Transformation & Healing The Art of Suffering Retreat
Contents Biography Thich Nhat Hanh The Vietnam War and the Birth of Engaged Buddhism Building a Mindfulness Movement
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Essential Mindfulness Practices Practicing Together 9 Breathing 10 Bells of Mindfulness 11 Waking Up in the Morning 12 Sitting Meditation 12 Walking Meditation 13 Listening to a Dharma Talk 14 Eating Together 15 The Five Contemplations 16 Food contemplations for Young People 16 Circle Sharing (Dharma Sharing) 17 Beginning Anew 18 Gathas Gathas for Mindful Living Songs Songs for the Practice Mindfulness Trainings The Five Mindfulness Trainings
Going Home Setting up a Breathing Corner Creating Space for a Breathing Moment Maintaining Your Practice Stay Connected Sangha (Communities) directory
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Upcoming Events Blue Cliff Monastery 2014 Program 31 Application Forms The Five Mindfulness Trainings Application Forms 33 European Institute of Applied Buddhism Certificate of Completion 33 Notes: 35
Transformation & Healing The Art of Suffering Retreat with Thich Nhat Hanh & the Monks and Nuns
Welcome to the Transformation and Healing â€“ The Art of Suffering Retreat with Thich Nhat Hanh and the Plum Village Community at Blue Cliff Monastery. We are very happy to have you joining us on this path of mindfulness. We offer this booklet to help you understand the practices of our community and the details of this retreat. We hope that you might find it useful not only here at the retreat, but also at home, in your work place, and in your daily life. We wish you much happiness, Blue Cliff Monastery
Biography Thich Nhat Hanh
Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh is a global spiritual leader, revered throughout the world for his powerful teachings and bestselling writings on the art of mindfulness, which have reached a global audience of millions. He has published more than 100 books on topics as diverse as ecology, politics, consumption, relationships, cultivating peace, community building, and global ethics (including Miracle of Mindfulness, The World We Have, Anger, Savor, and Creating True Peace). He has also published poetry, children’s stories, meditation manuals, and radically modern commentaries on ancient Buddhist teachings. This gentle monk from Vietnam was called “an apostle of peace and non-violence” when nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Martin Luther King Jr. The New York Times has described him as “second only to the Dalai Lama” among Buddhist leaders influential in the West. Thich Nhat Hanh’s key teaching is that, through mindfulness, we can learn to live happily in the present moment, instead of getting lost in the past and in the future. Dwelling in the present moment, according to Thich Nhat Hanh, is the only way to truly develop peace, both in oneself and in the world. Today, Thich Nhat Hanh is the spiritual head not only of his lineage within Vietnam, but also of an international Engaged Buddhist community of over 700 monks and nuns, and tens of thousands of lay practitioners, who apply his teachings on mindfulness, peacemaking, community-building, and serving society in their daily lives. Thich Nhat Hanh and members of his community offer these teachings all over the world—on campuses, at community centers, at outdoor gatherings—and at Thich Nhat Hanh’s global practice centers. 5
Biography The Vietnam War and the Birth of Engaged Buddhism
Born in central Vietnam in 1926, Thich Nhat Hanh became a novice monk at the age of sixteen. During the Vietnam War, monastics were confronted with the question of whether to adhere to the contemplative life and stay meditating in the monasteries, or to help those around them suffering under the bombings and turmoil of war. Thich Nhat Hanh was one of those who chose to do both, and in doing so founded the Engaged Buddhism movement, coining the term in his book Vietnam: Lotus in a Sea of Fire. His life has since been dedicated to the work of inner transformation for the benefit of individuals and society. From 1962-63, Thich Nhat Hanh studied and taught at Princeton and Columbia Universities, returning to Vietnam to continue his peace and social work. In 1964 he founded the Van Hanh Buddhist University in Saigon and in 1965 he founded the School of Youth and Social Service, a grassroots relief organization that trained 10,000 young volunteers in Buddhist principles of non-violence and compassionate action. Despite government denunciation of his activity, Thich Nhat Hanh also founded a publishing house and an influential peace activist magazine in Vietnam. In 1966, Thich Nhat Hanh held a press conference in Washington, DC to present a five-point peace proposal to end the war. Because he dared to call publicly for a cessation to hostilities, he was immediately banned from Vietnam, beginning an exile that was to last forty years. While in the U.S., he met with Martin Luther King, Jr. and called upon him to speak out against the war. Martin Luther King, Jr. nominated Thich Nhat Hanh for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1967, and became an outspoken critic of the war himself. In exile, Thich Nhat Hanh continued to travel widely, spreading the message of peace, lobbying Western leaders to end the Vietnam War, and leading the Buddhist delegation to the Paris Peace Talks. Amidst his peace activism, he continued to teach, lecture, and write 6
Biography on the art of mindfulness and ‘living peace.’
Building a Mindfulness Movement
In 1982, Thich Nhat Hanh founded Plum Village Practice Center in southern France, where he continued his social work and began to teach the thousands of people who were drawn to his teachings. Under his spiritual leadership Plum Village has grown from a small rural farmstead to what is now the West’s largest and most active Buddhist monastery, with over 200 resident monks and nuns and tens of thousands of guests every year. In the last ten years Plum Village has opened monasteries in New York, California, Vietnam, Paris, Hong Kong, Thailand, Mississippi, and Australia, and Europe’s first Institute of Applied Buddhism in Germany. In 2008, Thich Nhat Hanh launched Wake Up, a worldwide movement of thousands of young people training in the practice of mindful living, and in 2010 he launched an international Applied Ethics program to train teachers to teach mindfulness in schools from Europe to Asia to the Americas. Thich Nhat Hanh, now in his 87th year, continues to lead meditation retreats on Applied Buddhism worldwide, including special retreats for teachers, families, businesspeople, politicians, scientists, psychotherapists, police officers, and even for Israelis and Palestinians. In September 2001, just a few days after the collapse of the World Trade Center, he offered comfort to New Yorkers and addressed issues of non-violence and forgiveness in a memorable speech at Riverside Church in New York City. In September 2003 (and again in 2011) he gave a retreat for U.S. Congressmen and Congresswomen. In October 2006 he addressed UNESCO in Paris, calling for specific steps to reverse the cycle of violence, war, and global warming. In 2007, Thich Nhat Hanh was a keynote speaker at UNESCO’s International Wesak celebration in Hanoi, and in October 2008 he addressed the Opening of the Parliament 7
Biography of India. In 2009 he addressed the World Parliament of Religions in Melbourne, and in 2012 was invited to offer his message of compassion and non-violence at both the UK Parliament in Westminster and the Northern Ireland Assembly in Stormont. Today, Thich Nhat Hanh continues to regularly gives public talks and leads retreats in Europe, Asia, and North America, including at his practice centers in California, Mississippi, and New York.
Essential Mindfulness Practices Practicing Together
Mindfulness is the energy of being aware and awake to the present moment. It is the continuous practice of touching life deeply in every moment of daily life. To be mindful is to be truly alive, present and at one with those around you and with what you are doing. We bring our body and mind into harmony while we wash the dishes, drive the car or take our morning shower. Here in the retreat, we do very much the same things as when we are at home â€“ walking, sitting, eating, etc. - except now we learn to do them with mindfulness, with the awareness of what we are doing. We practice mindfulness throughout every moment of the day and not just in the meditation hall, but also in the dining hall, the toilet, in our rooms and on the path leading from one place to another. In practicing together as a Sangha, as a community, our practice of mindfulness becomes more joyful, relaxed and steady. We are bells of mindfulness for each other, supporting and reminding each other along the path of practice. Dear friends, let us try to be intelligent and skillful in our practice,
Essential Mindfulness Practices approaching every aspect of the practice with curiosity and openness. Let us practice with understanding and not just for form and appearance. Enjoy your practice here with a relaxed and gentle attitude, with an open mind and receptive heart.
Our breathing is a stable solid ground that we can take refuge in. Regardless of our internal weather – our thoughts, emotions and perceptions – our breathing is always with us like a faithful friend. Whenever we feel carried away, or sunken in a deep emotion, or scattered in worries and projects, we return to our breathing to collect and anchor our mind. We feel the flow of air coming in and going out of our nose. We feel how light and natural, how calm and peaceful our breathing functions. At any time, while we are walking, gardening, or computing, we can return to this peaceful source of life. We may like to recite this gatha or verse: “Breathing in, I know that I am breathing in. Breathing out, I know that I am breathing out.”
Essential Mindfulness Practices We do not need to control our breath. Feel the breath as it actually is. It may be long or short, deep or shallow. With our awareness it will naturally become slower and deeper. Conscious breathing is the key to uniting body and mind and bringing the energy of mindfulness into each moment of our life.
Bells of Mindfulness
On your arrival you might hear a bell sound and suddenly people around you have stopped still, stopped talking, and stopped moving. It might be the clock chiming or the dining bell sounding. These are our bells of mindfulness. When we hear the sound of the bell we relax our body and become aware of our breathing. We do that naturally, with enjoyment, and ease. When we hear one of these mindfulness bells ring, we stop whatever we are doing and bring our awareness to our breathing. The inviting of the bell calls out to us: Listen, listen, this wonderful sound brings me back to my true home. By stopping to breathe and restore our calm and our peace, we become free, our work becomes more enjoyable and the friend in front of us becomes more real. Back home we can use the ringing of our telephone, the local church bells, the cry of a baby, or even the sound of fire engines and ambulances as our bells of mindfulness. You may also install the mindfulness clock in your computer to remind you to stop and breathe (www.mindfulnessdc. org/mindfulclock.html). With just three conscious breaths we can release the tensions in our body and mind and return to a cool and clear state of being.
Essential Mindfulness Practices Waking Up in the Morning “Waking up this morning, I smile 24 brand new hours are before me. I vow to live fully in each moment, and to look at all beings with eyes of compassion.” As we wake up in the morning and open our eyes we may like to recite the above gatha. We can start our day with the happiness of a smile and the aspiration to dedicate ourselves to the path of love and understanding. We are aware that today is a fresh, new day, and we have 24 precious hours to live. Let us try to get up from bed right away after following three deep breaths to bring ourselves into mindfulness. Let us not delay our waking. We may like to sit up and gently massage our head, neck, shoulders, and arms to get our blood circulating. We might like to do a few stretches to loosen our joints and wake up our body. Enjoying a cup of warm water is good for our system first thing in the morning. Let us wash up or do what we need to do before heading towards our daily task (to our school, to our work). We allow ourselves enough time so we will not have to rush. Take deep breaths and enjoy the cool, fresh air. Before heading towards our school or work, let the morning fill our being, awakening our body and mind to the joy of a new day.
Sitting meditation is like returning home to give full attention to and care for ourselves. We sit upright with dignity, and return to our breathing. We bring our full attention to what is within and around us. We let our mind become spacious and our heart soft and kind. The purpose of sitting meditation is to enjoy. Don’t try to attain anything! 12
Essential Mindfulness Practices Sitting meditation is very healing. We realize we can just be with whatever is within us â€“ our pain, anger, irritation, or our joy, love, and peace. We are with whatever is there without being carried away by it. Let it come, let it stay, and then let it go. No need to push, to oppress, or to pretend our thoughts are not there. Observe the thoughts and images of our mind with an accepting and loving eye. We are free to be still and calm despite the storms that might arise in us. If our legs or feet begin to hurt during the sitting, we are free to adjust our position quietly. We can maintain our concentration by following our breathing and slowly and attentively change our posture. At the end of the sitting meditation session, allow a few minutes to massage your legs and feet before standing up again.
Whenever we walk, we can practice meditation. This means that we know that we are walking. We walk just for walking. We walk with freedom and solidity, no longer in a hurry. We are present with each step.
Essential Mindfulness Practices Walking in this way should not be a privilege. We should be able to do it every moment. Look around and see how vast life is, the trees, the white clouds, and the limitless sky. Listen to the birds. Feel the fresh breeze. Life is all around and we are alive and healthy and capable of walking in peace. Let us walk as a free person and feel our steps get lighter. Let us enjoy every step we make. Each step is nourishing and healing. As we walk, imprint our gratitude and our love on the earth. We may like to use a gatha as we walk. Taking two or three steps for each in-breath and each out-breath, Breathing in, “I have arrived”; Breathing out, “I am home” Breathing in, “In the here”; Breathing out, “In the now” Breathing in, “I am solid”; Breathing out, “I am free” Breathing in, “In the ultimate”; Breathing out, “I dwell”
Listening to a Dharma Talk
We have the opportunity to attend Dharma Talks by Thich Nhat Hanh and other senior Dharma teachers in the Plum Village Tradition. Please arrive early for the talk so that we may have enough time to find a seat and establish ourselves in a peaceful state of mind. Please listen to the talk with an open mind and a receptive heart. If we listen only with our intellect, comparing and judging what is said to what we already think we know or what we have heard others say, we may miss the chance to truly receive the message that is being transmitted. 14
Essential Mindfulness Practices The Dharma is like rain. Let it penetrate deeply into our consciousness, watering the seeds of wisdom and compassion that are already there. Absorb the talk openly, like the earth receiving a refreshing spring rain. The talk might be just the condition our tree needs to flower and bear the fruits of understanding and love. Out of respect for the teachings and the teacher, please refrain from talking, or making disturbing noises in the hall during the Dharma talk. If it is absolutely necessary to leave the hall during the talk please do so with a minimum of disturbance to others.
Eating a meal together is a meditative practice. We should try to offer our presence for every meal. As we serve our food we can already begin practicing. Serving ourselves, we realize that many elements, such as rain, sunshine, earth, air and love, have all come together to form this wonderful meal. In fact, through this food we see that the entire universe is supporting our existence. Before eating, the bell will be invited for three sounds and we can enjoy breathing in and out while practicing the Five Contemplations.
Essential Mindfulness Practices The Five Contemplations 1. This food is the gift of the whole universe - the earth, the sky, numerous living beings, and much hard and loving work. 2. May we eat and live in mindfulness and with gratitude so as to be worthy to receive it. 3. May we recognize and transform unwholesome mental formations, especially our greed, and learn to eat with moderation. 4. May we keep our compassion alive by eating is such a way that we reduce the suffering of living beings, preserve our planet, and reverse the process of global warming. 5. We accept this food in order to nurture our brotherhood and sisterhood, build our community of practice, and nourish our ideal of serving all living beings.
Food contemplations for Young People 1. This food is the gift of the whole universe: The earth, the sky, the rain, and the sun. 2. We thank the people who have made this food, especially the farmers, the people at the market and the cooks. 3. We only put on our plate as much food as we can eat. 4. We want to chew the food slowly so that we can enjoy it. 5. We want to eat in a way that nurtures our compassion, protects other species and the environment, and reverses global warming. 6. This food gives us energy to practice being more loving and understanding. 7. We eat this food in order to be healthy, happy, and to love each other as a family. 16
Essential Mindfulness Practices We should take our time as we eat, chewing each mouthful at least 30 times, until the food becomes liquefied. This aids the digestive process. Let us enjoy every morsel of our food and the presence of our family and friends around us. Let us establish ourselves in the present moment, eating in such a way that solidity, joy and peace are possible during the whole time of eating. Upon finishing our meal, we take a few moments to notice that we have finished, our bowl is now empty and our hunger is satisfied. Gratitude fills us as we realize how fortunate we are to have had this nourishing food to eat, supporting us on the path of love and understanding. We may also like to recite the following gatha: â€œThis meal is finished. My hunger is satisfied. I vow to live for the benefit of all beings.â€?
Circle Sharing (Dharma Sharing)
Dharma sharing is an opportunity to benefit from each otherâ€™s insights and experience of the practice. It is a special time for us to share our experiences, our joys, our difficulties and our questions relating to the practice of mindfulness. By practicing deep listening while others are speaking, we help create a calm and receptive
Essential Mindfulness Practices environment. By learning to speak about our happiness and our difficulties in the practice, we contribute to the collective insight and understanding of the community. We base our sharing on our own experience of the practice rather than about abstract ideas and theoretical notions. We may realize that many of us share similar difficulties and aspirations. Sitting, listening and sharing together, we recognize our true connections to one another. Please remember that whatever is shared during the Circle sharing time is confidential. If a friend shares about a difficulty he or she is facing, respect that he or she may or may not wish to talk about this individually outside of the Circle sharing time.
To begin anew is to look deeply and honestly at ourselves, our past actions, speech and thoughts and to create a fresh beginning within ourselves and in our relationships with others. At our practice center we practice beginning anew as a community every two weeks and individually as often as we like. We practice beginning anew to clear our mind and keep our practice fresh. When a difficulty arises in our relationships with family or colleagues and one of us feels resentment or hurt, we know it is time to begin anew. The following is a description of the four-part process of beginning anew as used in a formal setting. One person speaks at
Essential Mindfulness Practices a time and is not interrupted during his or her sharing. The other practitioners practice deep listening and following their breath. 1. Flower watering - This is a chance to share our appreciation for the other person. We may mention specific instances that the other person said or did something that we had admired. This is an opportunity to shine light on the otherâ€™s strengths and contributions and to encourage the growth of his or her positive qualities. 2. Sharing regrets - We may mention any unskillfulness in our actions, speech or thoughts that we have not yet had an opportunity to apologize for. 3. Expressing a hurt - We may share how we felt hurt by an interaction with our loved ones or colleagues at our place of work due to his or her actions, speech or thoughts. (To express a hurt we should first water the other personâ€™s flower by sharing two positive qualities that we have truly observed in him or her. Expressing a hurt is often performed one-on-one with another practitioner rather than in the group setting. You may ask for a third party that you both trust and respect to be present, if desired.) 4. Sharing a long-term difficulty & asking for support - At times we each have difficulties and pain arise from our past that surface in the present. When we share an issue that we are dealing with we can let the people around us understand us better and offer the support that we really need. The practice of beginning anew helps us develop our compassionate speech and deep listening. beginning anew is a practice of recognition and appreciation of the positive elements within our family. For instance, we may notice that our workmate is generous in sharing her insights, and our son is caring towards plants. Recognizing others positive traits allows us to see our own good 19
Essential Mindfulness Practices qualities as well. Along with these good traits, we each have areas of weakness, such as talking out of our anger or being caught in our misperceptions. When we practice “flower watering” we support the development of good qualities in each other and at the same time we help to weaken the difficulties in the other person. As in a garden, when we “water the flowers” of loving kindness and compassion in each other, we also take energy away from the weeds of anger, jealousy and misperception. We can practice beginning anew everyday by expressing our appreciation for our colleagues and apologizing right away when we do or say something that hurts them. We can politely let others know when we have been hurt as well. The health and happiness of the whole community depends on the harmony, peace and joy that exist between every member in our family, workplace and community at large.
Gathas for Mindful Living Brushing Teeth Brushing my teeth and rinsing my mouth, I vow to speak purely and lovingly. When my mouth is fragrant with right speech, A flower blooms in the garden of my heart. Taking a Shower Unborn and indestructible Beyond space and time Transmission and inheritance Lie in the wonderful world of the Dharmadhatu1 Turning On the Computer Turning on the computer, My mind gets in touch with the store2 I vow to transform habit energies To help love and understanding grow. Emailing and using the Internet Breathing in, I thank the power of the Internet. Breathing out, I am fully conscious of my current e-mail actions. Using The Telephone Words can travel thousands of miles. May my words create mutual understanding and love. May they be as beautiful as gems, As lovely as flowers. Driving The Car Before starting the car, I know where I am going. The car and I are one. If the car goes fast, I go fast. Dharmadhatu is the purified mind in its natural state, free from dualism the store refers to the Store-Consciousness where all our seed-potentials are stored 1 2
Songs for the Practice 1. Breathing In, Breathing Out Breathing in, Breathing out Breathing in, Breathing out I am blooming as a flower I am fresh as the dew I am solid as the mountain I am firm as the earth I am free Breathing in, Breathing out Breathing in, Breathing out I am water, reflecting What is real, what is true And I feel there is space Deep inside of me I am free, I am free, I am free
I have dropped my worries Somewhere to go, something to do But I donâ€™t need to hurry. 4. I Am A Cloud I am a cloud, I am the blue sky, I am a bird spreading out its wings I am a flower, I am the sunshine, I am the earth receiving a seed. And I am free when my heart is open Yes I am free when my mind is clear Oh dear brothers, oh dear sisters, Letâ€™s walk to together mindfully (joyfully). (2x)
2. The Island Within Breathing in, I go back to the island within myself. There are beautiful trees within 5. I Have Arrived, I Am Home the island. I have arrived, I am home There are clear streams of water. In the here and in the now (2x) There are birds, sunshine and I am solid, I am free fresh air. I am solid, I am free Breathing out, In the ultimate, I dwell I feel safe. In the ultimate, I dwell I enjoy going back to my island. 6. In Out 3. Happiness In out, Happiness is here and now Deep slow I have dropped my worries Calm ease, Nowhere to go, nothing to do Smile release No longer in a hurry. Present Moment, Wonderful Moment. Happiness is here and now 22
Songs for the Practice 7. Gatha For Walking Meditation 10. Please Call Me By My True The mind can go in a thousand Names directions My joy’s like spring so warm. But on this lovely path, I walk in It makes flowers bloom all over peace. the Earth, With each step, a gentle wind blows My pain’s like a river of tears, With each step, a flower blooms. so vast it fills the four oceans. 8. I Like The Roses I like the roses, I like the daffodils I like the mountains, I like the rolling hills I like the twinkling stars when the sun goes down doobadee doo badee doo badee doo badee doo badee doo badee doo badee doo badee doo (2x)
Please call me by my true names, So I can hear all my cries and laughter at once. So I can hear that my joy and pain are one. Please call me by my true names, So I can wake up And the door of my heart could be left open.
9. In Gratitude 11. Make New Friends In gratitude, you have watered Make new friends but keep the seeds old, of love in me, in gratitude... One is silver and the other gold, In gratitude, I will water seeds of The circle is round, it has no end, love That’s how long I want to be in someone new... your friend. I know you’re there for me And I am so happy... 12. No Coming, No Going In gratitude, you have watered No coming, no going seeds No after, no before of love in me, in gratitude... I hold you close to me In gratitude, I will water seeds of I release you to be so free love Because I am in you and you are in someone new... in me (2x) And when you suffer some, Please call and I will come... 23
Songs for the Practice 13. And When I Rise And when I rise, Let me rise like a bird, joyfully And when I fall, Let me fall like a leaf, gracefully, without regrets.
The tiny seed, in the rain, as we change in a wonderful world. I am a note... a simple note. I am a song... a peaceful song. I am a child... great big smile... I am a note, in a song, sing along in a wonderful world.
And when I sit, Let me sit like a mountain, solidly And when I lay, 16. Simple Gifts Let me lay like a lake, calm and ‘Tis the gift to be simple. still, reflecting all. ‘tis the gift to be free, ‘tis the gift to come down where And when I work, you ought to be, Let me work like a bee, lazily And when we find ourselves in And when I play, the place just right, Let me play like the rays, of the It will be in the valley of love sun, rejoicingly. and delight. 14. Dear Friends Dear friends, dear friends, Let me tell you how I feel. You have given me such treasures, I love you so. 15. Great Big Smile I am a bird... a beautiful bird. I am the sun... the golden sun. I am the wind... blowing in... The beautiful bird, in the sun, we are one in a wonderful world. I am a seed... a tiny seed. I am the rain... gentle rain. I am a stream... carrying... 24
Refrain: When true simplicity is
gained, to bow and to bend we shan’t be ashamed. To turn, turn will be our delight, ‘Til by turning, turning we come round right.
‘Tis the gift to be loved and that love to return, ‘tis the gift to be taught and a richer gift to learn, When we expect of others what we try to live each day, Then we’ll all live together and we’ll all learn to say... Ref.
Songs for the Practice ‘Tis the gift to have friends and a true friend to be, ‘tis the gift to think of others not to only think of “me”, And when we hear what others really think and really feel, Then we’ll all live together with a love that is real... Ref. 17. The River Is Flowing The river is flowing Flowing and growing The river is flowing Back to the sea. Brother river, carry me! You kin I will always be Brother river, carry me! Back to the sea. The Earth, she is yearning Yearning and turning. The Earth, she is yearning For us to be free. Mother Earth, carry me! You child I will always be Mother Earth, carry me! Till we are free. The moon she is waiting Waxing and waning. The moon she is waiting For us to be free. Sister moon, watch over me!
Your kin I will always be. Sister moon, watch over me! Till we are free. The Sun, he is shining Shining and smiling. The Sun, he is shining Offering light. Father Sun, watch over me! Your child I will always be. Father Sun, watch over me! Till we are free. 18. Whenever... Whenever I wake up, I feel happy. Aware of my eyes, I feel happy. Aware of my health, I feel happy. Because I have learnt to look deeply. Whenever I walk, I feel happy. Whenever I sit, I feel happy. Whenever I rest, I feel happy. Becuase I have learnt to look deeply. 19. Nature Song I love nature, nature is cool. The forest is my classroom, the Earth is my school. trees are my teachers, animals are my friends. And on this school all life depends. 25
The Mindfulness Trainings The Five Mindfulness Trainings The Five Mindfulness Trainings represent the Buddhist vision for a global spirituality and ethic. They are a concrete expression of the Buddhaâ€™s teachings on the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path, the path of right understanding and true love, leading to healing, transformation and happiness for ourselves and for the world. To practice the Five Mindfulness Trainings is to cultivate the insight of interbeing, or Right View, which can remove all discrimination, intolerance, anger, fear, and despair. If we live according to the Five Mindfulness Trainings, we are already on the path of a bodhisattva. Knowing we are on that path, we are not lost in confusion about our life in the present or in fears about the future. The First Mindfulness Training: Reverence for life Aware of the suffering caused by the destruction of life, I am committed to cultivating the insight of interbeing and compassion and learning ways to protect the lives of people, animals, plants, and our Earth. I am determined not to kill, not to let others kill, and not to support any act of killing in the world, in my thinking, or in my way of life. Seeing that harmful actions arise from anger, fear, greed, and intolerance, which in turn come from dualistic and discriminative thinking, I will cultivate openness, nondiscrimination and non-attachment to views, in order to transform violence, fanaticism and dogmatism in myself and in the world. The Second Mindfulness Training: True Happiness Aware of the suffering caused by exploitation, social injustice, stealing, and oppression, I am committed to practicing generosity in my thinking, speaking and acting. I am determined not to steal and not to possess anything that should belong to others; and I will share my time, energy, and material resources with those who are in need. I will practice looking deeply to see that the happiness and suffering of others are not separate from my own happiness and suffering; that true happiness is not possible without understanding 26
The Mindfulness Trainings and compassion; and that running after wealth, fame, power and sensual pleasures can bring much suffering and despair. I am aware that happiness depends on my mental attitude and not on external conditions, and I can live happily in the present moment simply by remembering that I already have more than enough conditions to be happy. I am committed to practicing Right Livelihood so that I can help reduce the suffering of living beings on Earth and reverse the process of global warming. The Third Mindfulness Training: True Love Aware of the suffering caused by sexual misconduct, I am committed to cultivating responsibility and learning ways to protect the safety and integrity of individuals, couples, families, and society. Knowing that sexual desire is not love, and that sexual activity motivated by craving always harms myself as well as others, I am determined not to engage in sexual relations without true love and a deep, long-term commitment made known to my family and friends. I will do everything in my power to protect children from sexual abuse and to prevent couples and families from being broken by sexual misconduct. Seeing that body and mind are in unison, I am committed to learning appropriate ways to take care of my sexual energy and cultivating loving kindness, compassion, joy and inclusiveness which are the four basic elements of true love, for my greater happiness and the greater happiness of others. Practicing true love, I know that I will continue beautifully in the future. The Fourth Mindfulness Training: Loving Speech and Deep Listening Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful speech and the inability to listen to others, I am committed to cultivating loving speech and compassionate listening in order to relieve suffering and promote reconciliation and peace in myself and among other people, ethnic and religious groups, and nations. Knowing that words can create happiness or suffering, I am committed to speaking truthfully using words that inspire confidence, joy, and hope. When anger is manifesting in me, I am determined not to speak. I will practice 27
The Mindfulness Trainings mindful breathing and walking in order to recognize my anger and look deeply into its roots, especially in my wrong perceptions and lack of understanding of the suffering in myself and in the other person. I will speak and listen in a way that can help myself and the other person to release suffering and see the way out of difficult situations. I am determined not to spread news that I do not know to be certain and not to utter words that can cause division or discord. I will practice Right Diligence to nourish my capacity for understanding, love, joy, and inclusiveness, and gradually transform anger, violence and fear that lie deep in my consciousness. The Fifth Mindfulness Training: Nourishment and Healing Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful consumption, I am committed to cultivating good health, both physical and mental, for myself, my family, and my society by practicing mindful eating, drinking, and consuming. I will practice looking deeply into my consumption of the Four Kinds of Nutriments, namely edible foods, sense impressions, volition, and consciousness. I am determined not to gamble, or to use alcohol, drugs, or any other products which contain toxins, such as certain websites, electronic games, TV programs, films, magazines, books, and conversations. I will practice coming back to the present moment to be in touch with the refreshing, healing and nourishing elements in me and around me, not letting regrets and sorrow drag me back into the past nor letting anxieties, fear, or craving pull me out of the present moment. I am determined not to try to cover up loneliness, anxiety, or other suffering by losing myself in consumption. I will contemplate interbeing and consume in a way that preserves peace, joy, and wellbeing in my body and consciousness, and in the collective body and consciousness of my family, my society, and the Earth.
Going Home Setting up a Breathing Corner
Create a space at home where you and your family can practice coming back to your conscious breathing, to calm down and to touch peace and joy in the present moment. It is a peace corner for yourself and for your family. This corner does not have to be big and extravagant, but can be simple and spacious so that when one looks at it, it evokes a sense of peace and quiet.
Creating Space for a Breathing Moment
Find a time during your day where you and your family can stop and simply enjoy a few breaths in silence and stillness. This could be anything from five breaths to five minutes. You could use a bell to signal the start and end or just clap hands. Just a small drop of mindfulness practice a day may be enough to change your way of being and change the atmosphere of your home.
Maintaining Your Practice
There is no coming and no going, for we are always with you and you, with us. When we are at home and we remember to return to our breathing, we will know that friends all over the world are breathing too. Any time we like, we can take refuge in the practices of conscious breathing, mindful eating, loving speech, and many other wonderful practices. When we do, we will feel very connected and not alone. We become as large as the worldwide community of practice. The transformation that we touched here during the retreat can be shared with others through our being and our continued practice. We need not share anything about mindfulness or about the practice, but people can feel our freshness and our openness just by being with us. Let us continue our practice as we return to our homes, our families, our friends, and society. As we have learned to live in harmony with each other here during the retreat, we can also cultivate harmony in our families and society. As we have learned to understand and appreciate our friends in the practice, we can also learn to understand and appreciate the members in our family and our neighbors. Mindfulness practice is everywhere we go. 29
“I’ve been a monk for 65 years, and what I have found is that there is no religion, no philosophy, no ideology higher than brotherhood and sisterhood. Not even Buddhism.” - Thich Nhat Hanh Blue Cliff Monastery 3 Mindfulness Road, Pine Bush, NY 12566 bluecliffmonatery.org about.me/bluecliffmonastery Deer Park Monastery 2499 Melru Lane, Escondido, CA 90247 deerparkmonastery.org Magnolia Groove Monastery 123 Towles Rd Batesville, MS 38606 magnoliagrovemonastery.org Plum Village Practice Center plumvillage.org International Wake Up Movement wkup.org Live stream teaching from Thich Nhat Hanh and his monks and nuns. new.livestream.com/plumvillageonline International Sangha (Practice Communities) Directory iamhome.org Thich Nhat Hanh Foundation (supporting Thay’s projects) thichnhathanhfoundation.org 30
Upcoming Events New York City Calligraphic Meditation Exhibition: The Mindful Art of Thich Nhat Hanh Sept 07 - Dec 31 Locate at ABC Carpet & Home - Deepak HomeBase 888 Broadway, New York, New York
Blue Cliff Monastery 2014 Program Dec 29 - Jan 02, 2014 Holiday Retreat Jan 30 - Feb 02 Lunar New Year TET Celebration Mar 18 - 23 Young Adults Retreat Apr 03 - 09 Visiting Hoa Nghiem Temple & DC Wake Up Apr 17 - 20 Interfaith Dialog / Easter Sunday Weekend Apr 23 - 27 Order of Interbeing Retreat May 08 - 11 Canadian Sanghas / Mother’s Day Weekend May 23 - 25 Vesak Weekend Jun 04 - 08 People of Color Retreat Jun 13 - 15 Father’s Day Weekend Jun 18 - 22 Vietnamese Retreat Jun 30 - Jul 06 Summer Family Retreat Jul 24 - 27 Applied Ethics Retreat Aug 05 - 10 English-speaking Retreat Sept 12 - 14 Wake Up Weekend Sept 24 - 28 Creative Arts Retreat Oct 09 - 12 Heath Professionals Retreat Nov 05 - 09 Veterans Retreat Nov 27 - 30 Thanksgiving Weekend Dec 28 - Jan 01 Holiday Retreat 31
Application Forms The Five Mindfulness Trainings Application Form
First name: Last name:
Date of birth: MM / DD / YYYY Dharma sharing family name: Dharma sharing facilitator: Which trainings would you like to receive? ☐ 1 ☐ 2 ☐ 3 ☐ 4 ☐ 5 ☐ All five trainings Would you like to receive a dharma name? ☐ yes ☐ no If you are renewing and you already received a dharma name before please write it on the line below.
Please cut out this page and write your aspiration on the back.
European Institute of Applied Buddhism Certificate of Completion If you would like to receive a Certificate of Completion given by the European Institute of Applied Buddhism please fill out the below.
First name: Last name:
Date of birth: MM / DD / YYYY Dharma name:
Please cut out this page and give it to you Dharma sharing facilitator. Thank you.
3 Mindfulness Road, Pine Bush, NY 12566
www.bluecliffmonastery.org ÂŠUnified Buddhist Church, Inc. 2013