Update: We are offering online retreats while Plum Village France remains closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Dharma Talks / Happiness or Profit?

Sr Lăng Nghiêm, Sr Hien Nghiem

Sr Lang Ngheim talks about the different ways we can come back to the present moment. One way is to be present but caught in what is happening, the other is to be present but free. She explains and shares personal stories on how the insight of interbeing enables more freedom in the present moment, while identification with our bodies, actions etc. or being pushed around by our habit energies, can result in a loss of freedom, even if we are in touch with the present moment.

She invites us to examine the roots of our motivations or drive to develop our business. Are they based on a wholesome intention or something less wholesome, like fear? Lastly she offers us two modern day koans for us to ponder.

Sr True Dedication introduces 8 breathing exercises (from the 16 Exercises of Mindful Breathing) for us to come back to the body, to practice taking care of our feelings and begin to generate joy and happiness.

We have to carefully choose our intentions. Do we want to be number 1 or do we want to be happy? Are we becoming a victim of our own success? She invites us to examine the true cost of our priorities. In our lives and business, are we borrowing from ourselves, our loved ones, the present moment or the planet?

She also introduces four types of business enterprises. Based on its characteristics, we can examine what direction our business is taking, and what kinds of seeds we are watering in the employees (are we watering seeds of joy, or seeds of struggle and despair?). It is also suggested that leaders share their own challenges with their teams as it creates space for others to share their challenges as well. We cannot offer what we don’t have and being rooted in the present moment gives us the courage to make changes.

At the end of the talk, we are left with a question to contemplate, “Is a day at work a day lived well?”

This is the second talk of the retreat “Compassionate leadership: mindfulness and ethics in business” held at Plum Village Practice Center, France, 1st-8th June, 2019.

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What is Mindfulness

Thich Nhat Hanh January 15, 2020

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