Buddhist Grasp, Thich Nhat Hanh, explores how we will joyfully convey mindfulness into on a regular basis actions like cellphone calls, driving, and strolling.
This particular episode of the Be Right here Now Community Visitor Podcast I hosted by Jackie Dobrinska, Love Serve Keep in mind Basis’s Director of Outreach and Schooling, and dropped at you by the Ojai Basis. We current the audio recording and full transcription of Thich Nhat Hanh’s luminous Dharma Discuss ‘underneath the educating tree.’ If you need to comply with together with onscreen captions, click on under to look at this episode on Youtube:
“In my nation, every village has a temple. It’s like a church, and there’s a enormous bell hanging within the tower, within the bell tower. And the bell is for the entire village to observe—not just for the monks and nuns. And each time the individuals hear the bell, they’re presupposed to observe – cease the speaking, cease the pondering, and return to the respiration.
It has been like that for 2000 years. However typically individuals overlook. They suppose that the bell is to inform us time to go and cook dinner, and do one thing like that. However for those who observe the bell of mindfulness, to return to your self and respiration, you want to it as a result of it faucets you to to be your self, to be alive, and as, within the west, there’s no Buddhist temple, you would possibly like to make use of the church bell as a bell of mindfulness.
Or the wind could be a bell of mindfulness additionally. 4, 5 years in the past I gave a chat to the Canadians, and through the speak the church close by rang the bell, and the bell lasted very lengthy. It was perhaps 5 minutes, and I finished and breathed, like that. And it seems that these 5 minutes of non-talking is the most effective of the speak—not solely to me, however to individuals who got here and listened.
One yr we had a retreat right here in Ojai, and after we got here, there was a hearth throughout, and there was lots of smoke and noises as a result of the helicopters, for 5 or 6 minutes, got here up via the sky and produced that sort of noise which isn’t very nice; particularly for us who’ve gone via the battle, and helicopters imply rockets, bombs, and issues like that.
So all of us had been disturbed by the noise of the helicopters. And eventually, within the afternoon, I requested everybody to utilize the noise. And everytime we hear the helicopters—whether or not we’re in a Dharma Discuss, or in strolling meditation—we’ll cease, breathe, and say, “Hear, pay attention – this glorious sound brings me again to my true self.”
Quite a lot of us didn’t imagine that we may succeed, however after just a few hours all of us realized that it’s potential, it was potential to observe with the helicopters. So from that point on, the noise didn’t trouble us anymore.
And, I feel, this observe of the bell of mindfulness can be utilized in your workplace each time the phone rings. That is known as ‘phone meditation,’ that many individuals in Europe and in North America have already practiced, and so they adore it. Each time the cellphone rings, it creates a type of vibration in our nervous methods.
We don’t know who is looking and what’s the matter. So with a view to discover out, we rush to the phone and decide it up. We can not resist. So, phone meditation consists in staying the place you’re and respiration, utilizing the ring as a bell of mindfulness, and inhaling, respiration out, quietly. We all know we will afford to try this as a result of no one hangs up after the primary ring.
In the event that they actually have one thing necessary to inform us, then they might wait at the very least three or 4. So you may observe. Inhaling, I calm my physique; respiration out, I smile. And when it rings for the second time, you may nonetheless try this. And once you breathe and smile for the second time, your smile might be extra stable.
Attempt to see.
And, once you breathe for the third time, out and in, you go slowly to the phone and also you decide it up. And there you’re with the phone, smiling and nonetheless respiration. And that is for the nice for the opposite particular person. Not just for your self, however for the nice of the opposite particular person.
And I’m certain that the standard of the dialog might be higher by that sort of observe. It’s quite simple, however it is extremely efficient. If you’re the one who makes the cellphone name, and then you definitely do like this, you stick on the cellphone.
The unique Vietnamese has solely 20 phrases, however that is the interpretation roughly. “Phrases can journey 1000’s of miles. And they’re to offer us extra understanding and mutual acceptance. I vow that my phrases might be like gems. I vow that my phrases might be like embroideries.”
And also you stick it to the cellphone. Each time you need to make a cellphone name, you set your proper hand on it and also you breathe. You breathe two instances as a result of every line is one breath – in, out; in, out. It means, you give your self an opportunity to be extra of your self. And on the similar time, you vow that you’ll observe proper speech, loving speech. So we have to remind ourselves. And then you definitely take that, decide it up, and also you make the dial.
In France, there are eight numbers. So the individuals who breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out, 4 extra at a time. They do it slowly, they don’t should rush. After which once they hear the primary ring, they know that the opposite particular person continues to be respiration and smiling. So, they inform themselves, “He’s respiration, why not me?” So that they observe respiration on the similar time, and we’ve the possibility to try this thrice, at the very least. And picture the 2 individuals on the 2 ends of the road respiration and smiling. That’s stunning.
You can not resist having a superb dialog in that occasion. In Plum Village, the place I dwell, we observe phone meditation very, very nicely. Each time the cellphone rings, everybody stands there and breathes. They get pleasure from it a lot that no one desires to return to the cellphone. So if you wish to make a cellphone name to Plum Village, keep in mind, and be affected person, and breathe, till somebody involves the cellphone and reply you.
Years in the past, an individual in America informed me that he practiced respiration between cellphone calls. As a result of typically he needed to make 10 extra cellphone calls in a row. And he stated that it helps very a lot.
On phone calls, phrases can journey 1000’s of miles. They’re to construct up extra understanding and mutual acceptance. I vow that phrases of mine might be like gems. I vow that phrases of mine might be like embroideries.
By the way in which, I even have a [practice] for driving.
Earlier than I begin the automotive, I do know the place I am going. That’s two strains: earlier than I begin the automotive, I do know the place I am going. If the automotive goes quick, I am going quick. That’s the information. It’s easy, however that is what it means. Many instances we don’t really want the automotive, however we nonetheless take it and use it, and that’s very dangerous for our and atmosphere.
We often take our automotive with a view to flee from ourselves, to go someplace to flee our loneliness, our being alone – we can not bear it. And subsequently, I contribute to the destruction of the environment. Due to this fact, when you find yourself about to begin a automotive, you say, “Earlier than I begin a automotive, I do know the place I am going.” If I’m aware that this isn’t actually necessary, then I shall not use the automotive. I put the important thing in my pocket and I am going for a strolling meditation. And that is the most effective.
In any other case, I’m going to my very own destruction, and the destruction of my very own atmosphere. As a result of lots of forest land has been destroyed through the previous 5 years due to the acid rain. And subsequently, the observe is to remind me of the hazard of being an excessive amount of in my automotive. If the automotive goes quick, I am going quick.
We often consider ourselves because the grasp, and the automotive solely as an instrument. We’ve a sovereignty over that instrument, however that isn’t the case in lots of situations. You know that with a gun, an individual turns into rather more harmful.
However an individual who got here and shot the shot… he was an individual, however with a gun, with an instrument. An individual, an artist, with a musical instrument, turns into rather more highly effective additionally. And, we all know that mankind has turn into very harmful as a result of they possess nuclear weapons. They’ll destroy life on earth.
And we’re not certain in any respect that people can management the scenario now. We’re very a lot subjected to worry, and subsequently we could destroy ourselves simply due to worry. So if the automotive goes quick, I am going quick to my destruction, the instrument.
That story, the Zen story, about somebody using on a horse, and who can not management the horse. And when somebody on the sidewalk, yelling at him, asking him the place he’s going, he stated, “I don’t know. You ask the horse.” It’s humorous, however it’s our scenario now, as a result of we’ve produced sufficient to destroy ten instances our earth, however we nonetheless proceed to, to make extra. So it’s not humorous. It’s the actual scenario.
And once you drive, and for those who arrive on the cross part that has a purple mild, you would possibly get irritated as a result of the purple mild is an enemy that forestalls you to go in a short time to the place you need to arrive. And if you understand how to have a look at the purple mild and breathe, the purple mild turns into a bell of mindfulness.
After which, for those who observe, you take a look at the purple mild as a pal, as a Buddha, as a instructor, to remind you that, nicely, you don’t should go there to be alive – you’re alive proper now. And also you chill out. You breathe in and breathe out calmly and smiling, and also you rework an irritating second right into a peaceable second.
As a result of the vacation spot typically may be very boring, rather more boring than the current second, and we all know what’s our ultimate vacation spot—the graveyard, the cremation web site—and subsequently we should always not hurry to go there. We don’t need to go into the path of loss of life. We need to go to the place life is; and the place life is, is the current second. So it’s the very second once you drive. So drive peacefully, drive fortunately. And that’s the reason working towards strolling meditation makes you extra capable of drive. As a result of once you observe stepping on the attractive earth like that, you be taught to convey each second to the current second.
Each step brings you again to the current second. And that’s the reason strolling like that isn’t actually strolling, it’s not likely for arriving. Strolling like that’s stopping – stopping to be alive within the current second. And subsequently, strolling meditation is among the handiest methods of observe.
And if through the day you may have moments of 5, of 10 minutes, you would possibly prefer to observe strolling meditation. Going from one constructing to a different, you observe strolling meditation. And gradual strolling will rework you, will assist you to have a look at issues another way.
And that’s the reason yesterday I urged that you simply observe solely strolling meditation whereas going to the bathroom, going to the lavatory, to the kitchen, to your tent – at all times strolling meditation, nothing else. As a result of, if there isn’t any working meditation, life is misplaced in these moments, on this second.
For many people, there’s little question that the right observe will convey us pleasure and therapeutic. And we don’t have to attend for a very long time to see the impact of the observe. Follow can convey you pleasure and peace, on this kind of stage, proper after the primary hour of observe.
There are individuals who come to Plum Village to observe for one yr. There are those that observe for an extended time. There are individuals who don’t have any downside in any respect, however who come for working towards.
And I’ve been in retreats the place persons are working towards joyously. They don’t have issues, however they observe so as to not have issues, and to be extra joyful of their each day life. In Plum Village, the place I dwell, many households come through the season of summer season to observe, and most of them are refugees. Greater than three-fourths of them are refugees; just one fourth are non-Vietnamese practitioners.
And, the refugees, they’ve wounds in themselves, they’ve left the whole lot, they’ve suffered and loss of life, many casualties inside their households. However once they come to Plum Village, they arrive as household. And for those who come and go to us throughout summer season, you see that they’re very joyful. All the pieces they do within the day is joyful – sitting, strolling, singing, chanting, meditation, the whole lot. You make it joyful and so they observe joyfulness. That doesn’t imply that they don’t have the seat of struggling in themselves, however as a result of they observe like that, they scale back the struggling that’s in themselves. So she was very right proper when she stated final night time that, “We may be joyful with the presence of our ache in ourself.” That’s true with the Vietnamese or refugees.
So that each time we cease speaking, we hear the birds, and the wind, the bell.
And the opposite members who come there, there are those that don’t have large issues, however there are those that do have issues. But when in a group, there are lots of who’ve a stability inside themselves; and he who can present pleasure and share pleasure with different individuals, that’s wholesome group, a group the place individuals can revenue probably the most. But when the group has the general public who observe there are having large pains in themselves, that’s troublesome, and it appears extra like a hospital than a observe middle. And the most effective factor is to have the bulk who observe to extend their pleasure and happiness, and only a very small minority to return for therapeutic large ache inside themselves.
So that is true with our retreats. There are a lot of retreats the place persons are extra joyful, just like the one we simply had in Santa Barbara. And I get pleasure from it very a lot.
It’s precisely like medication; that’s, the observe to stop ache and struggling to come up. And there’s a goal to heal the ache, the struggling that’s already present. And it’s clear that when you may have some stability in your self, and that you’re not a lot dominated by your ache, your observe would be a lot simpler.
That’s the reason I at all times say that, don’t wait till the scenario will get dangerous with a view to start the observe. Follow immediately, once you don’t have many issues. The observe of therapeutic massage is identical. You don’t have issues, however for those who observe therapeutic massage to assist your blood to flow into nicely, then you’ll stop many ailments that may occur to you. So this is identical factor. The aim of strolling, of smiling, of pondering, the observe of leisure, of being in contact with the wonders of life, is essential.
I’ll let you know an instance. Sooner or later we misplaced a pal in Plum Village. He’s a really fantastic particular person. He’s one of many French males, one of many individuals that I take into account to be among the finest buddies we had in France. He brings us lots of pleasure. He taught us how one can domesticate the land within the space. Each time he appeared, we discovered pleasure and confidence. He’s busy, however he at all times takes 5 minutes to return and have a cup of tea with us. And spending 5 minutes with him is a pleasure, an actual pleasure. And someday we discovered that he had died due to a coronary heart assault. And that gave all of us a shock. All of us had already realized that he’s a valuable present to us, however all of us regretted that we didn’t revenue the utmost from him. That’s our frequent feeling once you lose a pal, somebody that’s close to to us.
And that day we got here collectively and mentioned how one can assist his household. After which we chanted the Coronary heart Sutra for him, and all of us sit down, and suppose and converse of him as a present. After which, I stated that, “Effectively, we often don’t cherish what we’ve sufficient in a gift second. We wait till we lose them with a view to cry to endure. So we should always be taught a really laborious lesson concerning the lack of our pal.” And that afternoon, many everlasting residents in Plum Village requested permission to return and see their father, mom, their household. I understood. So I urged them to go. Some went to Holland, some went to Switzerland.
And so, that night time I couldn’t sleep. It was painful to lose a pal like that. The ache was dripping out my coronary heart, and I couldn’t sleep. I stated that I’ve to sleep as a result of I’ve issues to do tomorrow. So the way in which I did it’s to ask the three timber that I had planted 10 years in the past in my backyard, to return with me. And I contemplated these timber, and I breathed.
Now, they’re very excessive. And through my strolling meditation, I used to cease and are available and hug them with lots of consciousness – hugging a tree wanting up on the inexperienced with mindfulness. And to me, they responded to my hugging and respiration.
After which after that I invited the Little Bamboo to return, Little Bamboo. She was solely 6, 5, 6. She’s a really cute little woman who involves Plum Village fairly often. She mastered Vietnamese and French. When she involves Plum Village, she solely speaks Vietnamese, and she or he behaves precisely like a Vietnamese little woman.
And, I didn’t know that she has one other capability of being with the French kids. So someday, a number of French kids got here, and she or he discovered herself very comfortable, like a fish within the water. She performed with them, her buddies, and she or he behaved precisely like a French woman. And, she got here, she started to return to Plum Village on the age of two and a half. And he or she’s so cute that each one the kids all wished to carry her. So she didn’t have a lot event to stroll on on the soil of Plum Village.
And so, I invited her again to my consciousness. I used to be smiling with the picture of Little Bamboo after I fell asleep. So the observe that night time is to make use of a picture that’s refreshing, that’s therapeutic, with a view to counterbalance the picture of loss of life, struggling. And I bowed formally on this new picture and I practiced respiration and smiling on it. And the result’s that I may sleep throughout that night time. And that’s what everybody can do, for those who dwell mindfully, and for those who may get in contact with the fantastic issues in our each day life—like that tree, or that little woman, and plenty of different issues—after which we’ve a sort of reserve inside ourselves for the sake of inauspicious moments.
And subsequently, we observe with a view to be in contact with life in every second is essential. They counterbalance the struggling which is in us. The sky, the moon, the celebs, the timber, the ocean, this now—they belong to all of us and we’ve equal alternative to get pleasure from them.
However there are those that have extra likelihood, as a result of they’ve the capability of getting in contact, and it wants slightly little bit of observe with a view to to not overlook.”
– Thich Nhat Hanh
Photograph by way of Plum Village