Br Phap Dung gives the New Year’s eve talk. In his talk, he pays homage to our teacher Thich Nhat Hanh who loves festivals and celebrations and talks about the importance of commitment.
New Year is a time to look back on the old year and a time to look forward to the new year ahead. It is also a time to make or renew our commitments to ourselves and our spiritual path.
Br Phap Dung shares stories about his personal practice in relation to making commitments as well as anecdotes of the times he was an attendant to Thay. He shares how he practiced with his fear of commitment, his habit energy of deserting situations and relationships. He talks about the importance of beginning with small commitments and building internal strength and integrity by keeping them consistently. He also shares how commitment sustained him during times of depression when he found no joy in anything and no practices seemed to work.
It is important to understand ourselves and not wait for others to understand us. We have to renew our aspirations that give us purpose and meaning in life, it does not have to be something large or grand. Commitment needs to be fed and kept alive, and we have to start with little things.
He recommends that we make one hard commitment for this year, that reduces our consumption. We have to do what is possible for the environment, within our own abilities, while not judging what others do and do not do. As a society we have to reexamine the underlying beliefs of many things, such as how we have achieved our own material success, and on a broader scale, platforms such as politics and education.
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