only in the here and the now. And with the practice of mindful breathing, you can settle in the here and the now. You feel settled, you feel contentment. And that energy that used to push you to the future or to pull you to the past can no longer be an obstacle and you are free. You enjoy establishing yourself in the present moment. You have alive. You feel you have alive. You feel you are home. Your home is not in the future. Your happiness is not in the future. And it is possible in the here and the now. 

3) interbeing (interdependent co-arising)
You realize the nature of interbeing. You know that you are not a separate self, a separate entity. When you look at your son, you don't see that your son is a separate entity. Your son or daughter is your continuation. And looking deeply into your son, into your daughter, you see you in him or in her. And when you look into yourself, you see your son and your daughter in you. You realize the nature of interbeing. So, we inter-are. I am because you are. I am like this because you are like that. And we see the nature of interbeing. I can not take you out of me. If I could, I am no longer myself. You can not take me out of you. If you do, you are not who you are now. So, that is the inside of interbeing. And when we are able to touch the nature of interbeing in us, division, discrimination, ignorance will stop. There will be harmony. There will be love. There will be solidarity. There will be happiness. So, our practice is to look deeply while breathing mindfully so that we can realize our nature of interbeing

4) no-birth (no arriving)
"No birth" means "no death". No coming, no going. And this is the ultimate dimension. In the ultimate dimension, there is no coming, no going. No birth, no death. And when you have touched your nature of "no birth and no death", you are utterly free, free from fear, free from despair, free from everything. It is like when a wave touches water within herself, she loses all of her fears and discrimination. And this can be done with the practice of mindful breathing.


Saturday, May 23, 2015

Life as a wave or Life as water?

Thay's message in the following video is very interesting. 

With the practice of mindful breathing, we can also touch the ultimate dimension of our life. We can touch the Buddha land (Pure land of Buddha). We can touch the Kingdom of God. We can touch Nirvana in each moment of our daily life. 

In these days, I practice the walking meditation in a way that I can touch not only the present but I can also touch the past and the future. And I can touch the ultimate dimension. We live in a historical dimension expressed by time and space. There is the past, there is the present, there is the future. There is the here and the there. And that is the historical dimension. According to the teaching, if you live the historical dimension deeply, you can touch the ultimate dimension. Of course, with the energy of mindfulness and concentration. 

My practice these days is to make steps that can help me touch the reality that transcends time and space. Suppose making a step, I touch my birth, the moment of my birth, and I see that I am being born while I touch the ground with my foot. It means that I was not exactly born 80 years ago, I am born now. So, you touch your birth, now you are born. But you don't just touch your birth. You touch your so-called death at the same time. So, you can be born and can die at the same time. 

In exactly one moment, you'll understand. And walking like that, you don't think that you are going to die in the future because you are dying now. You are dying now, and you are born also now. So, you touch the nonlocal, the nontemporal. Time and space disappear. In quantum physics, they begin to speak about the nonlocal connection between the quantum. And nonlocal connection becomes the most characteristic of quantum physics. 

And it is possible to for us to touch the historical dimension very deeply so that we may touch the ultimate dimension at the same time. Suppose we contemplate a wave, arising on the surface of the ocean. As far as the appearance is concerned, we see there is a moment we call the birth, the manifestation of the wave, the beginning of the wave. And there is another moment we can call the end, the death of the wave. So, we can see the wave going up and going down. There is the beginning, there is the end. There is the going up, there is the going down. 

So, there is time and a space. The wave is presented in a frame of time and space. There is a beginning, there is an end. This wave is not the other wave. This wave is here and the other wave is there. So, the frame is seen in the frame of space and time. But all of us know that the wave is made of water. And it is possible for a wave to live her life as a wave. And her life was a water at the same time. Because the wave is water right now. See, there is no need to die in order to become water. The water is right now, right here. That is why it is possible for a wave to live her life as a wave and to live her life as water at the same time. 

And we know that when a wave is capable of touching herself deeply, she will realize she is water. And the moment she realizes she is water, and then she is no longer afraid of coming and going, of going up or going down, of beginning or ending, because she has touched her true nature in the ultimate dimension. As a wave, you may be scared but as water, you are no longer fearful. So, going up is a joy and going down is also a joy. And the wave can touch her ultimate dimension. 

So, the practice of meditation, the practice of looking deeply, touching deeply help us to touch the historical dimension deeply so that we have a chance to touch our ultimate dimension at the same time. So, it is possible that with one in-breath, with one out-breath, with a step, we can touch the nature of no birth and no death, we can transcend time and space, we can touch the nature of birthlessness and deathlessness like a wave. And this can be seen in the later part of the Sutra of mindful breathing.


Wave Photo by Joel Bramley

Friday, May 22, 2015

Practice of mindful breathing

Thay's message in the following video is very interesting. 

Even Thay didn't sleep a lot last night.

The Buddha liked the practice of mindful breathing. And after he had become a Buddha, he continued the practice of mindful breathing. So, practicing mindful breathing was not exactly for the purpose of becoming a Buddha. 

People say, "Thay does not teach much. He only teaches about breathing-in and breathing-out" and which is true. We only need to practice mindful breathing. That's enough.

Investigation and reflection have to do with thinking. And this is the positive thinking. This is the right thinking. By practicing right thinking, we have elements of wisdom. We can have access to the elements of wisdom. His mind will be calm and pure. And he will have perceptions leading to wisdom. And he will be able to bring his practice to completion. That is a kind of perception, right perception. They are called as parts of wisdom

Perceptions conducive to parts of wisdom (明分想). So, he will acquire positive investigation and reflection that is about right thinking. He will be calm and pure. That is the effect of calming and purification. And he will have perceptions leading to wisdom. And he will be able to bring his practice to completion. So, the practice of mindful breathing has a very important place in the Buddhist teaching and practice.

I myself have gone through difficult moments in a war, a division of a country, the death of my mother, the difficulties within the Buddhist community. I was sick. I had a depression. And it is thank to the mindful breathing that I could overcome all these difficult moments. So, I have a very strong conviction in the effectiveness of the practice.


Thich Nhat Hanh

Thursday, May 21, 2015

The energy エネルギー

My understanding of the energy of mindfulness, concentration and insight is as follows:

1. The energy of mindfulness:
(1) The energy of recognizing what is going on inside and around 
     us (eg. suffering)
(2) The energy of embracing the suffering tenderly
(3) The energy of relieving the suffering

2. The energy of concentration:
(1) The energy of listening deeply to the suffering
(2) The energy of looking deeply into the suffering
(3) The energy of understanding the root cause of the suffering 

3. The energy of insight:
(1) The energy of generating love and compassion
(2) The energy of healing the suffering (the energy of compassion)
(3) The energy of transforming the suffering to peace, joy and 
     happiness (the energy of love and compassion)



1. マインドフルネス(念)のエネルギーとは、
(1) 私たちの内面と周囲で何が起こっているかを認識するエネルギー
(2) 苦しみを優しく抱きしめる(受け容れる)エネルギー
(3) 苦しみを軽減するエネルギー

2. 集中のエネルギーとは、
(1) 苦しみに深く傾聴するエネルギー
(2) 苦しみを深く調査するエネルギー
(3) 苦しみの根本原因を理解(洞察)するエネルギー

3. 洞察のエネルギーとは、
(1) 愛と思いやりを発生させるエネルギー
(2) 苦しみを癒すエネルギー(慈悲のエネルギー)
(3) 苦しみを平和、喜び、幸せに変容するエネルギー(愛と思いやりの


Thich Nhat Hanh

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Living dharma body

The following is the excerpt from Thay's dharma talk of Singapore Retreat in 2010. Watch the following video from 1:32:50 to 1:44:48. 

In Buddhism, there is an expression, dharmakaya. It means a dharma body. Dharma body may have many meanings but the most simple meaning is your practice. Every Buddhist should have his or her dharma body. This dharma body may still be weak. And the practitioner does not know how to deal with the difficulties in his or her daily life. And that is why it is very important to help your dharma body to grow into a strong body. 

Not only the Buddha has his dharma body but every one of us, we have our own dharma body. With the good dharma body, we are capable of dealing with the pain and the suffering in us. With the strong dharma body, we can overcome the difficulties and get out of situations of the difficulties. With the strong dharma body, we can help other people to get out of their sufferings and their difficulties also. 

But if we use the word "practice", it is easier for people to understand rather than we use the word "dharma body". If you have a good practice, you will no longer be afraid and wherever you go, you will bring your practice with you and you can confront and deal with whatever difficulties you encounter. 

You can distinguish the spoken dharma, the written dharma and the living dharma. The practice (the dharma body) that we speak about here, is not the spoken dharma or the written dharma but the living dharma. The living dharma is the energy of mindfulness, concentration and insight that we generate by our practice. When you practice mindful breathing, you generate the energy of mindfulness and concentration. When you practice mindful walking, you generate the energy of mindfulness and concentration. 

Although you don't write anything about the dharma, although you don't say anything about the dharma, you are producing the living dharma by your practice. And that is why each of us has to ask the question as whether our dharma body or practice is strong enough. If our practice is solid enough, and there is no reason why we have to be afraid of the difficulties we encounter in our daily life. When we practice the mindfulness of the dharma, we know how to consolidate, how to help our dharma body (our practice) to grow. 

And the best way to learn and to nourish your dharma body, is the sangha. The sangha is a community of people who are capable of generating the living dharma. To me, a community that only speaks of a dharma, learns a dharma, writes a dharma down, is not an authentic sangha yet. A true sangha is a community of people in which everyone knows how to generate the energy of mindfulness, concentration and insight. And we can say that a true sangha is made of a true dharma, or living dharma.

In many Asian countries, we used to think that the sangha is made only of monastics. But in fact, the sangha can include the lay people, the powerful sangha. When you live with a community, when you find yourself in a community where everyone is capable of generating the energy of mindfulness, concentration and insight, you know that the living dharma is present. That is why it's easy to see that the true sangha is made of the true dharma, or the living dharma. And wherever the living dharma is, the Buddha is also.

The surest place for us to look for the Buddha is a sangha. Because in the true sangha, there is the living dharma. Wherever the living dharma is, the Buddha is. Many of us ask the question as where to find the Buddha. And my answer is that the true sangha is the surest place for you to find the Buddha. If we have a solid Buddha body, it means that we also have a Buddha body in us. Many of us believe that only the Buddha has the Buddha body. But in fact, every one of us has a Buddha body in us. And practicing the living dharma, we help the Buddha embodied in us to grow stronger and stronger every day.


Thich Nhat Hanh

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Thay's guided meditation and mindful movement

The following is the excerpt from Thay's dharma talk of Singapore Retreat in 2010. Watch the following video from 35:00 to 42:02 and from 1:07:42 to 1:11:15.

1. Thay's guided meditation (from 35:00 to 42:02)
Breathing in, I see my father inside of me in every cell. 
Breathing out, I smile to my father in every cell of my body.
Breathing in, I invite my father in me to breathe in with me. 
Father and son breathing in together.
Father and daughter breathing in together.
Breathing in, I feel so light. Daddy, do you feel as light as I do?
Breathing out, I feel so free. Daddy, do you feel as free as I do?

Breathing in, I see my mother in me in every cell of my body.
Breathing out, I smile to my mother in every cell of my body.
Breathing in, I invite my mother in me to breathe in with me.
Mother and son enjoy breathing in together.
Mother and daughter enjoy breathing in together.
Breathing in, I feel so light. Mammy, do you feel as light as I do?
Breathing out, I feel so free. Mammy, do you feel as free as I do?

Thank you, young people for having practice with us.

2. Thay's mindful movement (1:07:42 - 1:11:15)
Pay attention to your in-breath and out-breath.
Be aware of your feet on the ground.
Raising your arms, breathing in.
Lowering your arms, breathing out. Smiling.
(Breathing) In.
(Breathing) Out. Smiling.
(Breathing) In. All the way up. Touching the ceiling.
(Breathing) Out. Smiling.
(Breathing) In. Touching the ceiling.
(Breathing) Out. Smiling.

Your heels together.
Breathing in, I go up on my toes.
Breathing out, I go down on my toes.
(Breathing) In.
(Breathing) Out. Smiling.
(Breathing) In.
(Breathing) Smiling, Out.
(Breathing) In.
(Breathing) Out.
Breathing in.
Breathing out.

(Breathing) In.
(Breathing) Out.
The other leg.
(Breathing) In.
(Breathing) Out.
(Breathing) In.
(Breathing) Out.
(Breathing) In.
(Breathing) Out.
(Breathing) In.
(Breathing) Out.

Please sit down.

Thích Nhất Hạnh