The Way Out Is In / Caring for Children, Caring for the Child Inside (Episode #56)

Br Pháp Hữu, Jo Confino

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Welcome to episode 56 of The Way Out Is In: The Zen Art of Living, a podcast series mirroring Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh’s deep teachings of Buddhist philosophy: a simple yet profound methodology for dealing with our suffering, and for creating more happiness and joy in our lives.

In this episode, Zen Buddhist monk Brother Phap Huu and leadership coach and journalist Jo Confino talk about the annual family retreats at Plum Village (the one time when families visit with their children): how they came about, and how the dharma can touch the lives of children and teenagers. The presenters share their unique experiences of these retreats, and stories of transformation involving parents and children, including ones featuring Thich Nhat Hanh and his deep teachings and special understanding of the youngest practitioners. 

Going deeper, the conversation delves into ways to remain compassionate and continue to listen deeply when dealing with a child; collective energy and co-creating an environment for children; the insight of nondiscrimination; the art of slowing down and being present for your children; authority and separation; the fourteen mindfulness trainings; and more. 

Plus, why do people bring their families to a Zen monastery in the south of France? Are mindful practitioners better parents?

Brother Phap Huu further shares how the retreats are run, some popular mindfulness practices, and how monastics work with different age groups. Jo talks about generational pain and the importance of deepening our relationship with our children, at any age.

The episode ends with ‘Practicing with the Five-Year-old in Me and in My Parents’, a recording of a meditation guided by Thich Nhat Hanh.

Thank you for listening. Enjoy!

Co-produced by the Plum Village App:

And Global Optimism: 

With support from the Thich Nhat Hanh Foundation:

List of resources 

Old Path White Clouds 

The Organic Happy Farm 

‘The Pebble Meditation’ 

Looking Deeply: ‘Healing the Inner Child’ 

‘The Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings’ 

The Bodhisattva vow 


‘Practicing with the Five-Year-Old Child in Me and in My Parents’ 

‘Practicing with the Child in Me (Guided Meditation)’ 

The Way Out Is In: ‘Healing Our Inner Child: Pathways to Embrace Our Suffering (Episode #10)’ 


“Now that I reflect on my childhood, what were the gems in my upbringing? One that stands out very clearly is when my parents were in Plum Village, because somehow Plum Village energy and the creation of the space was developed together; everybody co-created the retreat and you got to be yourself. We weren’t competing to see who was more mindful, or who was going to become the Buddha first. Then everybody slowly un-layered all of the masks they were wearing, as well as starting to embrace and accept themselves. And that presence has a very deep impact on a child.”

“It does take a community to help a child grow.”

“When the Buddha became enlightened, the first thing he did was to create a community. And I would even say that the Buddha’s journey goes all the way back to the support of children.”

“Every action that Thay produced through body, speech, and mind was a transmission.”

“The baby may not understand the words, but they absorb the collective energy.” 

“Be mindful of your thoughts. Be mindful of your speech. Be mindful of your presence, because it gives off an invisible transmission, just like radio signals that one can receive.”

“What is the meaning of life? It is to be present enough that we can love, that we can see our interconnectedness with all those around us. Your parents, your brother, your sister: even though, sometimes, they make you angry, deep down inside, you do love them. And maybe our whole life journey is not to learn about that, but to live the message of love.”

“Moments of care, moments for being with others, are also time for oneself. And when you shift that narrative, your energy changes; suddenly, your love becomes boundless. You are channeling and practicing non-self and you’re also practicing selflessness. And that is one of the deepest wisdoms of Buddhism.”

“I’m holding this pebble, and if it represents a good deed and I throw it in the pond, where I know it will create ripples, then it seems that my good deeds will have a similar impact. So it is important to cultivate good deeds.”

“Children are a wonderful bell of mindfulness, because they press all of our buttons. Because they often break the rules in a way that adults don’t with each other. They sometimes speak truths that are uncomfortable and that we don’t want to hear.” 

“Unless something is healed, it gets passed on, because the next child will witness that pain and soak it up. They either think it’s normal behavior, or they try to swallow it to take it away from their parents, because they want their parents to be happy. That’s their key wish: for their parents to be happy, not for themselves to be happy. When people recognize that their own healing also heals the past, that’s a great motivator; they’re actually healing the wound that was felt in their parents, their grandparents, or their great-grandparents. And then they’re changing the future, especially for their own children.”

“The heart of mindfulness is being in the present moment.” 

“We heal the past in the present moment.”


So, dear listeners, we’re about to start the formal start of this podcast. But Brother Phap Huu has been doing the plumbing. So there’s a blockage in the sink in Thich Nhat Hanh’s Sitting Still Hut, and I’ve been sitting here for a good few minutes waiting for Brother Phap Huu to unblock the sink. And then I thought that actually this is Zen practice, because Zen practice is about unblocking blocks, it’s about flow. You know, one of the core practices of Plum Village is go as a river, so we couldn’t go as a river if the sink is blocked. So I’m waiting for Brother Phap Huu to finish unblocking the sink. Brother Phap Huu, are you nearly done?


Almost there. Almost there. Dear listeners, give me just a few more minutes.


Okay. So I’m going to sit here patiently because patience is also Plum Village virtue. And then hopefully, Phap Huu we will finish in a moment and then we can start the formal proceedings.


Dear friends, welcome back to this latest episode of the podcast series The Way Out Is In.


I’m Jo Confino, working at the intersection of personal transformation and systems evolution.


And I am Brother Phap Huu, a Zen Buddhist monk, student of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh in the Plum Village tradition.


And dear listeners, today we are going to be talking about the family retreats in Plum Village, when for the only time in the year families come with their children and we’re going to, brother talk about, in a sense how the Dharma can touch the lives of children and teenagers.


Tthe way out is in.


Hello, everyone. I’m Jo Confino.


And I am Brother Phap Huu.


So, brother, we are just over halfway through three weeks of retreats for families and their children. And this is very unusual in the Buddhist tradition to open the monastery, not just to serious practitioners, but to parents who want to bring their children to experience the joy of being in the Plum Village tradition. And we know that this has become a hugely popular part of the year, that it’s become a hotter ticket than big music concerts like Glastonbury. We have people who are waiting with their finger on their computer to get their place. And the tickets this year sold out in less than 2 hours. Why is it, brother, that people want to bring their families to a Zen monastery in the south of France?


I wish I can ask the parents this, but I would say that the reputation of the summer retreat has rippled into many countries and many communities and many Sangha members of the wonderful experience that families have when they come together. And like you shared, there’s not many traditions, particularly in a meditation practice center, where it’s focused more on more silence or deep teachings and base for adults. And it’s harder to create something that can talk and can be received by children from… Our program is from 6 to 12 for children and then 13 to 17 for teens. And then you have the Wake Up, which are young adults, and then everyone else. But we do have a lot of infants that come to Plum Village also, and they don’t have a program because we asked the parents to take care of them throughout the retreat. And I think one of the hot ticket to reason is because it is right in the summer vacation of everyone. And it’s a very unique experience to be in a Zen practice center, particularly great gratitude towards our teacher Thay for having this wisdom and having this insight to create a retreat where families come together, practice together and transform together. And I think particularly in my own generation of those who grew up as Vietnamese in the U.S., we particularly are uprooted from our own heritage and our own country. And most of us are Buddhists, whether we know it or not. And being in touch with a tradition, it’s also learning about oneself, it’s also learning about our genetic ancestors, our spiritual ancestors, and our land ancestors, and the importance of having a community that is practicing together where you can just flow as a river and not feel like you’re trying too hard is what Plum Village has been able to develop through the years. And when you enter into a retreat such as Plum Village, people, and particularly I know children, those who are for the first time, I’m sure there’s a lot of fear, there’s some nervousness, there’s the fear of the unknown as like, what am I doing at a temple or a monastery? And then they start to realize, actually the monks and nuns are human beings. We’re not so strict as they think, and we actually know how to smile. We can speak their language, and language is not just the national language, but is also the language of today’s time. And our way of being with them expresses this is what mindfulness is. And we guide them through like meditation such as snack meditation, or we do games to help them be more aware of the whole program, the whole kids community that is there. And it just becomes the Dharma in a very non dharmic way, which is I think is very cool because that’s how I was introduced to Plum Village, which was just being in the presence of people, not just monks and nuns, but also adults that are all in the intention of cultivating loving kindness, compassion, presence and discovering themselves. And that collective energy, the children, which are like sponges in a way, they don’t learn through just the spoken language, but they learn through the invisible Dharma, which is just the way of being. And I particularly was very impacted from my first retreat. I don’t remember any Dharma, but I just remember how fun it was without electronics, without video games. And my dad was truly happy. And that was so important for me. Now that I reflect on my childhood, like, what are the gems in my upbringing? And one that stands out very clearly is when my parents are in Plum Village, because somehow Plum Village energy and the creation of the space that is being developed together, everybody is co-creating this retreat and we get to just be yourself and not try to compete with each other. We’re not competing to who’s the more mindful person or who’s going to become the Buddha first, you know. And then everybody is like slowly un-layering all of the masks that they’re wearing as well as starting to embrace and accept themselves. And that particular presence has a very deep impact on a child. And it also gives hope because if we live in a family or if we live in a society that is very broken, a lot of violence, a lot of anger and hatred, then we think this is the world. And a retreat such as, even one week, seven days, you start to see there’s another way of life. There’s another way of being. There’s another way of seeing. There’s another way of communicating. That can definitely shift a child’s whole perspective of the world. And the summer retreat, particularly, I would say, in Thay’s language, is sowing seeds at a very young age and letting them already touch happiness, touch stillness, touch joy, excitement and fun without any outer entertainment or substance outside, such as drugs and alcohol and loud music and so on. And just realizing that it does take a community. This is ancient wisdom. It does take a community to help grow a child. And for me, growing is not like being beside them and like guiding them, but the growing is just also the way I’m conducting myself as impacting somebody who is right next to me, even though I’m not speaking to them. But my way of being is a radio transmission. So the summer retreat has developed through the years focusing on families because we know that a family is a foundation for anyone, for many of us, it’s the start of our journey. And a lot of our friends don’t have the wonderful conditions of coming from a loving family and a family that expresses care and attention and so on. And so in spirituality, we speak of a spiritual family, and sometimes the spiritual family is more powerful than our own genetic family, because family, for me, it’s like a home. And when we think of home, we think of the element of safety, the element of warmth, the element of understanding and the element of being supported. And not all of us have that fortune in our own blood family. But life can take us in a direction, and a spiritual community can create a bond that is like a spiritual family. And a lot of my own brothers and sisters, my spiritual brothers and sisters, I feel like they truly do understand me at a much deeper level than my own blood family and vice versa. I feel like there are some of my monastic siblings that I feel they are me. Their happiness is definitely my happiness. Their suffering is definitely my suffering. Their journey is my journey. And so this thread of connection, it’s really a part of the Buddhist foundation. When the Buddha became enlightened, the first thing he did was to create a community. And I would even say that the Buddha’s journey goes all the way back to the support of children. One of my favorite book of Thay is Old Path White Clouds and is Thay’s masterpiece in writing the story of the Buddha through the eyes of an untouchable boy who was one of the buffalo boy who cut the grass that offered to the Buddha so that he can have a cushion to sit on. And with the girl who the Buddha met, who saw the Buddha fainted and gave him milk. And then every day, brought offering of food so that he had that condition to practice, which then led to his enlightenment. So part of the non Buddha elements are the children. So, in a way, it’s so beautiful to see that what we’re doing may seem new, but at the core of it is not. We’re going exactly back to the beginning, which are the children are the conditions that have helped our root teacher, the Buddha, become having the conditions for him to reach enlightenment. And then in our times, the children we see are not only the future, but it is our future. And when we learn to care for a child, we’re also learning to care for the child within us. And this is my own practice and my own insight that when I have been in touch with children and the diversity of the children and of course, they’re loud, sometimes they’re very messy, sometimes they’re very naughty. They’re all opportunities to truly practice with all these emotions that come up and ask myself, Why am I so angry? And I realize because all of those qualities are also inside of me, the qualities that makes me suffer that I’m running away from. And so when I see it, it’s a mirror for me. But at the same time, how do I transform that in me? And how do I still show up and accept them for the beauty that they are, which is also accepting myself. And so there is this beautiful, I would say, in my own, this beautiful dance within the inner child and outer child, which are the physical children that come to Plum Village. So, you know, this is just like the spiritual side. And then on the other side, the families are just so happy when they’re together here. And not everyone is happy. You know, I just have to put this out there. There are some children who truly suffer when they come for the first few days and they even get really angry, like why their parents even brought them here. And the beauty is the other children bring them in. And we do a lot of sport here. We do a lot of singing even, just different types of activity depending on our monastic holding the group as well as all the volunteers. And there are now elements of the Happy Farm, which will bring the children to the Happy Farm, getting in touch with the nature, seeing the potatoes, help harvesting the cucumbers, the tomatoes and just very basic things that actually give so much life to the children. And then one of the most powerful moments are the beginning of new practices that the children and parents do together. Normally, on day six of the retreat, and it’s when the parents would have a moment to share from the heart to the child, the gratitude that they have towards their child. And they would water some of the beautiful flowers and then even have a moment to express a regret as well as to share something deep down from their heart, what they truly wish for their child. And then the child would do the same. And it’s a very… maybe one of the highlights of our retreats sometimes is these moments that you see the mother and the father being able to express to their children and their children listening and then vice versa, and just happy tears, they embrace. And I think these moments and maybe it may happen once, but it may be the vitamin that has unlimited energy throughout someone’s journey.


Wow, brother, thank you for all that. And what you were just saying at the end reminds me, I mean, and we’ve talked about it on other episodes, but the importance of time and space that even when people go on normal holidays, they’re always trying to keep their kids happy and they’re always trying to arrange things. And here it’s about calming down and having time. And I know at retreats that I’ve been part of, sometimes the parents or sometimes people who are parents, recognize during the retreat that when they’re with their children, they’re not really listening to their children, that they’re thinking about their projects and thinking about what they should be doing and what they haven’t done. And a lot of people realize that actually just the most simple thing is that what children want is the presence of the parents, to know that they’re seen and that they’re being listened to and that when they say something is being responded to. And if children are speaking or wanting to say something and the parents are absent minded or not present, then actually that can create some very real psychological difficulties for children feeling not heard, feeling not respected, feeling not cared for. So, just the art of slowing down and as you say, being in an atmosphere where other people are supporting that creates this extraordinary opportunity just for people to be together. You mentioned when you started, Phap Huu, that obviously Thay, this is not something you’ve invented in the last year or two, that this was in fact central to all of Thay’s retreats, that when children were present, that he would always start off his Dharma talks by spending 15 minutes with the children and teenagers and gave them a talk specifically for them. And on his walking meditations, he would always hold the hands of children and the children would be up front, not sort of walking at the back, but would be walking with Thay at the front. I’m just wondering if you could talk about Thay’s relationship to children. And also I think the way he spoke to them, because he spoke to them in a very beautiful, direct way. He didn’t treat them as, Oh, you’re young, I don’t have to bother. He spoke to them as human beings in the same, might have used different language, but he gave them a lot of respect.


Yeah, Thay was such a skillful teacher. And his way of being because he knew that every action that he produced through body, speech and mind is a transmission. And I think we forget that children are natural mindfulness observer like they had the seed and maybe it’s actually it’s when is so present because their sense, you know, their own curiosity which is one of the factors of enlightenment, is to investigate, to be curious, to see and to ask. And so a child already is so curious and they’re soaking in through their senses, their eyes, their ears, their smell, their contact and so on. And so Thay’s way of being of children is definitely beyond the words. It’s his way of seeing them. He would look at them in their eyes when he speaks to them. He would motion them to come closer to him during the Dharma talk, and in his later years, he would even invite one child to sit next to him while he’s giving a Dharma talk to like 800 people. And in a way, I feel like there’s so many layers to what is happening, so this is all of my perception and what I observe is also a way of showing adults who are present that there is… we can be with a child in a way that we see them as us and we see them that they do have the seeds of mindfulness. They do have the capacity, the capacity to understand even some of the deepest teachings. Thay would teach them the teachings on nondiscrimination, and he uses the example of his two hands where he would share that, you know, his right hand is very productive in his lifetime. It has written all of the poems, all of the books, the calligraphies, only one poem that was written by both hands on a typewriter by him. But everything was done by the right hand. And it seems like the left hand has done nothing. And so by looking from a bird’s eye view, it seems like there’s a superior and an inferior pair of hands. And Thay would say in his teachings that there was one day he was hanging a frame and the left hand was holding a nail and the right hand the hammer and accidentally, Thay’s mindfulness wasn’t there, so his right hand with the hammer accidentally hit the left hand. And in that moment, you know, everybody laughs because everybody knows exactly where Thay’s going, but Thay stops and he says, In that moment, do we think that the left hand is angry and is criticizing and judging and wanting to punish back, and say, give me that hammer, and I want justice. But actually, the teaching of nondiscrimination is already in us, which is at that very moment, the right hand. We put the hammer down. Without non-self it takes care of the left hand as it is taking care of itself. And so our own two hands have the insight of nondiscrimination. And Thay teaches this to the children. And he would always link it to siblings, to mother and father, to community. We start to see each other like two hands. And the beauty of this is also when Thay’s teaching to the children, the adults think Thay’s only speaking to the children and not to the adults. And adults are all very relaxed, so they’re actually taking it in, and they remember this, the children’s teaching, more than the adult teaching, which they go to head space level and they use their intellect more and try to grasp what Thay’s teaching. But when he’s teaching the children is so relaxed, they’re so relaxed. And his tone and Thay’s humor is very present when he’s with the children. And like he would, you know, put his hand at his waist and make a motion, like if the left hand is like, This is injustice, give me back that right… give me back that hammer, and I want justice. I’m going to beat you up. And, you know, like he just becomes one with them. And for me, this is also breaking the concept of what a Zen monk is or a spiritual practitioner, as we should be, you know, serene and I don’t know, like all of the stereotypes that we get as a Zen monastic or as monastics in general, we shouldn’t be laughing or whatever. And, you know, just this ease that Thay is offering definitely has a deep penetration to the mind consciousness to store consciousness and the collective of everyone. And children would fall asleep during his talk, even infants. I remember one time, you know, there was a mother who was breastfeeding in the meditation hall, which in the Eastern culture like this would, this was like a whoa, you don’t do this in a holy space, you know? And I remembered that Thay even spoke to that. Thay acknowledged, because Thay was so skillful, because maybe when the child was crying, the mother felt so much shame, but the mother really wants to be there. And what the child needs is the milk. And maybe the mother is… will do anything in her capacity to care for the child and as well as take care of herself, which is to be in this retreat. And Thay was so skillful in one Dharma talk and it was amongst 800 people. And Thay said, in this moment of giving this Dharma, I know that there’s also another Dharma that is being offered, which is the collective energy. And there’s a baby on Thay’s right that is being cared for by the mother’s milk, but also by the collective energy of everyone. And he said, and this energy is like the milk of mindfulness that we’re also offering to the child. So Thay was just so skillful. He probably was able to see the emotions and body gestures from the mother, which probably it has some shame. And Thay said, it’s okay, because in this moment the baby is even being embrace. And Thay said that the baby may not understand the words, but the collective energy is what the baby is absorbing. And so knowing that, when we have awareness such as this, and Thay, this is a deep teaching, meaning all of you who are present, we are co-creating this environment for this child. So be mindful of your thoughts. Be mindful of your speech. Be mindful of your presence, because it is having a transmission that is invisible, just like radio signals that one can receive. So it is such skillfulness and such art of a teacher Thay is.


Thank you. Beautiful story. And one of the other things Thay used to do was normally in retreats, there’d be one morning where he would do questions and answers, and he would always give the first period of time to the children to ask. And what I remember is that often the children ask the most profound questions. And also, they were able to bring out Thay’s humor because a lot of people don’t recognize or haven’t had the experience of Thay’s humor. And he was very funny, he was a very funny Zen master. And I remember one child once asking Thay, Why do monks shave their hair? Why do monks shave their head? And Thay immediately said, So that we can save on the shampoo. And it was just, you know, just masterful. But also, brother, I don’t know if you have any memory of, you know, just the depth of questions that young children would ask that that, you know, often an adult would ask sometimes quite convoluted questions or, as you said, questions from the intellect. And children would offer the most profound questions that actually drew out some of the deepest teachings of Thay.


I remember one child asking Thay, what is the meaning of life? And I think all of us we have that question. And there was some laughter in the audience because like I think it comes from like, what does a child know about life to even ask that question? But Thay takes it very seriously. And Thay would allow the whole audience to laugh and to enjoy the moment. But then Thay would definitely answer as if the child, not as if he knows the child is really seeking an answer. And Thay, one time he said, if I remember correctly, and Thay is like, What is the meaning of life? It is to be so present so that we can love, so that we can see our interconnectedness with all the ones that are around us. And he said to the child, your parents, your brother, your sister, even though sometimes they make you angry, deep down inside, you do love them. And maybe our whole journey of life is not to learn about it, but is to live the message of love. And just as simple as that. And I think, like, for me, it hit a chord in me. I’m like, because so much of us, we do search for the longing of being accepted. And maybe that is a search for so many of us, of life to be accepted, to be seen, to be heard, and then Thay always brings it back to oneself. And Thay said, But the most important thing is that we also learn to have the capacity to love ourself, because loving ourself is loving the whole cosmos. Because when we love ourself, we want to protect and care for ourself. So when we love ourself and we learn to love others, we do it in that same understanding, just like the two hands. So that is very profound, deep and lifetime practice and a child listening, Thay is sowing a very powerful seed in that child. And so I see that every time Thay hears the question, and it may be very standard or basic from a child, but as a Zen master, he would make it a very deep moment where he would give a very deep answer, which he knows it will benefit so many people in that space.


Thank you, brother. I just want to ask you to talk a little bit about the different age groups that come to Plum Village, and how you work with them. So you said that the first age group that you work with, the youngest age is six and up. And I just wonder if you could share a bit with our listeners about what you can do with a six year old in terms of the practice, because I know that there are certain things you do, like a pebble meditation, which is very simple ways of helping them to see beyond the mind and get into their true feelings. But how do you work with someone who’s six, seven or eight years old? What can you do?


Thank you. So we do divide among the children, and I haven’t been in the children program for a very long time. So throughout the last, like, ten years, it’s been mainly my brothers and sisters taking care of them, but I always check in, and I see them around the hamlets. So what I do know is that we split the age group, so like 6 to 8 is one group and then I believe nine, nine and ten, 11, 12. And it depends on each year the group of numbers of kids that we have. So we teach them how to invite the bell. So we use physical action as a way of meditation with them. So one of the principles in Plum Village is whenever all of us, whoever is in Plum Village, whenever we hear the sound of the bell, everybody stops and comes back to the breathing, their mindfulness of breathing to bring out the awareness of life in the present moment. From the youngest child, and I would even share even the infants that are only nine months practice it because collectively everybody is still and coming back to their breath, even the infant is practicing by his observation. So for the children we would teach them how to invite the bell for one day and we would share like we would teach them, we don’t say we hit the bell or we strike the bell. We even use language, how important language is. And we say, for us, the bell is a Dharma instrument as well as it is a teacher as well as it is a friend. So when we want to strike the bell, we say, we invite the bell, we invite the bell to sound so that everyone can practice coming back to their breathing. So that is one example of a teaching that we would offer and then we would instruct them how and so on. And then each child would learn to be a bell master and each child would have a moment, if the chance comes up in the retreat for them to be a bell master, and we have these Dharma sharing families and we have dinners together. And each facilitator always starts with three sounds of the bell. And so we would invite a child to do it, to practice it right away. And the child, we know when they get to do this offering they feel so seen and so a part of something. And we would even invite them to read a contemplation and so on. Another practice is what you just mentioned, the Four Pebbles. The Pebble meditation is a wonderful Dharma door that our teacher created where there is a form, Thay would invite the children to go and find four pebbles, each pebble representing an element in cultivating in our practice such as flower fresh, mountain solid, still water reflecting and space, which is freedom, inner space, and outer space. And we would teach them and they would take it and they would understand it. And then teaching them, using stories of the Buddha or stories in life about the importance of the care for Mother Earth and just numerous different ways of teaching, of kindness, of compassion, of speech. And then when we do snack meditation like we would teach them, before receiving, to bow. And then to receive it with two hands, and then to take a cookie or to take a fruit and then wait that everybody has one, and then we eat together. So just a simple daily activity and we make, we add an element of presence, an element of care, an element of awareness that others are there with us. And then a lot of sport. And then Happy Farm, like I mentioned, walks, and then, you know, the children they create their own subgroups within the retreat. And it’s beautiful how it’s form. And also the teenage program that manifests too. And I think I shared in the last podcast how one of my highlights, one of the weeks in the retreat was to be with them. And we had one group that was all the boys. And you always have alphas, you know, in the groups. And when they are so present and so loving and so inclusive, it gives me so much hope. It gives me so much happiness. And we see such good seeds that are already existing in the world. And so sometimes a child, a teenager, an adult, a human being, all of these seeds that we have as a as living being, we have inherited all of this ancient wisdom, it just needs the right landscape for it to manifest. And sometimes a retreat brings out the wisest children, the wisest teenagers, and the wisest adult. We had this boy, his name is Kai. He’s only eight years old, and it was his first time in Plum Village, but his mother’s a practitioner. So I would say that the mother already has transmitted many wisdom to him. But when he was in this retreat, he is being watered by spoken words, by presence, by connection with children. The children, they just know you don’t curse here, you just use a different language here. And they are more observant and so on. And if they do use a word that is maybe not so kind, we would not yell at them, but we would inform and find a way to communicate that that that language is not helpful here and it waters many others seeds in people. And we share about the responsibility of co-creating this space together. So this child, Kai, I saw him sitting at a pool and he was holding a pebble and he was definitely deep in reflection. And I was like, so curious, and I was like, What are you contemplating? Eight years old. Okay? And he said, Well, I’m holding this pebble, and if this pebble represents a good deed and if I throw it in the pond and I know it will ripple, then it seems like my good deeds will have such impact to the whole pond. So it is important to cultivate good deeds. Is that right? And I, in my mind, I’m like, this is a Zen master in my presence. And I just wanted to bow to him and I wanted to say, Teach me more, young Zen master, teach me more. And I’m so happy I get to share it in this podcast because it was such a profound moment. He wasn’t showing off. He wasn’t trying to be smart or anything. He was really contemplating. And his mother was so taken back from it and she asked him, Did you learn that today from the children program? And he said, No. It just came up as a thought. And that made me reflect also like, so who taught him this? And for me, that’s not even important. It’s about the environment, the space that is being co-created here. And we had one teenage boy this week who was a little bit rude and the monks were reflecting to see if we should invite him out of the program because he was a little bit disrespectful to some of our volunteers and so on. But one brother just went up to him and spoke to him like a friend and said, Look, you have a natural quality of leadership and all the other boys look up to you. So your way of being is affecting our whole group. And I would like to invite you to be a responsible leader and to support us, monastics, in this program. And he shifted. He changed and he stayed with the program. And so sometimes it’s not about changing them. It’s about seeing them, meeting them at where they are and to understand. And of course, our brother asked, What’s troubling you? And family issue has been troubling him and it’s made him very angry and aggressive, and therefore his behavior has been very rude and because he doesn’t know how to handle it. But when also we bring back the ball in his court, it’s like, be with us, like, be a part of the team. And so it’s also the way of the energy that the monastics, that brother brought to him was just like, I’m not here to tell you that you’re right or wrong, but I’m just showing you some of the qualities that you have and can you use it with responsibility? So for me, like this retreat is I’m always learning. We’re learning as a community, we’re learning collectively, and it’s giving insights by just being together. And the infants, I learned so much from them, and I see the way that they’re able to blossom like a flower. Their smiles that they have is so genuine and they know who is peaceful. They connect to that. I met two babies. I’ve never met them [before]. And they just offer me some of the brightest smile. And it’s like an immediate connection right away. And there was this one child, I was sitting with the parents, and the parent asked me before they left on the second week of our retreat, they asked me for some advice for parents how to manage time to have time for their child and to have time for themselves. And somehow I went into a little bit of I think Thay came alive in me. And I said, Well, the first thing I want to share is that already in your question, when you’re dividing the time, that is dualistic thinking, that’s discrimination. For me, your child is you. How about changing the view when you are with the child, that is your time. Because that is you, so that when you are with the child, you’re giving the child your full presence. And giving yourself to the child in that moment, you’re also taking care of yourself. You’re taking care of the inner child in you. You’re taking care of the generations of ancestral mothers that have been in your family or father or parents. And it’s a deep transmission moment. And it can also be a deep healing moment. You can be transmitting all of the negative habit energy that you have received, or you can transform all of those seeds in this moment by learning to be a loving mother and understanding mother, a compassionate father, a forgiving father, a compassionate and inclusive parent. So there’s so much happening in that moment of you and the child. So I’ve learned to see, because my life with the community is like this, it’s like, people always ask me, Brother, how do you have time for yourself? I’m like, Well, for me, the time with the community is time for myself. And when those nugget moments come where I do have space for myself, that is also time for the community, because I am caring for myself, therefore, I’m caring for the community. And as parents, I would like to shift the narrative and the way of seeing parenting, of like, having time, like… And for all the parents, please have compassion. I mean, I am a monk. I don’t have kids like all of you, but my time with my brothers and sisters, and sometimes I do feel like a parent, is to see, is to remind ourselves that moments of deep love is time for oneself. Moments of care, moments for being with others is time for oneself also. And when you shift that narrative, your energy changes. And suddenly your love becomes more boundless. You are channeling and practicing non-self and you’re also practicing selflessness. And that is one of the deepest wisdom of Buddhism. And of course, it is so important to have moments when parents can be together and you can be with yourself, and those moments will come. And when they come, you know how to enjoy and you know how to take care and you know how to be fully there for yourself, but not to have like a set schedule of like this is parent time, this is alone time, this is work time, and so on and so and so. And I feel like that kind of structure has divided our society so much as well as has put all of us in different boxes. And I think like when Thay holds a child’s hand and allows the children to be at the front, there’s also breaking the system.


Brother, thank you. And what I hear, I think I hear you’re saying in part, but just to focus on this for a moment is that people often are looking for how do they develop their parenting skills. And what I hear you saying is become a mindful practitioner and then you will be a better parent. You can’t be a better parent outside of yourself if you’re not actually understanding yourself more. Because often and we all do it in our various ways as parents, we project onto our children. Sometimes we say, sometimes we are hurt in the way we were as children and being parented. And we say, I’m never going to let my child suffer the way I have. And then parents might overemphasize that behavior and actually push them in completely the opposite direction. Sometimes, if a child who’s grown up feels that they were abandoned as child, they will be there constantly for their child, they will go to the other extreme. And I think, you know, the answer to that is actually to come back to yourself, to heal your own wounds, not to live life vicariously. I know that my father, when he grew up, he had this dream of doing law at university, and he was not able to fulfill that because of the war and because of his circumstances. And then as his children, you know, with his children, including myself, I mean, I was the youngest, so it didn’t really affect me. But he wanted everyone to do law at university. So he wanted everyone, in a sense, to live the life that he didn’t live, which is wonderful on one level because he thought that would be a great life. But it’s not, you cannot force your children to be someone that you want them to be. And so maybe this is a good moment, brother to talk about in the Thich Nhat Hanh’s. 14 mindfulness trainings. So there are five mindfulness trainings, and then they’re also 14 mindfulness trainings. That one of the trainings talks about how to treat children well, how to treat actually adults, but very much includes children. And when I read it for the first time, I sort of looked very shy to myself because I realized that what he said we shouldn’t do, I had tried them all. And so I wondered, brother, if I know we discussed this just before we started, but I don’t know if you have available, because actually it would be really good just to hear that part, that training, and just to maybe have a moment to reflect on it.


This is the training, freedom of thought, aware of the suffering brought about when we impose our views on others, we are determined not to force others, even our children, by any means whatsoever, such as authority, threat, money, propaganda or indoctrination to adopt our views. We are committed to respecting the rights of others to be different, to choose what to believe and how to decide. We will, however, learn to help others let go of and transform fanaticism and narrowness through loving speech and compassionate dialog.


Wow. Thank you, brother. So, yes, I did fail in all those at different moments of my parenting. And that’s a tough gig because, actually, you know, as parents, if we’re tired, we’re busy, we’re trying to get our kids to do something, we, you know, a lot of parents resort to those methods.




Authority. I’m the one in power, because when a child is refusing to do something a parent can feel powerless about. We use money, like pocket money or treats. I mean, there’s all sorts of ways we try to force our children to sort of, in a sense, fit in with what works for us and what we believe is best for them. So often it comes from a place of love. And I know, brother, you’re not a direct parent, although as you say, some of your monastic siblings, sometimes, as the abbot, feel like you’re the parent. But is anything else you want to say about that, about how do we stay in compassion and deep listening when we’re dealing with a child? And I know this is not about giving parenting advice, but when we have a child who maybe is not doing what we want or is being rude or is not being respectful, it’s a very tough place for parents.


Yeah. Yeah. I think this mindfulness training, it has many teachings in it and I think first, you know, freedom of thought is to talk about all of the views that we have, what is right and what is wrong, what is happiness, what is success. And the natural pattern that we all see is that when our own childhood we haven’t had something, it becomes a big void in our hearts. And then when we have children, we want them to succeed where we failed. And this is a very classic suffering in a lot of Asian families. And Thay speak about it to the Asian community. And one of his example was a mother who comes to Plum Village a lot, and through her own practice, she realized that when she was young, she always wanted to wear a red dress, but they never had enough money. And her whole life has just to overcome poverty. And when she has succeeded and she has a child, instead of giving the child the freedom of what to wear, she always imposes the child to wear a red dress to the point that one day the child rebels and said, I don’t want to wear that red dress anymore, which in that moment, which is a very simple request, is just not to wear a red dress. The mother felt so betrayed and so hurt. And thanks to that practice, she realized that that love that she thought was offering to her child was not the freedom that she really wanted to offer, but it was her own inner child that was suffering. And so we have to be, as parents, we have to have freedom of allowing openness to be there. Of course, the child is you. So the child has a lot of your seeds. And maybe, yes, some of them will continue your… some of your wonderful talents, but at the same time, some of them will want to expand in a different field because they also have seeds from their whole ancestral lineage, which is generations to generation, from generations to generation. So love can be very suffocating, but love can also be very healing and very free. So freedom of thought is where there should be understanding. There needs to be a dialog in any relationship also to our children. And sometimes we forget that we have all of the answers, so they just listen to us. And that’s a wrong view. And of course, the other side is however we will learn to help those let go of wrong views and let go of wrong actions. So in, you know, in a bodhisattva vow, you know, when you go to a temple in the Mahayana tradition, you see these two statues. One is of a demon with swords, it has a horn, but it also has like Dharma instrument. And then one that is very kind, very loving, has like holding flowers and etc., is to say we have to balance the two. And sometimes we do have to be strict. We have to have firmness. Sometimes we say love can be very, very bitter sometimes because like when we eat bitter melon, it’s not tasty, but it’s very good for you. Sometimes some of the medications that we take herbal or Western, it doesn’t taste good, but it is exactly what we need in that moment. So there is structure that is important, like in the monastic life that we have, if a monastic is not behaving like a monk, we will talk about it. If they are doing things that is against our practice and our vows, sometimes we have to disrobe a monastic. We have to have firmness. We have to have clarity for right action in order to guide that person in the right direction. And friendship is also a kind of love, right? Sometimes I see myself, my relationship with Thay is like a friend, and sometimes I suffer. And what Thay tells me is very hard to hear, but is the truth. Where is it coming from? It’s coming from love. It’s coming from experience and it’s coming from the wish for me to succeed, for me to grow. So there is space for us to have strictness, rules and also love and care. And so there has to be a very beautiful dance between all of this and mindfulness as a foundation. Right? Mindfulness. And like you said, Jo, like a mindful parent can help themselves as well as help the next generation. And Thay used to tell us in Dharma talks and to tell other parents like, don’t expect Plum Village like a transformation box, like you put a child in one end and then you expect them to come out like an angel. You know, and sometimes there is that intention to bring the children to the monastery and expect us to change them. But that’s not how it works. We were here to water the good sesds in them.


Yeah. Thank you, brother. And actually, children are a wonderful bell of mindfulness because actually, they press all of our buttons. Because they often break the rules in the way that adults don’t with each other. They speak sometimes truths that are uncomfortable and that we don’t want to hear. And, you know, what I think I failed to do sometimes, and I think if I had, I mean, this is the classic thing about parenting that if you had your kids when you’re older and wiser, then you would hopefully behave in a different way. But I know that sometimes when an anger or a frustration arose in me that I had no capacity of dealing with it at that time, and so then it came out as a wish to punish. And especially when there’s that sort of perceived, if there’s a perception of a difference in authority, I’m the adult, you’re the child. I have the authority, you should do what you’re told. You know, you’re immediately not giving space to listen deeply, listen to the child because it’s power over rather than a recognition of community with. And the fact that sometimes children are giving us our best opportunity to see where our wounds are and to work with them. And if we do that more effectively, then we can be present for the kids. But if we don’t, then actually it creates separation.


Yeah. You know, there is one mother who came and she shared with me that her child said, Mother, you work so much. I want to have more connection with you. And that broke her and she cried. And she realized that in that moment she wants to be different than her mother because her mother worked so much in her lifetime and she vowed not to walk in those footsteps. And it is exactly what she did. And that child became the bell of mindfulness for her. And when that child said that, she said, This year we’re going to Plum Village. I know I’ve said so many times we should go to Plum Village, we should go to Plum Village, we should go to Plum Village. And finally they came together. And it’s moments like this, you know, if we listen also to our children, we can wake up from our own cycle of suffering.




So for me, you know, children are also wonderful companions on this path.


Yes. Brother, one other area I just want to bring in is because actually what we’re doing is having actually a broad discussion around children.




In all sorts of ways. And I just want to bring in Thay’s teachings here, because you’ve a couple of times mentioned about the inner child and often sort of work around healing our inner child is associated purely with sort of Western psychology rather than Zen Buddhism. One of the things that was very clear to me when I came into the orbit of the Plum Village tradition is that Thay greatly uses this understanding for our healing. And he often will do meditations around, you know, that seeing our father and our mother as five year olds. And my observation of that and engagement is it’s a deep healing pathway, because often when we are looking at, let’s say, our parents or someone else in authority, someone who maybe has caused us harm, that we sort of see them only in that association of adults, and we’re unable to connect to our compassion or to understand why it is that they may be behaving in that way. And yet, when we are able to see those people as little children who may have suffered, may have been left alone, may have been abused in some way, then actually what naturally arises in us is a compassion and a wish to support and love. It would be really helpful, I think, brother, for our listeners to have a sort of understanding of how did Thay… Is this a sort of Buddhist tradition or actually when Thay came to the West, did he actually see that this was a a particular issue in the West and actually has brought in some psychological tools? But it’s something that is very powerful, is used often and seems to have a deep impact here.


Yes. I would say that the wisdom is very ancient, but the articulation is from Thay’s learning of being in the West and seeing very clearly that the suffering of most of us has roots to our childhood and our way of being, acting. It all has a channel from the happiness or the suffering of child. And we and many trauma therapists now speak about that, and many psychiatrists know, help people link to the source of suffering. But for us, that’s ancient wisdom, which is suffering and then the root of our suffering. Where does our suffering come from? And it’s a meditation that is the main energy why the Buddha seek the path to liberate oneself from suffering. So our teacher, when he started to establish the Plum Village community and work with so many families that come, he realized of that inner child wounds that everyone has. And he used the age of five as our meditation. But it can be eight years old, nine years old, or even four years old. And not to be caught by that. And what you explain, Jo, is exactly that meditation is not about, I know sometimes it’s so hard to forgive the actions of our parents or the actions of our maybe abuser, our perpetrator. Right? Yeah. So I had to work on this a lot. And what we learned in Buddhism is that when somebody makes someone else suffer is because they have suffered so much and they haven’t transformed it, therefore, they only know the way to feel good about themself is to see others hurt so that they feel affiliated towards. Because, Oh, I suffer. And if you suffer, it makes me feel good. And all of us we have this in us. It’s not just the ones who have hurt us because we have received that, so there’s a deep part that we have it in us too. And meditation is to recognize that wound. And first we work on ourselves. We start to accept our own wounds that we have, that we’ve been neglecting, the inner child that has been crying and that needs care. To tell the child that it can live deeply in this present moment with who you are now, and to teach the child that you are enough, that you do have the capacity of loving, of protecting, of healing, of transforming. And then the next step in our meditation, it is also to reflect on the ones who have hurt us and is to see that they are somebody who has suffered and maybe in their childhood they have been abused, they have been hurt, they have been bullied, they have been misused… Yeah, they have been misused. And they don’t know what love is. And so when we have understanding, we can start to generate a mind that can see them as a human being that suffers. Therefore, our heart, our own being, we become more gentle towards that person, not to say I accept you for what you’ve done, but it is you act because you suffer and there’s ignorance. And I can pray that you find somebody who teaches you to love, that teaches you to transform. And I hope that you, in this lifetime, have the opportunity to begin anew so that you can experience love in your heart. And so in that transformation of mind, I still see that person as a human being. And I do have the capacity to love them. I’ve even gone far enough to have the capacity to even forgive those who have really hurt me. And because that forgiveness is a scar that I have healed in me so that when I see their children, I don’t see their parents. And I still see them for who they are. And for all of the wonderful conditions that they have inherited. And I want to water the good seeds in them and maybe help also transform the suffering that they have received from their parents. So this work of the five year old inner child on oneself, but also reflected and reflecting it on our parents also allows us to have acceptance. For example, some of the people who have been such a part of my life who but I know in this lifetime they won’t transform and have accepted it. They are just so attached to their suffering and they are so used to their way of life. They are not ready and willing to let go. And a part of me is, I wish that they would, you know, see the light and change. But I also accept, and therefore… But every time I’m with them, I will water good seeds in them. And so is to transform also this mentality of trying to fix everything. Not everything is fixable. So this is, I know, everyone hearing this, it can be very challenging, but it’s something to meditate on, it’s something to reflect on. Because in this moment we have suffered and the Buddha has taught us of the teaching of the second arrow. We have experienced something, but if we don’t remove that arrow, that wound will keep bleeding and we will always be in pain. And most of the time what we also do is we add more arrows to it. We add through our way of thinking, through our own action from the leak of that pain. So we add more arrows to the suffering and it hurts exactly does that same spot. So we suffer even more. So the meditation on suffering instead of trying to change the person who has hurt us, we forget to take care of ourselves first, to heal, to pull that arrow out, to mend the wound, and then to let the wound heal, and then to learn from that wound and have more loving action. But a lot of the times we don’t see that, and then we act from that and we create more and more suffering. Our teacher always says, We don’t need to create suffering, more suffering. There’s enough suffering when we look inside of ourselves and hell is not exactly somewhere outside. It is present. And all of us who are practitioners by our transformation is the transformation of hell that is present. And heaven is not somewhere in the sky or it is not after death, but heaven is the transformation of our journey, of our healing process and the love and the happiness and the peace that we can cultivate today.


Beautiful. Thank you, brother. And just to add one thing to that. And I see this in a number of people I work with is that when people contemplate on their childhood, what they’re doing is contemplating with the context of being an adult where you can look back and you can say, Oh, yes, well, that happened. But also… but at the time I know this person was finding difficulty and, you know, yes, I did get over it and I’ve built a career, so I’m fine. And I find what’s very helpful is to go back as a child, to know yourself as a child, to know what it’s like to feel that deep pain of rejection and not to get stuck in that, but firstly, to really feel what these feelings are like because I think that’s why they cause this pain and suffering throughout our lives is because it’s like original pain. It’s like Thay talks about the original pain of giving birth even to be born, there’s suffering, because there’s separation and there’s a feeling of, you know, of being removed from your mother’s womb. And that pain is so strong because we have no context for it. And as children, we often don’t have any context. And I once did the meditation of imagining my parents as five year olds and also imagining myself as a five year old with them. And that took away all the sort of power issues, age issues, authority issues, and essentially we’re all children, you know, at the core, we all have this, as you spoke at the beginning about this wish, this curiosity, this depth of knowing without an intellectual knowing, we all have those capacities. And when we meet at the level of children with children, then there is friendship, there’s openness, there isn’t even the need for forgiveness, because actually there’s just… because the problem hasn’t arisen at that moment. And the other thing, brother, is and we of course say this many times in this podcast, but always with a different flavor, is that, you know, the heart of mindfulness is the being in the present moment, and that we heal the past in the present moment. I think a lot of people feel that you have to go back into the past and trying to heal it in the past. We need to understand the past, but we can only heal it in the present moment. And when we do heal it or start to heal in the present moment, then we change the future. And I very much see that in our relationship to us as children and to, if you’re a parent, to the children you have, is that when you’re able in the present moment to understand the pain of oneself as a child and to start healing it, then we start to let go of it in our own children at whatever age they are. Because what tends to happen is we pass on the pain and we, you’ve talked about generational pain. Unless something is healed, it gets passed on because the next child will witness that pain and will soak it up, either because they think that’s normal behavior or because they try and swallow it from their parents, to take it away from their parents because they want their parents to be happy, and that’s their key wish is for their parents to be happy, not for themselves to be happy. So that actually I find a great motivation for people is that when they recognize they’re doing their own healing, they’re not only doing their own healing, they’re healing the past, so they’re actually healing the wound that was felt in maybe their parents or their grandparents or their great grandparents, and then they’re changing the future, especially with their own children. Because, you know, you don’t need to pass it on anymore and your children will see that you’re different and that it’s not normal. It’s not something they have to take on to save them. So I find that sort of just, you know, so many of Zen practices, Thay’s practices, the Plum Village tradition, actually give us the possibility to deeply develop our relationship with our children at whatever age. You know, I came to the practice not, you know, I’ve done other other self-development, but I came to the practice when my children were already in their teens. And it’s taken me, you know, it’s, I think the last episode we just said there are no quick fixes, so it’s taken me time to develop these practices. But each time I make a move forward, I’m able to be with my children in a new way and in a way that gives them more space and allows me to love them for who they are and allows me to offer tender love, but not to believe that they should act in this way or that way, but just to be present for them. So I’ve come late to an understanding, but as I say to people I work with it, you know, it doesn’t matter when you come to it that it doesn’t matter whether you’re 20 or 30 or 40 or even 60 or 70. You know, any age, we can start that healing journey that heals us, heals the past, and actually supports our children.


Wow, brother, thank you for that. I think we actually chose just… We were sitting in front of the microphones and saying, what should we talk about today? And I thought, well, we’re in the middle of the children’s and family retreat, so maybe we should talk about that, but it’s gone, of course, in a thousand wonderful directions, but always coming back to the heart of the teachings. So, brother, thank you for your wisdom and for the stories of Thay and your own stories. It’s so wonderful. We know that we often learn best when we are hearing stories and and when the stories touch us deeply is often when we learn more than by reading a book. So thank you for those sharings. So, brother, rather, I know you normally do a live guided meditation, but there actually is on the Plum Village App a meditation of the five year old. So maybe we should just take that from the Plum Village App, will add it in here, but if you want to listen to it again, you can find it with many other meditations on the Plum Village App.


Breathing in, I see myself as a five year old child. Breathing out, I smile to the five year old child in me. A five year old child is always vulnerable, fragile. And he or she can get hurt very easily, so you have to handle the five year old child in a very gentle way. If the five year old child is a flower that gets hurt, the wound will stay for a long time. And most of us have been five year olds. And the inner child in us is still alive. And the little child in us, five year old, may still have wounds within. That is why in this meditation, you go home and touch the five year old child in us, a five year old child that may be deeply wounded, that you have neglected for a long time. The five year old child is always trying to call on us to pay attention to him or to her. Because you are so busy, you have had no time to go back to him or her. That’s a pity. This morning we have an opportunity. Breathing in, I see myself as a five year old child. Breathing out, I smile to the five year old child in me with compassion. In, five year old child smiling with compassion.


Now let us practice the next exercise. Breathing in, I see my father as a five year old child. You have not seen your father as a five year old child, but he had been a five year old child before he became a father. And as a five year old boy, he was also vulnerable, fragile, and he could get hurt very easily by your grandpa, by your grandma and by other people. So if sometime he’s rough, he’s difficult, that is because of that, because he had been hurt as a five year old child. And if you understand that, do not get angry at him anymore. You have compassion to him because he had been a five year old child and he may get a lot of suffering that hurt deeply during the time he was a five year old child. If you have a family album, if in that album there’s a picture of your father, five year old, that is a good object of meditation. Look at him when he was five, and breathe in and out and see the five year old child that is still alive in him and in you also. And when you understand that as a five year old child he suffered very much, he got hurt deeply and very often you would understand why he had behaved, sometimes he had behaved very rude. And suddenly your anger will melt and you have compassion and you feel much better.


Breathing in, I see my father as a five year old child. Breathing out, I smile to the five year old boy who was my father. Let us practice together. Father, five year old boy, smiling to father with compassion. Breathing in, I see my mother as a five year old girl. Breathing out, I smile to that five year old girl that had been my mother. When my mother was five year old, she was also vulnerable, fragile, and she may get hurt, wounded very easily. And she may not have had a teacher or a friend to help her to heal. That’s why the wound, the pain continues in her. That is why sometimes she behaved not very kindly to you, you understand, because she had not been able to heal all the pain in her. And if you can see your mother as a five year old girl, vulnerable, fragile, you understand and you can […] very easily with compassion. The five year old girl who had been your mother, always alive in her and in you. Breathing in, I see my mother as a five year old. Breathing out, I smile to that wounded five year old girl who was my mother. Mother, as a five year old girl, smiling to mother as a five year old girl, with compassion.


So thank you, dear listeners, for joining us today. If you’ve enjoyed it, you can find all of our previous episodes on the Plum Village App and also on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and all other podcast platforms. If you like, it would be lovely if you could subscribe also to the Way Out Is In podcasts on any platform of your choice. And it’d be lovely if you can leave a review.


Or feedbacks.


Yes, constructive feedback may be the best way of saying it so that other people can learn from what you’ve learned.


And you can also find all previous guided meditation in the On the Go section of the Plum Village App. And this podcast is co-produced by Global Optimism and the Plum Village App with support from the Thich Nhat Hanh Foundation. If you feel inspired to support the podcast moving forward, please go to And we want to thank our friends and collaborators. Clay aka, the Podcast’s father and our co-producer, as well as Cata. Joe, our audio editing. Brother Niem Thung, our audio engineer. Anca, show notes and publishing. Jasmine and Cyndee, our social media guardian angels.


So it takes a whole community to also produce a podcast, brother.


See you next time.


The a way ou is in.

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What is Mindfulness

Thich Nhat Hanh January 15, 2020

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