Graphic #2_Ep 64

The Way Out Is In / Ripening Moment by Moment (Episode #64)

Br Pháp Hữu, Jo Confino

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Welcome to episode 64 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.

This episode is the first to be recorded live in front of an audience, in the Still Water Meditation Hall of Plum Village, France, during a retreat, rather than in Thay’s Sitting Still hut. 

Together, Zen Buddhist monk Brother Phap Huu and leadership coach/journalist Jo Confino explore the Buddhist concept of ripening, or the Fourth Dharma Seal of Plum Village: the understanding that the care, love, attention, and commitment we put into what’s important in life take time to ripen, and that we shouldn’t expect instant results.

Brother Phap Huu starts off by introducing the first Three Dharma Seals and why Thay created them, before digging deeper into the Fourth Dharma Seal, the main theme of this episode; the process of ripening; the life journey of the practice; and much more.

Jo brings examples of lifelong journeys of forgiveness, and explores trust versus control, dharma rain, and more.

And: how can we all apply this practice of ripening to our own lives?

The episode ends with a short meditation guided by Brother Phap Huu. 

Co-produced by the Plum Village App:

And Global Optimism: 

With support from the Thich Nhat Hanh Foundation:

List of resources 

The Way Out Is In – Live recording information

‘The Four Dharma Seals of Plum Village’ 

Sutras: ‘Discourse on the Dharma Seal & the Three Doors of Liberation’


The Way Out Is In: ‘The Three Doors of Liberation (Episode #18)’ 

Dharma Talks: ‘Three Doors of Liberation’

‘The Doors of Liberation’ 


Dharma Talks: ‘Right View: Understanding the Roots of Our True Happiness’ 

Old Path White Clouds

Fragrant Palm Leaves

Sister Chan Khong

Sister Lang Nghiem 

Sister True Dedication


“When we practice meditation and mindfulness to come home to the here and now, we start to discover that the present moment is the only moment in which we can be alive. And the present moment embraces the past as well as creating the future.”

“If we don’t have darkness, the light won’t have a chance to appear.”

“It is impossible to physically go back to the past, but I can bring the past into the here and now, and heal it by being right here, right now. By this present moment, I am creating a new path.”

“The world is created by our mind.” 

“The insight of ripening allows us to understand that the path of practice is a wonderful journey, and that it takes time and space for things to mature, for things to transform, for things to heal. When we hear about ripening, we may think of a tree – say, an orange tree. It takes time for the seed to be planted. For the roots to deepen. For the tree and its leaves and flowers to grow. Even when the fruit appears, it takes time to ripen. And so our practice can be viewed as a journey of ripening.” 

“Each thing we say, each thing we think, each thing we do, ripples out. I love that image of a pond or a big lake where you throw in a stone and see the ripples spread in every direction. And even when you can’t really see them, they’re still there in a subtle way, stretching out further and further.” 

“The learning journey is endless.”

“If you know how to suffer, you suffer less.”

“If we take away the need for the outcome and are instead just present for people, then life can show up fully.”

“The Buddha said that the dharma is like fine-tuning an instrument for our path. If we are too intense, too rigid, too extreme, we won’t go the distance. The string might snap because there’s too much effort, there’s too much intensity. But if we’re too lazy, and are just daydreaming about what can be, then the string is loose and doesn’t play the the sound that’s needed.”

Dear listeners, before we start this week’s episode, we wanted to let you know that we are going to be performing our first ever live podcast recording in London on the 5th of April at the Conway Hall. And if you’re around, we would love you to come and join us and take part. Our topic actually is going to be stepping into freedom, and we’re also going to be doing a live question and answer session. If you would like to buy tickets, you can find them on We’ll obviously put the link onto the show notes. We would love it if you came and supported us. We are normally, as you know, recording in Thich Nhat Hanh’s very intimate Sitting Still hut, where we may have 1 or 2 guests, and now we’re going to have up to 400. So come and smile at us and support us, and we will smile back. Hope to see you there.

Dear friends, welcome 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 brother, we are not sitting round in a cozy kitchen of Thich Nhat Hanh’s Sitting Still hut in Upper Hamlet. We’ve come out into the world and today we are sitting in front of the Plum Village community in the main meditation hall, and I’m feeling different from normal. Brother, how are you feeling sitting in front of the sangha doing this recording?

With all the smiles we are being offered, I feel okay.

Oh, good. Well, you’re more mindful and a deeper practitioner than me because I can feel my heart beating. So I think I’m going to just look at you and totally ignore the fact that there are many people sitting here.


So, brother, today we are going to talk about a Buddhist concept called ripening, which is sort of the understanding that things don’t have to happen immediately, that the care, love, attention, commitment we put into what’s important in life take time to ripen, and we shouldn’t be expecting instant noodles, instant results.

Day listeners, I am Jo Confino.

And I am Brother Phap Huu.

So, Brother Phap Huu, how are you feeling today?

Today I am feeling very honored to have the Upper Hamlet community sitting in the Still Water Hall in Plum Village for our first ever recording of a podcast with a community surrounding us. Normally we are just the 4 or 5 of us in Thay’s little hut and little kitchen recording these podcasts. But today we have a whole community that is with us, during our holiday retreat to be a part of the podcast.

Yay. Welcome, everyone. So, brother, we’re talking about ripening. Now, ripening is the Fourth Dharma Seal of Plum Village. So I think before we go into it in detail, it’d be really good just to actually explain what Dharma Seal actually means. Why did Thay create this notion of Dharma Seals? And also let’s race through the first three, because of course we know that each one is a lifetime of practice. But just let’s just introduce the three so that we can then really deepen our understanding of the fourth.

Thank you Jo. So in Buddhism, in order to record all of the teachings of the Buddha’s and many Zen masters and teachers, spiritual teachers, throughout history, Buddhism has also become, in a way, an institution of insights and teaching. So in Buddhism, we like a lot of list. We have a lot of categories in order to put teachings into baskets so that we can articulate the insights into our daily life. And historically, we have some very profound seals, or we call them dharma doors. Dharma doors that already exist, such as the Three Dharma Seals from the Buddha’s time, the Three Doors of Liberations. And because Plum Village itself is a living tradition, and our teacher is somebody who is very innovative and always coming up with new ways of teaching the Dharma, and the Dharma has to be a living Dharma, so it has to be very appropriate for our times. So as Plum Village started to become a tradition and our teachers teaching also started to ripen, started to mature, and as well as easily addressing our times, the suffering of our times. So he came up with Four Dharma Seals of the Plum Village tradition, and he speaks of it as our pathway for those of us who want to be a part of this tradition so that we can use as a guide, as a compass when we are learning other Dharmas. Because in Buddhism there are so many different teachings and so many different traditions, and each and every one of us, we are going to find the tradition that fits us. And here is not to judge like which tradition is better, which Dharma is better, but it’s kind of like food or tea. You have to find your cup of tea. You have to find the nutrients that fit your body, that keeps your well-being present. So the First Dharma Seal is I have arrived, I am home. I have arrived, I am home it’s a lifetime practice, like you shared, because in our times, we are always seeking gratification, or the feeling of success or the feeling of wholeness. And it’s pointed towards the future most of the time, or something outside of us, for us to run after, to grasp. If we look back at our own education since elementary to middle school and high school and college, we’re always seeking a diploma or seeking a position. And it can be advertised as a destination of happiness. But in the practice of meditation and mindfulness, when we practice to come home to the very here and now, we can start to discover that the present moment is the only moment that we can be alive. And the present moment, it embraces the past as well as it is creating the future. So I have arrived, I am home is an insight. It is the destination that I am practicing every day, every moment in order to arrive to and it is not just intellectual knowledge, but it is something that I can feel within my breath, within my body, within this moment, being with everyone here. Am I truly here or am I having fear come up, afraid of people’s perceptions and judgment of what I’m saying? And in the present moment, I can also embrace all of these thoughts that are manifesting. So the present moment becomes a holder so that we can recognize, embrace, transform and move forward. I have arrived, I am home. Our Second Dharma Seal is Go as a river. Going as a river is the practice of the monks, the nuns and all of the practitioners who would like to become a core member of this sangha. And this insight comes from our teacher’s deep looking at the 20th century as well as our century now, and seeing that society, we are so individualistically based, we think only about ourselves. And in Buddhism, the deepest teaching is non-self, to arrive at the insight of non-self, of interbeing, of interconnectedness. But for us to arrive and to feel that inside we also have to physically feel as part of a community, as part of a oneness. So going as a river, there’s so many layers to it. And I’ll try to just explain them in my time as a monk in Plum Village. So we all come in with our pride, our suffering, our happiness, our egos, our aspiration, our greatest dreams. And how can we have a deep view so that we can look at our own well-being and see it as the well-being of all the others also? And that takes training. So in Plum Village, very practically all of us we share rooms. We have roommates. So already we’re practicing growing as a river in our rooms. So in the monks quarter, we all have our separate space, but we have a common tea area and we should practice in harmony in that tea area. Whatever arrives on that table is for everyone. So if you have a deep love towards chocolate and you know that that chocolate is very special to you and you want to practice to share, to be in harmony and to allow others to also enjoy what you enjoy, your practice is to put that chocolate bar on the table.

Forget that, brother, I’ll hide it under my bed and wait till everyone was asleep and then eat the whole lot.

Exactly. And the miracle of our residence, no doors are locked so anybody can come in any time. And if I’m hungry, like, literally, if I’m hungry and I see like a chocolate bar there and it’s on the common space, it’s almost like an unspoken rule in the monks residence, it’s yours, you can have it. And you come back and you may be, you know, comeing from service meditation, and like, that treat that you wanted to treat yourself. And you arrive into the residence and you see that that chocolate is not there anymore and you get very upset. But your practice is to aaa, but somebody else enjoyed the chocolate.

I have a lot to learn.

So our all of us are a drop of water in this river. And the deeper, more profound, the more profound looking into the river is the river is constantly flowing. And all rivers, the destination of the river is the ocean. And we can say that the ocean is enlightenment or love, compassion, or the greatest aspiration. And we may feel very alone if we walk by ourself and we take the path by ourself, and the river will meet many challenges, it will maybe meet a very narrow creek and maybe a blockage, and the river may stop. But if we see that we’re not practicing alone, whether physically with a community or spiritually knowing that you are a continuation of a whole lineage, that there are those who have been there before you and that have walked this path, you can be empowered by the ancestors, the genetic ancestors, as well as the spiritual ancestors. And this river, these energies can help you have breakthrough to push through the challenges. So going as a river is also the insight so that we can remove the self in order to be more collective. And it speaks to our view of the next Buddha. So Thay has spoken publicly that Thay doesn’t think that the next Buddha is just one person. And a lot of us, we may think of like a savior or a hero coming along that will change the whole situation of the polycrisis that we go through and so on. But Thay’s insight is in our times, one Buddha is not enough anymore, and we need a collective awakening. So each and every one of us, whether we are monastics or we are a long term practitioner as a lay member with families, couples, business leaders, teachers, educators, doctors, every one of us as part of this stream of life have a part to play to this collective awakening. So it also offers a responsibility to each of us if we see that we are a drop of water in this river. So to reflect back, how are we contributing to this river, to this collective river?

And brother, so I think Thay said the first two are the foundation for the next two. So if we’re in the present moment as in community, then they flow into the next two. Is that right?


One tick for me.

Yeah. The first two, especially the first one is to really to have that agency of that we all have the capacity to arrive, to be here. And this is a lifetime practice. And to go as a river is also the practice of letting go. And the way that the community has been created by Thay, especially for the monks and nuns, because at one point we all become teachers, we all become a particular dharma teacher or leaders, and we may be very prideful of our own success as a monk, but the way that we have orchestrated our way of living is to always feel like we’re flowing as a river. So even after I give a talk or I do a podcast, I’m still lining up like everybody else, getting our own food. We are still going to walk in meditation together and not in like a single file line, but the spirit of the way of life it also embraces this insight. So now we’re going to go into a more… the third and the fourth is going to go a little bit deeper into the teachings of our spiritual teachers, from the Buddha to the many ancestors. So the third one is The truth and times interare. So when we say the truth, it is the fourth noble truth of Buddhism. The fourth noble truth is the foundation of of all teachings of the Buddha. So in deep Buddhism, we don’t venture into superpowers and some supernatural state of being. And this is Brother Phap Huu’s take only… Because Thay has shared this many times, that because Buddhism has gone through many centuries and many teachings and adapted to many cultures and many beliefs and many traditions, and Mahayana Buddhism is to be open and flexible in its way of teaching so that it can enter into the hearts of people. And some of the teachings itself has been curated in a way to look more and to feel more superhuman in the practice of Buddhism. And if you ever asked Thay, what happens when you die? About reincarnation, for example, Thay always stays away from those questions. He always asks back. The real question is what is happening while we are alive? That’s more important than the beyond. But in this Dharma, when the three times interare, it also speaks on how do we care for the past and the future in the present moment. And these two, they can be a great support for each other. So the first, let’s talk about just the truth. We enter into a spiritual path in order to arrive at happiness, arrive at enlightenment or liberation, we can say, and therefore we may have a view that suffering or difficulty is something we need to get rid of. And that is our very dualistic view of right, left, up, down, black, white, good, evil. And in the deep teaching of right view, right view transcends all of that. It breaks free from right and left because if we remove the right, then the left cannot be there. If we don’t have darkness, the light won’t have a chance to appear. So the truth of suffering and happiness, they interrelate and they take care of each other. They are two opposites that rely on each other to exist. So we have to liberate our minds or this view from good and bad. So that is the Dharma seal of the truth is to see the interconnected relation between happiness and suffering, success and failure, inferiority complex and superiority complex. Even equality complex. And equality here is not inclusiveness of the four immeasurable minds. But even when we are trying to be equal, we are still judging and fighting. Because I want to be like you, Jo.

I know that.

So I need to get rid of something else, to fight, to become like you. So there is still a grasping. And here the truth is to see that all conditions are important and to have the insight of mindfulness to shine the light to what truth we are holding on to. And are the truths becoming our own blockage, our own suffering? Thay says, Thay means teacher in Vietnamese. And whenever I speak about Thay, it refers to Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. Thay from time to time would ask the community to reflect and look at our notion of what our happiness is. And are we still holding onto a concept of happiness that belongs to the 20 year old Phap Huu? And now I’ve grown and hopefully matured more. And have I allowed my happiness to grow? Has my happiness also matured? And then the suffering that I’ve experienced. Am I still holding onto that or have I already moved on? But I’m still attached to that identity. So this seal is for us to reflect and look at our present times, which will now thread us into the three times whenever we speak about the now in Buddhism or in mindfulness, there’s a lot of books on The Power of Now, which is a wonderful book, and there’s many teachings on mindfulness. But it, sometimes it may be perceived as though we’re not allowed to think about the future or we’re not allowed to reflect on the past, and only the now is important. So there’s a truth to the now is important, but the now cannot be if there is no path, right? And the now is becoming the future. So this Dharma seal is for us to have more agency so that we can have the right to live the way we need to live, to take care of the past. We can learn so much from our past. We can review the past in order to have insight in our habits of today, in the way that we are thinking, the way that we are being. There’s a deep interrelated connection to the past, and we can take it even further into the past of our parents, into the past of our ancestors, into the past of a society that we are in. We can see the transmission of consciousness, of speech, of action, of belief, of culture that has been transmitted to us. And then in the here and now, we are also creating a new path. And this insight really had liberated me. One day, I don’t remember exactly when it was, maybe it was from Thay’s teaching, but it became like a light bulb in me. And because sometimes I would procrastinate and I would wish, if only I can go back in time and change the way it was. And I’m sure a lot of us have wished this like, I wish I had that superpower to go back to the past, to change the past. And currently, right now, like there’s a lot of movies and dramas and series about different times and people going back to the past. So there’s something in the collective consciousness about this also. I realized that it is impossible to go physically back to the past, but I can bring the past into the here and now, and to heal it by my way of being right here, right now, as well as by this present moment, I am creating a new path. I can reflect on later at this podcast in this hall with everyone here as a moment of happiness for me. So we are being given like a new paintbrush, a new key. How are we creating our history in this very moment and in the future? The future that we like to see, the future that we like to cultivate. Our practice is an investment for the future. And our way of being has a deep impact on what we would like to realize. The Buddha has shared that the world is created by our mind. I’ll let that sink in and all of us can think about that. But in Buddhism, we also have to know that the insight and the actions have to go hand in hand. Mind and actions have to be one in order to create a path. So we may have very deep aspiration towards the future, and I have arrive, I’m home, grounds us and ask all of us, how are we living this moment of the three times in order to care for the future we would like to create? The intervening nature of the truth and the three times. That’s the third Dharma seal.

Which flows naturally into the ripening, because you’ve already, in a sense, that’s already coming into this conversation.

Exactly. And the Fourth Dharma seal is the ripening. And I like the word ripening more. Before I think we had different languages for it, but ripening it shows us and it’s the insight that there’s no quick fixes in changing our life. Right now, mindfulness is very popular. One of my childhood friend, she told me oh, mindfulness is so sexy right now. And I said, what do you mean? She’s like, dude, I need to write that in my, like, I need to write that as part of my, when I look for a job, what’s that thing called?

Your CV.

My CV. Like, if I can write like I’ve been trained as a mindfulness communicator or… It adds a layer to it to…

Maybe that could be the fifth Dharma seal, sort of, mindfulness is sexy.

And it is being packaged very well. Capitalism has arrived in the world of spirituality. And it packages the teachings of mindfulness, but it packages in a way of a promise. Do this to feel that. Practice this and you will be like that. And it’s a wonderful bait. Who doesn’t want to feel better? Who doesn’t want to be more relaxed? Who doesn’t want to have more capacity of establishing our presence? And our teacher, Thay, he’s a very wonderful teacher. He never is biased. And one time in an interview in the Netherlands, and this was already in 2011, and one of the journalists asked Thay, Thay, are you afraid that mindfulness is becoming a business? And Thay always says, there’s always popular Buddhism, and then there’s deep Buddhism. And for some, popular Buddhism, maybe back in the days in Southeast Asia, it is more about devotion, it is more like based around ceremonies and, like blessings. And it all plays a part. Maybe the popular Buddhism can be a pathway into deeper Buddhism. And as I reflect in 2023, slowly 2024, I think our popular Buddhism is more like an app. Even the Plum Village App is like a popular Buddhism, it can be spread, but the deeper Buddhism is to see the deeper journey of ripening, of our own investment in our caring for ourself. And ripening here is also it gives us an opportunity to relax a bit. A lot of us are here just for one week, in Plum Village. And I know, we may have a lot of expectation for ourself in one week. We’ve planned for this trip for a very long time. Finally arrived in Plum Village and I want to leave Plum Village in a particular way. We may live in a very different state from day one, but all of our suffering may not have ended and we may feel that it doesn’t work. That we failed. So the insight of ripening is to allow us to understand that the path of practice is a wonderful journey, and it takes time and space for things to mature, for things to transform, for things to heal. And of course, when we hear about ripening, we may think of a tree, let’s say an orange tree. It takes time for the seed to be planted. For the roots to deepen. For the tree to grow. For the leaves, the flower, and even when the fruit is there, it takes time for the fruit to be ripen. And so our practice can be seen and can be viewed as a journey of ripening. So when we first start meditating, we’re still very agitated. We can be much more agitated. Maybe we don’t enjoy the meditation yet. And I sure didn’t enjoy sitting meditation for the first four years. It was one of my worst, like of all the list, like sitting meditation was horrible because I didn’t enjoy sitting in stillness. I was very agitated. I felt like I wanted to be quote unquote, more productive, whatever that meant, and sitting still wasn’t doing that for me. But my understanding and my growth in the sitting matured, it ripened, and it really became the one place where I can be able to just look deeply at my present moment, to not even think, just to feel what is in the here and now.

Brother, this is a lifetime journey and in fact is not in a lifetime journey, is a lifetimes journey, because actually we hand the baton over to the next generation as the previous generations have handed it to us. And I loved what you said about it allows us to relax because so much of today is we do something and we expect to see a particular result, and we don’t understand the complexity of life and the fact that actually what we do now, we may never see the result of. And that, I like it because I think it says it’s ripening in every moment. And what I like about that is that it’s, as my understanding is, and you can correct me if I’m wrong, but it’s like every thought we have, every word we utter, every action actually goes out into the world and into eternity. It’s like, we have this idea that we do something, the next day it’s gone and we need to do something else. Then we need to do something else. And I think that is what leads partly to our busyness. So we constantly think we need to do something because the other thing has finished. Whereas actually each thing we say, each thing we think, each thing we do actually ripples out. And I love that image of a pond or a big lake where you throw in a stone and you see the ripples go out in every direction. And even when you can’t really see them, they’re still there in a sort of subtle way, stretching out further and further. So I love that sense, and I think that’s what’s helped me most of my life, is to relax. It’s saying if my intention is clear, and I think intention is about in the present moment, what is it really in my heart and in my mind? What is it? How am I part of a community? So what is the intent behind it? Not only for myself but for others, that when you’re taking that foundational stance, then everything you do, you can allow it to ripple out because, you know, it sort of has your love and attention. And I know in the last interview I did with Thay, he said, even if I were to live for a hundred years more, I would still learn. I would still, the learning journey is endless. And he said, actually, he said I could take just the First Dharma seal, I’ve arrived, I am home, and I could spend my entire life just focusing on that. So I’d be really interested in understanding your process of ripening. So you talked about the sort of meditation, but actually we’re ripening wisdom and whether you see it as a life journey and where that actually… How do you allow that to exist? But also this sense of, in Buddhism, diligence, that you also have to focus and be attentive, that sense, how do you work with all that?

And just as you shared that every action in the present moment is a seed that we’re planting for the future, but… Not but, and looking, I’m also a ripening of my parents’ past, of my spiritual ancestors’ past. And this has been very healing for me. So I am a child of parents who were refugees from the Vietnam War. And I grew up in Toronto, in Canada, and I never really identified myself as a Vietnamese person. And I always had a complex of like, who am I? Like, what am I? And as Asians who grew up in the West, we have a complex called the banana complex where we’re yellow outside, but internally we want to be white because that was the society that we were living in and also receiving some racism. And, you know, seeing that success is a white person. And that was my journey. Like I really had like a deep hole of like, when will I ever be enough? And coming to Plum Village for retreats during the summer was like the first time when I really felt that it’s more than skin color and more than like, cultures, but it’s like touching that, that mind of love that was so present in Plum Village. And I came for the first time when I was nine years old in Plum Village, and it was the first time where I really felt I didn’t have to really guard myself. And that was a beginning journey of arriving. Arriving in my own skin. And as a Vietnamese, I didn’t have a lot of role models who were Vietnamese, who I can view as a superhero. And I grew up with Marvel Comics and, you know, Spider-Man, X-Men and thinking to be something like that, or I wanted to be a hockey player because I grew up in Canada. You know, I watched a lot of NHL, the Toronto Maple Leafs.

That’s a good way of fitting in.

And I just wanted to be a hockey player, because that was what I felt as empowering, like that fame. And suddenly, you know, I was able to see a simple monk who has gone through so much, established Plum Village, who walks in freedom, who is so kind, who is so compassionate and so gentle. Thay was so gentle. And I grew up also in a family where we had a lot of suffering due to the journey as a refugee and being in a new country and all of the unknown, the fear. So there was a lot of alcoholism. There was a lot of anger and violence, and the image of somebody who is so kind was so special. And the kindness didn’t come with anything in return, like I’m not being kind to you because I want something in return. But that kindness was boundless. As I started to enter into this community and become a monk, I still identified myself as a Canadian. For a very long time I still never identified myself as a Vietnamese. And for the monastics, on Thursdays, we used to divide monks and nuns in language group. And I always speak English. And I never felt like I want to be part of the Vietnamese crew. But our Dharma and Thay’s teachings is also about returning to our roots, healing our roots, accepting our roots. So that was a journey I knew I had to take, but I didn’t, I wasn’t ready in the first few years. And because I also had a perception, like my parents left Vietnam and then Thay was exiled from Vietnam. So, to be honest, like there was even a little bit of an anger, like a little bit of, yeah, like that’s not my country. That’s not my… That’s not where I’m from. But the ripening and the seamlessly healing that is happening while being in a community like here, getting to see the beautiful nature of my Vietnamese brothers and sisters, their community, vietnam is a very community based country, and their hospitality level is very selfless. I was always welcomed, always embraced, as well as the language itself, the Vietnamese language, the melody. At one point, it was music to my ears. And I… My Vietnamese deepened. And the understanding of the actions in the non actions in the Vietnamese culture, I started to see it. Like in Vietnam, we don’t say I love you. That’s not part of our language. That was introduced by the colonization of the West coming to Vietnam, we learned to say I love you. I think that can be a fruit, maybe, but our expression of love is through action. It’s through the, like if you’re sick, you don’t need to ask me. I’ll just make you hot soup. You know, if you’re sick, you don’t need to ask me, I’ll just get you a hot water bottle. It should be seamless in the care. Because if I love you is unconditional, it shouldn’t be based on demand. It should be based on awareness. And I started to identify the wonderful qualities in my own heritage and in the depths of it. And so there was a healing that was started to happen without me even knowing. It’s very difficult not to involve ourselves in the Vietnamese community in Plum Village because Thay is originally Vietnamese. And our heritage, our tradition, the Plum Village tradition, also take roots in Vietnamese Zen. So no matter how much I want to push it away, I can’t escape from that. So there’s also like a ripening that happened in me, which was like I just surrendered. I just opened my heart to whatever that is here. And when I was going through a crisis in my own path or practice set, I didn’t know if I wanted to be a monk or not anymore. And yeah, I was deep in a dark hole because I was so individualistic and my superiority complex was so strong that I didn’t want my community to see me weak. And it was the constant love from my brothers and sisters after showing up without any pressure. The pressure was only in my mind. They would invite me for a conversation. They would just say, I’m here for you. I just want you to know that. Or just do a very gentle gesture. And when I finally, like, just opened my heart and allowed the love and support to come things started to change. So I did that with also Vietnam. This year, 2023, causes and conditions, I was in Vietnam. And I was able to visit my parents’ homeland in a little city called […] and I went to the bay where my father left as a boat person. And I’ve been there in 2000 when I was very young. And my dad took me on a boat in 2000 to allow me to experience the journey of a boat person. But now, in 2023, when I stood at that bay and I just allowed myself to be my father in that moment, and also to feel all of the pain and the suffering of Vietnam, and also to touch all of the hope, all of the aspiration and all the beauty of Vietnam in that moment. I felt myself as a Vietnamese for the first time. And I stood there and I offered so much gratitude to, first of all, to my father for his courage, his bravery into entering into the ocean of the unknown. But I also had so much love and so much appreciation for the changes of Vietnam today. The beauty of Vietnam today and the healing that has been in process without me even seeing. And Thay’s trip back to Vietnam in 2005, 2007 and 2008 has also played a big role in the spiritual healing of Buddhism in Vietnam. And in that moment, I was just able to just embrace past, present and then think about the future, think about the hope of myself as a Vietnamese in that moment. So that was a ripening that took 22 years to arrive. And to have that freedom. And now, yes, I can say like I am Vietnamese. I can also say I’m Plum Village. I can also say I’m Canadian. And it’s just that freedom, that inner freedom to accept.

Thank you, brother, for sharing so deeply. And what I hear in that is the difference between control and trust. Because so much of our lives we are trying to control, that we have, as you said, a certain goal in mind. We want to have achieved something by a certain time. If we invest our love in something, we want to see the result of it. And so, in a sense, our whole mind is fixated on the outcome rather than of the journey. And you speak so beautifully about the fact that actually is when we let go and are just in the process of life that things show up and that we trust in life to show itself. And brother, I’d like to, in a sense, also share a story of ripening, which is my mother’s life. So, my mother, was born in Germany and, you know, was caught up in the Holocaust and was put on a train at the age of 14, on her own out of Germany after Kristallnacht, after her family flat was sort of wrecked by the Nazis who came and destroyed it. And she went to England on her own, and her grandparents died in the concentration camps. And her brother, who was hiding in France, was betrayed to the Nazis and also died in the concentration camps. So she was very traumatized. And, after the war finished, when she married my father, they decided to go and visit Germany. And when she got to the border on the train, she couldn’t go across the border. She got off the train and literally just froze and told my father, you know, I can’t go, I just can’t cross the border. It’s too painful. And he coaxed her across and she took this journey of forgiveness over the years, and she got back in touch with her friends from school who had rejected her and pushed her away and… all the isolation. She got in touch with them and went back to Germany and met them, and then went back to her old school, where she was forced out of, and talked to the students. And what I know in terms of the ripening of her story, that over the years she found forgiveness. And by her finding forgiveness, it allowed me and her other children and the people around her to feel that forgiveness. And the people, the old students, her old school friends who had actually felt all this terrible guilt all their life, she freed them from their guilt and their pain. So there was something around the fact that when we take a journey, then the ripening isn’t for us to determine. But if we take the journey in a good spirit, then so many things can happen. And also the sense that’s generational, because the one thing she couldn’t forgive was that one distant relative who was actually in the German army after the war to escape from the allies, he took on the identity of my mother’s brother, my uncle, in order to flee to South America. And she got word from the Red Cross that her brother was still alive, because they had notice of was the fact that this person had traveled. And so she had this moment where she thought her brother was still alive. And then it was dashed when she found out that this person had taken on his identity to flee. And when she was old and not very well and in hospital, sort of I was talking about her life of forgiveness. And I said, you know, is there anything left to be done? She said, the one place I haven’t been able to forgive is this person. And that’s the limit of my journey. And I remember, as I said to her at the time, mom, I’ll take on that part of your journey. You know, I will take on that journey of forgiveness for that person, because that is passing on the baton. That’s the generational aspect that whatever is not healed in the past, we can heal in the present, and then we pass it on and then the next people can take on that sort of healing journey. So that sort of sense of ripening it needs us to stand back from it.

And these Four Dharma Seals are instruction by our teacher for all of us who are monks and nuns and Dharma teachers of a tradition. When we teach the Dharma, it has to have these Dharma seals. It has to have the aspect of arriving in the present moment, having the ability to care for the present, and then to teach in a way that brings in the collective. The collective of the individual journey is the collective journey. The collective journey is the individual’s journey to free yourself from the self. And this is rooted in the teaching of non-self in Buddhism. And then the third is to talk about suffering and happiness as friends, as interbeing, as support for one another. And how do we take care of our happiness so that it can transform the suffering? But when the happiness becomes the suffering, do not be afraid, because we’ve already experienced the joy in the happiness. And then the three times of understanding of which becomes the ripening is that everything we are investing today, nothing is lost. And we always say this in Plum Village and I… because I really believe it, you know, like when a monastic leaves the path, like in the past, it was really frowned upon, it looked down. It’s like, that’s a failure. You know, either that person has failed or the community has failed, but actually nothing is lost. And I remember when we started the five year program in Plum Village, it means that there would be monastics leaving the community. And Thay said, that’s great, because they’ve been trained for five years. They’ve been living in a community where hopefully they’ve been able to touch love. They can have healed and transformed some of their suffering. So when they leave the world, sorry, when they leave Plum Village, enter into the world…

That is leaving the real world. It’s going back into the weird world.

When they go back into the weird world, the real world, they can carry these elements and be an ambassador of mindfulness. So nothing is really lost. And this, especially in Upper Hamlet, when a brother leaves the community, we learn to celebrate his time with us. And we offer gratitude. And we we wish him a wonderful journey outside because there is pain. It’s kind of like I remember one time one of our elders shared, like after Thay’s stroke, like a lot of monastics also left the community. And, you know, when we live together, it’s like we’re trees of this forest. And at one point in our journey, our roots touch each other, like each other’s roots. So there’s a relationship, there’s a connection. But when one tree leaves the forest, it hurts. You know, that the root is ripped and there’s still some pain there. But nevertheless, we learn to see that their time with us is still there. And when they leave, there’s a part of us that goes with that person. So like, nothing is lost. So the ripening it also shows us the deep connection of everything. Like we shared, there’s some things that we are able to do now. We may not see the impact of it. Maybe 100 years later, that wisdom becomes the path just like the Buddha. I’m not sure if the Buddha would know that his teaching would continue beyond 2600 years. And our teacher always jokes around like Buddhism is one of the longest lasting enterprise is continuing. And one of us, we joke around because suffering is our business. So wherever there’s suffering, Buddhism still exists because it’s a truth, is a truth that nobody can take away. As being part of human beings, we’re always going to suffer. But how do we suffer? That is the art. There’s a very strong calligraphy by Thay, he says Suffering is optional. It means we all will have to go through the ups and downs, birth and death, old age, sickness. It is suffering, but it’s optional if you dig into it and you allow yourself to shoot two arrows, three arrows, four arrows. But if you know how to suffer, you suffer less. And this also can empower us, this ripening can empower us in our daily actions. We have an opportunity to always offer kindness and to always offer well-being in our daily presence. We may not know the impact of it, but for some to receive a gratitude from us can be an energy boost for them for months or years to come. I’ll never forget, one time, okay, this is… I don’t think I’ll share this on the podcast. How much to unveil?

All of it. You see, you bring out the journalist in me now.

Okay. It’s very cheeky, though. That’s why I feel like it’s sometimes even maybe cringy. But, one time, like, I was preparing for Thay to come to Upper Hamlet, and, as an attendant, there’s a lot of checklists we need to do, prepare for his hut, the podium, his speech he’s gonna offer, know his agenda and so on, his schedule. And then I asked Thay, Thay, do you need anything else? And we’re on the phone. A very rare moment, Thay was on the phone, because usually Sister Chan Khong, Sister True Emptiness, is Thay’s secretary, so she would answer on his behalf. And I just heard Thay say, I just need you. It’s so cheeky.

That’s lovely though.

But for me, those words…


I just need you. It’s… I’ve been carrying with it and it’s been it’s been a bomb. Like, a soothing bomb. Whenever I feel like less than or I feel, you know, just small, little, not seen, and I just remember those words. I just need you. At least there’s one person that needs me and that, those words, were said over 15 years now. And that seed, those words are still ripening in me. It’s a kind of love that and trust that that a teacher had for a student. And I don’t know if Thay was being cheeky or not, but those words are still part of my foundation, of my well-being today.

Thank you for sharing that, brother. And what you speak of is how you started off this conversation, which is it’s about taking the pressure off, because if we allow life to show up and we say, actually, we’re going to act in our best way possible and we don’t need to know the result, that there’s immense freedom in that. And what you say is sometimes a smile… If someone’s going through a difficult time and you just smile at them and it could be a stranger, could be on a bus and you just smile at that person, that, as you say, can be life affirming and we don’t need to know the result of everything. But actually… So I’ll give one example, I think I might have given it in another episode, but it’s a beautiful example of this. It’s that where I grew up with my parents, the next door neighbors, the couple had a couple of kids, but they were always very, very busy and the older daughter never really got the chance to go out. Was taken out for any sort of type of adventure or visits, and my mom and dad took her out a few times in London. And in particular took her to a museum called the Victoria and Albert Museum, which is all about sort of, the sort of old age stuff in the UK. Not technological, but all the sort of the historical stuff. And about 20 years later, there was a knock on their door and my mom and dad opened and it was this girl who had now grown up and was living her life, and she said, I just wanted to thank you because your trip, the trips to the Victoria and Albert Museum they inspired me so much. And as a result of that, I’ve got a love for antiques and I’ve become an antiques dealer. And actually my career is now buying and selling antiques. And it’s like, you know, when, I stand back from that, there was no wish or need, I’m going to take this girl to the Victoria and Albert Museum because she might like antiques, and then she might build a career in that. It was just from the love. And I think that if we take away the need for the outcome and just be present for people, then life can show up fully. And it’s when… it’s about the trust versus control again. But, brother, I want to ask you something specifically, around the practice because you started off by saying that the people here in the audience today, and you get many, many thousands of people coming to Plum Village a year and tasting this sort of, this place of peace, place of feeling at home, place where you can let your armor down and you can truly practice and step, as you say, into freedom. And then people go out, back into their weird real world. And often, as you said, they berate themselves or they feel they’ve failed because they want to take this spirit of Plum Village into their life, and then they go back into their busy lives. And it might be having a really busy work schedule, or it could be having kids to look after and all the busyness of their lives. And even a week later, a day later, they may think either this didn’t work or I failed. So I’d love you to share a bit about the life journey of practice, because you’ve also, you know, because that’s also, of course, true of the monastics in every shape and form that, you know, they will come, that, you know, there’s a real issue here with some of the new monks and nuns who come in and they want to be perfect. They have this idea of what a perfect monk and nun is. And then when they feel they’re not achieving what they want, they may question their time here or say, well, actually, is the practice actually working? And then if we decide it’s not working, we may then actually turn our back on it completely for the rest of our life. We may say, well, that didn’t work, so back into the distraction, back into the other ways of living this life from a sort of very consumerist, sort of consumption based model. So, simple question, brother, how can we all see this practice of ripening? Because I know even Thay, you know, he used to say in Dharma talks, if people were sleeping, it didn’t really bother him because it would be Dharma rain, it would just, you’re taking in what you need to take in, and that it might be 20 years later that you suddenly click, that insight comes together. But give us a sort of flavor of how can we practice with joy, equanimity, patience, even when it looks like nothing is going right? I said it was a simple question.

Good question. Jo. I think the image that can be very helpful is of a gardener. And the gardener does have to be disciplined in making sure to water the seeds, to care for the nutrients that the seed needs for it to sprout and for the flower, the tree, whatever plant that we are planting for it to get the right nutrients. So the ripening happens when there’s action. So all of our practice here, there is an engagement from the individual. There has to be an engagement. There has to be an intention. And there has to be a kind of daily discipline. We talk about in our tradition, when we hear the word discipline, we may think of like a very regime schedule of meditation. It can help. But we also have the middle way. And we cannot be too intense, too rigid, then the string will snap. And the Buddha uses this metaphor when he spoke to a musician. And it’s in the book Old Path White Clouds. And he met a very talented musician. And the Buddha said, the Dharma is like fine tuning an instrument for our path, a practice. If we are too intense, too rigid, too extreme, we won’t go the long distance. At one point the string was snapped because there’s too much effort. There’s too much intensity. But then if we’re too loose, if we’re too lazy, and we just are just daydreaming about what can be. And when the string is loose, it doesn’t play the sound it needs to play. So as a musician, we have to understand our instrument in daily life. What is our… ? What are the fine tuning that we can create in our daily life to have that balance? And this is why, for me, these Dharma here are very practical. We walk everywhere. You can apply walking meditation. We eat every day. Can we allow ourselves to give ten minutes, maybe not the full 20 minutes or the 30, 45 minutes you get in Plum Village, but can we allow ourselves ten minutes to just eat the food? Without distraction, without conversations, and just to be in touch with that. We drink coffee or tea or beverage, nonalcoholic for all of us monastics. And can we make that a spiritual moment? So the question here in… the question in the answer is the reflection of each individual, it’s how do we find nuggets or little moments in our daily life that we can make it our spiritual moment? And nobody can take that away. I’ve been at train stations, at airports with our teacher, hundreds of thousands of people. Nobody can take his peace away. Nobody can remove his practice of presence. And it becomes a transmission. When I was Thay’s attendant, I never felt like I needed to practice, because being around Thay is like, if you don’t practice, it’s like you don’t belong in that vibe. It’s like, you’re like, you’re fighting him in a way. So our own presence, our own way of being is a transmission. So our ripening, if what we touch here, even if it is 20% or 30% or some of us, maybe 80% of, or 100% even of like full presence, this is a faith or this is a fruit that we’re able to taste. And that fruit can continue to ripen as long as we continue to care for it, like a gardener nurturing that seed. And then when the fruit comes, you can enjoy the fruit. And it comes very unexpectedly. Like there was, there was a moment when I was a very young Dharma teacher and going to give talks to not practitioners. Talking to practitioners is really easy because everybody, we’re all in the same vibe in a way… And I went to a business conference. All suit up. Thay… Very judgmental eye, Iike, what the heck are monks doing here? But the CEO brought two monks, so we got to listen to him, you know? And, oh, boy, it was like, it was like purple lighting in the hall, a live band playing. And then they put two monks, like, right in the center. And I felt so out of place. And I felt I was really scared. I felt really alone, even though I had a brother right next to me. And the two of us are going to share and guide for 30 minutes. And in that moment, you know, I saw one business woman who also in like, she reflected me, like she doesn’t want to be here. And I’m like, I’m going to share to her. I’m gonna… I’m going to show her how to be happy in this moment through the meditation. And in that moment, through all of the years of sitting still and investing, first, I was able to recognize my worry. I was able to name all of my emotions that were coming up. Fear. Judge. Anxiety. Hopelessness. The unknown. And I was just like, oh, it’s okay. Breathe with me. And I really put my hand on my abdomen and I just, I guided all of these emotions through my breathing. I was practicing, I have arrived, I’m home. And I felt really centered in that moment. And then I tapped into non-self. I said, when I speak, it’s not about Phap Huu, I am just going to speak to Dharma. I’m going to speak the words to help people come back to their body, to relax their body, to care for themselves in just 30 minutes that they have in an intense eight hour day of meetings. If I can offer them this is already a gift. So I was able to remove the self. And then to entrust myself to the stream of wisdom that has been passed down to me. And when I delivered the sharing, I just trust the seeds that you are planting. And I’ll never forget I had a moment with Thay, we were in San Francisco, and Thay was going to hold a day of practice just for 30 CEOs. And this was 2013, so it’s like the peak of Thay’s tours and teaching, and every event was 1000 and above. And I said, Thay, it is not worth it. You should rest, 30 people only. And Thay just looked at me and he said, never underestimate the seeds of mindfulness. So in that moment, I also I had to entrust myself to the wisdom that has been transmitted to myself. And later on we… So it was a five day conference, and every day, 30 minutes of time with monks on other years with nuns. And all the businessmen and women and business people they always shared they value that 30 minute of silence that they got. For some it was very challenging, but it was 30 minutes of rest. So the ripple, the seed we planted it went quite far. And some of these business friends still come to our community of practice to today, and we are still invited to their organizations to share the practice with them.

Thank you, brother. And one thing to just to reiterate what you said is choose one thing because again, this idea of things are not separate. If you focus on one aspect of the practice, it will flow into all the other aspects. And so one of the mistakes people come here is to come away with whole lists of things they want to change. And if you try and be a gardener for too much, then actually everything is going to suffer because it’s… you can’t tend to anything. But if you tend to one thing beautifully, then that opens the door to other things. Brother, I just wondered a couple of things on my mind. One is about movement building. So, I worked in the field of sort of climate and sustainability for 30 years, and one thing people do, people often feel overwhelmed and burnt out because they feel they’re doing one… They feel that what they’re doing, the world rests on their shoulders. And one of the things I’ve noticed about how ripening supports is that often when people are doing things ahead of the curve or before they become mainstream, so they’re working at the edge of society, trying to create change, it’s a very lonely place. So it’s a bit like in… at the edge of ecosystems a lot, a lot of… There’s a thing called edge economics. And what it does is it’s recognize that the way things start out and when new life forms start out, they can’t start out in the center of an ecosystem because it’s already so well developed that actually it doesn’t allow for new life forms to start. So life forms tend to start at the very edge. So it might be at the edge of an estuary where there’s nothing else competing, so they get space. And if they become strong enough then they start to come into the center of an ecosystem, become established. But when you’re at the edge of the ecosystem, trying to start a new life, it’s really difficult. And I think that’s a very good sort of metaphor for, let’s say, activists in the world who are sort of trying to generate change, feeling that they’re not being listened to, feeling that actually most of the world is just getting on with the current system and seem to be quite happy. And it can be quite torturous to know a truth, to want to act on it, to put your heart and soul into it, but then fit and that moment not to get traction and to be rejected. So it’s a place of great loneliness. And when people always talk to me about sustainability and about the climate movement, I would always say, well, very similar to you, brother, that it’s like we’re tilling the land, we’re getting the land ready so that when change needs to happen, it can happen really quickly. But if you hadn’t put in all the preparation, if people hadn’t worked within business, if there hadn’t been people like Greenpeace, if there hadn’t been brave politicians, if there hadn’t been people working at the frontline of environmental protection, you know, over the last 30 years, then there’d be nothing ready to then grow when people may possibly wake up to the dangers that the world is in that we’ve already got so many of the solutions. But when people see themselves as individuals, it doesn’t feel like a ripening at all. It can feel like, it can feel desperate. So I’m just wondering, you started off, you know, also by talking about the Third Dharma Seal about interbeing in the sense of how people who are working at the edge, who often feel no one’s listening to them, but who see a deep truth in what they’re doing. How can they support themselves in ripening and recognizing actually that, again, they may not see the results of what they’re doing ten, 20, 30, 40 years, maybe not even in their lifetime, but how have to stay committed even when you know that you may not see that. That can be very disheartening in the not knowing.

I’m going to take refuge in the Second Dharma Seal for this one, which is the insight of going as a river. In your question, I think a lot about Thay, about our teacher, and the power of aspiration, and the power of hope, and the power of a dream like Martin Luther King Junior, which is our teacher’s good friend. His famous speech about a dream to dare to see the world that is not existing already. And our aspirations are also seeds for them to be ripened. And in the creation of Plum Village, it comes from a simple hope that there is a place for people to come together to nurture our humanity. And that’s when Thay started Fragrant Palm Leaves, the SYSS, the School for Youth and Social Service, the Van Hanh university to nurture many more seeds. And even when he had to leave the country and was exiled and couldn’t return back to these gardens that he already invested so much in, the fire of aspiration never died down. And when we speak about meditation and we speak about a path of practice, it is not for ourself. The deep Buddhism is we’re always bringing the world into our actions. And Thay said, okay, I can’t go back to Vietnam, this is my new home. This is my new field. I will create a new tradition. I will create a new community. And the aspiration of setting up a place so that we all can just cultivate our mindfulness of body, speech, and mind and having an opportunity to transform, it also needed to take time to change. Learning from it, growing from it so not to also be attached from the initial view of what we want. Because later on, Thay created a community that wasn’t born in a war. We don’t have bombs falling. We are not always in survival mode. So our community also adapted and changed, and Thay’s Dharma also adapted and change. And our way of being also have to be appropriate for the West. Right? Now we’re in France and in America and Germany and many of the other centers. And to trust that the words and the hope and aspiration we speak of is never lost. It can be lonely, but that’s also a view. And I think this is why our teacher, Thay, emphasized so much on community building because he talks about his success as the community success. If you were to ask me what is Thay’s greatest masterpiece, I would say is the sangha. It is the establishment of a community coming together to practice. And we have to continue to nurture that. We have to continue to grow within this garden that he has set up for us. And on an individual basis for all of us who don’t live in Plum Village, he always says, go home and create your communities of practice, your friends, your spiritual friends that you can rely on, that you can maintain your spiritual dimension so you can continue to ripen. And one thing that Sister True Dedication shared in one of the climate activists retreat leaders, activists retreat we had in Plum Village, she said that when we come together and we learn to care for each other and care for the environment, we’re creating a new culture, a culture that will be transmitted from generation to generation. And it’s not just because we’re an activist now, and we need in ten years for things to change. We do need for things in 2030 to change according to the science, but if our view is just to fight for that change in 2030, then we’re limiting ourselves. But if all of us, collectively, we are having a new way of being, a new way of seeing, a new way of consuming, a new way of being together, this is a new culture, a way of love and a way of caring for the environment and a way for communities caring our own gardens also. Because Thay has said the cosmos is not outside of us, it’s inside of us. We are the cosmos. We are the environment. The war is not outside of us, the war is also inside of us. The discrimination, the hatred, the wanting to punish. If we don’t transform our minds, our way of being, it won’t be everlasting. So this would be my encouragement for all of us who are changemakers, are leaders, and from time to time we do feel alone. We feel we are the only one pulling this wagon and it can lead to burnout. And this is where the second river, whether it is metaphorically to see that you’re not alone, because when we do look at the scope of all the activists and all of the people who want to bring a change, there’s more than just us. The peacemakers in many cultures, traditions, religions, etc.. And on a practical level, to develop communities, teams where we can garden together.

Thank you, brother. And I have one final question then, which is one of the innovations Thay brought in was you talked about ripening in different places. And, so, Sister Lang Nghiem, one of the senior nuns, gave the example of, you know, if I’m consuming something in… she gave the example of the Pacific island states, which are in danger of being engulfed by water and, you know, creating the first climate refugees in the world, that these whole cultures are being, will be eradicated in the next 10 to 20 years, that that is a result of actions taken elsewhere. And so Thay was very clear and I think it’s that deep sense of interbeing that if I’m taking action in one place, it doesn’t ripen just in that place. It can ripen in a very, very different place. And I just wanted, I just thought that fitted very much into Thay’s idea of, you know, you can’t isolate yourself from the world, that that how we take ourselves, how we act in the world is impacting, is creating ripening in somewhere very far away. And I just wondered if there was anything you just wanted to say about that understanding in terms of interbeing and how we can recognize that.

I think that insight just is meditation for all of us on how we consume our daily life, because our consumption has an impact not just where we are, but in different countries, in different people’s livelihoods. But also looking at our way of being with one another, that’s also a way of consuming. How do we care for each other? How do we support each other? The words we choose to use it can have a deep impact into the future. So all of these insights of the Four Dharma Seal, the power of it, it’s it gives us responsibility and our own…

And accountability as well.

And accountability. When we speak about freedom, freedom comes with accountability and responsibility.

Thank you, brother. So should we… No, we won’t. No time. So, brother, we traditionally finish off with a short guided meditation. So I’m wondering, given we have the bell master in the hall, whether we could maybe invite the sound of the bell and whether, brother, you could just bring us back to this present moment with our feet firmly planted on the ground and just in traditional Plum Village session, everything we’ve spoken about, we can just let drift away. What needs to stay in will stay in, what doesn’t will just go into the river and down into the ocean.

Dear friends, whether you are sitting on a bus, sitting on an airplane, sitting on a sofa, or sitting in this meditation hall. Whether you are going for a jog, going for a walk, or enjoy doing chores in your home. If you just allow yourself to take a pause. You may like to sit down or just to stand still, or even laying flat on the ground and start to become aware of your whole body sinking into the earth. Relaxing our shoulders, our arms, our upper body, our lower body. And bring our attention to the feeling of our inbreath and to the feeling of our outbreath. Just recognize this is my inbreath. This is my outbreath. If the breath is short, let it be short. If the breath is long, let it be long. Breathing in. I smile to my inbreath. Breathing out, I smile to my outbreath. Inbreath. Outbreath. Breathing in. I arrive with my inbreath to my body. Breathing out. I allowed this moment to be my home. Inbreath. Arriving. Outbreath. At home. Breathing in, I see myself as a drop of water. Breathing out, becoming a part of this river flowing together to the ocean. In. A drop of water. Out. Flowing together in unison. No separation. Flowing seamlessly towards the ocean. Breathing in, I embrace the path. Breathing out, I care for the future with each breath grounded in the present moment. In. Embracing. Out. The three times interare. Breathing in, I nourish my seeds of mindfulness, awareness, love and care. Breathing out, I trust the ripening of my seeds so it will nurture me and future generations. In. Nourishing our seeds. Out. Trust in the ripening.

Thank you, listeners. Thank you, friends, for joining us in this episode. And we’ll see you next time.

Yes. Bye.

The way out is in.

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What is Mindfulness

Thich Nhat Hanh January 15, 2020

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