Episodes

  • Welcome to episode 33 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 time, the presenters – Zen Buddhist monk Brother Phap Huu and journalist Jo Confino – are joined by Zen Buddhist nun Sister Dinh Nghiem; together, they discuss Thich Nhat Hanh’s years following his stroke in 2014, its impact on the community of monastics, and the Zen master’s powerful presence beyond words.

    In this intimate and moving episode, the two monastics – both former attendants of Thich Nhat Hanh – recollect stories from the period of Thay’s illness: from overcoming his coma to the lessons the Zen master continued to share with the sangha from his hospital bed, and later, from the ‘root temple’ Tu Hieu in Hue, Vietnam, where he continued to be a great teacher even without the ability to speak. They also address the way the sangha became Thay’s continuation, both before and after his passing in 2022; the power of presence in challenging circumstances; transmission without words; clarity; acceptance; death; and support. 

    Sister Dinh Nghiem (Sister Concentration) was ordained in 1993, when she was 24 years old. In 2000, she became the first abbess of the New Hamlet in Plum Village (and remains the youngest ordained to date). She was also one of the monastics who attended Thich Nhat Hanh during the five and a half years after his stroke and until his passing.  

    In this episode, she talks about her decision to become a nun, and spending her life with the practice; dealing with her father’s death and the deep teachings of ‘no birth, no death’; the guidance Thich Nhat Hanh gave her during his illness; and the Zen master’s final days. 

    Co-produced by the Plum Village App:
    https://plumvillage.app/

    And Global Optimism:
    https://globaloptimism.com/ 

    With support from the Thich Nhat Hanh Foundation:
    https://thichnhathanhfoundation.org/

    List of resources

    Old Path, White Clouds: Walking in the Footsteps of the Buddha
    https://www.parallax.org/product/old-path-white-clouds-walking-in-the-footsteps-of-the-buddha/

    Sister Chan Khong
    https://plumvillage.org/about/sister-chan-khong/

    ‘Thich Nhat Hanh Returns Home’
    https://plumvillage.org/about/thich-nhat-hanh/thich-nhat-hanhs-health/thich-nhat-hanh-returns-to-vietnam/ 

    Plum Village Thailand
    https://plumvillage.org/practice-centre/plum-village-thailand/ 

    The Way Out Is In: ‘“Arrived, Home”: The First Plum Village Dharma Seal (40 Years Retreat #2)’
    https://plumvillage.org/library/dharma-talks/arrived-home-the-first-plum-village-dharma-seal-40-years-retreat-2/

    ‘Parallel Verses – Continuing Thay in the Lunar New Year (Tet)’
    https://plumvillage.org/articles/harmony-at-home-peace-all-around/ 

    Quotes

    “You may have [achieved] some awakening, but you need to maintain this concentration in your daily life so that this insight sinks deep into the body, your deep consciousness.”

    “When there is chaos, we have to be centered so that we all have clarity.” 

    “We recognized that his [Thay’s] breathing was incredible. It’s like the stored consciousness of 80-something years of practicing went into autopilot and Thay’s mindfulness was a continuing stream of practice.”

    “I need to continue to invest in this dharma because in the most critical moment, ‘What is your best friend?’ – it’s your breathing.”

    “I was told that one of the doctors or nurses came to see about Thay’s oxygen level in his blood and was looking at the machine and kept on tapping it. And eventually one of the monastics said, ‘What’s the problem?’ They replied, ‘Well, this must be wrong because it’s showing 95%’ – or whatever – ‘oxygen level. And someone in this condition, it normally goes down to 70 or 75.’ And you’re just thinking, ‘Well, that’s obvious, because Thay’s one of the best breathers in the world.’” 

    “Thay made them practice mindfulness and concentration being 100% present. Thay didn’t need to say anything. It was transmission from heart to heart, not through words.”

    “When we don’t use the words, we use energy and we are more sensitive with energy – the other person’s as well as our own.” 

    “Thay has finessed and deepened and focused and taken the time and energy to show what’s possible for us. So what I’m hearing is an invitation to us all – not to be like Thay, but to show that if we are able to be attentive, to be mindful, to be ourselves, to come back to ourselves in the present moment, then we can taste that aspect of Thay.” 

    “The joy of meditation is daily food.”

  • Welcome to episode 32 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 bonus episode showcases an interview between Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh and journalist Jo Confino from before Christmas 2011, during the winter retreat in Plum Village. It begins with a short introduction by Jo and Zen Buddhist monk Brother Phap Huu. 

    This is a conversation about our relationship with Mother Earth, the need to move beyond the idea of ‘environment’, and falling back in love with our life-giving planet. 

    Thich Nhat Hanh talks about the ‘Buddha nature’; the Earth as a Bodhisattva; meditation as active awakening, and practical ways to bring about a collective awakening; the need for a cosmic religion not based on Dharma or belief; producing our own right view; dogmatism as a cause for separation and war; the most necessary teachings for our times; mindful and compassionate business; transforming suffering; collective awakening; and connecting to the Earth through mindfulness. Thay also further develops on his interest in science, and the benefits of a retreat for mindfulness practitioners and scientists. 

    The interview also includes important advice to help activists maintain their motivation and peace amid chaos, and how to suffer less in order to help more.

    Co-produced by the Plum Village App:
    https://plumvillage.app/

    And Global Optimism:
    https://globaloptimism.com/ 

    With support from the Thich Nhat Hanh Foundation:
    https://thichnhathanhfoundation.org/

    List of resources

    Love Letter to the Earth
    https://www.parallax.org/product/love-letter-to-the-earth/ 

    Antoine Lavoisier
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antoine_Lavoisier

    Paul Tillich
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Tillich

    Bodhisattva
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bodhisattva  

    Shakyamuni Buddha
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gautama_Buddha 

    Journalist Jo Confino Interviews Thich Nhat Hanh: Falling Back in Love with Mother Earth
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-TZlJW2FEs 

    ‘Beyond Environment: Falling Back in Love with Mother Earth’
    https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/zen-thich-naht-hanh-buddhidm-business-values 

    Dharma Talks: ‘The Ground of Right View’
    https://plumvillage.org/library/dharma-talks/the-ground-of-right-view-2/ 

    Quotes

    “If you look into the Milky Way, we see that there are millions of stars and each star can be a Buddha, like the sun above us is the real Buddha, a Buddha that can provide light and warmth, a Buddha that can offer life. So it is possible for us to conceive Buddha [as] not [being] in the form of a person.”

    “If you look around deeply, you realize that there isn’t anything as beautiful as our planet Earth. And that is why we should not try to abandon this beautiful planet, searching for something far away – whether that is called Pure Land, the Kingdom of God, or anything. And if we gain that insight, we see that the Earth is not only the environment; everything is us, and by taking care of the Earth we take care of ourselves.”

    “In Buddhism, we speak of meditation as an active awakening. To awake is to be awake to something. To be awake to the fact that the Earth is in danger and living species on Earth are also in danger. And that should be a collective awakening, in order to have enough strength for a change.” 

    “Scientists are motivated by a desire to understand better, and Buddhist practitioners are also motivated by that kind of desire. But, in Buddhism, we keep in mind that understanding could help us suffer less. Any kind of understanding, true understanding, will help us suffer less. And the Buddhist tradition has elaborated ways of practicing in order to help people to suffer less. And in the process, they have found out many things about themselves and the world. They don’t use the scientific method, but they have a lot of insight and a lot of experiences. And I think they can share it with other people, including scientists.” 

    “There are plenty of us who are activists, who are eager to do something. And we should go this way: we should begin with ourselves. We should begin with removing our wrong views, so that we can suffer less. And when we suffer less, we can be more helpful. We can help people to change.” 

    “If you transcend the notion of birth and death, you are able to transcend the notion of being and non-being. And you know that to be or not to be, that’s no longer the question.”

    “When I drink tea, this is a wonderful moment. You do not need a lot of power or fame or money to be happy. Mindfulness can help you to be happy in the here and now; every moment can be a happy moment. Set an example and help people to do the same. Take a few minutes to experiment to see the truth.”

    “The Earth cannot be described either by the notion of matter or mind, which are just ideas, two faces of the same reality. That pine tree is not just matter, as it possesses a sense of knowing. A dust particle is not just matter since each of its atoms has intelligence and is a living reality.”

    “When we recognise the virtues, the talent, the beauty of Mother Earth, something is born in us; some kind of connection, of love is born.

    “We want to be connected. That is the meaning of love: to be at one. When you love someone, you want to say, ‘I need you, I take refuge in you.’ You do anything for the benefit of the Earth and the Earth will do anything for your wellbeing.”

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  • Welcome to episode 31 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. 

    The presenters – Zen Buddhist monk Brother Phap Huu and journalist Jo Confino – are joined by lay Buddhist practitioner and artist Paz Perlman to talk about how mindfulness can support a healthy relationship: a core practice in Engaged Buddhism.

    Paz Perlman is a Zen Buddhist practitioner and a visual artist, who regularly exhibits in the United States and Europe. She has studied with Thich Nhat Hanh for the past 15 years and is a member of the Order of Interbeing. In her artistic practice, she integrates Buddhist concepts such as impermanence, healing and transformation. In recent years, she has increasingly incorporated activism into her works and is presenting a large-scale installation at an upcoming retreat of climate leaders in Plum Village. Paz, who moved from New York to live a few minutes walk away from Plum Village, completed her art degree at Central St Martins, University of Arts, London. Read her artist statement here.

    Paz and Jo have been married for 15 years; in this episode, they talk about how making the Buddhist practice of Beginning Anew part of their daily life has nourished their relationship. This practice of looking deeply and honestly at ourselves, our actions, speech, and thoughts, creates a fresh beginning within ourselves and in our relationships with others.

    The couple further share about discovering Thich Nhat Hanh’s teachings and integrating them into their life together; developing a shared spiritual aspiration and practice; their special marriage ceremony in Plum Village, including vows, and tea with Thay; relationship dynamics; maintenance and renewal; deep listening and loving speech; intimacy; and the four essential mantras in the practice. 

    Brother Phap Huu discusses the same Buddhist practice, but in relation to a monastic environment; the four mantras to take care of relationships; the insight of interbeing; perceptions about others; mental formations; hugging meditation; and the energy of gratitude. 

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

    Co-produced by the Plum Village App:
    https://plumvillage.app/

    And Global Optimism:
    https://globaloptimism.com/ 

    With support from the Thich Nhat Hanh Foundation:
    https://thichnhathanhfoundation.org/

    List of resources

    Plum Village Community
    https://plumvillage.org/

    Paz Perlman
    https://www.pazperlman.com/ 

    Beginning Anew: Four Steps to Restoring Communication
    https://www.parallax.org/product/beginning-anew-four-steps-to-restoring-communication/

    ‘Extended Practices’
    https://plumvillage.org/mindfulness/extended-practises/ 

    Sister Chan Khong
    https://plumvillage.org/about/sister-chan-khong/ 

    Sister Jina
    https://plumvillage.org/people/dharma-teachers/sr-dieu-nghiem/ 

    The Four Noble Truths
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dy-RI3FrdGA 

    Deepak Chopra
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deepak_Chopra 

    Thich Nhat Hanh On…: ‘Learning to Hug’
    https://plumvillage.org/articles/learning-to-hug/ 

    Dharma Talks: ‘The Practice of True Presence’
    https://plumvillage.org/library/dharma-talks/the-practice-of-true-presence/ 

    How To: ‘Begin Anew’
    https://plumvillage.org/articles/begin-anew/ 

    Quotes

    “Taste of tea, taste of time.” 

    “Thay talks about what happens in relationships. A lot of little things can happen that annoy or cause offense, or which on their own aren’t very big – and often, as a result, don’t get dealt with. And so he talks about a stalagmite in a cave where there’s a small, small drip of little things – but those small drips eventually create a huge calcified monolith. And that if you don’t address things when they arise, then they get buried and can turn into resentment and into anger.” 

    “Love is a wonderful thing, but at the same time it doesn’t survive on its own unless you look after it.” 

    “Thay’s practice is actually a masterstroke. When people talk about problems, their relationship, and we talk about the Beginning Anew practice that Thay developed, a lot of them who have tried it say it has really, really helped them. And this is a core part of Thay’s teachings: that he has the deep insights that lead to practical application. And that one practice has been instrumental in us maintaining a healthy, vibrant, and happy relationship.” 

    “Practices create spaciousness and trust.”

    “I had been involved in personal development for many, many years, and when I came across Thay’s teachings, what came to me so quickly was just how gentle and deep they are. Because, in my early life, I’d been doing much more wrestling, mental and emotional wrestling, with issues in my life – which had its place at that age. But then I got to the stage where I realized that I needed something much more gentle, something that I could rest in rather than fight with.”

    “The practice brings a wonderful space of communication; when we are in any relationship, we want to have understanding because understanding is a bridge that connects all of us.” 

    “There is a logic – I call it compassionate logic – to the order of the stages. You first water the positive seeds, which is like, ‘First: happiness’; first something which can give us a base [from which] to talk later on about our suffering.”

    “It’s not about being perfect, it’s about being a better person. And I want to add that it’s not about being a perfect relationship, but to know that we have a path. And when we have a path, we know that we can always fall onto it. And we have a place that can hold us. It’s like a compass; it brings us straight to the line with our aspiration to have a good relationship.”

    “Love is a living thing, it is not something that you receive once and will last forever.” 

    “When we listen like that, we are also practicing interbeing. We’re practicing ‘Your suffering is my suffering, and my joy will also be your joy.’ So my healing will also be your healing. My transformation will also be your transformation. And this is where love has no boundary. And this is a very deep teaching of Buddhist love.”

    “Thay said, ‘You can share the same bed, but if you don’t share the same aspiration, then that relationship will not blossom.’” 

    “Love is energy. It’s a kind of nutriment that helps our well-being, and it belongs also in the dimension of spirituality, because when we get in touch with love, that gives us the energy to take care and transform suffering.”

  • Welcome to a special bonus episode, a collaboration with our good friends at Global Optimism, and their podcast series Outrage + Optimism. 

    This episode is a powerful immersive sound journey through the 4.6 billion year history of Gaia, as told by Dr. Stephan Harding. You’ll learn to “walk well into the life of Gaia”, as Stephan puts it.

    Stephan Harding, Ph.D., obtained his doctorate in behavioral ecology from Oxford University and is one of the founders of Schumacher College, where he is Deep Ecology Research Fellow and Senior Lecturer in holistic science. A student of James Lovelock, he has taught Gaia theory, deep ecology, and holistic science all over the world. He is the author of several books, including Animate Earth and Gaia Alchemy.

    Before going on this Deep Time Walk, the Way Out Is In presenters, Brother Phap Huu and Jo Confino, introduce the episode and explain why it is a good fit for the series, and share their special friendship with the team producing and presenting Outrage + Optimism. Jo also has some insights from a transformational moment that occurred while studying with Dr. Stephan Harding.

    The O+O presenters – Christiana Figueres, Paul Dickinson, and Tom Rivett-Carnac – take a mindful breath as they acknowledge the passing of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh (this episode originally recorded as part of Outrage + Optimism five days after Thay’s passing). Speaking from Plum Village, Christiana shares a few heartfelt words about Thay and how grateful we are to have such influential teachers in our lives.

    By inspiring global leaders to shift their worldview to a Gaian view of life, Stephan Harding has had a massive influence on the climate movement. What you are about to listen to is an exercise of that shift. 

    It is in this spirit of deep gratitude and stubborn optimism for the continuation of our teachers that the O+O team offers this The Deep Time Walk audio journey. 

    The episode ends with a Gaian meditation guided by Dr. Stephan Harding – one often given on Deep Time Walks at Schumacher College.

    Co-produced by the Plum Village App:
    https://plumvillage.app/

    And Global Optimism:
    https://globaloptimism.com/ 

    With support from the Thich Nhat Hanh Foundation:
    https://thichnhathanhfoundation.org/

    List of resources

    Outrage + Optimism
    https://www.outrageandoptimism.org/episodes/the-deep-time-walk-stephan-harding

    The Deep Time Walk Project
    https://www.deeptimewalk.org/about/

    The Deep Time Walk Field Kit
    https://www.deeptimewalk.org/kit/ 

    The Deep Time Walk App
    https://www.deeptimewalk.org/ 

    Schumacher College
    https://campus.dartington.org/schumacher-college/

    Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet
    https://plumvillage.org/books/zen-and-the-art-of-saving-the-planet/ 

    James Lovelock
    http://www.jameslovelock.org/ 

    David Abram
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Abram 

    Lynn Margulis
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lynn_Margulis 

    Quotes

    “Stephan has the most remarkable ability for drawing you into a broader consciousness of what the living Earth is. And, without a hint of irony or exaggeration, Stephan completely changed my life. I discovered later that he also changed the lives of many other people who are quite central in the climate movement. Nigel Topping, Paul Dickinson, Lindsay Levin; all previous guests on this podcast who also began their journey by hearing from Stephan about the Gaian world that we inhabit.” 

    “It’s a 4.6 kilometer walk representing the 4.6 billion year lifespan of this Earth. And it’s an opportunity for us all to deeply connect and engage with the fact that, actually, this moment we’re in now, where the Earth is threatened with so much destruction, this moment is the creation, is the culmination of this extraordinary journey of development of the Earth and all living beings. And it gives us the opportunity to really appreciate the extraordinary beauty and complexity of this living planet, Gaia.”  

    “Can we develop a Gaian consciousness in which we feel ourselves to be symbiotic with our planet, in which we feel ourselves to be living inside this great living, planetary motherly body of ours, Gaia, our own Earth, whom we have to protect for our own self-interest and for our own well-being and for her well-being? That’s up to you. The best thing you can do now, as a human being, is to become a Gaian human being, a human being part of this great living planetary community of life, rocks, atmosphere, and water. Part of this great move towards living well with the Earth.”

  • Welcome to episode 30 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 installment is a continuation of episode 26, ‘Meditating on Death’. Here, the presenters, Zen Buddhist monk Brother Phap Huu and journalist Jo Confino, meditate on grief in light of Thay’s passing earlier this year, and on collective and personal traumas. 

    The episode was recorded soon after Brother Phap Huu’s return from a six-week retreat tour of South America – part of the first global tour by Plum Village monastics after a two-year hiatus. 

    Brother Phap Huu shares stories from the tour and his return to Upper Hamlet. And: what is it like to be back on the road (or path)? 

    He further delves into the importance of being in the practice, and of sharing the practice by taking its teachings into the world; the significance of continuing Thay’s teaching tours; the power of reconnecting with the sangha through live retreats; the responsibility and joys of serving; keeping Buddhism relevant; the power of grief and the practice of recognizing sadness; how to be both part of the world and a spiritual person; the beauty of impermanence; and the safest place: the island of mindful breathing. 

    Jo talks about grief ceremonies; facing old family traumas; healing through grieving; letting go; the energy of activism; sharing the practice of mindfulness with the world; seeing the beauty of the world beyond “bedraggled plants”; and community as essential support for the individual.

    The episode ends with a short meditation – entwined with a poem by Thay – which is guided by Brother Phap Huu.

    Co-produced by the Plum Village App:
    https://plumvillage.app/

    And Global Optimism:
    https://globaloptimism.com/ 

    With support from the Thich Nhat Hanh Foundation:
    https://thichnhathanhfoundation.org/

    List of resources

    Plum Village Community
    https://plumvillage.org/

    Galápagos Islands
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gal%C3%A1pagos_Islands 

    Plum Village on Tour
    https://plumvillage.org/articles/plum-village-on-tour/ 

    Christiana Figueres
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christiana_Figueres 

    Bhikkhu
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhikkhu 

    Gross National Happiness
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gross_National_Happiness 

    A Cloud Never Dies
    https://plumvillage.org/a-cloud-never-dies/ 

    The Way Out Is In: ‘The Three Doors of Liberation’
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TqtSdQ8qCYU 

    Vietnamese boat people
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vietnamese_boat_people 

    The Other Shore
    https://www.parallax.org/product/the-other-shore-a-new-translation-of-the-heart-sutra-with-commentaries/ 

    Wake Up network (young adults)
    https://plumvillage.org/community/wake-up-young-practitioners/

    OI (Order of Interbeing)
    https://plumvillage.uk/who-we-are/order-of-interbeing/

    Quotes

    “You think that to give, you lose something – but, actually, to give you’re receiving more.”

    “The importance is not just being the practice, but sharing the practice.” 

    “The dharma, the practice, is deep and lovely.”

    “We plough the fields of our mind, of our consciousness, and we identify the roots of our suffering, and we transform it, and through our transformation, we have ingredients to offer to the world: these practices. And this is what the Buddha did; this is what his sangha did.”

    “Even though our loved ones may not still be here, through the eye of meditation, we can see them through the new form, by the way they have impacted us – and the experience that they have offered us is now them, in another form, through us.”

    “Peace is every step.”

    “Thay always said that once you’ve tasted the dharma, if you take care of the seed, it will become a root for you that you can always rely on. It’s like it’s your island, that you can always take refuge on. And sometimes we forget that we have that refuge, until we’re in a different setting.”

    “The only way to keep Buddhism updated and the teaching relevant is to be connected to the suffering and happiness of society.” 

    “No matter how much you stress about it, it’s not going to change the situation.”

    “The safest place is the island of mindful breathing.”

    “If we’re not able to touch our grief around the destruction we’re creating in the world, then we can’t save it – because it’s only by going into our grief, it’s only by going into the pain and the suffering, that we can touch the tenderness at our center.” 

    “I went for a walk with Paz today, and we were passing this field of corn and I was looking down at the edge of the field next to where I was walking, and, normally, at the edge of the field, the plants are very small, they’re not fulsome. And they were looking quite bedraggled. And that fills my mind, saying, ‘Oh, look at these plants, they’re not doing very well.’ And then I lifted my eyes and I saw there was this huge field. And then I lifted my eyes and saw there was all this forest behind it. And then I lifted my eyes and saw there was this beautiful blue sky. And I realized that my whole concentration had been on the bedraggled plants. But actually, when I opened up my eyes to see the whole scene, there was extraordinary beauty. And also there were these plants that were suffering at the edge.” 

    “I am neither the same, nor am I different.” 

    “You never enter the same river twice.”

  • Welcome to episode 29 of The Way Out Is In: The Zen Art of Living, a podcast series mirroring Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh’s deep teachings of Buddhist philosophy: a simple yet profound methodology for dealing with our suffering, and for creating more happiness and joy in our lives.

    In this episode, the presenters, Zen Buddhist monk Brother Phap Huu and journalist Jo Confino, discuss the Four Nutriments – edible foods, sense impressions, volition, and consciousness – and share their own experiences and understanding of this core Buddhist teaching.

    By further delving into each Nutriment, the two find Buddhist insights and practical ways to explore and shift how we can consume mindfully. 

    Brother Phap Huu shares his thoughts about practicing moderation and gratitude for our meals (plus, the benefits of chewing each bite a full 30 times); nourishing our consumption when we eat; being mindful in an addictive society and recognising the energies in us; volition as a source of energy; wholesome individual and collective consciousness (and habits); mental formations; lazy days; and: what is enough? 

    Jo considers food politics and ethics; addiction and suffering; shifts in the mindfulness of eating; the impact of big cities on our consumption; the possible dangers of volition (with a story from the 70s television drama Colditz); collective ‘rivers’ of consciousness; and forgiveness.

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

    Co-produced by the Plum Village App:
    https://plumvillage.app/

    And Global Optimism:
    https://globaloptimism.com/ 

    With support from the Thich Nhat Hanh Foundation:
    https://thichnhathanhfoundation.org/

    List of resources

    Plum Village Community
    https://plumvillage.org/#filter=.region-eu 

    Sutras: ‘Discourse on the Four Kinds of Nutriments’
    https://plumvillage.org/library/sutras/discourse-on-the-four-kinds-of-nutriments/ 

    Dharma Talks: ‘The Four Kinds of Nutriments Mindful Cooking Retreat’
    https://plumvillage.org/library/dharma-talks/the-four-kinds-of-nutriments-sister-tue-nghiem-2019-06-06-mindful-cooking-retreat/

    Dharma Talks: ‘Nutriments for Healing’
    https://plumvillage.org/library/dharma-talks/nutriments-for-healing/ 

    Hungry Children Program
    https://donation.plumvillage.org/hungry-children-program/ 

    ‘51 Mental Formations’
    https://plumvillage.org/transcriptions/51-mental-formation/

    Colditz
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colditz_(1972_TV_series)

    Sister Chan Duc
    https://plumvillage.org/people/dharma-teachers/sr-chan-duc/ 

    Quotes

    “The bread in your hand is the body of the cosmos.”

    “Don’t eat your thoughts. Don’t eat your project. Eat your food.” 

    “Whatever we consume, it becomes our energy.” 

    “When we are lining up for the food, we are practicing moderation. We eat just what is enough. And this is really crucial, because it helps us not take more than what we need from the Earth.”

    “I think people have a sort of a reverence for the taste of food, but not for the food itself.”

    “’If you take a single piece of carrot, and before you put it in your mouth, just look deeply at that piece of carrot and you can see that the entire universe is in that piece of carrot.’ He [Thay] was saying that for the carrot to grow, it needs the air, it needs the water, it needs the soil, and it needs the sun. And for the sun to exist, the whole universe has to exist. And then, from a human perspective, it needs the farmer and the person picking the crop, and then delivering it to the shop, and then the shopkeeper to sell it to you. So in just one carrot, if you really stop and look, you would develop a reverence for that carrot because you see that all of life was needed for it to exist.”

    “We have to speak about very practical things so that we can have a journey, a practice, so that we can become aware of our habits. We have personal habits, and we even have collective habits, as a community, as a society. And then we have habits that are passed down through our ancestors to us, in relation to how we consume life.”

    “We have needs and we think they’re essential for us, but if we reflect and review the way we are consuming, I think we are happy with having less.” 

    “Are we consuming mindfully? It’s not about not consuming, it’s about how we are consuming.”

    “There is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way.” 

    “We are in a dynamic relationship with life, and often we’re not really conscious of that.”

    “All of our thoughts create this river of consciousness.”

    “Nature is a very good television. But it’s not about just watching it, but being in it.”

    “There’s so much coming at us, from a thousand directions. And if we are not aware of how we are responding to life, then we lose our agency and become a victim.”

    “I have this image of a racehorse going around the track with blinkers on its eyes. They put blinkers on it so it can only look forward and isn’t distracted by life. And, in a sense, that’s always the risk, isn’t it? We think our job is to race around the track as fast as possible – but then we miss everything that’s going on in life, and any opportunity to try to transform.” 

    “If someone is really purifying their mind, that is going to have a positive impact on the collective consciousness. And it made me realize that, actually, all our actions – whatever we do or choose to think or act on – feed into what the future will look like.”  

  • Welcome to episode 28 of The Way Out Is In: The Zen Art of Living, a podcast series mirroring Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh’s deep teachings of Buddhist philosophy: a simple yet profound methodology for dealing with our suffering, and for creating more happiness and joy in our lives.

    In this episode, lay Buddhist practitioner and journalist Jo Confino is joined by Zen Buddhist nun Sister Lang Nghiem, of the Plum Village community, to talk about the role of Buddhist psychology in understanding how our mind works. What is the impact of our survival instincts in today’s world? What are the risks of focusing only on ourselves? And are we really responsible for everything?

    Sister Chan Lang Nghiem (Adornment with Heroic March) was ordained as a novice nun in 2003, received full ordination as a bhikshuni in 2006, and became a dharma teacher in 2010. Originally from Vietnam, she and her family immigrated to America in 1979. She has lived in Lower Hamlet, France; Deer Park Monastery, California; and Blue Cliff Monastery, New York. With her love of books and of Thay’s teachings, she serves on the advisory board of Parallax Press and is happy to see Thay’s books appear in schools, hospitals, and prisons, on bedside tables, and even in local coffee shops around the world. Though an amateur at sewing, she can replicate practically anything just by looking at the original product. Many of the robes, jackets, hats, cushions, and mats in Plum Village are lovingly sewn with her mindful energy.

    In this episode, Sister Lang Nghiem digs deeply into Buddhist psychology and how it can help people lead a better life. She further discusses manas, interbeing, and false boundaries and identities; protective and survival instincts; pleasure seeking and moderation; levels of happiness; avoidance of suffering; individual and collective consciousness; sharing; store and mind consciousness; cultivating peace through consciousness; and new ways to lead peace talks during a war. And: why do we need a self? How that works for us and where it stops helping.

    Jo shares about the art of letting go; separation; work environments and happiness; gratitude practices; and the story of an unlikely friendship.

    The episode ends with a short meditation guided by Sister Lang Nghiem.

    Co-produced by the Plum Village App:
    https://plumvillage.app/

    And Global Optimism:
    https://globaloptimism.com/ 

    With support from the Thich Nhat Hanh Foundation:
    https://thichnhathanhfoundation.org/

    List of resources

    Sister Chân Lăng Nghiêm (Adornment with Heroic March)
    https://plumvillage.org/people/dharma-teachers/sr-lang-nghiem/

    Plum Village Community
    https://plumvillage.org/#filter=.region-eu 

    Deer Park Monastery
    https://deerparkmonastery.org/ 

    Blue Cliff Monastery
    https://www.bluecliffmonastery.org/ 

    ‘Thich Nhat Hanh on Mind and Consciousness’
    https://plumvillage.app/thich-nhat-hanh-on-mind-and-consciousness/ 

    Thich Nhat Hanh On…: ‘The Mind as a Gardener’
    https://plumvillage.org/articles/the-mind-as-a-gardener/ 

    Dharma Talks: ‘Manas Consciousness, Teachings on Buddhist Psychology Retreat, 1997’
    https://plumvillage.org/library/dharma-talks/manas-consciousness-thich-nhat-hanh-teachings-on-buddhist-psychology-retreat-1997/ 

    Dharma Talks: ‘Interbeing and Store Consciousness’
    https://plumvillage.org/library/dharma-talks/interbeing-and-store-consciousness/ 

    Dharma Talks: ‘The Power of Understanding – Transformation of Manas’
    https://plumvillage.org/library/dharma-talks/the-power-of-understanding-transformation-of-manas-dharma-talk-by-sr-tue-nghiem-2018-08-02/ 

    ‘Cultivating Our Blue Sky Nature: Skilful Means for Emotional Healing’
    https://www.mindfulnessbell.org/archive/tag/change+the+peg 

    Kristallnacht
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kristallnacht

    Quotes

    “There’s so many different models of how the mind works. Western psychology has one model, and Buddha psychology has one model, but I think we have to remember that they’re all just models. Nothing is absolute.”

    “Your thoughts continue in the world.”

    “It’s important to recognize what we identify with and, when it is being challenged, the lengths to which we go to protect it, and the expense, the cost of protecting it, to our own happiness or to the happiness of the organisation, our loved ones, the people around us, other nations around us.”

    “We always had to protect ourselves from the elements, the dangers. But now, increasingly, we are able to create more and more safe environments in terms of homes, or relationships, alliances and things like that – but that survival instinct, that need to protect and feel that we are being threatened and endangered is still very much alive. So we have to be quite aware of how manas operates, how the survival instinct is operating in us, so that we’re not spending all of our energy just trying to survive and trying to protect ourselves, but to spend more energy trying to recognize what our potential is and what the other person’s potential is as well. Spend more time cultivating the things that we would like to cultivate in ourselves and in the other person. More peace, more happiness, more joy and more compassion, rather than spending so much time trying to protect the boundaries that we feel are ‘ourselves’ and that need protecting.”

    “The teaching of interbeing is crucial in helping us to recognize the false boundaries or false identities that we are often stuck with every day. I think we have to train ourselves to see that we’re not separate. My happiness is not separate from your happiness. We can share this cup and I’ll still be happy, for instance. Or there’s so many things that I feel are crucial to my happiness, but I can challenge that a little bit. And what I think is my happiness is not just my own individual happiness; it’s intimately related to your happiness, your safety, your well-being as well.” 

    “It’s very important for us to also recognize our deepest desire. And it’s not just to survive, it’s to be happy, and to ‘download’ this message to our stored consciousness. And the stronger awareness we have of our desire, of our deepest desire – our deepest desire is to be happy. Our choices align accordingly.” 

    “We can have more than one truth. We can suffer and we can be happy. And if someone’s suffering, we don’t have to just have to offer them more suffering. We can offer them lightness of being. We can offer them joy, but while also being deeply respectful of the suffering.”

    “You don’t need to go on a training course, you don’t have to spend money, it doesn’t have to take 10 years of hard work, it’s just a change of perceptions, like putting a different lens in our camera.”

    “Trying to avoid suffering actually leads to suffering.”

  • Welcome to episode 27 of The Way Out Is In: The Zen Art of Living, a podcast series mirroring Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh’s deep teachings of Buddhist philosophy: a simple yet profound methodology for dealing with our suffering, and for creating more happiness and joy in our lives.

    In this episode, journalist Jo Confino is joined by much-loved international mindfulness teacher and author Kaira Jewel Lingo, to talk about her practice and community work, both as a monastic and subsequently as a lay practitioner and spiritual mentor.

    Together, they further discuss the intersection of racial, climate, and social injustice; privilege; denial; white awareness; hate and embedded white supremacy; deep listening; and spiritual practices for a world in crisis.   

    Kaira Jewel Lingo is a dharma teacher who has been practicing mindfulness since 1997. She lived as an ordained nun for 15 years, during which she trained closely with Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. Speaking five languages, she shares Buddhist meditation, secular mindfulness, and compassion practice internationally, providing spiritual mentoring to individuals and communities working at the intersection of racial, climate, and social justice. Her teaching focuses on activists, educators, artists, youth and families, BIPOC communities, and includes the interweaving of art, play, nature, ecology, and embodied mindfulness practice. She teaches in the Plum Village Zen tradition and in the Vipassana tradition. 

    In this episode, Kaira Jewel expands on the journey of her name – Jewel – and her route to the Plum Village practice; being the first ordained monastic of African heritage in Plum Village; Thich Nhat Hanh’s guidance and support; embodying Thay’s teachings; learning to take care of suffering; deciding to disrobe; her mission as a lay dharma teacher; practice as a way of life; deep relationships; and her plans to open a Buddhist-Christian practice center with her partner.

    She also dives more deeply into spiritual bypassing; healing racialized trauma; the importance of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) retreats and teachers; the story of the first Plum Village retreat for people of color; collective consciousness; adapting the Five Mindfulness Training to different ethnic groups; and her first book: We Were Made for These Times: Ten Lessons for Moving through Change, Loss, and Disruption. 

    The episode ends with a short meditation guided by Kaira Jewel.

    [This episode was recorded on February 18, 2022, via Zoom.] 

    Co-produced by the Plum Village App:
    https://plumvillage.app/

    And Global Optimism:
    https://globaloptimism.com/ 

    With support from the Thich Nhat Hanh Foundation:
    https://thichnhathanhfoundation.org/

    List of resources

    Kaira Jewel Lingo
    https://www.kairajewel.com/ 

    Plum Village
    https://plumvillage.org/

    Old Path White Clouds: Walking in the Footsteps of the Buddha
    https://www.parallax.org/product/old-path-white-clouds-walking-in-the-footsteps-of-the-buddha/ 

    Ram Dass
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ram_Dass 

    Brahmavihārā
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brahmavihara 

    James Baldwin
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Baldwin 

    Melina Bondy
    https://www.melinabondy.com/ 

    Joanna Macy
    https://www.joannamacy.net/ 

    Resmaa Menakem
    https://www.resmaa.com/ 

    The Quaking of America: An Embodied Guide to Navigating Our Nation’s Upheaval and Racial Reckoning
    https://www.harvard.com/book/the_quaking_of_america/ 

    My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies
    https://shop.harvard.com/book/9781942094470 

    The Civil Rights Movement
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_rights_movement 

    We Were Made for These Times: Ten Lessons for Moving through Change, Loss, and Disruption
    https://www.parallax.org/product/we-were-made-for-these-times/ 

    The Five Mindfulness Trainings
    https://plumvillage.org/mindfulness-practice/the-5-mindfulness-trainings/ 

    Deep Adaptation
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep_Adaptation 

    Schumacher College
    https://campus.dartington.org/schumacher-college/ 

    Buddhist-Christian Community of Meditation and Action
    https://www.kairajewel.com/teaching/buddhist-christian-community-of-practice-and-action 

    Quotes

    “What’s so powerful about Thay’s teaching in the community is this huge heart of inclusiveness. Thay and sangha are always reaching wider; the reach is like the brahmavihārās – the loving-kindness, compassion, joy, equanimity. They are immeasurable minds of love.”

    “Part of freeing ourself on the spiritual path is to undo and unravel these delusions and lies that our society has created, that history has wound around us, about who has value and who doesn’t – including patriarchy, or sexual orientation, or gender identity, or age; all these different ways that we are privileged or not.” 

    “If you find yourself uncomfortable, or embarrassed, or triggered, or not sure what to say or do, really stay in your body and let yourself dwell in that experience of what it’s like to be uncomfortable. I think so many of our problems come from not being willing to be uncomfortable.”

    “Black is beautiful.”

    “James Baldwin has this quote, something like, ‘The reason why white people are so afraid to not hate, to stop hating, is that if they feel what’s beneath their hatred, it will be so uncomfortable.’ They don’t want to feel it. So the hate is a kind of protection.”

    “If we can be with what is happening in the present moment, and we can, if we can not resist it, not push it away, not judge it, but embrace it with mindfulness, with kindness, with friendliness, with curiosity, with a clear mind, with presence which can be cultivated in every moment – then we have at our disposal so much more to meet the difficulties than we would if we were resisting and pushing away and fighting what is.”

    “What this time calls for – with so much change, with so much disruption, with so much at risk – is more and more of us holding down the fort, who are really doing the deep spirit work of seeing interbeing. And you need to slow down to do that. You need to have less. There needs to be space for that kind of consciousness to emerge.”

    “Anyone of any privilege needs to be in a space where that history is acknowledged and integrated into our practice.” 

    “And if you think there’s something wrong in society, you are right. So it’s an inner and an outer affirmation of, ‘Yes, white supremacy exists and it is deadly.’ And here are dharma practices that can help us as individuals in our relationships and our families, but also in our world, in our institutions, systemically, to see that everyone is being deceived by this story.” 

    “We’re all learning. White folks have a different journey than many folks of color, but we’re all learning to wake up from this and we can help each other, we can support each other, and that looks different. It doesn’t necessarily mean doing the work together, but sometimes it can. And then maybe having affinity spaces where we have a chance to speak with our own groups.”

    “I feel what Thay taught is love, and he loved his disciples, every one of us, everyone who came to us; I felt he was radiating love and that’s healing. And so if you’re in a community where you are recognized for who you are, you’re not asked to be something else. And then the people there are practicing to love; it’s going to be a healing space. Love in the spiritual sense of each of us working to purify our minds and hearts, to see ourselves more clearly, to love ourselves, and then to really see each other clearly.”

    “These are times no other human generation has had to face: profound structural dissolution, and, really, the last days of what Joanna Macy calls late capitalism. This isn’t going to stand for very much longer as it is. And so these are times of apocalypse, right? Where the veil gets pierced – that’s the meaning, in Greek: being able to see through an illusion into what’s more true. So these are times of a lot of potential collective awakening. And these are also times of great suffering, separation, and illusion.”

    “All we have to do is be in the present. All we have to do is meet what’s happening now. We get so immobilized and drained of our energy by trying to meet what’s coming – but that’s not here yet. All we are required to do is meet what is here. And we can do that; we are all in the present moment.”

  • Welcome to episode 26 of The Way Out Is In: The Zen Art of Living, a podcast series mirroring Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh’s deep teachings of Buddhist philosophy: a simple yet profound methodology for dealing with our suffering, and for creating more happiness and joy in our lives.

    In this episode, the presenters, Zen Buddhist monk Brother Phap Huu and lay Buddhist practitioner and journalist Jo Confino, talk about death – from the deep Buddhist teaching of ‘no birth and no death’ and the Five Remembrances, to dealing with death by looking differently at life and practising acceptance. 

    They also delve into attachment; separation and individualism; inherited fear; life goals for a good death; karma; reincarnation; and how to relax, take it easy, soothe the fear, and celebrate life. 

    Brother Phap Huu helps us understand essential Buddhist teachings on death and non-existence, and digs deeper into the Five Remembrances; the source of our fear of death; different perceptions of death; living life with the insight of impermanence; death as part of life; practising impermanence; removing the wrong view from our lives; living free from regret; moderation; and the importance of meditating on our own death.

    He also offers insights into Thay’s last days before his passing, and reads the teacher’s poem, ‘Contemplation on No-Coming and No-Going’.

    Jo muses on the fear of separation; flowing with life and joining the universe in flux; continuation as a way to release our fear around death; legacy; dying well as an aspiration; and why our thoughts matter as much as our physical actions. 

    And: what do you think it means to have a good death?

    The episode ends with a meditation on impermanence and continuation, guided by Brother Phap Huu.

    Co-produced by the Plum Village App:
    https://plumvillage.app/

    And Global Optimism:
    https://globaloptimism.com/ 

    With support from the Thich Nhat Hanh Foundation:
    https://thichnhathanhfoundation.org/ 

    List of resources

    Dharma Talks: ‘The Five Remembrances’
    https://plumvillage.org/library/dharma-talks/the-five-remembrances-sr-thuan-nghiem-spring-retreat-2018-05-17/ 

    What Happens When We Die?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8xLbZZAjjY8&t=28s 

    ‘Contemplation on No-Coming and No-Going’ 
    https://plumvillage.org/contemplation-on-no-coming-and-no-going/

    Songs: ‘No Coming, No Going’
    https://plumvillage.org/library/songs/no-coming-no-going-song/ 

    ‘Dharma Talk: Karma, Continuation, and the Noble Eightfold Path’
    https://www.mindfulnessbell.org/archive/2015/04/dharma-talk-karma-continuation-and-the-noble-eightfold-path

    Sister Chan Khong 
    https://plumvillage.org/about/sister-chan-khong/

    ‘51 Mental Formations’
    https://plumvillage.org/transcriptions/51-mental-formation/ 

    Dharma Talks: ‘Manas Consciousness, Teachings on Buddhist Psychology Retreat, 1997’
    https://plumvillage.org/library/dharma-talks/manas-consciousness-thich-nhat-hanh-teachings-on-buddhist-psychology-retreat-1997/ 

    Dharma Talks: ‘Store Consciousness, Teachings on Buddhist Psychology Retreat, 1997’
    https://plumvillage.org/library/dharma-talks/store-consciousness-teachings-on-buddhist-psychology-retreat-thich-nhat-hanh-1997/

    ‘Dharma Body, Sangha Body’
    https://plumvillage.app/dharma-body-sangha-body/

    Sister Chân Đức
    https://plumvillage.org/people/dharma-teachers/sr-chan-duc/

    Quotes

    “Death is a contemplation because life is there, death is there also.” 

    “The teaching of Buddhism is to be free, to be liberated, to transcend our suffering. And suffering needs a name, so here we can say that the fear of death is the name of suffering.”

    “The past is gone, the future is not yet there. There is only one moment that you can be alive, and that is the present moment.”

    “We are of the nature to grow old. We cannot escape it. I am of the nature to have ill health. There is no way that I can escape it. I am of the nature to die. There is no way that I can escape death. All that is dear to me and everyone I love are of the nature to change. There is no way to escape being separated from them.”

    “Instead of being afraid of death, be happy about life.”

    “We should be celebrating life in every moment; this is the key of mindfulness. Mindfulness gives us this awareness that life is here and we should be here.” 

    “When we let go and say, ‘I am part of everything, everything’s in flux, I’m in flux’, and we start to settle into that, then we’re flowing with life rather than trying to build a dam against life.” 

    “Thay once said, ‘If you’re so angry at someone, meditate on that person and see that person in 150 years. He may not be here anymore. She may not be here anymore. So is it worth it to always be angry at that person?’”

    “Don’t underestimate an act of kindness. Don’t underestimate an act of mindfulness, because that can be reborn into someone else and they can grow that love. They can grow that kindness. They can grow their generosity.”

    “We are part of that river of consciousness and evolution, and what we can offer the world is to be our best self. And as part of that stream, if everyone is their best possible self and is really mindful and aware, and acts, thinks, and feels as positively as they can manage, that creates a more beautiful world.”

    “Being honest means not having to remember what you said.” 

    “The more you give, the more you receive in terms of happiness.”

  • Welcome to episode 25 of The Way Out Is In: The Zen Art of Living, a podcast series mirroring Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh’s deep teachings of Buddhist philosophy: a simple yet profound methodology for dealing with our suffering, and for creating more happiness and joy in our lives.

    In this episode, the presenters, Zen Buddhist monk Brother Phap Huu and lay Buddhist practitioner and journalist Jo Confino, are joined for a second time by special guest, eco-philosopher Joanna Macy.

    A scholar of Buddhism, systems theory, and deep ecology, Joanna Macy, PhD, is one of the most respected voices in the movements for peace, justice, and ecology. She interweaves her scholarship with learnings drawn from six decades of activism, has written twelve books, and teaches an empowerment approach known as the Work That Reconnects. 

    Together, they talk about the passing and legacy of Thich Nhat Hanh, with a focus on interbeing and continuation. Additional topics include their own practices during uncertain times, and the application of Thay’s teachings in daily life.

    Joanna reflects on the early days of peace activism, becoming aware of Thay in the 1960s, and meeting him for the first time in the early 1980s, during a special United Nations session on disarmament.

    She further delves into Thay’s courage, imagination, and devotion to life and peace; religion and revolution; why framing the tackling of climate change as a ‘fight’ may not be helpful; transcending individualism and achieving a wider sense of self; seeing our interconnection and inter-existence with all life on Earth; humility; the ‘legacy’ of nuclear weapons; affection and love; honouring the pain we experience for the world; seeing with new eyes; having that ‘sense of wonder’ at the end of the world; and gratitude.

    Additionally, she talks about some of the main concepts in the new edition of her classic book, Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We’re In with Unexpected Resilience and Creative Power, such as the importance of having “power with, not power over”.  

    And: how would she like to see her continuation in this world? 

    Brother Phap Huu discusses ways that Thay’s teachings can help us in these times of crises; Thay’s legacy as a peace activist; taking care of the past, present, and future; what it means to be a Bodhisattva; the interbeing effect; moderation; change; and the need for a spiritual dimension.

    Jo muses over the importance of bringing the future into the present moment; humility; how Thay became his teachings; and honours Joanna as a teacher and Bodhisattva. 

    The episode ends with a meditation on interbeing, guided by Joanna Macy. 

    [This episode was recorded on February 16, 2022, via Zoom.] 

    Co-produced by the Plum Village App:
    https://plumvillage.app/

    And Global Optimism:
    https://globaloptimism.com/ 

    With support from the Thich Nhat Hanh Foundation:
    https://thichnhathanhfoundation.org/ 

    Quotes

    “One reason that Thay was so important to me was that he loved this world – and I’m so fed up with spiritual people who think they can rise above mere phenomenality and the physical world; it’s all one.” 

    “You don’t try to be a spiritually perfect person; just be open to love. That love wipes out fear, takes you into this world, and gives you strength and courage.”

    “‘This is’ because ‘that is’, and ‘that is’ because everything is intertwined.”

    “An oyster, in response to trauma, grows a pearl.”

    “This world is too fragile and too beautiful for us to hesitate for a moment in service to peace.”

    “We are part of the world, and the suffering that is outside is also a part of us. And if the outside suffers, we will suffer also. And if we can bring peace to little villages, little communities, little families, the impact will multiply and have the interbeing effect; the idea that everything can connect and effects can ripple through.” 

    “One part of what’s killed us is competition. That’s the ‘gift’ of five centuries of individualism and capitalism.”

    “This planet doesn’t know whether it’ll be around to carry life. So that makes every moment precious. This moment is once in a lifetime.” 

    “It’s at the moment when we’re most tender that our heart opens the widest; when we have nothing left, nothing more to lose, everything becomes crystal clear. Everything becomes precious.”

    “Don’t try to cheer yourself up all the time. Feel the sorrow, feel the grief. Feel the loneliness. Feel that it’s good that you’re alive. And the fact that you care for the world, that’s a form of love. Do not let that get pathologized. It isn’t, because it’s not abnormal. It’s a face of love. Pain for the world and love for the world are just two sides of one coin. So honour your pain for the world.”

    “Don’t complain all the time. You’re not going to be useful to the world in any way if you’re not glad to be here. And then sorrow together.”

    “Thay had that quality of such fullness of presence that he didn’t have time to think about, ‘Well, how are they seeing me?’”

    List of resources 

    Joanna Macy
    https://www.joannamacy.net/

    Plum Village
    https://plumvillage.org/

    Fragrant Palm Leaves: Journals 1962–1966 
    https://www.parallax.org/product/fragrant-palm-leaves/

    Pratītyasamutpāda
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prat%C4%ABtyasamutp%C4%81da 

    Dr. Dan Siegel
    https://drdansiegel.com/ 

    Songs: ‘No Coming, No Going’
    https://plumvillage.org/library/songs/no-coming-no-going-song/ 

    Bodhisattva 
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bodhisattva

    Tassajara Zen Mountain Center
    ttps://www.sfzc.org/practice-centers/tassajara

    Call Me by My True Names: The Collected Poems of Thich Nhat Hanh
    https://plumvillage.org/books/call-me-by-my-true-names/

    St. Francis of Assisi
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_of_Assisi

    Active Hope
    https://www.activehope.info/ 

    The Way Out Is In: ‘Grief and Joy on a Planet in Crisis: Joanna Macy on the Best Time to Be Alive (Episode #12)’
    https://plumvillage.org/podcast/grief-and-joy-on-a-planet-in-crisis-joanna-macy-on-the-best-time-to-be-alive-episode-12/

  • Welcome to episode 24 of The Way Out Is In: The Zen Art of Living, a podcast series mirroring Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh’s deep teachings of Buddhist philosophy: a simple yet profound methodology for dealing with our suffering, and for creating more happiness and joy in our lives.

    In this episode, the presenters, Zen Buddhist monk Brother Phap Huu and journalist Jo Confino, talk about how to find peace in ourselves and to encourage peace in the world during times of war. They remember Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, who himself  lived through a conflict – the Vietnam War – yet found a way to peace, and to become an activist for transformation.

    They also discuss inherited war traumas; the importance of maintaining compassion and balance during these times; the limits of compassion; going beyond our ‘roles’ and ‘labels’; chanelling anger; practicing when we feel ‘on the edge’; racism and discrimination; coming back to our humanity; cultivating love, peace, and nonviolence,  every day. And: can we bear arms without hatred? 

    Brother Phap Huu shares his own family’s experience of the war in Vietnam and, subsequently, as refugees; Thay’s creation of a nonviolent movement in wartime; and surprising insights from a retreat for Palestinians and Israelis in Plum Village.

    He also delves into recognizing the thoughts that manifest during wartime; taking refuge in the energy and wisdom of the practice; coming back to our human nature during hard times; nonviolence as a way, not a tool; grounding and moderation; becoming a refuge for those who are suffering; teaching the awareness of interbeing; and how to not drown in our own despair.

    Jo considers the difficulty of transforming our feelings about the war through practice (such as not becoming consumed by the news, not taking sides, being equanimous); inherited war trauma; the transformational power of vulnerability; and the perils of hierarchies.

    The episode ends with a chant on peace recited by Brother Phap Huu.

    Co-produced by the Plum Village App:
    https://plumvillage.app/

    And Global Optimism:
    https://globaloptimism.com/ 

    With support from the Thich Nhat Hanh Foundation:
    https://thichnhathanhfoundation.org/ 

    List of resources 

    ‘The Five Earth Touchings’
    https://plumvillage.org/key-practice-texts/the-five-earth-touchings/

    Thich Nhat Hanh On…: ‘Peace between Palestinians and Israelis’
    https://plumvillage.org/articles/peace-between-palestinians-and-israelis/

    Sister Chan Khong
    https://plumvillage.org/about/sister-chan-khong/ 

    Avalokiteśvara
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avalokite%C5%9Bvara 

    Martin Luther King Jr.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Luther_King_Jr. 

    Countdown Summit
    https://countdown.ted.com/events 

    Sutras: ‘Discourse on the 5 Ways of Putting an End to Anger’
    https://plumvillage.org/library/sutras/discourse-on-the-five-ways-of-putting-an-end-to-anger/

    Quotes

    “When there’s war, we have to face the beast of war, and that is violence, that is hatred, discrimination, greed, and death.”

    “Wherever there is darkness, light is also there. And this is the deep teaching in Buddhism: nonduality. It’s very easy to get caught in the right and the left, the above and the below, the good and the bad, the dark and the light. It doesn’t mean that we ignore it, but we know that if there is the right, there is also the left. If there is war, there is peace somewhere.”

    “Man is not our enemy. It is ignorance, it is fear, it is destruction.”

    “Nonviolence is not a tool. Nonviolence is a way.”

    “We believe in using deep listening and compassionate speech for reconciliation, as a way forward instead of using the army; the army, the guns, the bombs, it doesn’t bring peace.” 

    “You have to have the peace inside of you in order for the peace outside to manifest.”

    “Grounding is very important at this time. You can be a refuge for the ones who are suffering. The people who are suffering are also seeking stability. So, if we as humans, if we as practitioners have that stability, that is also an offering to the chaos that is happening right now.” 

    “Compassion needs to be nourished. We can be depleted of this understanding and this energy, this source of acceptance, and this source of embracing. One of the teachings that was given to us is to still find the simple joy in daily life. And I think this was Thay’s antidote in the war: to still see the wonders of life, still have time to sing a song. And Thay wrote a lot of peace poems during that time, to channel in the miracle of life.”

    “Thay’s community would establish days of mindfulness, and this is why we have a tradition of Thursdays and Sundays as days of mindfulness, because social workers during the Vietnam War needed a day where they didn’t talk about the war. They talked about their deepest aspiration, they talked about their dreams; it’s a way to balance the destruction and the suffering that is there.”

    “When you have real love and compassion, it is limitless. And that can be a source of teaching, a source of refuge, a source of inspiration, a source of hope for many people.”

    “May I be peaceful, light, and happy, in body and in mind. May I be free and safe from accidents. May I be free from anger, unwholesome states of mind, and worries. May I know how to look at myself with the eyes of understanding and love. May I be able to recognize and touch the seeds of joy and happiness in myself. May I not be caught in a state of indifference or be caught in the extremes of attachment or aversion. May you be peaceful, light, and happy, in body and in mind. May you be free and safe from accidents. May you be free from anger, unwholesome states of mind, and worries. May you know how to look at yourself with the eyes of understanding and love. May you not be caught in a state of indifference or be caught in the extremes.” 

    “Compassion gives you a source of energy that gives you no fear, and sometimes that compassion can become your barrier, your protector.”

    “War does not lead to peace; peace is the way.” 

    “Buddhism is really teaching us to be human again, to see each other without a label, without a hierarchy of, ‘Yyou are the boss, I am the servant, you are a soldier.’ Because if we remove all of that and we ask everyone to remove all of that we can ask each other, ‘What is it that we deeply want?’”

    “The thing about humanity is that we always repeat the same mistakes, even from the Buddha’s time. The Buddha left his responsibility and his inheritance to be a king because his deepest desire was, ‘That doesn’t bring me true happiness, ruling a nation. What brings me true happiness is the cessation of suffering, is the nourishment of understanding, is the insight of love and compassion, that all blood is red, all of our tears are salty.’ And the Buddha came from the caste system in his country, which discriminated a lot, and he wanted to break free from that. So we may say we live in a free country, but I think there are many barriers.”

    “All of us are responsible for either creating a sense of suffering, or pain, or abuse. In every one of our thoughts and actions, we can either be sowing the seeds of hope, love, compassion, and deep listening, or we can be judging, belittling, and taking advantage of people. We are all individually responsible for the collective consciousness that leads to wars.”

    “Be the peace you want to see.”

  • Welcome to episode 23 of The Way Out Is In: The Zen Art of Living, a podcast series mirroring Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh’s deep teachings of Buddhist philosophy: a simple yet profound methodology for dealing with our suffering, and for creating more happiness and joy in our lives.

    In this episode, the presenters, Zen Buddhist monk Brother Phap Huu and lay Buddhist practitioner and journalist Jo Confino, talk about the art of Thich Nhat Hanh, represented by his deeply meaningful calligraphies. 

    They consider their favourite calligraphies by Thich Nhat Hanh, and some of his most popular work, as well as the process behind it, and its significance, context, words, and wisdom (“the fruit of the meditations”). 

    Brother Phap Huu, Thich Nhat Hanh’s former attendant, shares how Thay created some of his famous calligraphies, the lessons learned, and the brother’s own journey through the art of calligraphy. 

    He also delves into calligraphy as something offering “directions for life”, and as a representation of the mind and the present moment; art as meditation; and vulnerability.

    And, did you know that there is literally tea in Thay’s calligraphy? 

    Jo recollects a calligraphy demonstration by Thich Nhat Hanh in New York. He further muses on “the golden nuggets” of the mindfulness practice; flow; the embedded energy in each drawing; appreciation of all life; and looking deeply into suffering.

    Also, do you know the zen story of the farmer who had one son?

    The episode ends with a short meditation guided by Brother Phap Huu, to express gratitude for the humans in our lives.

    [This episode was recorded in December 2021 at Sitting Still Hut in Plum Village, France.] 

    Co-produced by the Plum Village App:
    https://plumvillage.app/

    And Global Optimism:
    https://globaloptimism.com/ 

    With support from the Thich Nhat Hanh Foundation:
    https://thichnhathanhfoundation.org/ 

    List of resources 

    Blue Cliff Monastery
    https://www.bluecliffmonastery.org/

    Calligraphy
    https://plumvillage.org/about/thich-nhat-hanh/calligraphy/

    The Way Out is in: The Zen Calligraphy of Thich Nhat Hanh
    https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/27274234-the-way-out-is-in

    ‘Sounds True Presents: Calligraphy with Thich Nhat Hanh’
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NrCsCCB3-II

    ‘Calligraphy Exhibition of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh’
    https://magnoliagrovemonastery.org/general/calligraphy-exhibition-of-zen-master-thich-nhat-hanh/

    Dharma Talks: ‘The Three Doors of Liberation or the Three Dharma Seals’
    https://plumvillage.org/library/dharma-talks/the-three-doors-of-liberation-or-the-three-dharma-seals-sr-chan-duc-italian-retreat-2018-05-04/ 

    ‘Exhibition Opening: U.S. Premiere of Global Spiritual Leader Thich Nhat Hanh’s Calligraphy Exhibition’
    https://plumvillage.org/articles/exhibition-opening-u-s-premiere-of-global-spiritual-leader-thich-nhat-hanhs-calligraphy-exhibition/

    ‘Thich Nhat Hanh’s Books and Calligraphies on Show in Vietnam’ https://plumvillage.org/articles/thich-nhat-hanhs-books-and-calligraphies-on-show-in-vietnam/

    Thich Nhat Hanh Calligraphy Note Cards
    https://www.parallax.org/product/thich-nhat-hanh-calligraphy-note-cards/

    Browser add-ons: In every new tab you’ll see one of Thich Nhat Hanh’s calligraphies, which serve as mindful reminders to pause, breathe, and smile.
    For Chrome: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/thich-nhat-hanh-calligrap/ljicmmknmiapobjgphhogonlfeegmlcl?hl=en-GB
    For Firefox: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/thich-nhat-hanh-calligraphy/

    Quotes

    “These calligraphies were a way of expressing the practice, in the Zen tradition, which has a lot of art inside. A lot of Zen masters, such as our teacher, were artists, poets, and even musicians. And so Zen offers a space for creativity. A lot of Zen masters would write poems to express their understanding of the world.”

    “The tears I shed yesterday have become rain.” 

    “Be beautiful, be yourself.”

    “This calligraphy – ‘Be beautiful, be yourself’ – is a very beautiful insight into touching your true nature and allowing yourself to be who you are, not running after any expectation from outside of yourself.” 

    “I have arrived. I am home.”

    “Don’t hurry. Enjoy the present moment.”

    “Peace is every step.”

    “Present moment, wonderful moment.”

    “Breathe, you’re online.” 

    “Because you’re alive, everything is possible.” 

    “Anything is possible when the conditions come together; it will manifest.” 

    “What we see today can change tomorrow. And what is not here today, can be tomorrow.” 

    “Even if the sky were to collapse today, there would be a way out.” 

    “Our teacher started to see that calligraphy can be a piece of art that someone can bring home, and they can put it in a place that can remind them to be in touch with the mindfulness that is alive in them. And the calligraphy then has a power, like the power of the sangha, the power of the teaching.”

    “You imagine this ancient art, but actually, ‘Breathe, you’re online’ was so relevant today; if you’re on the computer, be aware of your breath, because that is the place, these days, where we do get carried away. We do lose ourselves; we follow algorithms that take us deeper, deeper down the rabbit hole.” 

    “I know you are there, and I am very happy.”

  • Welcome to episode 22 of The Way Out Is In: The Zen Art of Living, a podcast series mirroring Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh’s deep teachings of Buddhist philosophy: a simple yet profound methodology for dealing with our suffering, and for creating more happiness and joy in our lives.

    In this episode, the presenters, Zen Buddhist monk Brother Phap Huu and lay Buddhist practitioner and journalist Jo Confino, discuss ‘the Meditator, the Artist, and the Warrior’ – the three key ways to engage with the world, which is what Thich Nhat Hanh was all about. 

    The episode is inspired by a chapter in Thich Nhat Hanh’s book, Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet, and focuses on how these three elements are present in everyone, explaining what they mean, and ways to nourish and activate them, interspersed with examples from Thay’s own experience, as recalled by Brother Phap Huu.  

    They further delve into the first time they experienced meditation; enlightenment; removing perceptions; and the Beginner’s Mind.  

    Brother Phap Huu addresses keeping the Meditator in us alive and retaining our freshness in the practice; creating space for reflection in daily life; a special linden tree in Upper Hamlet; and why he dreads formal lunches.

    Jo shares his thoughts about interrogating life and being true to ourselves; the importance of ‘taking space’ and the embodiment of presence; offering empathy; and the test of a formal lunch in the monastery.

    The episode ends with a short meditation guided by Brother Phap Huu, to help us touch the Meditator, the Artist, and the Warrior within.

    Co-produced by the Plum Village App:
    https://plumvillage.app/

    And Global Optimism:
    https://globaloptimism.com/ 

    With support from the Thich Nhat Hanh Foundation:
    https://thichnhathanhfoundation.org/ 

    List of resources 

    Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet
    https://plumvillage.org/books/zen-and-the-art-of-saving-the-planet/ 

    Koan
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koan 

    COP 26
    https://ukcop26.org/ 

    The Beginner’s Mind (shoshin)
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shoshin 

    Bodhicitta
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bodhicitta 

    Futerra
    https://www.wearefuterra.com/

    ‘New Contemplations before Eating’
    https://plumvillage.org/articles/news/new-contemplations-before-eating/ 

    Thai Plum Village International Practice Center
    https://www.thaiplumvillage.org/ 

    Quotes 

    “The image we have of an enlightened person is someone with freedom and spiritual strength, who is not a victim of their environment. An enlightened person sees themself clearly, knows who they are, and has a clear understanding of reality, both their own nature and the nature of society. This understanding is the most precious gift that Zen can offer.”

    “We cannot be present for anything outside of ourselves if we’re not present for ourselves; we need the stability and the strength, the fortitude and the understanding of ourselves before we can reach out in the world.”

    “When we practice mindfulness, we practice meditation. We practice zen. It invites us to touch a spiritual dimension in each and every one of us. We may think that a spiritual dimension is going to the monastery or a retreat or a temple. And yes, that is one of the conditions that can help us touch that spiritual dimension inside of us. But, when we practice meditation, coming home to our breaths, becoming aware of our breath, allowing our mind to come home to the body, to touch peace, to touch stability: that is our spiritual dimension that we speak about in our tradition.” 

    ”Enlightenment is enlightenment of something. So if today we can wake up and see 24 brand new hours as a gift, that is enlightenment of seeing the day has begun; having fresh eyes, knowing how to live this day meaningfully. That’s enlightenment of the day.”

    “If we don’t find time to pause, don’t find time to take a moment to be aware of the present moment, we will lose ourselves.” 

    “The most important thing in life is to be true to yourself. Because if we’re not true to ourselves, then how can we be true to life?”

    “Sometime Thay says, ‘To meditate is to have time.’”

    “We need to create space for ourselves; life is very hectic and we are so conditioned to be busy that when we’re not, we feel guilty about it, and feel restless and feel we need to fill our time.”

    “If someone comes to you with a problem that you haven’t addressed yourself, or you haven’t looked at that area of your life, you can offer sympathy, but you can’t offer empathy. But when you have worked with that issue, looked into it and found that place of deep pain in yourself, and started to transform it, then when someone comes to you with that problem, you’re present for them.”

    “Thay taught me about the embodiment of presence, so I can understand this territory. I don’t feel fearful anymore of going to this dark place, because I have made friends with it. And, therefore, I can sit with you and offer that to you. And that doesn’t involve any words. It just involves a sense of deep connection that creates safety in the world.”

    “The Buddha once said that the mind is an artist; whatever the mind creates, that is the world. So the way we create and the way we take care of our mind has a very important connection to how we relate to the world.”

    “You can’t bathe in the same river twice.”

    “We’re constantly creating the world in ourselves. And then we project it out into the world. I struggled for years with ideas; ‘With our thoughts, we create the world.’ How can that be true? But when we see life differently, the world does change, because actually the world isn’t one thing. The world is just what we choose to make it.”

    “The true warrior is about being able to stand firm and in my truth.” 

  • Welcome to episode 21 of The Way Out Is In: The Zen Art of Living, a podcast series mirroring Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh’s deep teachings of Buddhist philosophy: a simple yet profound methodology for dealing with our suffering, and for creating more happiness and joy in our lives.

    In this episode, the presenters, Zen Buddhist monk Brother Phap Huu and lay Buddhist practitioner and journalist Jo Confino, are joined by special guest Christiana Figueres – one of the architects of the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015, student of Thich Nhat Hanh, and valued member of the Plum Village Sangha.

    Ms. Figueres is an internationally recognized leader on global climate change. She was Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) from 2010 to 2016. Today she is the co-founder of Global Optimism, co-host of the podcast Outrage & Optimism and co-author of the The Future We Choose: Surviving the Climate Crisis book. She is a member of the B Team, non executive Board member of Acciona, and non executive Board member of Impossible Foods. Read more about her many achievements here.

    In light of Thich Nhat Hanh’s passing earlier this year, the discussion includes collective leadership; guidance; spiritual awakening and nourishing our spiritual dimension; dependent co-arising; saving lives through teachings; and being a community without Thay, and what it means to continue and represent his legacy.

    The participants also reflect on the impact on their lives of Thay’s passing, and ways to continue their teacher in a world that is in crisis and in great need for a spiritual dimension. And what next for the Sangha?

    Christiana Figueres shares deeply about what brought her to Plum Village, both now and years ago, during her first encounter with Applied Buddhism; her journey to spiritual practice, to overcome a personal crisis; the historical context of making contact with Thich Nhat Hanh; and the transformative power of Buddhist teachings – such as the art of deep listening – on the negotiation process during the Paris Climate Change Conference.

    Additionally, she addresses the Global North-South divide; victimhood; and strengthening the arc between the inner and outer worlds.

    Jo shares what it means to be a “serious” practitioner; being spacious; “coming home”; and befriending our past.

    Brother Phap Huu talks about Christiana’s importance to the Plum Village community, and the significance of her presence during the week of ceremonies after Thay’s passing; the four-fold sangha; channelling Thay as a collective community; interbeing in action; practising the art of community; and transmission.

    The episode ends with a short meditation guided by Brother Phap Huu to bring us back to the present moment.

    Co-produced by the Plum Village App:
    https://plumvillage.app/

    And Global Optimism:
    https://globaloptimism.com/ 

    With support from the Thich Nhat Hanh Foundation:
    https://thichnhathanhfoundation.org/ 

    List of resources

    ‘Christiana Figueres Cites Thich Nhat Hanh’s Influence in Paris Climate Talks’
    https://www.lionsroar.com/christiana-figueres-cites-thich-nhat-hanhs-influence-in-paris-climate-talks/ 

    Waldbröl
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waldbr%C3%B6l

    The Paris Agreement
    https://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/the-paris-agreement/the-paris-agreement 

    Global North and Global South
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_North_and_Global_South 

    Dharma Talks: ‘The Noble Eightfold Path’
    https://plumvillage.org/library/dharma-talks/the-noble-eightfold-path/ 

    Christian Science 
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_Science

    European Institute of Applied Buddhism (EIAB)
    https://www.eiab.eu/index.php?index=90

    The Way Out Is In: ‘The Three Doors of Liberation’
    https://plumvillage.org/podcast/the-three-doors-of-liberation-episode-18/ 

    Quotes

    “The community is Thay’s masterpiece.”

    “Thay is always teaching us and giving us this opportunity to still come together and see the beauty of connection.”

    “We tend to think that, if we are on a path of spiritual development, it only has to do with me, but doesn’t have anything to do with the outside world. And it does. They are completely interwoven with each other.”

    “With our thoughts, we create the world.”

    “I would never want to send my children to a place where there is no suffering, because, in that place, my children will never be able to grow.”

    “You know what? The sangha is not perfect, and there is beauty to it because we can continue to learn from each other, we can grow with each other. We have suffering. We have difficulties. We look at it. We learn from it. We evolve from it.”

    “We carry our wounds with us. They are part of who we are. They are what make us a whole person.” 

    “When I feel at home, when I feel my own presence, when I’m aware of my own wounds, then I can have a very beautiful relationship with other people.”

    “I can be friends with my past. I can be friends with my suffering. I can make peace with it. I can honor it. I can see the sacredness in everything.” 

    “If we want to see history, just look at Thay. He didn’t allow himself to be exiled to drown in despair and suffering; he was patient. He embraced. He cultivated. He contemplated. And he grew into that. So, in a way, this step-up moment is really channeling the insight that Thay has offered us and making it a part of our journey.”

    “We don’t need to put Thay on a pedestal. Of course, we love and we respect Thay and we honor him, but what he would want from us is his insight to continue in us. And I think that’s really important.” 

    “Transformation starts with the being and then the doing comes later, not the other way around.”

    “The spiritual dimension is that bridge where we can connect to seeing us as Mother Earth, seeing us as the suffering, seeing us as the person cutting the trees, seeing us as the oil being spilled into the ocean. We are the fish that is suffering. We are the birds that are drowning in these oils. We are the animals that are being burnt and have no home.”

    “We’re really there; you look at someone, you listen to them, and you’re giving them your trust, you’re giving them your presence, you’re giving them your energy, and that’s very recharging.”

  • Welcome to episode 20 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.

    At such a demanding and delicate time, the presenters, Zen Buddhist monk Brother Phap Huu and lay Buddhist practitioner and journalist Jo Confino, reflect on Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh passing on January 22nd, 2022. They offer a profound insight into the memorial week, the funeral, impact on the Plum Village community, and the overwhelming global response.

    This instalment of the podcast is an intimate account of the period between the announcement of Thich Nhat Hanh’s passing and the recording of this episode: “a retreat of silence, and a retreat of remembering Thay and continuing Thay.”

    Brother Phap Huu, Thay’s former attendant and current Abbot of the Upper Hamlet, shares his personal relationship with Thich Nhat Hanh and how these events have impacted him. He also shares a detailed behind-the-scenes look at the traditional ceremonies and memorial services, preparations, and processions, as well as personal stories from the Plum Village communities over the eight days following the beloved teacher’s passing. 

    The conversation delves into: the significance of the ceremonies’ texts; the deep practises underpinning the formalities; Thay becoming a spiritual ancestor; deep levels of aspiration; the symbolic homes for Thay’s ashes; acceptance, togetherness, and impermanence; the relevance of Thay’s teachings for years to come; and what it means to be the continuation of Thay. 

    The episode ends with a short meditation on continuation and gratitude, guided by Brother Phap Huu.

    Co-produced by the Plum Village App:
    https://plumvillage.app/

    And Global Optimism:
    https://globaloptimism.com/ 

    With support from the Thich Nhat Hanh Foundation:
    https://thichnhathanhfoundation.org/ 

    List of resources 

    Plum Village
    https://plumvillage.org/ 

    Thich Nhat Hanh memorial ceremonies
    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLaX_vxbhs8fi9nUbUL75NorK6yYOSrWzd 

    Memorial Week for Thich Nhat Hanh
    https://plumvillage.org/memorial/

    Memorial Practice Resources
    https://plumvillage.org/memorial-practice-resources/ 

    ‘Photos from Thay’s Memorial Ceremonies’
    https://plumvillage.org/articles/photos-from-thays-memorial-ceremonies/

    ‘Daily Contemplations on Impermanence and Interbeing’
    https://plumvillage.org/daily-contemplations-on-impermanence-interbeing/

    Chants: ‘Namo Avalokiteshvaraya’
    https://plumvillage.org/library/chants/namo-avalokiteshvaraya/ 

    ‘Namo’valokiteshvaraya Chant’ (2022)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZkjX_c4hm4 

    Chants: ‘Heart Sutra’
    https://plumvillage.org/library/chants/heart-sutra/ 

    ‘New Heart Sutra Translation by Thich Nhat Hanh’
    https://plumvillage.org/about/thich-nhat-hanh/letters/thich-nhat-hanh-new-heart-sutra-translation/ 

    Monastic robes
    https://plumvillage.org/about/thich-nhat-hanh/letters/monastic-fashion/ 

    Sister Chân Không
    https://plumvillage.org/about/sister-chan-khong/

    Plum Village Lineage
    https://plumvillage.org/series/plum-village-lineage/  

    ‘Memories from the Root Temple: My Master’s Robe’
    https://plumvillage.org/articles/memories-from-the-root-temple-my-masters-robe/ 

    ‘The 16 Exercises of Mindful Breathing’
    https://plumvillage.org/library/songs/the-16-exercises-of-mindful-breathing/#

    Quotes

    “Thay’s life is his message.”

    “Many of us grew up in a Buddhist family, but didn’t know the beautiful culture and the depths of Buddhism, and have been waiting for a master to open our eyes to the spiritual dimension. And we were so lucky that we found Thay. So the tears and the prostration are just gratefulness, and honoring, and respect.” 

    “The tears are bitter but also very sweet, because if we don’t go deep into our feelings – this podcast is The Way Out Is In – if we’re not going into our feelings of grief, then all we’re doing is blocking them. But the point is not to be stuck in them. Our tears are like a flow. And we need to let it flow.”

    “Impermanence. We are of the nature to grow old. We are of the nature to get sick. We are of the nature to die. Everything that we hold deep and dear to us, one day we will let go of.” 

    “I’ve always said that Thay’s the most famous person no one’s ever heard of, because he’s had such an influence yet his name doesn’t… […] Suddenly I felt Thay in the public, in his fullness. And I thought that was his extraordinary power: that he wasn’t well known, but everyone knew him.”

    “When Thay did a retreat in 2003 for police officers, we used no Buddhist terms. We did a ceremony, but no incense offering. It’s possible, and we have to be flexible. We have to hope for that spirit.”

    “I want to be in the midst of this storm and still have my two feet on the ground. Thay has given us the tools, and I need to cultivate that deeper and deeper, because then brotherhood, sisterhood, community will have stability. And Thay said, ‘If in Thay’s community there is still brotherhood and sisterhood, then anything is possible.’”

    “The chanting is another way of directing our grief, another way of honoring our masters, our teachers, our spiritual ancestors.”

    “What I see so clearly is Thay’s continuation in his actions and his teachings, and that they are as robust as if he were here; there’s no dilution of them. He’s taught us so beautifully and in such a practical and simple way that people can immediately relate to and practice; as he said, you don’t need to be in the practice for 10 years, you can start right now.”

  • Welcome to episode 19 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.

    Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh passed away on January 22nd, 2022. As we grieve our dear teacher, we also want to celebrate his enduring legacy with the podcast’s first special edition.

    Therefore, we are sharing an edited recording of Thich Nhat Hanh interviewed by Krista Tippett during a USA tour in 2003, at a lakeside Christian conference center in rural Wisconsin.  

    The interview is reproduced with kind permission of Krista Tippett and her podcast and radio show On Being.

    Peabody Award-winning broadcaster Krista Tippett is a National Humanities Medalist and a New York Times bestselling author. She attended Brown University, then worked as a journalist and diplomat in Cold War Berlin. Subsequently, she lived in Spain and England before receiving a Master of Divinity at Yale University in the mid 1990s.

    The episode starts with an introduction by Brother Phap Huu – Thich Nhat Hanh’s former attendant, and the current Abbott of Upper Hamlet, Plum Village. The brother recites one of Thay’s best known poems and pays tribute to his beloved teacher.

    In the interview, Thich Nhat Hanh offers gentle wisdom for living in a world of anger and violence, through concepts such as engaged Buddhism, ‘being peace’, and mindfulness.

    He shares the story behind his classic book The Miracle of Mindfulness, and discusses the Vietnamese connotations of the word ‘mindfulness’; transforming suffering; and building a community of practice and teaching mindfulness to different groups – from members of the US Congress to Hollywood filmmakers and law enforcement officers.

    One segment of the interview focuses on dealing with war and ‘enemies’; the repetitive patterns of war, with a focus on the Vietnam and Iraq wars and the ‘war on terror’ taking place at the time. He further delves into: the root causes of war, anger, forgiveness, and peacekeeping; collective awakening; and viewing the world through the eyes of compassion. 

    What is compassion in the wake of a terrorist attack? Does the practice of mindfulness cause forgiveness to become instinctual? And what were Thay’s pressing questions in 2003?

    Thay also recites poems in both English and Vietnamese and comments on their meanings and shifting contexts, such as the relevance of his 40-year-old poem ‘Illusion Transformed’ to the realities of 2003. 

    Co-produced by the Plum Village App:
    https://plumvillage.app/

    And Global Optimism:
    https://globaloptimism.com/ 

    With support from the Thich Nhat Hanh Foundation:
    https://thichnhathanhfoundation.org/ 

    List of resources 

    ‘Recommendation’
    https://plumvillage.org/articles/recommendation/

    ‘Alone Again’
    https://plumvillage.org/library/songs/alone-again-promise-me/

    The Miracle of Mindfulness 
    https://plumvillage.org/books/the-miracle-of-mindfulness/

    ‘Illusion Transformed’
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fq5HHRJ9pIk 

    Drops of Emptiness
    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/424577.Drops_of_Emptiness 

    ‘For Warmth’
    https://plumvillage.org/articles/for-warmth-thays-poem-in-my-two-hands-betsy-roses-song/ 

    Fragrant Palm Leaves 
    https://plumvillage.org/books/fragrant-palm-leaves/

    Thich Nhat Hanh address to the US Congress, September 10, 2003
    https://plumvillage.org/it/about/thich-nhat-hanh/letters/thich-nhat-hanh-address-to-us-congress-september-10-2003/0/

    ‘Mindfulness, Suffering and Engaged Buddhism’ (interviews with Thich Nhat Hanh, Cheri Maples, and Larry Ward)
    https://plumvillage.org/about/thich-nhat-hanh/interviews-with-thich-nhat-hanh/thich-nhat-hanh-on-mindfulness-suffering-and-engaged-buddhism/ 

    The United Nations
    https://www.un.org/en/ 

    The Vietnam War
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vietnam_War 

    Bến Tre
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B%E1%BA%BFn_Tre 

    Quotes

    “Mindfulness is a part of living. When you are mindful, you are fully alive, you are fully present, you can get in touch with the wonders of life, which can nourish and heal you. And you are stronger, you are more solid, more able to handle the suffering inside and around you. When you are mindful, you can recognize, embrace, and handle the pain, the sorrow in and around you, to bring relief. And if you continue with concentration and insight, you’ll be able to transform the suffering inside and help transform the suffering around you.” 

    “Suffering and happiness are both organic, like flowers and garbage. The flower is on her way to become a piece of garbage, and the garbage can be on its way to become a flower. That is why you are not afraid of the garbage, and you know how to handle it so that flowers can be created. And that is all. There’s no attempt to run away from suffering. And you handle suffering in such a way in order to create wellbeing and happiness.”

    “Awakening, understanding, compassion, and reconciliation can take place after a few days of practice. People need an opportunity so that the seed of compassion, understanding in them can be watered. And that is why we are not discouraged. If more people join in the work of offering that opportunity, there will be a collective awakening and we shall have enough collective understanding and compassion to help us out of this difficult situation.”

    “When you have compassion in your heart, you suffer much less. And you are in the situation to be and to do something to help others to suffer less.”

    “Understanding brings compassion; understanding is compassion itself. When you understand the difficulties, the suffering, the despair of another, you don’t hate him or her anymore. And you are motivated by the desire to do something in order to help them transform the suffering inside.”

    “You have to remain human in order to be able to understand and to be compassionate. And you have the right to be angry, but you don’t have the right not to practice in order to transform your anger. You have the right to make mistakes, but you don’t have the right to continue making a mistake: you have to learn from your mistakes.”

    “Zen is not merely a system of thought. Zen infuses our whole being with the most pressing question we have.”

    “I hold my face in my two hands.
    No, I am not crying.
    I hold my face in my two hands
    to keep the loneliness warm—
    two hands protecting,
    two hands nourishing,
    two hands preventing
    my soul from leaving me
    in anger.” 
    – ‘For Warmth’ by Thich Nhat Hanh

  • Welcome to episode 18 of The Way Out Is In: The Zen Art of Living, a podcast series mirroring Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh’s deep teachings of Buddhist philosophy: a simple yet profound methodology for dealing with our suffering, and for creating more happiness and joy in our lives.

    In this episode, the presenters – Zen Buddhist monk Brother Phap Huu and lay practitioner and journalist Jo Confino – delve deeply into Buddhist philosophy by discussing the teaching known as the Three Doors of Liberation (emptiness, signlessness, aimlessness), which is vital to understanding life and living it well.  

    Together, they go through each of the three doors, discovering and explaining the corresponding concepts, sharing their own experiences of these deep teachings and how to apply them in daily life.   

    Brother Phap Huu shares on the topics of ways to train ourselves to practice emptiness (even in success), signlessness, and aimlessness; Zen stories; touching liberation in daily life; and meditating on our aims in life. 

    In addition, Jo looks at the journey of stripping away individual selves, and recollects “the experience of the terror of nothingness”. He further muses on a day of mindfulness in the World Bank, and on not chasing life.

    The episode ends with a short meditation on the Three Doors of Liberation, guided by Brother Phap Huu. 

    Co-produced by the Plum Village App:
    https://plumvillage.app/

    And Global Optimism:
    https://globaloptimism.com/ 

    With support from the Thich Nhat Hanh Foundation:
    https://thichnhathanhfoundation.org/ 

    List of resources 

    Dharma Talks: ‘Three Doors of Liberation’ 
    https://plumvillage.org/library/dharma-talks/three-doors-of-liberation-br-phap-khi-italian-retreat-2018-05-01/

    The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching 
    https://plumvillage.org/books/the-heart-of-the-buddhas-teaching/

    How To: ‘Begin Anew’
    https://plumvillage.org/articles/begin-anew/ 

    Dharma Talks: ‘Signlessness and Impermanence’
    https://plumvillage.org/library/dharma-talks/signlessness-and-impermanence-dharma-talk-by-sr-dieu-nghiem-sr-jina-2015-09-05/ 

    Lakshana
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lakshana

    Eschatology
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eschatology

    ‘The Doors of Liberation’
    https://www.lionsroar.com/the-doors-of-liberation-may-2014/ 

    Dharma Talks: ‘The Noble Eightfold Path’
    https://plumvillage.org/library/dharma-talks/the-noble-eightfold-path/

    Quotes

    “The First Door of Liberation is emptiness, shunyata. Emptiness always means empty of something. A cup is empty of water. A bowl is empty of soup. We are empty of a separate, independent self. We cannot be by ourselves alone. We can only inter-be with everything else in the cosmos. The practice is to nourish the insight into emptiness all day long. Wherever we go, we touch the nature of emptiness in everything we contact. We look deeply at the table, the blue sky, our friend, the mountain, the river, our anger, and our happiness and see that these are all empty of a separate self. When we touch these things deeply, we see the interbeing and interpenetrating nature of all that is. Emptiness does not mean nonexistence. It means Interdependent Co-Arising, impermanence, and nonself.”

    “The Second Door of Liberation is signlessness, animitta. ‘Sign’ here means an appearance or the object of our perception. When we see something, a sign or image appears to us, and that is what is meant by ‘lakshana.’ If water, for example, is in a square container, its sign is ‘squareness.’ If in a round container, its sign is ‘roundness.’ When we open the freezer and take out some ice, the sign of that water is solid. Chemists call water ‘H₂O.’ The snow on the mountain and the steam rising from the kettle are also H₂O. Whether H₂O is round or square, liquid, gaseous, or solid depends on circumstances. Signs are instruments for our use, but they are not absolute truth, and they can mislead us. The Diamond Sutra says, ‘Wherever there is a sign, there is deception, illusion.’ Perceptions often tell us as much about the perceiver as the object of perception. Appearances can deceive.”

    “The Third Door of Liberation is aimlessness, apranihita. There is nothing to do, nothing to realize, no program, no agenda. This is the Buddhist teaching about eschatology. Does the rose have to do something? No, the purpose of a rose is to be a rose. Your purpose is to be yourself. You don’t have to run anywhere to become someone else. You are wonderful just as you are. This teaching of the Buddha allows us to enjoy ourselves, the blue sky, and everything that is refreshing and healing in the present moment. 

    “There is no need to put anything in front of us and run after it. We already have everything we are looking for, everything we want to become. We are already a Buddha so why not just take the hand of another Buddha and practice walking meditation? This is the teaching of the Avatamsaka Sutra. Be yourself. Life is precious as it is. All the elements for your happiness are already here. There is no need to run, strive, search, or struggle. Just be. Just being in the moment in this place is the deepest practice of meditation. Most people cannot believe that just walking as though you have nowhere to go is enough. They think that striving and competing are normal and necessary. Try practicing aimlessness for just five minutes, and you will see how happy you are during those five minutes.”

    “What we discover in Buddhism is that once you have a lot of complexes, even superior or inferior, even equality, they come with a lot of suffering. And because of these notions that humans have – right, wrong, good, bad – we start to discriminate. And to practice Buddhism and to touch one of the doors of liberation is to see the emptiness of everything and is to help us be more free.”

    “You are who you are, but you are made of everything. And because you have that insight, you are also free from your own ego.” 

    “You cannot call a mountain a mountain until you see that it is not a mountain.”

    “Practising signlessness, if you look at the mountain, it is made of rocks, dirt, soil, trees, and much, much more. And if you remove all of that, then suddenly the mountain is not there. That is the practice of seeing that the mountain is not a mountain. You are free from the sign that that is just a mountain; if you break it down, you see that it is all of these other elements. So this may be a meditation with which we can look into our own attachments, including to ourselves, like ‘I want to be like that for me to be happy.’ But is that image that we are creating for ourselves really happiness? Or is that just a sign that we have been educated to run after and to see as success? And so, if we break free from all these signs, we’ll become a little bit more free.” 

    “Man is not our enemy. The enemy is ignorance. It is hatred. It is discrimination. So we have to help others recognize that so that they can transform too, because everyone has Buddha nature inside of them.”

    “Part of the way we try to define ourselves as individuals is by making someone else the enemy, or wrong – because that feeds our need to be right and intelligent [etc].” 

    “Happiness is a goal we should all touch in our daily life, because in true happiness you might realise that you don’t need more. What you have is more than enough. What you are is more than enough. And because you are fulfilled, you are at peace, you are free, you have time to love, you have time to be loved, you have time for the ones around you. Isn’t that success? Isn’t that happiness?” 

  • Welcome to episode 17 of The Way Out Is In: The Zen Art of Living, a podcast series mirroring Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh’s deep teachings of Buddhist philosophy: a simple yet profound methodology for dealing with our suffering, and for creating more happiness and joy in our lives.

    In this episode, the presenters, Zen Buddhist monk Brother Phap Huu and lay practitioner and journalist Jo Confino, are joined by special guest, entrepreneur and author Lindsay Levin, to discuss wise leadership and new ways of creating change and harmony in turbulent times. 

    “Serial entrepreneur” Lindsay Levin founded Leaders’ Quest in 2001 as her “last startup”, to help leaders and companies align profit with purpose. Her work explores collective humanity through vulnerability and listening. She also launched the Leaders’ Quest Foundation to build leadership capacity in grassroots communities. 

    Her passion for finding common ground between diverse perspectives and opposing voices prompted her to co-lead the launch of the alliance Future Stewards, after the Paris Climate Agreement. Her book, Invisible Giants: Changing the World One Step at a Time (2013), is a celebration of the everyday heroes who have inspired her to ask tough questions, and to strive to be the change she wants to see in the world.

    Together, all three also talk about: the balance between urgency and patience; purpose; polarisation; and becoming agents of change. And: at a planetary level, how do we know when to slow down and when to speed up? 

    Lindsay Levin further shares her relationship with the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh and the Plum Village community, and about: working with leaders; dealing with competing interests and egos; spiritual values in the business world; self-awareness; tolerance in the climate movement; listening to others’ lives and widening circles of compassion; responsibility; the gap between cleverness and wisdom; ‘quests’; collective and individual development; planetary well-being; and honouring anger and grief. 

    Brother Phap Huu talks about his own experience of dealing with disagreements in the community as abbot of Upper Hamlet, and shares stories about Thich Nhat Hanh as a leader. He also delves into the importance of listening in leadership; applying Buddhist teachings into daily life; bringing together conflicting parties; discriminative mindsets; inclusiveness; adapting to change; avoiding burnout; nourishing compassion; learning to be in stillness; and not postponing ‘simple opportunities’.

    Jo shares the story of a company which lost its way after taking the space to create and reflect away from its staff. He delves into the pressure of short-termism; Indigenous insight into decision-making; and being observers of our own selves. And: is time money? 

    All three share the simple routines they use to nourish themselves in what they do.

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

    Co-produced by the Plum Village App:
    https://plumvillage.app/

    And Global Optimism:
    https://globaloptimism.com/ 

    With support from the Thich Nhat Hanh Foundation:
    https://thichnhathanhfoundation.org/ 

    List of resources 

    Lindsay Levin
    https://futurestewards.com/team/lindsay-levin/ 

    Leaders’ Quest
    https://leadersquest.org/ 

    Future Stewards
    https://futurestewards.com/

    ‘Please Call Me by My True Names’ (song and poem)
    https://plumvillage.org/articles/please-call-me-by-my-true-names-song-poem/ 

    Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet
    https://www.parallax.org/product/zen-and-the-art-of-saving-the-planet/ 

    Trần dynasty
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tr%E1%BA%A7n_dynasty

    Lý dynasty
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L%C3%BD_dynasty

    Sister Chan Khong
    https://plumvillage.org/about/sister-chan-khong/ 

    The opioid crisis
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opioid_epidemic 

    The Great Acceleration
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Acceleration 

    Moore’s law
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moore%27s_law

    The TED Countdown Summit
    https://countdown.ted.com/events-in-2021 

    The secretary-general of the United Nations
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secretary-General_of_the_United_Nations 

    Quotes 

    “Thay’s teachings are about the essence of life, and beautifully simple yet profound.”

    “In our teachings of Buddhism, we say that we are seeds of everything. We are seeds of goodness, but also seeds of evil. And we have to help people see the goodness inside of them. Whatever suffering there is, we have to be there because we can be the light of hope.”

    “Go into action and lead by example.”

    “Thay created a day of mindfulness where we all come together as a community: we sit together, we listen to a teaching or have a sharing and sing songs, we cook for each other, we help each other relax. And for maybe six hours, we don’t talk about the work, because there’s a side of us that we have to nourish to keep our aspiration alive, and to continue the work that we aspire to do. This is what we call taking care of our well-being. And this is very important in the teachings of Buddhism.”

    “There’s a beautiful simplicity to Thay’s teachings; remembering that it comes out of a deep, practiced understanding of suffering makes it applicable to any situation, to any of the challenges we may feel we’re facing. You are not [experiencing anything] harder than what he went through – and there’s a great power to that, which is very exciting.” 

    “We learn to flow as a river. And the river is always moving. This image really helped me shed my ego, because Thay teaches us that we all need to learn to be a drop of water in this river. And because we are part of the river, there are moments when we can help lead at the front. And there are moments when we are in the middle, when we can help hold the front and back together; and sometimes we are at the back. The young can help push elders forward by using their voice, their aspirations, sharing with us, with the changes of the world. And so listening is very important for leadership and for growth.”

    “One of the fundamental teachings in Buddhism is that man is not our enemy; it is ignorance, it is hatred, it is discrimination.”

    “You change the world by how you show up, even in the hardest of circumstances, even in a very conflicted situation; how you turn up to that conversation or that situation changes the outcome. And maybe you can’t change everything, but you can change the outcome; that’s the nature of being interconnected, of living in this interconnected world. That’s the nature of interbeing.”

    “For me, one of the [most important] images is that we’re all – I am, at least – a tiny grain of sand in this incredibly beautiful universe. But I want to be a good grain of sand. So how do I make the most of that opportunity?”

    “If you’re not open, then you won’t be able to learn. You won’t be able to contribute because you’re not generous.”

    “Thay teaches us that, ‘Sometimes we have to learn from our ancestors, and our ancestors include animals. When an animal gets hurt, what does he or she do? They know to stop hunting, to stop looking for a mate, and instead to rest, sleep for many days if needed, and to take care of the wound.’” 

    “We have to let the surface of the water be still for it to really reflect.”

    “The notion that time is money, I think we have to change that story. Time is life. I think that is the truth, because in our teaching of Buddhism, one of the core teachings of the Buddha is that this moment, here and now, carries the past and is building the future.”

    “If we want peace in the world, we have to know how to cultivate peace in ourselves. If we want healing in the world, we have to also heal ourselves – or else we’re just going to keep running after an idea.”

    “Peace in oneself, peace in the world: that sense of peace isn’t ‘I’ve solved everything’, but that I recognize what’s going on.”

    “Looking at, admiring, and respecting the incredible wisdom of nature, and the intelligent life that is all around us and the rhythm that it follows, I find that immediately calming. You can sit and watch a tree very carefully and see the tree breathing because of how the branches or the leaves are moving. Just watch a leaf and see that. So that’s something that I can come back to at any time; no matter where I am, I can usually find some part of nature to touch.”

    “We’re a clever species: we invent stuff. We fix stuff. We figure things out. We’ve harnessed science in so many ways. And so it’s easy to fool yourself into thinking that we are becoming ever, ever smarter. Well, we’re not, and we’re certainly not becoming ever wiser. If you were to plot our wisdom or our individual or collective development, it’s certainly not a graph that’s shooting off the top of the page. It’s more of a slow incline. And I think part of the urgency, pain, fear, and uniqueness that we’re feeling right now is because there’s a gap between how fast the world is changing – in many ways as a result of our actions, some of which have come from clever things that we figured out how to do, often with unintended consequences – and our own capacity, our inner wisdom, our ability to connect, to deeply appreciate our existence, what existence is, what it means to be alive, and what it means to be to be part of life.”

    “I often talked to business leaders about this: you’re not going to be able to keep up by running faster. There is no way that, by running ever faster, you are going to catch the pace of change. So in response to that urgency, including urgency over dramatic issues, the importance of justice and planetary well-being and so forth, we actually, perversely, have to slow down. We have to develop the capacity for reflection, for introspection, for developing our sense of connection; for all the things that you teach so beautifully here at Plum Village.” 

    “I’m really hopeful because I do think there is a waking-up going on. A lot of things are changing and I think we are waking up, individually and collectively. Maybe not fast enough, but change is happening, and in that process we need to extend to one another. We need to trust one another. People who have [the necessary] skills, which I absolutely do not have, are going to need to be part of designing the new systems that we’re moving towards.”

    “Anger needs to be expressed. It’s very real. It’s really valid. It needs to be honored. Grief needs to be honored and valued and heard and respected. And then we have to keep moving; we have to integrate that and look to the other side of it. Why are we in such grief and fear and pain and anger? Well, it’s because we love life. It’s because life is beautiful. Life is an incredible gift.”

    “In Indigenous wisdom, there’s the idea of seven generations: that every decision you take, you should think back seven generations in the past and seven generations into the future to say, ‘Where does this idea sit within historical context and what impact will it have in the far future?’ And yet, people are in panic mode. They’re not even thinking one generation ahead. People say, ‘Oh yes, I recognize that I need to do things for my children’, but I almost don’t believe that. People don’t act on it. In part because they are locked into this system where everyone acts the same way – so everyone supports each other in being in denial.”

    “We are all leaders. This was an empowerment that our teacher gave us. When we learn to come back to mindfulness, concentration, and insight or wisdom, we all have an opportunity to lead our life, to be mindful. We have a chance to transform our lives, to recognize the habits that lead us down a path that may not give happiness, that may bring us more suffering; to have agency for our own transformation.” 

    “Thay teaches us that you don’t have to wait to be an example to change the world after 20, 30 years of practice; today, as you practice, if you’re able to smile, that smile can change somebody’s energy just by causing them to recognize your freshness, your way of being present for someone, or your stability. You’re listening to them with your full attention; that is also leadership, that is telling the other person, ‘I am here for you.’”

  • Welcome to episode 16 of The Way Out Is In: The Zen Art of Living, a podcast series mirroring Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh’s deep teachings of Buddhist philosophy: a simple yet profound methodology for dealing with our suffering, and for creating more happiness and joy in our lives.

    In this episode, the presenters, Zen Buddhist monk Brother Phap Huu and lay Buddhist practitioner and journalist Jo Confino, are joined by special guest, Zen Buddhist monk Brother Phap Linh (Brother Spirit). Together, they discuss eco-anxiety, the challenges of and solutions for shifting to a new paradigm which can heal us and our planet, and whether it’s possible to change our minds, hearts, and future. Plus: how can you be at peace in what feels like a battlefield? 

    The conversation touches upon “the decisive decade”; individualism and competition; interdependence; handling fear; transformation; change in “the age of collective procrastination”; and opportunities in difficult times. Is it possible to ‘sit’ with collapse? 

    Brother Phap Linh (Brother Spirit) shares his journey of transformation, from studying sciences at Cambridge, to numerous retreats, and eventual monastic life. 

    He further talks about creating transformation at both personal and collective levels; the cult of individualism; societal numbness; handling the energy of negativity; the basis of understanding reality, and what nourishes our views and beliefs; the economic conceit ‘the tragedy of the commons’; creating shared visions and aspirations; and telling new stories. And how do you change your view when you’re caught in the old paradigm?

    Brother Phap Huu shares insights on how to not lose ourselves in a fast-paced environment, and looks at: fundamental questions; procrastination; individual aspirations; becoming free from attachment; striving and the importance of stopping; learning in the community; the Six Harmonies; and the joy of sharing.

    There’s also important advice for those ‘burning out’ in the environmental movement.

    Jo recollects Thich Nhat Hanh’s speech to the members of the UK Parliament and his thoughts on conflictual political systems. He further muses on the lasting joy of community life. 

    The episode ends with a short meditation on gratitude and Mother Earth, guided by Brother Phap Linh. 

    Co-produced by the Plum Village App:
    https://plumvillage.app/

    And Global Optimism:
    https://globaloptimism.com/ 

    With support from the Thich Nhat Hanh Foundation:
    https://thichnhathanhfoundation.org/ 

    List of resources 

    Brother Phap Linh (Brother Spirit)
    https://plumvillage.org/people/dharma-teachers/brother-phap-linh/ 

    Richard Dawkins
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Dawkins 

    The tragedy of the commons
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tragedy_of_the_commons 

    Elinor Ostrom
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elinor_Ostrom 

    Music for Difficult Times
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YarhXTDs8Z4

    ‘Introduction to Namo Avalokiteshvara’
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DjBUZrrqAVQ 

    Kundun
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kundun

    Gandhi
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gandhi_(film) 

    Comfortably Numb
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comfortably_Numb

    Siddhartha
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siddhartha_(novel) 

    The Matrix
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Matrix 

    Dharma Talks: ‘The Four Noble Truths: Vulture Peak Gathering’
    https://plumvillage.org/library/dharma-talks/the-four-noble-truths-vulture-peak-gathering-2016-06-04-lower-hamlet-sr-dinh-nghiem/

    Multi-level selection theory
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cooperation_%28evolution%29#Multi-level_selection

    The Five Mindfulness Trainings
    https://plumvillage.org/mindfulness-practice/the-5-mindfulness-trainings/ 

    The Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings
    https://plumvillage.org/mindfulness-practice/the-14-mindfulness-trainings/ 

    Quotes

    “When everything is motivated by love, you don’t burn out.”

    “My dad wrote me a letter that said, ‘You know, in life, it’s not for me to hand you a rose, but to hand you an onion, where you peel every layer and you cry.’ It’s like we find ourselves through suffering. And it’s the suffering we go through in order to find joy. We can’t bypass suffering.” 

    “They say ‘It’s darkest just before the dawn’, and we seem to be at this crossroads where, if we don’t have what Thay would call a collective awakening, we are very, very likely heading for a catastrophe that is unimaginable in terms of the suffering it will create. And there’s an opportunity for this time to turbocharge the change into a new paradigm.” 

    “Every single drop that we put in the bucket of mindfulness increases our zone of freedom and our capacity to notice difficult feelings arising in our body and mind. Then, when anxiety is coming up, we’re going to see it coming. You get to see it because you’ve put energy in, maybe five, 10 minutes every day. You paid attention to your steps on the way to work. You made that commitment and you’ve invested. And when you do that, in the difficult moments, you have that little bit of extra time and extra freedom, and you notice that energy coming up; you see it coming and you can go, ‘I see you.’ That’s mindfulness.”

    “Dare to feel.”

    “What’s interesting is to learn that we have resources, we have ways to meet those difficult feelings, and to transform them, and to not be alone with them. And that’s the power of our community: that we can be in that process of holding, of embracing the pain and the fear, and that we can do it together.” 

    “That is enlightenment: to be free from all attachment; we’re not striving for happiness, but we enjoy the path because the path is happiness. We have this notion that we have to accomplish to receive happiness, to arrive at success. But then, [by doing that] we bypass all of these beautiful present moments.” 

    “Thay gave a speech to MPs and members of the House of Lords. And one member of the House of Lords said, ‘Well, Thay, the UK political system is, by nature, conflictual. We sit opposite each other, we argue against each other. We’re always trying to point out what’s wrong with each other. What do you think of that?’ And Thay looked at him and after what seemed like an age, he just asked, ‘Does it make you happy?’ That was a really profound moment because it was so far outside the normal conversation. And it feels like, increasingly, we need to be outside of the normal conversation.”

    “One of the things that may contribute to a burnout is starting to feel negativity all the time, that kind of blaming. It may actually be true that other people are not doing enough. But the point is that we have to keep our sovereignty. We have to keep our peace, our freedom, and know when we’re being colonized by that energy of judgment and hatred; we have to know how to handle that.”

    “Be brave to feel your feelings. Be brave to see what your mind is producing. Once you do, you see the roots of it. And this is the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism: to only change and have transformation as you come to the root of it. So then you start to look at how you live your life: ‘What is it that I’m doing that nourishes this view?’ And if you see the root of it, then you see a way out of it. But seeing is not enough. Then, you have to walk the path; you have to change your way of living. And for me, this is where real transformation happens.”

    “In the dharma, we always say, ‘Peace in oneself, peace in the world.’ Which means that, to achieve transformation outside of ourselves, we need to start with ourselves.” 

    “Many people have asked me, ‘After Thay passes, who’s the next Thich Nhat Hanh?’ I say, ‘Nobody.’ Thay has told us very clearly that the continuation of Thay is the community. So each and every one of us will be his continuation. Each and every one of us will share that responsibility; that’s the power of community.”

    “Learn to go as a river; be a drop of water in the river. Don’t be that drop of oil which doesn’t penetrate into it.”

    “My inbreath, the outbreath of the trees. My outbreath, the inbreath of the trees.”

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

    In this episode, the presenters, Zen Buddhist monk Brother Phap Huu and lay Buddhist practitioner and journalist Jo Confino, talk about the art of community living, and take a closer look at the Plum Village community’s four decades of existence.

    The conversation touches upon key friendships – like that between Martin Luther King Jr. and Thich Nhat Hanh; ‘the beloved community’; collective energy; the spirit of togetherness; sustaining a community; deep listening; the importance of the sangha (a community of practitioners) for individuals’ practice of mindfulness. And: can two people form a community?

    As abbot of Upper Hamlet and former attendant to Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, Brother Phap Huu shares inspiring inside stories from the Plum Village community, including unexpected turns of events; the impact on the community of practitioners of Thay’s withdrawal from public life; the secrets to a resilient and harmonious community; sharing opinions versus voting. What is it like to lead a community as a young abbot or abbess? And can you guess Thay’s true ‘masterpiece’?

    Jo muses on the importance of vulnerability and of a conscious community; dharma sharing; and how sanghas he joined in different countries impacted his own practice.

    The episode ends with a short meditation on community and friendship, guided by Brother Phap Huu. 

    Co-produced by the Plum Village App:
    https://plumvillage.app/

    And Global Optimism:
    https://globaloptimism.com/ 

    With support from the Thich Nhat Hanh Foundation:
    https://thichnhathanhfoundation.org/ 

    List of resources 

    Loving Speech & Deep Listening
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDJBKEOe7Pg 

    Bhikkhu/bhikshu
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhikkhu

    Bodhisattva
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bodhisattva 

    International Sangha Directory
    https://plumvillage.org/about/international-sangha-directory/ 

    Martin Luther King Jr.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Luther_King_Jr. 

    Dharma sharing
    https://plumvillage.org/extended-mindfulness-practises/ 

    Vesak Day
    https://plumvillage.org/articles/vesak-day-2021/

    Dharma Talks: ‘Beloved Community’
    https://plumvillage.org/library/dharma-talks/beloved-community/ 

    Brothers in the Beloved Community
    https://www.parallax.org/product/brothers-in-the-beloved-community/

    Letter from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. nominating Thich Nhat Hanh for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1967
    https://plumvillage.org/letter-from-dr-martin-luther-king-jr-nominating-thich-nhat-hanh-for-the-nobel-peace-prize-in-1967/

    “Man is not our enemy”
    https://plumvillage.org/articles/blog/poems-of-thay/alone-again-song-recommendation-thays-poetry/ 

    Quotes

    “Community living is complex, difficult, and needs a lot of openness, deep listening, and negotiation.”

    “In the Buddhist language, there’s a teaching on letting go. So we have to really learn to let go of our own ideas of what happiness is, what success is, and to see that our individual happiness is not an individual matter, but that happiness is actually a collective matter. Like, when I’m happy, I think you’ll be happy. And when you suffer, I will also suffer. Maybe not directly, but I can feel it from you. I can also find a way to support you, though. And so, community living is a practice in itself.”

    “Our spirit is that everyone shares their opinion and we sit in a circle. So whenever we share an opinion, it’s not about ‘me’; we’re sharing it for the collective community.”

    “When Thay says, ‘We don’t need one Buddha, we need many Buddhas’, that is the heart of what is now known as distributed leadership. The world is very complex, so you cannot have one leader who knows everything. What you need to do is give people in each area the responsibility and the accountability that goes with it, rather than having one person at the top of the pyramid. And Plum Village has been doing that for 40 years now.” 

    “Thay said, ‘We’re all allowed to suffer. Suffering is a noble truth that is taught in Buddhism, it’s a gem that the Buddha gave to us to have insight. But our responsibility is also to practice with our suffering.’ So, I can suffer, but I’m not just going to go and vent everywhere about it and complain; that’s not the spirit. We all suffer, we all have difficulties, but our practice is to acknowledge it, take care of it, embrace it, and find ways to transform it. And that is very key in our community.”

    “We often complain that if we’re to avoid climate change or to deal with social injustice, we are reliant on our leaders to change everything. Yes, of course we need leaders to change things, of course we need policy, of course we need people to change – but, actually, we need to change too. And if everyone takes responsibility for their own contribution, then the world will start to change.”

    “Everyone, especially men, we hear a problem and want to solve it. But often people don’t need it to be solved. They need it to be shared, and so it is called dharma sharing for that very reason.”

    “In a group setting, each person who shares will at some point share an aspect of themselves – because the whole purpose of Thay’s teaching is about interbeing, that I’m not by myself alone. If you’re suffering but I’m quite happy, it doesn’t mean I have to take on your suffering. But it does mean that, at some level, I recognize your suffering and feel for you in the same way as if I was experiencing it myself.”

    “When we want to walk the path that offers us strength, compassion, love, understanding, it’s much easier to do so with friends around you that support it. We call that conditions. And that’s why we say that in spirituality it is so important to have friends. It’s like eating rice with soup. Sometimes the rice can be so dry – but soup helps you swallow. So sometimes friendships are like that sweet, gentle support, that soup that helps you slide through the difficulties more easily.”