can find heaven on Earth' By Sandi Dolbee, Sign On San Diego, January 29, 2004
Visiting Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh says that "Heaven is here and now. Don't look into the distance. The kingdom of God is really available in the here and now."
RONI GALGANO / Union-Tribune Thich Nhat Hanh, one of the world's most popular Buddhist teachers, is spending the winter at Deer Park Monastery in North County.
San Diego, Calif. (USA)-- His head is shaved, his small frame wrapped in the brown robe of his faith. It is late morning, and Thich Nhat Hanh is bathed in a sunlit room talking about heaven.
Heaven, he is saying, is here and now. Don't look into the distance. "The kingdom of God is really available in the here and now."
This is important, because he believes that if you truly understand that you're living in the kingdom of God right now, you'll behave better right now. "If you have the kingdom of God, you'll not have to search for happiness in sex, wealth or fame anymore."
Thich Nhat Hanh (pronounced tick-naught-han) was only 16 when he joined the monkhood in Vietnam. Now he is 77 and one of the most popular Buddhist leaders in the world.
A best-selling, and prolific, author, his most popular books include "Anger," "Creating True Peace" and "Living Buddha, Living Christ," which draws parallels between Buddhism and Christianity. He says his newest book will deal with the subject of power.
He's also a poet, a teacher and a master in Zen Buddhism, blending the Theravada and Mahayana traditions of an Eastern religion that dates back 2,500 years and emphasizes human transcendence over the traditional Western concept of God. He has built a worldwide reputation for his devotion to the pursuit of peace and his adherence to the spiritual practice of mindfulness.
Thich Nhat Hanh was exiled from his native Vietnam decades ago for his anti-war efforts and now spends much of his time at his main monastery, called Plum Village, in southern France. But this winter, he and about 300 monks and nuns from his Unified Buddhist Church have gathered for a long retreat at his Deer Park Monastery in the hills above Escondido.
He arrived earlier this month and plans to leave in April. Between now and the end of March, he will participate in several programs and talks in Southern California – including a special alms round procession Saturday at San Dieguito County Park. Deer Park also is open to the public for days of mindfulness on Wednesdays and Sundays (his Dharma – or teaching – talks are in the mornings in the newly completed meditation hall).
This North County monastery opened almost four years ago, complementing his centers in France and Vermont. He is no stranger to this country. He studied at Princeton and taught at Columbia University. In the 1960s, he worked with Martin Luther King Jr. in protesting the Vietnam War (King nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize).
On this particular morning at Deer Park, Thay, or teacher, as he is affectionately known by his devotees, is sitting in a small house, talking about mindfulness and happiness, about America's war on terrorism and war against Iraq, and trying to explain just why it is that Buddhism is so popular.
On mindfulness:"Mindfulness is the capacity to live deeply in the moments of your entire life." Whether it's drinking a glass of juice or being with a child, mindfulness means treasuring the present-tense – and not getting caught up in what's going to happen next or in having to chase after other things. Mindfulness sets people free, he says. "There is freedom from worries, anger and forgetfulness. Forgetfulness is the opposite of mindfulness."
On the popularity of Buddhism:"I think, first of all, Buddha is not a God. Buddha is a human being. He has suffered as a human being." The strength of Buddha, he says, is that as a role model "he can offer wisdom, insight and practice." He believes that followers of other religions can use the practices of Buddhism to deepen their own faiths. He does not want to convert people. ("We believe Christians should not be uprooted from their culture," he says as an example. "It's like a tree without roots.") He compares Buddhism to a river; each person can take as much as you want. And there is no single truth, no single way. "Buddhism is inclusive, not exclusive."
On teaching children spiritual practices:It can begin in the womb of the mother. "You don't hear things that are violent, you don't eat things that are violent and your husband should treat you with gentleness," he says. Children have an almost natural affinity for mindfulness. "They can be in the here and now very easy, more than adults." During his talks at Plum Village, he says he'll give a short lesson for the children and then let them go out and play. "They practice in the form of play."
On Americans:Americans are not as accepting as they used to be, he says. And he warns that when Americans reach out to other countries, they need to do it out of compassion, not out of control. He offers the Middle East as an example. Americans should seek ways to foster hope and "help them see a future." Peace, he says, would benefit everyone. "If they have peace, they have trust." And where there is trust, he suggests, there is an absence of fear and violence.
On the U.S. -led war in Iraq:It was a bad idea, he says. "I think the war in Iraq has cost a lot." He favors relying more on the United Nations and thinks America should get more involved with that international body.
On the war on terrorism:In Buddhism, he says, every person is looked upon as a potential Buddha. But the war on terrorism turns that around to regard each person as a potential terrorist. "When a culture goes like that, it goes wrong," he says. This campaign has "created more hate and terrorists."
On post-9/ll:After the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, he believes America would have been better off with dialogue. The key question: Why would anyone hate us enough to do that? "If we are able to listen, they will tell us," he says. If other countries have the wrong impression of the United States, then we should try to explain ourselves to them. "That kind of dialogue," he says, "is much safer."
On happiness:"The art of happiness is to learn how to be there, fully present, to attend to your needs and to attend to the needs of your beloved ones." It's about finding peace and harmony in your own self, and then helping those you love to do likewise. "And if you don't do the first step, it's very difficult to do the second," he says. Happiness is possible. His advice? "Stop running and begin to make steps."
One day, Little Pebble went to his teacher, and said, ‘Master, my friend’s dog Tiger died.’
The look on Little Pebble’s face told the old monk that he was troubled. ‘Little one, do you have any questions?’
‘Master, where did Tiger go?’
‘Where did you come from?’ asked the old monk.
‘From my mummy’s tummy.’
‘And where did Mummy come from?’
Little Pebble couldn’t think of an answer.
The Master regarded his young disciple for a moment, then said, ‘Remember, when you made shapes with mud and named them Mummy, Daddy, Master?’
“Calling forth the Great Compassion, we are one with our True Nature; that which is directly Buddha, also indirectly Buddha. Oneness with the Triple Treasure, endless, joyous, perfect being. Morning thought is Kuan-Shih-Yin, evening thought is Kuan-Shih-Yin. All present thoughts arise from Mind, no thought exists apart from Mind.”
These are the words of the Ten Verse Life-Prolonging Kuan-Yin Sutra. Who is reciting them?
A few blocks away, an old man is crying out for help and someone hears. He is a brother, sister, father, mother from a previous life. A phone is picked up and then there are footsteps running towards the sound, “Help me! Help...” Someone sees the old man sitting on the top step, near the front door of his house.
No past, no present, no future. All created things arise and pass away. All names and labels dissolve. You can observe this in meditation practice and, in experiencing impermanence in life and so-called death.
At the conclusion of the Diamond Sutra, it is said that, this is how we should view our conditioned existence: as a star at dawn, a bubble in a stream, a drop of dew, a flash of lightning in a summer cloud, a flickering lamp, a phantom and a dream.
Today I sit alone in a house. The government of the country in which I live has requested that I stay here in isolation for the health and safety of the community both here and abroad. Countless others are doing the same thing, except that some call it a forced lock down, or an obstacle to their free movement. I see this as an opportunity to practice.
The Buddha taught that the suffering connected with birth, sickness, old age and death is a fact of life for sentient beings in Samsara. But so is the possibility of transcendence from Samsaric suffering.
So, for a practitioner, the question is not just “Why?” but also “How?” Why do I/we suffer and, how do I/we overcome suffering? The answer to the former is found in intuitively recognizing (the 3 Poisons): harmful habits of attachment, anger and ignorance; and the answer to the latter lies in resolving to study and practice the Noble Eightfold Path (the antidote) and, fully realizing Buddhahood for the benefit of a
In the Dhammapada, the Buddha says, “What we are today comes from our thoughts of yesterday, and our present thoughts build our life of tomorrow: our life is the creation of our mind.”
The Covid-19 pandemic has given many millions of people worldwide time to reflect on their lives and habits of thought, speech and action.
I know quite a few who have found a refuge of peace in their gardens. Cultivating, planting seeds, adding water and nutrients all help in maintaining a healthy garden. They are also a necessary part in taking care of our bodies. But what about the mind? Generosity, ethics, loving-kindness, compassion, meditative concentration and wisdom are the food for our inner spiritual garden. Without them there is no harvest, no fruit of Awakening, Buddhahood.
As a child my parents encouraged questions, as did my Heart Lama. However, the latter person gave me two questions to ask before speaking: “will what I am wanting to say, and the way I say it, be helpful or harmful to myself/others? Also, does the question come from ‘I don’t know’ (beginner’s mind), or from a place of judgement and opinions?” The aim was/is to cultivate the mind to be like an empty vessel, not one filled to the brim and overflowing where nothing new can enter.
Today, once again, I have another opportunityto talk to you through this online Dharma Talk, proposed by Master Hui Siong. He is Vice President of the World Buddhist Sangha Counciland General-Secretary for Chinese Language Department. He is alsoabbot of Beeh Low See Temple, Mahakaruna Buddhist Center and Vihara Mahavira Graha Medan Temple in Singapore and Indonesia. The connections which lead to this opportunity could be traced back through the founding Congress of the WBSC in Colombo, Sri Lanka in 1966 and the second Congress held at Vinh Nghiem Pagoda in Saigon, Vietnam in 1969 by the Most Venerable Thich Tam Chau, co-founder of WBSC. At that time, I had just moved from Hoi An to Saigon; so I did not have theopportunity to participate.
What's your vision for the future of Moreland?
What do you imagine the future of Moreland to look like? What are your hopes, dreams and aspirations? How would you like to shape our city as we move towards a post-covid world?
Over the coming months, we’ll be talking with our community to find out what's important to you, and what services and projects you want us to prioritise to make Moreland the best it can be in the future.
We'll host pop-up events, workshops, a community panel process and much more, to create a Community Vision document that sets Council's priorities for the next four years and beyond. This Community Vision will guide other Council documents including the 4-year Council Plan, 4-year Municipal Public Health and Wellbeing Plan, 10-year Asset Plan and 10-year Financial Plan.
This is an exciting opportunity for us to talk together about how to make Moreland an even greater place to live, work and enjoy for years to come.
Please note by participating in
Hungry Ghosts is a suspenseful, character-driven ghost story with heart, humour and scares. Set in contemporary Melbourne during the month of the Hungry Ghost Festival, when the Vietnamese community venerate their dead, four families find themselves haunted by ghosts from the past. As these hauntings intensify, they threaten to unleash their deepest fears and expose secrets long buried.
Through an ensemble of characters, both Vietnamese and Anglo, Hungry Ghosts explores the concept of the inherent trauma we pass down from one generation to the next, and how notions of displacement impact human identity - long after the events themselves. Can you ever really leave behind the trauma of your past? Is it possible to abandon both spiritual and physical culture, or does it form part of your fundamental DNA?
To free themselves and those they love, each character in Hungry Ghosts must atone for their sins and confront their deepest fears or risk being swallowed by the shadows of their p
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is not over yet. We need to keep looking after ourselves and our community to stop the virus spreading.
Due to increased cases in Victoria, some restrictions have changed. From 22 June 2020:
· You cannot have more than five visitors in your home
· You cannot gather outdoors with more than 10 people
· Schools, libraries, places of worship and businesses remain open
· Stay close to home and do not travel if possible
Nguyện đem công đức này, trang nghiêm Phật Tịnh Độ, trên đền bốn ơn nặng, dưới cứu khổ ba đường, nếu có người thấy nghe, đều phát lòng Bồ Đề, hết một báo thân này, sinh qua cõi Cực Lạc.
May the Merit and virtue,accrued from this work, adorn the Buddhas pureland, Repay the four great kindnesses above, andrelieve the suffering of those on the three paths below, may those who see or hear of these efforts generates Bodhi Mind, spend their lives devoted to the Buddha Dharma, the Land of Ultimate Bliss.