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Dharma Talks / The 6th & 7th Trainings of the OI Sr Dieu Nghiem

Sr Diệu Nghiêm

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(Bell) (Bell) (Bell) Dear respected Thay, dear brothers and sisters, dear friends, good morning. Today is Sunday the 28th of October and we are in the Dharma Nectar Temple of Plum Village, Lower Hamlet. In this retreat we have been looking into the 14 mindfulness trainings of the Order of Interbeing. The Order of Interbeing was formed by Thay in the mid 1960's at the time of the Vietnam War. There was a great need for some understanding and compassion in order to take care of the hatred and violence that was happening in the country. The 14 mindfulness trainings have to do with how we live our daily lives, how we live in the world. How we respond to issues in the world by our way of thinking, our attitude or our view. So these 14 mindfulness trainings help us to see very clearly the impact of our thinking, of our speaking and actions on our environment, and on the world, and on the way we live together. These trainings they really express a mind of true love and the insight that happiness is not an individual matter. They are the 14 mindfulness trainings of the Order of Interbeing that was founded by Thay but they can be practiced by anyone. You don't need to be an official member of the Order of Interbeing in order to practice the 14 mindfulness trainings. In fact, the more people they practice them, the better. So, you may like to have a look at them by yourself and study them to see in what way the resonate for you. Especially in the light of the state of the world. The more I study these 14 mindfulness trainings the more my heart rejoices. Because I see a way out, I can see a way that can lead to healing and transformation, not just of myself but of the whole of humanity. And that uplifts my spirit and gives me a lot of joy. These 14 mindfulness trainings we are all capable of practicing them, of applying them in our daily life. To practice these 14 mindfulness trainings it's very good to have a sangha, a place of refuge to do it together with others. Because with a sangha we can share our joys and our difficulties and we can - Excuse me. Interacting with others will reveal our habit energies. And as I said before, especially our habit energies of thinking. A thinking is the foundation of everything. Whatever we say, whatever we do, we have already thought. So becoming aware of our thinking and the inclination of our thinking is very important. Because that is where the transformation starts. It's very good to have a sangha to practice with. The sangha is like what we call a "kalyanamitra", it means, a spiritual friend. And a spiritual friend is somebody who knows how to skillfully point things out to us. A habit we have of speaking or acting that has it's roots in our thinking. They will be able to say it in a way that we can receive it. And that will help us to recognize the effect of our actions. So to have a kalyanamitra is very precious. On the other hand, do we know how to be a kalyanamitra? If you like to have a kalyanamitra it is very good to first become our own kalyanamitra, to develop the qualities of a kalyanamitra in ourselves so we can help ourselves and then we can help others also on this path. So these 14 mindfulness trainings help us to see very clearly the impact of our thinking, speaking and actions on our environment, the world and how we live together. They are really guidelines for everyday living. Most what we call precepts, they are prohibitions. And they begin with bodily actions. In the 14 mindfulness trainings, we used to call them precepts, now we call them trainings, like we call the 5 precepts the 5 mindfulness trainings also. The 14 mindfulness trainings begin with the mind. And the Noble Eightfold Path also begins with the mind. And this shows the importance that the Buddha gave to the mind, the actions of the mind. So the 14 mindfulness trainings, there are 3 categories. The first category are the mindfulness trainings 1 to 7 and they concern primarily the mind. The second is the 8th and the 9th mindfulness trainings and they concern the speech. From 10th to 14th is primarily our bodily actions. But our actions of mind, of course, and speech, and body, have the mind as their foundation. So when we practice these 14 mindfulness trainings, we are practicing to transcend our greed, our anger, our hatred and our delusions. And we cultivate compassion and wisdom. They also help us to look into and to understand the nature of interbeing of all that is. This means that nothing can exist by itself, everything is because of many causes and conditions. We are because of many causes and conditions. We know that without the air, without water, without the earth, without fire, warmth, the Sun, the Moon, we can't live. So we are because of many causes and conditions. And we are as we are because of many causes and conditions. We are as we are, how we have nourished ourselves, our body and our mind. When we wake up in the morning, and if our body and mind feels light, it is very likely we had a light meal the evening before. If we had a party the evening before we may wake up not so fresh. Right? We may have something that is called a hangover. I don't know if anybody here still has those, since we are all practicing very well, but just to be aware of how we nourish ourselves with the food and the drink that we take in. What is the effect that this has on our body and our mind? You are what you eat. I would say, we are what we eat, what we drink, what we think. What we see, what we hear, what we smell, what we touch. Because everything that we take in through our sense doors waters seeds in us. It waters seeds in our store consciousness. Store consciousness is that function of our consciousness that keeps everything. It holds all our potential. And our potential is what we call a seed. We have the capacity to be happy. So we say we have a seed of happiness. We have the capacity to be joyful, we have a seed of joy. We also have the capacity to be angry. So we have a seed of anger. We have a seed of hatred, we have a seed of greed, a seed of discrimination. All of us have these potentials. We all have the same. But in some of us, some are stronger than others. And they are stronger because we may have inherited the strength of a seed from our parents, or our grandparents, or ancestors, our society, our nation. And we have, out of ignorance, allowed certain seeds to be watered in us that would had been better not to be watered. With the practice of mindfulness, we have a say in what seed will be watered in our store consciousness. That is what we'd like to talk about a little bit today. The practice of the mindfulness trainings help us to become aware of the seeds that are being watered in our store consciousness. So for me they are a sort of empowerment. Now I am empowered. It doesn't mean that I have received them so I am empowered, no. I have come in contact with them, I've read them, I've become aware of them. And I'm empowered now. Now I have a say in which seeds are going to be watered in my store consciousness. And the foundation of this here is the practice of mindfulness. Mindfulness means bringing body and mind together. Often we will find that our body is here and our mind is there. Whatever the 'there' is. Maybe outside or it may be at the other side of the globe. Or who knows, on the Moon. But very, very far away. Could be in the past or in the future. Or being carried away by something in the present. And mindfulness means to bring our mind there where our body is. It means here, whatever that 'here' is. To bring the mind home to the body, the home... Our body is the first home of our mind. It is 'the' home of our mind. So to bring our mind home to the body. So maybe with a sound of the bell we shall practice just that. As we hear the sound of the bell, the sound of the bell is happening in the present moment. Like our body is also a happening, our body is not static, it is a happening. So the bell, which is a happening, helps us to bring our mind home to our body, to see what is happening in our body. So let us enjoy the sound of the bell and bring our mind home to our body and maybe scan our body from the top of our head all the way down to the tip of our toes. And if anywhere in our body we find some tension, to acknowledge it, to acknowledge its presence and to gently breathe with it for a moment before we continue scanning our body. To be with it and breathing it may soften the tension or whatever it is that you feel in your body. (Bell) When I did the body scan, I was relaxing my body and after I had finished the body scan I sort of remained aware of my body and at the same time I became aware of what was happening around me. And I realized it's raining outside. It sounded so loud! Inside it was very quiet inside in the hall and maybe also inside of my mind. So the rain sounded loudly. When we bring our mind home to our body, we became aware of what is happening inside of our body and we can take care of it. And we also become aware of what is happening around us. The mindfulness trainings give us an ethical way of life. Every training () an ethical action. And that is an action that benefits everyone. It is truly based on non-duality, on the fact that happiness is not an individual matter. And on compassion. The 14 mindfulness trainings, we practice them to change ourselves so we can bring about a change in society. And that society can go in the direction of understanding and compassion. Thay says, 'By living a joyful and a mindful life'. So the practice is not only mindful, to live mindfully, but also it leads us to live joyfully. So living mindfully is not a serious matter. When we look at these trainings, we both see that the most important aspect of these trainings is never to abandon anyone. They are very inclusive. They don't leave anyone lying to the side of the road who is in need of help. So today we would like to look at the 6th and the 7th mindfulness trainings, and we would like to look at them in the light of Right Diligence. And I will read the 6th mindfulness training in case you don't have the text. The 6th mindfulness training shows us how we can take care of our anger. "Aware that anger blocks communication and creates suffering, we are committed to taking care of the energy of anger when it arises and to recognizing and transforming the seeds of anger that lie deep in our consciousness. When anger manifests, we are determined not to do or say anything, but to practice mindful breathing or mindful walking to acknowledge, embrace, and look deeply into our anger. We know that the roots of anger are not outside of ourselves but can be found in our wrong perceptions and lack of understanding of the suffering in ourselves and others. By contemplating impermanence, we will be able to look with the eyes of compassion at ourselves and at those we think are the cause of our anger, and to recognize the preciousness of our relationships. We will practice Right Diligence in order to nourish our capacity of understanding, love, joy, and inclusiveness gradually transforming our anger, violence, and fear, and helping others do the same." We are committed to taking care of the energy of anger when it arises. This is already a practice by itself. We may have got angry in the past and somebody tells us: 'You're angry.' And we say: 'I am not angry.' You know... no! I mean, in a way, that is clear that we are angry. So to recognize it, you know? And to take care of it from the moment it arises. Sometimes we need somebody else to point out that we are angry. In the first instance, we may not recognize it. How can we recognize anger before it arises? First of all, we have to know that we have a seed of anger. It may not manifest very often, but when it does maybe very gently, but we do have a seed. And when causes and conditions are sufficient, it will arise. So we have these seeds in our store consciousness. One of our practices is to not water the seed of anger in us. To avoid watering the seed of anger. Thay says we can ask others to help us. If there is something that maybe a loved one, a friend, or somebody in the sangha does or says that touches, that waters our seed of anger, we can ask them: 'Please, know that when you say something in that way, or when you act in that way, it waters my seed of anger. Could you please support me by not watering my seed of anger? I'm happy to hear what you have to tell me, but could you find another way of telling me this?' And if we ourselves can think of a way that we will able to hear what somebody else wants to tell us, we can give them some suggestions. Maybe they can start by: 'It is my perception that' instead of 'You do this'. It is my perception. Maybe we can point out that we have a perception which may be wrong. But I would like to share that perception with you anyway. And the best way to support others in interacting with us like that is to interact with them the way we would like them to interact with us. And again, for me this is an empowerment. I can be part of this process. I'm not just there as a victim of the interactions with others. But I can be part of this. So a seed of anger may be watered by what we hear, what others tell us. We don't always can give input how other people tell us something. So what to do then? Then it's good to take some time to reflect. And to ask the question, is there any truth in what they say? This is what I try to practice. Is there truth in what they say? Then sometimes the answer is, I don't see any truth. And sometimes the answer is, maybe a little bit. So I just take that little bit, I do not need to take everything. I take that little bit. And I can look and I can see what is the root of my action that my friend gives some feedback about. Where does it come from? Maybe before I continue we can have another sound of the bell. (Bell) (Bell) Maybe that way of responding was also the way of responding of our mother or our father. And we have inherited, we are continuing our mother and our father in that way. And as we continue to practice, we realize we are not only transforming ourselves, we're also practicing transforming our parents. We are their continuation, whatever we transform, we transform also for our parents and for our ancestors. If at the root of our action there was fear, maybe our parents had fear. Maybe our father, our mother had a strong seed of fear. And maybe fear was the root of her action that our friend gave some feedback about. And fear always has to do with the unknown. We don't fear the past, we fear the future. We do not know what is going to happen in the future. It is unknown. And whatever is unknown, we fear. Is it going to be of benefit to me or not? It is going to be good for me or not? I find the best way of taking care of fear as it comes up is to remain firmly established in the present moment. Because in the present moment, I can see what is happening. I do not know what will happen in the next moment, but when the next moment becomes the present moment, I can see what is happening. And the image I have is, I walk through a tunnel, or let's say, yes, let's keep it a tunnel, that is what I use to use. I walk through a tunnel, and it's dark. And I don't know what is in the tunnel. But I can touch the wall of the tunnel with my hands, and of course, with my feet. So I touch the wall so I get to know what is happening right now, what is the present moment like right now. And I'm aware of my feet on the ground, and I know what it is like. And then, very carefully, I put my feet forward, and then, my foot touches the ground in front of me. I'm already in the present moment then. And I know I can take that step. If I put my foot and there is nothing, I still don't know, and I won't take the step, because the fear is still there. So I take my foot back and I try a little bit to do right or left. You see what I mean. So I found out if I have this image, if I walk, if I always stay in the present moment and don't think: there is light at the end of the tunnel, I rush towards the end, I may fall in a hole, I may stumble over something because I'm not in the present moment. I'm trying to run to the future to know what is at the end of the tunnel. But I have the whole tunnel to go through. So if I stay in the present moment and the future comes to us, if you like. We don't have to run to the future. So wait to the next moment to come and then in that moment I can see what is happening and I can respond in an appropriate way. I cannot respond in an appropriate way to the future, I don't know exactly what is going to happen. I can make plans, yes, we have to make plans, but we may need to adjust the plans when that future becomes the present moment. So that was the seed of fear. Another way when there is fear in me, there is fear present right now, we have a practice. Breathing in, I am aware fear is present in me now. Breathing out, I take good care of the fear, I embrace it. Or I smile to my fear. Maybe it's my practice, I'm not yet very good at doing this, and I don't necessarily succeed. It doesn't calm my fear. So then, I bring my mind home to my body, because I know what is in my mind is also manifested in my body in some way or another, in some place in my body. So I bring my mind home to my body and I do a body scan, as we did just now, and when I find a strong sensation, a physical sensation, I think: That is my fear. And I can breathe with this physical sensation. I bring my mind to that part of my body and I breathe while I just stay with it. At times, I feel I go back to a story but I'm no longer with the physical sensation. So then, I bring my mind back to the physical sensation every time I notice I have been carried away by the story. And slowly, slowly, by being with it, this sensation kind of becomes softer and it feels like it melts away. Then, miracle, oh miracle, the fear is no longer present in my mind as a mental formation. And then, a very important point. At that point we should not go back to the story and bring it back. Because that brings immediately the fear back. Leave the story. And first, we need to calm ourselves, to find stability, maybe to practice walking meditation to come back to our steps as they touch the earth. In, in, in, out, out out. So that we walk really very firmly established in the present moment. We may water some seeds of joy, of happiness as a counterbalance to the fear. Then, this may take a few days or maybe weeks, when we feel now we have enough stability, enough calm, enough peace, enough joy, happiness, to look at the fear. What is it that I am afraid of? The unknown, yes. But what is it about this unknown? And we may find that we are going to go on a long journey, to a country we don't know. We do not know what we will find there. And once we know what we are afraid of, it is much easier to be with that fear, and we will also be able to do something about it. If we travel to another country, we may find out by asking other people or by reading, what we could expect when we go there. And at the same time, we continue to strengthen our capacity to dwell in the present moment, to be part of the journey as we journey. To journey along with the journey at to not to run ahead of the journey so that we can respond to every situation we encounter from a place of calm and clarity. We were speaking also about anger. So to see what is the root of our anger. But first, the mindfulness training advises us not to do or say anything. This is quite a practice. Not to do or to say anything. But we also get immediately the practice to do. We turn to our breathing and mindful walking and to acknowledge that we are angry. And then to look deeply. Often, the roots of our anger maybe found in ourselves, we may have wrong perceptions. Somebody said something, and we think they said it on purpose to hurt us. They were unskillful. They may not have been wanting to hurt us. They may just have been unskillful. They may not even have known that what they are going to say would hurt us. They said it to somebody else and nothing happened. So why would it hurt somebody else? Why would it hurt us? We may also not understand that somebody else may said or done something out of their own suffering. I think we know ourselves very well. When we suffer, it is not so obvious and not so easy to practice loving speech. It takes some practice to practice loving speech at all times. Especially when our suffering considers the person we are speaking to. Maybe they upset us. We suffer, and when we speak to them, there is no loving kindness. This practice of not do or say anything especially when we are angry, can be quite challenging, because, how do we do this? When we live in a community, and then we get angry with somebody, don't we say anything to the person at all? At all times? That is maybe not the best way of not saying anything. So how can we keep on interacting but not address the issue that made us angry? For me, that is what is meant by 'not to say anything'. Otherwise, if we all would, in our community, we are angry with somebody, I'm upset so I'm not speaking to that person, maybe we would be a very silent community. (Laughter) We all get angry at times. So it's a real practice to keep on communicating in a 'civil' way, if you like, mindfully, but not address the issue until we have calmed down. And maybe looked into ourselves what actually happened for us. Here in Plum Village, when we are in a meeting or just with a group, sitting together, if there is something that has upset us, something that somebody said that upsets us or watered our seeds of anger, we can join our palms, bow and say, 'Please, excuse me. I just would like to absent myself, be absent, I'd like to go and do some walking meditation or get a cup pf tea'. And we can go out and practice walking meditation and take care of the anger that has arisen in us. So these practices also are very important in any kind of relationship. And maybe it's just a matter in your relationships to bring this space within the relationships, that when we are angry, we can just withdraw for a moment. If we work in an office, if that still happens nowadays, most people work from home, I just read somewhere, we can just say, 'Excuse me, I just need to...' go to the bathroom or something. And we can breathe and take care of our anger. And come back again more calm. It's not ourselves, we will benefit from that but everybody else also. By contemplating impermanence, we will be able to look with the eyes of compassion at ourselves and others. And recognize the preciousness of our relationships. I think it is also good to look at the impermanence in general. When I look back at the previous generation, my previous generation, they have all already passed away. And it struck me that when, for instance, my grandfather, my grandmother passed away, yes I missed them, but I also noticed I had a regret. Maybe something I didn't do that I know would have made them happy, or maybe something I did that I realized did not make them so happy. And this actually has happened with every single person of the previous generation in my life that passed away. There was always something. And it took me a while to find peace with that. And I ask myself a question: Okay, what would they like me to be? And every time I came to the answer, 'Happy.' Happy. And then I was able to accept what I had done or not done. And I thought, 'Okay, I have learned something from this.' And maybe when I look I see I've learned something from that. So it's not come to waste at the experience. And in the practice we speak of the goodness of suffering. Suffering becomes good when we learn something from it. When it enriches our life. When it helps us to go in the direction of healing and transformation. So looking and contemplating impermanence helps us to look with the eyes of compassion at ourselves and also at others. We like to nourish our capacity of understanding, love, joy and inclusiveness, to transform our anger, and help others to do the same with the practice of Right Diligence. Let us... So Right Diligence means taking care of the seeds we have and taking care of the mental formations. A mental formation is a seed that manifests in our mind as a state of mind, if you like. We may find that there are certain mental formations that are present more often that others. And we call them then 'habit energies'. Habit energy of thinking, of speaking, and of acting. Let us, with a sound of the bell, take a moment to reflect, when we go back to ourselves, at some of our habit energies. Maybe we have the habit energy of thinking, can also be of speaking or physical action. It can be a wholesome habit energy, and that's a habit energy that leads us in the direction of transformation and healing. Or it can be what we would call an impulse, some habit energy, that habit energy that leads us in the direction of suffering, basically. So just let us go back to ourselves, and just see which habit energy comes up spontaneously, what kind of habit energy. (Bell) (Bell) We may find that the habit energy that came up in us is one of our habitual ways of responding to life's situations. I would like now to draw a diagram of the Four Right Diligences. That will help us to understand how to practice or how to put these four practices or four diligences into practice. This makes it more interesting as when I just list them. Lists, we have already, we have many. So this is the seed. [Seed] And this is also seed. [Seed] And this is a mental formation, 'mf' for short. And this also is mental formations. [mf] So a seed is a potential and a mental formation is when that potential manifests as a state of mind. Then we call it a mental formation. Speaking of anger, we all have a seed of anger. And we would like to avoid that seed of anger manifested itself as a mental formation. Because that then means that the energy of anger is really present in us. It's not pleasant for us and very often not pleasant for others as well. So how... What to do, how to practice in order not to turn that seed of anger into a mental formation called anger. Then, the Buddha says, 'Easy. Do you have a garden at home?' That's not what the Buddha said but the Buddha could have said that. Do you have a garden at home? Have you ever sown seeds in your garden? Wanting to have a lot of cosmos flower in your garden? Yes. So if you have those seeds of cosmos flowers in the garden, what do you need to do in order to make it flourish? You have to water it. If you just put a seed in there and never water your garden, unless it rains, very unlikely you get the cosmos flower. In the garden, there is also maybe a seed of... a weed, many weeds. And you don't want all those weeds to come up. Well, then don't water them. So if we have a, here, let's say, we have a seed of anger in our garden, the garden of our mind, we like to sort of keep it for most time in the seed form. Okay, we don't mind, don't mind the seeds at all! But we have to mind them, you see what I mean. We have to take care of them, but we don't mind they being there. So, if we don't want our seed of anger to flower as a flower in the garden of our mind, typical a mental formation, we should not water it. And just in one word, we say avoid. [Avoid] Avoid. Avoid to water the seed of anger. Do not water. [Do not water] Do not water the seed of anger. But if accidentally we water it anyway, or we allow it to be watered by others, and the mental formation of anger comes up, the flower of anger blooms in our mind, then, the most important thing is to stop watering that seed. If we don't water it, it will wilt, it will dry up, shrink. It will go back to the seed form. Stop watering. Another word is overcome. [Overcome] Stop watering, in Plum Village parlance. [Stop watering] Stop watering the seed. Nothing can survive without food. And our anger will not survive if we stop feeding our anger. And we can stop feeding our anger by not always going back to what brought up our anger. Not to keep going back to that. We need to stop, or break the contact with the source that triggered our anger. Don't stay in contact with that incident. Don't keep thinking, 'Why did this person say that? Why did she, or he say that?' 'What was she trying to do? So mean!' We keep on ruminating, ruminating, ruminating this thought over and over again, it means we keep on watering the seed of anger. I don't know if you've ever tried this, kind of this rumination, ruminification. When we turn something over, and over in our mind, especially when it's - since we are talking about anger, considering anger, maybe after 5, or 10, or 15, or 20 or half an hour of doing that our anger has grown enormously. We've been watering it the whole time. It is like shooting the second arrow. We were shot by an arrow, by somebody who said that, that hurt, and then, we keep repeating, and repeating, and reliving, and reliving that incident. It's like shooting another arrow, and maybe another, and another, and another. And the second arrow is not twice as painful, it's a hundred times more painful. So, stop watering the seed, break the contact. Turn away. [Break the contact] Turn away from the source that brought up your anger. As I said before, one way of doing that is to bring our mind home to our body, becoming aware of our body, aware of where anger manifests in our body and breathing with it. And then, when it's calmed down, we will feel much better. We can also practice something that we call 'change the CD'. If we catch it in time. I have found, if I turn something over in my mind for 5, 10 minutes, it's better for me to go back to my body, and take care of the mental formation in that way, rather than trying to change the CD. Because I may go to another thought that is uplifting, joyful, but only for few minutes, and then I'm pulled back again by the emotion. So the practice is to become aware, what is the best way for us, each individual, each one of us, the best way to change the CD? Is it to bring up another thought? Think of something pleasant? Something beautiful? Or is it to come back to the body? Or go for a walk, which is also going back to the body. Nourishing other things, getting different input through different sense organs. Change CD. [Change CD] Here, a kalyanamitra comes in handy. And actually, the whole sangha is a kalyanamitra. When we are upset about something and when we're angry, there is always something happening in the sangha, there is always people who are around, they are doing things, we can go and join them. Maybe working in the garden. And just by that joyful energy, it helps us to change the CD. Or a good friend who will say, 'Come on! Let's go for a walk, let's have a cup of tea.' Change the CD. If we have a- I think I need that one. No, I see. I'm sorry. I knew something was not quite right. So. That's better. If we have a positive seed, that we would like to strengthen, we encourage, [Encourage] that seed to manifest itself by watering that seed. [To water] And the practice of mindfulness helps us here also to do this. We water our seeds of joy by being present in the present moment and recognize all the sources of joy that are present in our life. You may like to sit down, maybe with some others, and make a list of joys. What are your sources of joy in your life. And it can be something very small. A smile, of another member of the community. I don't know if anyone of you has seen the full moon these days. A wonderful source of joy. Beautiful! But the full moon can only be a source of joy if we are truly present. The full moon maybe there, but we need to be there in order to enjoy the full moon. I know this from experience. The full moon rises at the- to the East of our hamlet. And there is a path in this hamlet where you walk. Well, the sisters walk. And we can see the rising moon. And I would often stand there, when it is full moon, and watch the full moon arising. Especially because it's next to the bell tower and it looks so, so beautiful. One evening, I was not present, being carried away by some mental formation, and I was walking towards our sisters' building, walked right past the bell tower, and there was a sister standing there, and she said, 'Sister, the full moon! The full moon! Look!.' And this is what happened. So, let's say the full moon is there. Oh, yes! (Laughter) And we continue to walk! And she said, 'Sister, sister, the full moon! Look at the full moon!' Because she had seen me standing there many, many times. I've told her, 'Come, look at the full moon.' And now, I was walking straight on. And she had to call me a number of times, that it dawned on me, the full moon! So, thank you. So I went back and enjoyed the full moon. And she really helped me with that to change the CD. Here. Because I was not in such a joyful mood, and she may have understood. She called me back and encouraged me to water a positive seed, the seed of joy and happiness. And she did. Is that truly a spiritual friend. So, find ways to water the positive seeds. So that they flower and the become a mental formation. And once they are a mental formation, then, what do we do? So we are having - We are happy, we are joyful, the mental formation of joy has arisen. Everything is impermanent, you know? Everything comes, and it goes. So joy can come and can be gone in the next second. Unless, you practice to keep it there. Our joy comes and goes, our anger comes and goes. And if we want our joy to stay, we have to nourish it. It is nourishing our joy that keeps it longer. To become aware of the source that has brought about joy and stay in contact with that source. As long as we stay in contact with the source, our joy will increase. As long as I look at the full moon, that is watering seeds of joy. Instant after instant. So, we maintain our joy, [Maintain] and concretely, we continue to water by staying in contact. [Continue to water] Continue to water our mental formation by staying in contact with the source. This is basically the practice of Right Diligence. Unwholesome seeds, avoid watering. If accidentally they got watered anyway, stop watering them. The wholesome seeds, water them. They manifest, continue to water them. Simple? But it takes some practice. This practice is a practice of transformation. The unwholesome seeds will not have a chance to grow stronger. They may even weaken. And the wholesome seeds get the chance to grow stronger. So the unwholesome seeds will manifest less often. And the wholesome seeds will manifest more often. This is a very important practice in the light of taking care of our anger. At the same time, it is a very important practice in the light of just about everything. Nowadays, we hear a lot about depression. People say, 'I am in a depression, I'm depressed.' Take this kind of overview, and ask yourself, 'What kind of seed have I been watering in myself lately? Or what kind of seed have I allowed to be watered in me by others?' And that is not just other people, maybe it is the news, how often do we listen to the news? It's Okay to listen to the news, or watch it, or read it, whatever we do nowadays, but what seed, what kind of seed does it water in us? How much can we take before we go towards a depression? For instance. And the way out is to stop watering those seeds and to start watering wholesome seeds and then to continue to water wholesome seeds. With the help of a good friend, with the help of a kalyanamitra, maybe with the help of the sangha, we can do it. Maybe we can have a sound of the bell, before I continue to come to a close of this talk today. (Bell) Right Diligence is nourished by joy and interest. By joy and interest in the practice. And the 7th mindfulness training is 'Dwelling happily in the present moment.' It gives us very clear practices to do to dwell happily in the present moment and to water our seed of joy and happiness. The 7th mindfulness training helps us to be aware that life is only available now. Yesterday is already passed, tomorrow not yet there. Now is the only moment we have. We like to really train ourselves to live deeply each moment of our live. And not to loose ourselves in dispersion or be carried away by regrets about the past. Or the worries about the future, or craving, anger, or jealousy in the present moment. And we take mindful breathing as our anchor. We always come back to mindful breathing to know what is happening in the here and the now, so that we can be in touch with the wonderful, refreshing, and also the healing elements that are in the here and the now. We all know that nature is very healing. How often have we walked through nature, our mind was somewhere else, and we miss the opportunity to be healed by nature. Mother Earth is so beautiful. It's so, so beautiful. I have a photograph of Mother Earth, our jewel of the cosmos, as we call her, and just looking at that picture makes me so happy. I know we are doing terrible things to Mother Earth. And still, she is so loving, and so embracing. And looking at this picture, makes me reflect, how can we live our life so as to take care of Mother Earth? Because she is the one that nourishes us, that holds us, that also embraces us. And we need to take care of our Mother. Many of us, many of our sangha members are engaged in protecting Mother Earth. And here in Plum Village also we were vegetarians, now, as a community in the whole we are vegan. Also because we want to contribute to protecting Mother Earth, protecting the species on Earth. We do our best to use our vehicles mindfully. That is why also in bigger retreats, we order buses, so everybody can come by bus, and not the French who have come in individual cars come by their cars, but come by bus. We have Happy Farms in all three hamlets, and we are very happy to have Happy Farms. Thank you to the happy farmers. We do things to protect Mother Earth. Little by little, we're going more and more, as a big community, in the direction of protecting Mother Earth. So we will come back to the present moment, and water the seeds of joy, peace, love and understanding in ourselves, so that our consciousness can transform and heal. And also we like to become aware that real happiness basically depends on our mental attitude. And not necessarily on external conditions. When we practice that, we see that we can live happily in the present moment, because we see we have already enough conditions to be happy. The mental attitude and not external conditions, it can be challenging. For instance, we may know people whom we are angry with and find that very difficult to overcome that anger. We have a practice we just call 'The five ways of putting an end to anger', in which there's one sentence that keeps coming back: 'If you are angry and you are a wise, you will know how to meditate to put an end to your anger.' And it gives us five ways to look at the person we are angry with. 'If there is someone whose bodily actions are not kind, but the words are kind, then do not pay attention to the bodily actions, only pay attention to their words, and that can help you to put an end to your anger. And when their words are not kind, but their bodily actions are kind, if you are wise, you do not pay attention to the words, but only pay attention to the bodily action.' It is recognizing that there is still a seed of kindness that is able to manifest itself in this person. And by recognizing that their words are kind, or in other case their bodily actions are kind, you may be able also to interact with them in a way that waters that seed of kindness in them. So instead of focusing on the unkind, to focus on the kind. Until we will help them bring about the change within themselves. So, if the bodily actions are not kind and neither the words are kind, then we need to look a little bit deeper. And we may notice that there is still somewhere in their heart, a little kindness. And then, we are advised to pay attention to that little kindness, and not to their words or actions. And maybe also nourish that little kindness in them. Then, you may all be waiting for the next one, if the bodily actions are not kind, the words are not kind and you cannot find any, any, any ounce of kindness in their hearts, then what? Are we then allowed to get angry? No, the Buddha says. If you meet somebody whose words are not kind, whose actions are not kind and who you cannot find any kindness in their heart, then, please, know that that person is suffering deeply, and they need your help. Find ways to help them. And I've looked into this time and time again, whenever I come to this, I think, how is that possible? And I realize - First I thought, Okay, if there is no kindness in their words, actions or in their heart, I need to find ways to help them, but they've caused another suffering. Until I realized, by helping them it doesn't mean that I condone what they did, said or thought. I didn't condone any of their actions of body, speech or mind. I just see that they must be suffering in order to cause so much suffering to others. And if we can help them, they may stop causing suffering with their words or deeds, and they may find some goodness in their heart. It was very important for me to discover that, to come to that insight. Help. So you may have people in your live and maybe people in your country, you don't see any kindness in actions, speech or maybe in their heart, but they need your help. Especially if it's someone who is or has a word to say about what happens in a country. They may need help. And Thay is a real great bodhisattva. I said before that the essence of the 14 mindfulness trainings, which are what we call bodhisattva trainings, is never to abandon anyone. Even if they cause great suffering. I shall never forget the 25th of September in 2001, when Thay gave a talk in a church, in New York. And Thay was responding to the 9/11 event. The attack on the... Trade Center? World? I was right, yes. On the buildings in New York, World Trade Center, I think it was called. Correct? Yes. First of all, I go back a little bit briefly. When we heard the news, we were in California, in a center, one of our centers in California, in Deer Park. So a number of our monastics went to Thay and said, 'Thay, this has happened. Can we do something? Now we have to speak out, we have to do a walking meditation, a protest march, or something like that.' And Thay said, 'No. We are going to the beach.' And we went, 'We are going to the beach?' 'Yes, we are going to the beach. Hire a bus we are going to the beach and we are bringing a picnic.' So we went to the beach. And as we go to the beach, Thay said, 'Go and play', it means, go and wait in the water playing soccer, whatever. And the attendants spread out a mat for Thay and Thay was lying down. And the whole time, as we were playing, Thay was just lying there. Very quietly. And then, we had lunch, and then we went back to the temple where we were staying. And then Thay called us together later, and said, Thay would give a talk in New York, and Thay would address the issue. So this is how Thay came to address the issue in New York. And before Thay went up to address the issue, we were with Thay, waiting. And Thay said, 'What Thay is going to say may put Thay's life in danger, but Thay has to say it.' And in the speech, we started first by reading the invocation of Avalokita, evoking the energy of compassion of Avalokita. We chanted and then Thay gave the speech. And the basic message was, Thay said that America has to ask Iraq, what did we do for you to do this to us? Thay was not abandoning anybody. Everything is because of causes and conditions. So a bodhisattva never abandons anyone. And we do not condone that act. We do not, somebody who causes suffering, condone the act. But we try to see how we can help them. And by saying what Thay said, Thay was to say, 'Okay, what can we do? What are we doing? Tell us.' To do this in our daily life is a real practice of a bodhisattva. We'll practice our compassion for ourselves and for others. And we can do it with the help of a kalyanamitra. We can do it, while practicing Right Diligence, to understand that everything is because of causes and conditions. And, compassion arises from understanding. If we have no understanding, compassion cannot arise. We can think we are compassionate, but if there is no understanding, we have to question whether that compassion is true compassion. Compassion is born from understanding. So, we start with ourselves, we look at ourselves with the eyes of compassion to understand why we think as we think, why we say what we say, why we do what we do. What seeds have we watered through our sense organs, our seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching, and above all also through our thinking. We may see something, but we will think as a response. And what is that thinking? What is that watering in us? And the foundation is to generate the energy of mindfulness throughout the day by coming back to our breathing with the sound of the bell, bring our mind home to our body and by walking meditation. Walking mediation is a practice I take refuge in to make it, to make my steps walking meditation steps throughout the day. There are moments I forget. And then it may be the sound of a bird, a sister, a brother, a sound, that brings me back. And to touch the earth. As I said, when I see the picture of Mother Earth, I feel happy and I feel also a lot of care. So when I walk on Mother Earth, I really walk with gentleness and with gratitude for Mother Earth. Thay says, walk as if you are caressing Mother Earth. And I found if I have that, when we caress, it is very gentle, it doesn't go- With a bang we arrive on the earth and then we caress, on the earth or on a cat, or a beloved one, we even land on our beloved one gently, to caress gently. To land gently with our foot on the earth. The impact. When we hear somebody coming, by the sound of the footsteps, we can usually tell what the mood is. You know from school, when the teacher came, like, 'We'd better sit up straight and concentrate', or "'It's Okay.' You know? We hear. So the impact, to be aware of the impact between our foot and the earth, and to make it gentle. To walk with gentleness. And then, I have noticed, whatever the energy was before, when I start walking like that, there is an energy of care, of gentleness that comes up in me. And it feels wonderful. It is a very good way of practicing the Four Diligences. Walking meditation. It's a good way to avoid, to overcome, to encourage and to maintain. So we do not need to make time in the morning, in the evening, to have 20 minutes of sitting. In between, we can practice mindfulness throughout the days by enjoying our steps. So, thank you for listening, I will finish, here, and we will have walking meditation, weather permitting, before too long. Thank you. I wish everybody a happy practice. (Bell) (Bell) (Bell) (Bell)

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