Dharma Talks / Practices for True Freedom

Sr Từ Nghiêm

The theme of the fourth week of Summer is Freedom. Sr. Loving Kindness shared that whenever she felt stressed as a young person, she would go and watch sail boats glide peacefully into the harbor to anchor. The first time she saw Thầy walk, she saw that Thầy walked peacefully and freely just like a sail boat. That’s when she knew she found her spiritual teacher.

Often, we feel pulled or pushed by invisible forces that deter us from feeling free in any moment. These are our habit energies. They may come from our ancestors, or simply from the energy of those around us.

We learn to stop, to breathe, to calm our body and mind, then we see clearly into the causes.

When we are assailed by strong emotions, we need to calm our stormy mind by breathing at the belly. Returning to our Dan Tian, this is the most stable part of the body.

Thay also shared with us how to breath with a “breathing bracelet”. In many cultures, these are used for prayers or chanting sacred sounds. We can touch one bead for our in-breath, then the next with our out-breath. ​There are practices that the Buddha and Thay have taught so we can experience freedom from our suffering.​

To sail into freedom, we can practice to walk like Thay. When our boat is sailing on the waves of emotions, we vow to hold firmly to the tiller so we do not drown in stormy waves.

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