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

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