The Way Out Is In

By Plum Village

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Description

This podcast series is aimed at helping us to transcend our fear and anger so that we can be more engaged in the world in a way that develops love and compassion. Thich Nhat Hanh’s calligraphy ‘The Way Out Is In” highlights that the way out of any difficulty is to look deeply within, gain insights and then put them into practice. The podcast is co-hosted by Brother Phap Huu, Thich Nhat Hanh's personal attendant for 17 years and the abbot of Plum Village's Upper Hamlet, and Jo Confino, who works at the intersection of personal transformation and systems change.

Episode Date
The Art of Laziness: Don’t Just Do Something, Sit There! (Episode #41)
1:10:47

Welcome to episode 41 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, discuss the forgotten art of resting and how to free the word ‘laziness’ from its Western slander – as an equivalent of torpor or sloth – through the wisdom of Zen Buddhist teachings. Also, what is the story behind the weekly ‘lazy day’ in Plum Village? How does laziness support the doing? Could laziness be the route to healing?

Brother Phap Huu shares the story of how ‘lazy day’ became part of the Plum Village tradition, along with advice that Thich Nhat Hanh gave about being in a state of laziness – one of the key attributes to a healthy and happy life. The Brother further touches upon setting the right intentions; clarity; true presence and the awkwardness of quiet; Thay’s openness; allowing ourselves to be cared for; constant busyness, what it’s like to face oneself, and learning to do nothing; and being mindfully… angry. And the surprise the presenters got when trying to record this episode about laziness on a lazy day. 

Jo shares his experiences of a recent trip to New York and how to not get caught in the nonstop doing of large cities; laziness as an act of generosity; happiness as the avoidance of suffering; spaciousness; laziness as healing; and integrating lazy moments into a busy day for surprisingly creative results.  

The episode ends with a reading from the ‘Lazy Day’ chapter of Thich Nhat Hanh’s book Happiness, and 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 

‘The Art of Mindful Living’
https://plumvillage.org/mindfulness/mindfulness-practice/ 

Clips: ‘What’s the Point of Doing Nothing?’
https://plumvillage.org/library/clips/the-art-of-being/ 

Dalai Lama
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dalai_Lama

The Art of Happiness
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Art_of_Happiness 

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

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

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

Estes Park, Colorado
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Estes_Park,_Colorado 

Happiness: Essential Mindfulness Practices
https://www.parallax.org/product/happiness-essential-mindfulness-practices/


Quotes

“In quietness we can recognize new things.”

“If we’re constantly in planning mode – especially those who have busy working weeks – we don’t give the space for anything to emerge. We don’t give a chance for spontaneity, for our creativity, for grace – or whatever we call it – to flow through us, because we’re always trying to be in control. And so, when we have space, another part of us shows up.”

“Western society has co-opted ‘laziness’ to be negative, but laziness gives us space. And in this space we are able to have meaningful insights and then be able to act differently. So it’s a powerful practice.” 

“In today’s society, we can all identify that we have a restlessness habit. We don’t know how to be still. We don’t know how to do nothing.”

“Even if we are given a day to rest or a vacation, sometimes we make our vacation busier than it should be and we get even more tired. And there is such a habit in us, transmitted to us by maybe our ancestors, our culture, our society, that we shouldn’t be still; that there is not enough time to live. So we should be doing, doing, doing, and doing. Therefore, from these energies and these habits, we have a lot of tension, we have a lot of anxiety, we don’t know how to rest and so are not able to be present. And when we’re not able to be present for ourselves, for our bodies, for our loved ones, can we actually say that we are alive? Can we actually experience life to the fullest if we’re not present?”

“It’s only when we touch our suffering that we can go through it.”

“Laziness gives us a chance to meet ourselves, because so much of our life is looking outward and receiving input from outside. But when we’re with ourselves, we have to experience many parts of ourselves. And it’s only when we do that that we can heal. So it feels like laziness is the route to healing.”

“Freedom comes from inside, but we need [the right] conditions, so the lazy day allows us to learn to be with oneself.”

“Part of our tradition is Zen, and Zen has meditation, and to meditate we have to learn to be still in order to stop. And what are we stopping? We’re stopping our habit and energy of running, whether it is in our minds or in our body. And so learning to be still is an art. It’s a wonderful art and it is actually a very difficult training.”

“The first thing people do is look for interaction: ‘Okay, I have space and time now, let’s go talk to someone.’ And that is also covering up loneliness in us or covering up the emptiness that can be there. But if you actually listen to the space and the time, you may be able to really get in touch with the simple wonders of life.”

“We know that breath is also an energy – so talking takes a lot of energy. This lazy day has been prescribed for our community to learn to rest and heal.” 

“It’s like when there’s a forest fire: to stop the fire from burning they create a firebreak, a space the flames can’t jump over to continue the fire. It’s as if, when we’re consumed by fire, we need to create a space the flames cannot leap over and continue to burn our relationships or burn ourselves. So we have to create breaks where the flames of our lives will diminish and be put out.” 

Nov 24, 2022
Bringing the Ultimate Dimension Down to Earth (Episode #40)
1:45:30

Welcome to episode 40 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 a returning guest, Zen Buddhist monk Brother Phap Linh (Brother Spirit) – who is also the composer of the podcast’s theme music. Together, they talk about how to stay centered in difficult and dark times by looking at a particular deep teaching within Buddhist philosophy: the two dimensions – the ultimate dimension and the historical dimension – and helping us to meaningfully integrate them into the present day.  

They further explore how feelings of grief and joy don’t have to be in conflict with each other; challenges to touching the ultimate dimensions, and (finally) touching the ultimate peace and freedom; the terror of nothingness; true presence; letting go of the four notions (of self, man/human, living beings, and lifespan); cultivating good energies; how the ultimate transforms the historical – and 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

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

Enjoying the Ultimate Dimension: The Nirvana Chapter of the Dharmapada
https://plumvillage.shop/products/study/books-for-monastic-practice/enjoying-the-ultimate-dimension/ 

Classes: ‘In the Ultimate Dimension, Every Dharma Is an Unconditioned Dharma’
https://plumvillage.org/library/classes/class-2-in-the-ultimate-dimension-every-dharma-is-an-unconditioned-dharma/ 

Dharma Talks: ‘The Nature of No Birth and No Death’ (Neuroscience Retreat)
https://plumvillage.org/library/dharma-talks/the-nature-of-no-birth-and-no-death-neuroscience-retreat-br-phap-dung-2019-06-20/    

Dharma Talks: ‘Free from Notions: The Diamond Sutra’
https://plumvillage.org/library/dharma-talks/free-from-notions-the-diamond-sutra/

Dharma Talks: ‘The Diamond Sutra’
https://plumvillage.org/library/dharma-talks/the-diamond-sutra-sr-dang-nghiem-2020-2-27-deer-park-monastery/  

Deep ecology
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep_ecology 

Mahāyāna
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahayana 

Dharma Talks: ‘Freeing Ourselves from Notions’
https://plumvillage.org/library/dharma-talks/freeing-ourselves-from-notions/ 

The Way Out Is In: ‘From Extraction to Regeneration: Healing Ourselves, Healing Society (Episode #16)’
https://plumvillage.org/podcast/from-extraction-to-regeneration-healing-ourselves-healing-society-episode-16/ 


Quotes

“In the historical dimension, we understand that there is time: time is passing; we are in the present moment; the future hasn’t yet come; the past is already gone; and things are outside of each other. I’m sitting over here, you’re sitting over there, Phap Huu is over there; we are apparently separate. I’m separate from my father, from my mother, from the world. I am myself. There are things outside of me, you could say.  Thay once said that, in that world, the cow is outside of the ice cream. That’s the historical dimension. Things are made up of other things. Things are composed of parts; that’s what we learn in science. Everything is made up of atoms and molecules, and beyond the atomic to the subatomic, to the quarks, the gluons, all that other stuff. It seems to be made up of ever smaller things. And that can all be ultimately teased apart and separated and identified. That’s the historical.”

“The ultimate is this sense in which – poets and artists and meditators all touch on this – everything is interconnected. The all is in the one. You look into an oak leaf, you see the tree. And not only the tree, but the whole forest. You see the whole Earth. You see the sun, the moon, the stars, time, space, consciousness. It’s all there, somehow implicit in whatever you look at, whether it’s a leaf or a block of concrete. It’s like everything is in everything else. And that’s in the realm of space, but also in time. So in this present moment, from the point of view of the ultimate, we can see that the whole past history of the cosmos has brought about this moment. So, in a sense, all of that past is in this moment. This is the interbeing of the past and the present. And then the interbeing of the present and the future gives birth to the entire future of the cosmos, according to what we do, how we speak, how we think, how we act in this moment. So the future is also present in this moment. It’s the interbeing of the three times: past, present, and future. You look deeply into it, you see the whole of eternity in the present moment.” 

“Getting in touch with the ultimate dimension doesn’t mean a kind of spiritual bypass. Learning to touch these wonderful states of bliss in your sitting meditation doesn’t mean you can then ignore all of the terrible things going on in the world and still feel fine. That is not touching the ultimate; that is spiritual bypassing. Touching the ultimate means that you are able to contact this deeper level of meaning, of significance – of love, ultimately – in your life, and in the world. And that nourishes you, gives you energy, gives you peace, and [allows you] to come back and stay in the game: to do daily things but with the freshness and the freedom of the ultimate dimension.”

“In meditation practice, when we really start to still our minds, you can do it just by following your breath. [Even] the very basic teaching goes all the way; it’s the whole thing. You sit in stillness and start to follow your breath. And if you are sufficiently determined – or maybe stubborn – and you manage to stick with the sensations of the breath, the whole of the inbreath, the whole of the outbreath, then every time your mind gets pulled away into thinking and distraction and fantasizing, or worrying, regretting or whatever, you can gently bring it back, over and over and over again. If you’re lucky, maybe it becomes completely still and you reach an effortless concentration and your mind just stays there. And if you continue, a fear comes up: the fear of abandoning our inner monologue. The part of us that we tend to unconsciously identify with is the little voice, the nonstop thinking radio that’s narrating our experience to ourselves. It’s very natural, it’s part of the human condition. There’s part of us which is anxious; the part of us which worries about our social standing: are we liked? Are we good enough? Do we have what we want? Do we want something else? It’s always pushing us out of stillness into wanting to get something else, wanting some other experience.”

“Zen is all about transcending language. It’s difficult; you have to be quite stubborn, quite determined.”

“When we use language to understand the world, we start to believe the separateness of things, because the words are separate. Things have separate names: ‘leaf’ is not ‘table’, ‘table’ is not ‘chair’, ‘egg’ is not ‘chicken’. They seem to be separate because they have different names. If we are perceiving the world through language alone, we start to think those separations are real. And that gives rise to so much suffering, stress, and confusion because it includes us: we think that we humans are different, separate, cut off, maybe even lonely. And we experience species-loneliness or -superiority: ‘We’re better than all the rest, we’re the master race.’ That’s also stressful and lonely – but it’s just an artifact of language and [a result] of the way language dominates our perceptions.” 

“We want to touch the ultimate, not to escape but because we want to do everything we can to transform the historical dimension, to make it a more beautiful place, a more loving place, a place where there’s less stress and anxiety. So there’s a reason to do all this.”

Oct 27, 2022
Brother Phap Huu and Jo Confino Answer Questions from Listeners (Episode #39)
1:32:12

Welcome to episode 39 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.

For the first time, the presenters, Zen Buddhist monk Brother Phap Huu and journalist Jo Confino, haven’t picked a topic – instead, they are responding to questions from you, the listeners! 

In the spirit of Plum Village and its Zen tradition of public Q and A sessions, the two presenters encounter a wide range of topics, from light-hearted ones, like an appreciation of Vietnamese soup, watching the World Cup in the monastery, and other joyful moments in the community, to heavier ones such as anger; honoring grief; transformation; vulnerability; the fear of losing somebody precious and the preciousness of time; changing the narrative about happiness; interbeing; practicing mindfulness in schools; and the aspiration of love. 

Their responses include practical examples and draw on both personal experiences and wisdom from the Buddhist Sutras and Thay’s teachings, like the Five Remembrances and the Four Noble Truths.  

To give you a taste of this episode, here are some of the questions covered: How do monks and nuns remain mindful while taking care of many children during the summer retreat? How can we cope with people we find difficult? How can we practice forgiveness when we have been badly hurt? Does anger have a purpose? Do Zen monks engage in any forms of entertainment, or is life a big stage with lay people as the entertainment? How can we be compassionate, forgiving, and open to people while also protecting ourselves? 

Oh, and any ideas why monastics shave their hair?

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

The Happy Farm
https://thehappyfarm.org/ 

The Plum Village hamlets
https://plumvillage.org/about/plum-village/hamlet/ 

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

Rains Retreat
https://plumvillage.org/retreats/info/rains-retreat-2022/ 

Karuṇā
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karu%E1%B9%87%C4%81 

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/ 

The Way Out Is In: ‘Meditating on Death (Episode #26)’
https://plumvillage.org/podcast/meditating-on-death-episode-26/ 

Śāriputra
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C5%9A%C4%81riputra 

Dharma Talks: ‘True Love and the Four Noble Truths’
https://plumvillage.org/library/dharma-talks/true-love-and-the-four-noble-truths/ 


Quotes

“Present moment, precious moment.” 

“The very fact of awareness is the start of change.” 

“Be mindful of your capacity. How much can you love? How much suffering can you handle? And how ready are you to face that difficulty? And it’s not about neglecting, it’s about identifying and then making sure that we are developing our stability to continue to generate the energy of love and compassion. So the beauty that I hear in all of these questions is the aspiration to love.” 

“We have to be mindful of our grief. Grief is an expression of vulnerability also. And what I’ve learned from the passing of my own teacher is that vulnerability and grief is also an expression of love. We feel loss, and we feel empty, and we feel such sadness because there was true love in that relationship.”

“Whenever I’m with the children, I have to shift gears; I have to tap into their energy and tap into who they are. And that is your practice. Your mindfulness is the mindfulness of the children. So remove your expectation that they have to sit in stillness.”

“Compassion is a very powerful energy. But to have compassion, we have to have understanding. So we have to see the person suffering and understand why they behave in such a way, even though it is so, so bitter.” 

“I want to recognize the suffering, see the root of the suffering, and then transform the suffering. And that clarity can offer kindness. So anger is an emotion that, in Buddhism, we see as a hindrance to our liberation; it’s not just negative, but that energy provides more wrong action than right action.”

“If we recognize – and I love this in the teachings about this continuation – that, actually, our life doesn’t end when life ends, that the people we love are still in us, that their actions in their life, their kindness, what they’ve developed, what they’ve built, what they’ve cared about, are still with us. And to recognize that it doesn’t end; it continues and the reverberations of one person’s life go forward in so many ways. We can see and embrace that.” 

“I see you’re angry; let’s look at that anger. Can we identify why we’re angry? And then can we work on that situation, rather than working on that anger? Because sometimes when we’re angry, we don’t even know why. And so mindfulness is to become aware of the source of our anger and then to work at the source.” 

“We know that everything is impermanent. So our face will change, our skin tones will change. Our bodily form will also change. But what we can always keep alive is the love that we have, the freshness that we generate, the stability that we can offer to ourselves and to the ones that we love, as well as our calmness and stillness. And that is a beauty that you cannot buy. That’s a beauty that you can only generate through practice.” 

“The moment of meditation is actually giving us a chance to stop, feel our body, feel what is happening. Maybe we can even say we feel the emotions from all of our thinking, from all of our procrastination. And it’s different from looking deeply.”

Oct 13, 2022
Summer Stories of Love, Joy, and Grief (Episode #38)
1:24:28

Welcome to episode 38 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 back after a short hiatus with an episode covering their own stories from a summer which has been equally joyful and unsettling. Get ready for an eclectic mix of topics, from the first post-pandemic (and sold out!) summer retreats at Plum Village, weddings, and family reunions, to collective awakening, interbeing, and civilizational collapse; what they’ve learned, and how the practice of mindfulness helped them through the ups and downs.  

Brother Phap Huu talks about taking the pulse of the world via visiting lay practitioners; dharma families; deep sharing; the importance of practice during a special event for his blood family; learning to rest and knowing the limits as an essential practice; dealing with inferiority complexes; and the seed of parenting within all of us. And, yes: walking meditation can have a part in a wedding. 

Jo reflects on civilizational collapse after attending a convention of experts about the polycrisis which combines multiple intersecting emergencies; the accumulation of presence; fast-paced society and its ‘instant results’; recognizing jealousy; stability in dark moments; the historical dimension and the ultimate dimensions; and interbeing, the limits of coming back to our true self, and the potential of coming back to life.

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 Retreats
https://plumvillage.org/retreats/visiting-us/ 

Wake Up Humanity 2022
https://plumvillage.org/retreats/info/international-wake-up-retreat-2022/ 

Rains Retreat 2022
https://plumvillage.org/retreats/info/rains-retreat-2022/ 

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

The European Institute of Applied Buddhism (EIAB)
https://plumvillage.org/practice-centre/eiab/ 

Parallax Press
https://www.parallax.org/ 

Letters: ‘New Designs for Monastic Robes’
https://plumvillage.org/about/thich-nhat-hanh/letters/monastic-fashion/ 

Classes: ‘In the Ultimate Dimension, Every Dharma Is an Unconditioned Dharma’
https://plumvillage.org/library/classes/class-2-in-the-ultimate-dimension-every-dharma-is-an-unconditioned-dharma/ 


Quotes

“It is such a practice to slow down and to give yourself permission to not look at the emails and to smile at them and say, ‘I don’t have to answer this right away. Who said I have to answer this right away?’ We have created a culture where everything needs to be immediate. Everything needs to be done right here, right now. This is the opposite of living happily in the present moment.” 

“Walking meditation can be applied anywhere. And I really encourage all of us to invest in this practice, because it is formless and nobody needs to know that we are practicing it. But it is there all the time.”

“Now more than ever, we need this inner stability for us to face suffering, or else we are going to lose ourselves, we’re going to panic, we’re going to get overwhelmed. […] Those emotions are not being recognized and cared for. And that is why, for me, this has to go into education; this has to go into the mainstream of well-being. It’s not Buddhism; Buddhism is one of the beautiful manifestations of our diversity, but well-being and a sense of community in taking care of each other’s suffering needs to be highlighted more.”

“Why is it that I can’t drop everything and sit here and be completely happy in this moment? We are not alone in this. I think it’s a symptom of this society that we live in, which is always [about] the opportunity to do more.” 

“Mindfulness also means to recollect, to remind yourself. And the body is always your teacher. That was a new discovery for me, and I am very grateful for that. […] I hope that all of us can tune into our bodies. And that’s why the first foundation of mindfulness is the body, because your body is an indicator of where there’s tension, where you’re carrying weight, suffering, anxiety, stress, etc.” 

“I know for certain that the practice is not a one-time thing; it’s a continuous journey, and it’s never too late or too early to start the practice, because we see the practice as a growing and a living life energy for us.”

“The practice is like the meditations, the slowing down, the listening to the bell, giving yourself permission to stop. When you’re eating, do you cultivate gratitude? All of these little things that we do, the in-between that we think doesn’t have an impact is the bricks that you create for your foundation.”

“Listening to the perspectives of people who’ve looked at past collapses of civilizations, the main constituents have often been inequality and overuse of resources and other elements. And all those conditions are present in our current society. […] Collapse doesn’t happen in a day; it can happen over time in many different forms.” 

“In the ultimate dimension, we know that everything is impermanent, everything arises, everything falls apart. In a few billion years, the Earth will get too close to the sun and explode and all the matter in our Earth will spread out into the universe and may create life elsewhere. So everything comes and goes. But I have this life and so I have this narrow prism of looking out. And I want to protect it; I want everything to be okay. But, in the great arc of history, this era will pass and there’ll be another. [So it is good to] not to be so attached, and [to have] the ability to hold two truths. So I’m deeply attached, in a sense: I want my children; my family; my friends; my community, Plum Village; the world, to do well and to prosper. But I recognize that it’s not in me to control that. And that allows me to commit to seeking change, to give my full self to the change without attachment to a certain way or to the idea that there is a right outcome, because I don’t know what it is.” 

“It’s to see the darkness and the light, how they support each other. Just like our night and our day: our night helps us to sleep, to rest, and our day allows us to have action. So the collapse, the suffering, can be a big motivator for us to change our habits or change our ways.” 

“Interbeing is an insight that can liberate us. And when we say liberate, we always have to ask, ‘What are we liberating [ourselves] from?’ So this particular question is about the self, but the self is also the foundation for a lot of ignorance, because the self is so one-dimensional. It’s ‘Me, me, me, me.’ And that allows us to be so greedy, so angry, so selfish. And a lot of the suffering of today is because of this view, that ‘I am the most important person, my family’s the most important, and anything to do with me is important.’ But we break free from that by seeing the non-me in all of this.”

Sep 29, 2022
Benefitting from a Spiritual Practice: In Conversation with Tom Rivett-Carnac (Episode #37)
1:42:06

Welcome to episode 37 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 in conversation by Tom Rivett-Carnac. Together, they discuss the power that deep spiritual grounding has to support change in the world, as well as how to bring presence and insight into our daily lives and the global challenges we face; how to cultivate inner peace; and taking steps to make mindfulness a tool for individual and collective awakening. 

Tom Rivett-Carnac is a political strategist, author, and podcaster who has spent more than 20 years working to address the climate and ecological crises. He is also a Founding Partner of Global Optimism, co-presenter of the well-known climate podcast Outrage + Optimism, and co-author of bestselling book The Future We Choose

Tom also talks about his early-life experience as a Buddhist monk; spiritual development; coming together without egoic attachment to find collective solutions; and integrating practice and activism.  

Brother Phap Huu talks about practices for collective awakening and how to not lose track of mindfulness in society’s busyness; training for the hard times; communities as support for the practice; touching enlightenment in daily life; finding peace in silence; being the change we want to see; and how Thich Nhat Hanh’s teachings can serve people in times of crises.  

Jo delves into the power of presence; letting go of views; and why ‘showing up fully at work’ may not work.

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
 
Tom Rivett-Carnac
https://www.globaloptimism.com/tom-rivett-carnac

The Future We Choose: The Stubborn Optimist’s Guide to the Climate Crisis
https://www.globaloptimism.com/the-future-we-choose 

S.N. Goenka
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S._N._Goenka 

Sagaing, Myanmar/Burma
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sagaing 

Christiana Figueres
http://christianafigueres.com/#/ 

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

The Way Out Is In: ‘Free from Views in a Polarized World’ (episode 36)
https://plumvillage.org/podcast/free-from-views-in-a-polarized-world-episode-36/ 

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OECD 

Ajahn Chah
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ajahn_Chah 


Quotes

“I’ve done things in the last two days that I haven’t done for 20 years. Like just sit on a log and watch the wind in the poplars for 15 minutes. And how deeply satisfying that present moment can be. I feel very grateful to find that again. And the strange thing, of course, is it was always there. I was allowing myself to develop this sense of melancholy and regret, like it was this difficult thing that I’d achieved and forgotten. And then, coming back here, it actually seemed simple.” 

“Spirituality, for us, is the refuge within that needs to always be cultivated.”

“When we speak about coming back to oneself in Buddhism, it’s not about taking care of the ego but finding all of the beautiful conditions that we want to cultivate outside, inside of us. Then we will have the ingredients to offer to the world, to the workplace, to our families, to our loved ones.” 

“The necessary step that we all need to take is moving mindfulness away from being something that happens in isolation from the world, to something that happens while we are in the world and that the world can become a tool for.” 

“The only way in which we have a sense of collective purpose is in the unity of how we direct our attention towards the present moment, towards the world that we’re living in, that we’re all working to protect, but which the busyness of that activity is preventing us from seeing.” 

“I feel like I’ve spent half my adult life focusing primarily on presence and spiritual development, and the other half on raising a family, the problems of the world, and climate change – and now I feel like the interesting work is at the intersection of those two. I don’t feel like we can really advance unless we’re able to bring those two different elements together in ourselves, in our work, because we’re not really doing it at the moment.”

“The systems and the institutions that we have relied upon to see us through this great crisis don’t look capable of delivering what we want. So where’s the edge that we need to dwell with in order to move forward? I believe it’s the integration of how we’re living our lives, how we’re bringing presence and insight to our moment, to the moments of our life and the great challenges of our generation.” 

“What we need is a collective awakening. Our teacher has said, ‘One Buddha is not enough anymore for our times, for our suffering, for the situations that we are facing. We need multitudes of bodhisattvas, of those who are selfless, those who know how to see the benefit of others as their own benefits, the well-being of the planet as their well-being.’”

“Even though what is being shared is so painful, instead of drowning and being overwhelmed by the sorrow, my breathing becomes my foundation. I’m still present with the suffering, but I can guide the suffering. And this inner work, we believe [it] is so necessary for everyone today, because what we are facing will bring up a lot of emotions and feelings and even a sense of despair. And we all need a place of refuge and we need communities. I truly believe that community is the way forward; we cannot do it by ourselves. There’s no superman that can change the situation. We really need a collective movement, a collective awakening, a collective practice.” 

“It would be very easy to say, ‘I’ve spent ten years following my spiritual pursuits and 15 years working in the climate movement. Now I want to integrate them, I need to go away and think up a plan and come up with an ideology and a view that is one of integration.’ But all we will have done is add to the number of ideologies and views out there. So it has to be about creating an intentionality and a presence and a space from which something can emerge. And that process can probably neither be hurried nor slowed down, but [it also] can’t be born unless it has space to breathe.”

“The first thing that I feel will be important for me in returning to my life is the acceptance that normal life is different, and that I can’t expect perfection from myself. That in itself creates a relaxation. The best that we can do is bring more presence and more intentionality, and move in a direction that has that infused in it, and be able to let go of the things that distract us, the ideas that trap us – but that’s going to be a process.”

Sep 09, 2022
Free from Views in a Polarized World (Episode #36)
1:33:31

Welcome to episode 36 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, discuss views and perceptions, and how to move beyond them to find deeper meaning and truth in life.

Together, they provide the context for the Buddhist concept of right view, deconstruct ‘view’ and perceptions, including giving examples. They also share zen stories and practices (such as the Five Mindfulness Trainings – with a special focus on the first three) which can help us let go of views that bring suffering, while embracing the ones that can bring happiness.

Brother Phap Huu explains the Buddhist perception of view and the updated Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings for monastic and lay practitioners. He further discusses fanaticism; “seeing the world beyond our world”; the practice of compassionate listening and deep looking; true communication; freedom of thought and openness to learning; and collective awakening. And what is it about aligning with a particular viewpoint that makes people feel safe and secure?

Jo delves into the “terror of nothingness”; the sacred nature of things, and the fear of the sacred; the importance of connecting with and understanding our roots; holding more than one truth; and the accumulation of intellectual knowledge.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mahāyāna
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahayana 

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

Leaders’ Quest
https://leadersquest.org/ 

Lindsay Levin
https://leadersquest.org/who-we-are/people/lindsay-levin/ 

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/ 

Old Path White Clouds
https://plumvillage.org/books/old-path-white-clouds-2/ 

Dharma Talks: ‘The Four Immeasurable Minds – The Four Elements of True Love’
https://plumvillage.org/library/dharma-talks/the-four-immeasurable-minds-the-four-elements-of-true-love-sr-dieu-nghiem-sr-jina-2018-07-26/ 


Quotes

“The Buddha once said that 95% of our perceptions are wrong; we are so quick in our judgment that we see things as we want to, but not as they are.” 

“Thay said, ‘I would never want to bring my students, my children, to a place where there is no suffering. In such a place, my children would never have an opportunity to grow, because they will not learn from suffering. And we know that life has a lot of teachings, and suffering is one of the teachings.’”

“Thay had told us a mantra should be, ‘You are partially right.’”

“We have to experience everything in life, not in concept.”

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

“Embrace your view, give it space, allow it to be, but don’t feed it. Don’t feed it and give it extra food, but question it and challenge it.”

“I always remember the Dalai Lama saying, ‘If you have a spiritual epiphany, let it go, because a spiritual epiphany can be an imprisonment that you spend your life going back to. And that’s where you get stuck.’”

“I wish everybody had the conditions to see the world beyond their world. When we are so attached to our views, it is because we haven’t yet allowed ourselves to be open.”

“One time, someone asked Thay, ‘What would you choose, Buddhism or peace?’ And he said, ‘Of course, peace. Because the essence of Buddhism is to have inner peace and outer peace. I’m ready to let go of Buddhism. If peace is there, then Buddhism is not needed, because Buddhism is also just a view.’”

“Thay was very, very clear that if you come to Plum Village and you become interested in Buddhist teachings and practices, do not let go of your own religious or spiritual traditions. Buddhism doesn’t [need to] take over from that; it can add something. But he has constantly talked about the importance of connecting to your own roots, of being aware of your own roots, of not distancing yourself. Because our roots are important and they help us to understand ourselves, they help us to understand what our views are. Even if they are views that we want to let go of, we can only understand them in the context of our past.”

“There is no one truth; there are many truths.”

“Aware of the suffering created by attachment to views and wrong perceptions, we are determined to avoid being narrow-minded and bound to present views. We are committed to learning and practicing non-attachment to views and being open to others’ experiences and insights, in order to benefit from collective wisdom. We are aware that the knowledge we presently possess is not changeless, absolute truth. Insight is revealed through the practice of compassionate listening, deep looking, and letting go of notions, rather than through the accumulation of intellectual knowledge. Truth is found in life, and we will observe life within and around us in every moment, ready to learn throughout our lives.”

“Life is always changing. Are we the same as we were yesterday, or different? The answer is, we are neither the same nor different, because we are always changing. We are the present moment, but we are also of the past, because everything that we have experienced is here. But we are not just that past, because we’re living in this moment, which we are organically changing.”

“The raft is not the shore. When you arrive at the shore, the shore which resembles liberation, we have to let go of the raft.” 

“If people are not deeply listening to each other, not incorporating ideas, not seeing a constellation or system of change, then actually people are just defending themselves.”

“When we want to teach something, we have to learn to walk the talk.” 



Aug 11, 2022
No Way to Happiness; Happiness Is the Way (Episode #35)
1:45:33

Welcome to episode 35 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, discuss the art of happiness according to the sutras from the Buddha’s time. Their conversation explores the many layers of the Discourse on Happiness, each of the 11 causes of ‘the greatest happiness’, as shared by the Buddha, and how these ancient texts help us create the conditions in which our own happiness can ripen today. 

Both Brother Phap Huu and Jo dig deeply into their own private and professional lives to exemplify and support these subjects; from ‘living our values’ and the Four Gratitudes to the power of the sangha, meaning and purpose,  generosity, forgiveness, Thay’s memorable calligraphies, and many other topics.

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 

Sutras: ‘Discourse on Happiness’
https://plumvillage.org/library/sutras/discourse-on-happiness/ 

Tathāgata
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tath%C4%81gata 

Deva
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deva_(Buddhism) 

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

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/ 

‘The Order of Interbeing’
https://plumvillage.org/community/order-of-interbeing/

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

‘Dharma Sharing’
https://plumvillage.org/mindfulness/extended-practises/ 

TWOII: ‘Engaged Buddhism: Applying the Teachings in Our Present Moment (Episode #9)’
https://plumvillage.org/podcast/engaged-buddhism-applying-the-teachings-in-our-present-moment/ 

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

Tết
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T%E1%BA%BFt 


Quotes

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

“Thay said that happiness is not outside of you, happiness is in you and around you already. It’s whether we have the mindfulness to recognize the wonderful conditions that are there. And so, if we change our perceptions, we start to see that happiness is the way. Just being is the way. And so we can free ourselves from the habit of running after happiness.”

“Not to be associated with the foolish ones, but to live in the company of wise people, honoring those who are worth honoring – this is the greatest happiness.”

“[Thay suggested sometimes calling] a good friend, a soulmate, someone who understands you, someone who helps you see your shortcomings, and has the courage and the intention to share with you your own ignorance, so that you can grow from it. That is happiness.” 

“To live in a good environment, to have planted good seeds, and to realize you are on the right path – this is the greatest happiness.”

“The environment is not outside of you; you are the environment.”

“Every thought is planting a seed. Every idea I conjure up in my mind is planting a seed. Everything I say is planting a seed. Everything I do is planting a seed. And I think people tend not to see the full nature of what it is to plant seeds; that, actually, there’s nothing neutral [about it].” 

“To have a chance to learn and grow, to be skillful in your professional craft, practicing the precepts and loving speech – this is the greatest happiness.” 

“To live honestly, generous and giving, to offer support to relatives and friends living a life of blameless conduct – this is the greatest happiness.” 

“Most of the time, we make ourselves very busy and we think we love and we define love as always giving each other presents. But love is to give each other presence, our true presence, our heart, our ears, our eyes: ‘I see you for who you are. I’m here to listen to you.’” 

“Being honest means never having to remember what you said.”

“To avoid unwholesome actions, not to be caught by alcoholism or drugs, and to be diligent in doing good things. This is the greatest happiness.” 

“To be humble and polite in manner, to be grateful and content with a simple life, not missing the occasion to learn the dharma – this is the greatest happiness.” 

“Be grateful and content with a simple life. That always brings me to one of Thay’s calligraphies: ‘You have enough.’ That line tells us to continue to learn to have moderation. We are a species with a lot of greed; we take more than we need. We see things as just things, so we keep taking and taking and taking. But what we have learned in our times is that everything is interrelated; that’s why we are in the state that we are in. And that’s why we need this collective awakening. Simple life should be the new culture.”

“To be humble is to be free, because as soon as we believe we’re something more than ourselves, it’s a shaky superstructure. To keep it going, we have to keep feeding it, and building it, and protecting it. And, again, it feeds into that egoic mask. Actually, we just lose ourselves. And the more we lose ourselves, the harder it is to come back to ourselves, because the distance becomes so great.”

“Practicing Buddhism is not to escape this world, but to be more alive in it.”

Aug 04, 2022
Pathways through Busyness, Overwhelm and Burnout (Episode #34)
1:21:27

Welcome to episode 34 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, talk about the modern diseases of busyness, overwhelm, and burnout, and how Zen Buddhist practices and Thich Nhat Hanh’s teachings can help us regain our balance. 

Brother Phap Huu shares his thoughts on busyness in a monastic environment; coming home to ourselves and learning to stop in the midst of crises; the four elements (the practice, the study, the service, the joy); the noble silence practice in a retreat, and becoming one with the silence; learning to stop and listen to ourselves; the practice of deep belly breathing; impermanence. And do you know how the Zen Master himself would face up and deal with overwhelm?

Jo shares his thoughts on the Climate Leaders retreat and makes a case for an “age of community.” He further reflects on allowing vulnerability in our overwhelm and busyness; compassion for ourselves; selfishness and selflessness; simplicity in the practice; guilt.  

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 

‘Wake Up Humanity 2022’ retreat
https://plumvillage.org/retreats/info/international-wake-up-retreat-2022/ 

Plum Village Retreats Calendar
https://plumvillage.org/retreats/retreats-calendar/ 

Five Skandhas
https://encyclopediaofbuddhism.org/wiki/Five_skandhas 

Dharma Talks: ‘The Five Skandhas of Grasping and Non-Self’​
https://plumvillage.org/library/dharma-talks/the-five-skandhas-of-grasping-and-non-self%e2%80%8b-dharma-talk-by-br-phap-lai-2018-06-08/ 

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

‘Connecting to Our Root Teacher, the Buddha’
https://plumvillage.org/about/thich-nhat-hanh/letters/connecting-to-our-root-teacher-a-letter-from-thay-27-sept-2014/

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

‘The Toadskin Hut and Paths of Legend’
https://plumvillage.org/about/thich-nhat-hanh/letters/the-toadskin-hut-and-paths-of-legend/ 


Quotes

“Mindfulness means to be aware of what is happening in the here and now. And when we associate to this practice, a lot of the habits that we have as a practitioner, especially practitioners, we want to feel the good sensation more than the negative. But here, in the spirit of Buddhism, the teachings of the Buddha, when we speak about mindfulness, it is to embrace everything that is happening.”

“A lot of monks in this time, and generations before us, have Zen gardens. They have gardens that they would take care of because that is also a way of directing energy, so overwhelming is an energy. So our practice is learning to identify the energy and directing that energy so that it can bring us back to balance.”

“What I think is core to Buddhist practice is that we can only be useful in the world if we’re in balance ourselves. And it’s not selfish to look after yourself, it’s actually selfless because it’s only when our bowl is full and overflowing that we’re able to naturally give to other people. And when our bowl is empty, actually we’ve got nothing to give.” 

“When you come to our practice in the retreats, this is the first thing we teach everyone: learning to stop. That’s why these bells in the monastery are so important. We have this aspiration to stop, but our habit, our ancestral habit, our habit from society is so strong in us that we feel like we have to do something.” 

“Learn to listen to yourself.”

“Don’t wait for life to be difficult to start practising, but learn to practise in the good times so that when a difficult time comes, we’ve already built that into our system. Because a lot of people think, ‘Oh, well, life is fine. Why do I need to be mindful? Why do I do this? Because everything’s good.’ But it’s when we have space in the good times to focus and to understand how our mind works, how our body works, how we can reflect on ourselves, that in the moments where things get very tough and we lose that space, that we already know how to act. And I think a lot of people feel that they can just do this when times are bad.” 

“Coming home to oneself is the beginning of transformation, because when we have the capacity to come home, that’s when we can work on oneself.”

“We want to create sustainability outside, but we have to create sustainability inside also.”

“When you come home to yourself, this is transformation at the base.”

“An important aspect of dealing with overwhelm is to be vulnerable with it, because often we feel that to cope we have to close down, and we have to protect ourselves. Whereas, more than often, the truth is we open up, we share, we are present, we show our weaknesses, we show our scars. And that gives other people permission to do the same.”

“I think so much of dealing with overwhelm, dealing with busyness is to be vulnerable in it. Because if we all feel alone and none of us are sharing about it, then all we’re doing is exacerbating it. We’re not letting anyone offer their support. No one can offer their care because we’ve closed the door.”

“Man is not our enemy. It is ignorance.”

Jul 28, 2022
Beyond Words: The Power of Presence (Episode #33)
1:51:01

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.”

Jun 30, 2022
Falling Back in Love with Mother Earth: In Conversation with Thich Nhat Hahn (Episode #32)
56:23

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.”

Jun 16, 2022
True Love: Practicing in Relationship (Episode #31)
1:32:41


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.”

Jun 02, 2022
Guest Episode: ‘Reconnecting with Gaia: A Deep Time Walk’
1:06:15

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.”

May 26, 2022
Meditating on Grief (Episode #30)
1:02:57

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.”

May 19, 2022
Mindful Consumption (Episode #29)
1:18:27

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.”  

May 12, 2022
Understanding How Our Mind Works (Episode #28)
1:30:40

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.parallax.org/mindfulnessbell//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.”

Apr 22, 2022
Kaira Jewel Lingo on White Supremacy and Racial Healing (Episode #27)
1:29:12

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.”

Apr 15, 2022
Meditating on Death (Episode #26)
1:20:10

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.parallax.org/mindfulnessbell//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.”

Apr 10, 2022
Active Hope: The Wisdom of Joanna Macy (Episode #25)
1:31:00

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/

Mar 25, 2022
War and Peace (Episode #24)
1:15:41

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.”

Mar 17, 2022
Deep Reflection: The Calligraphy of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh (Episode #23)
1:15:07

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.”

Mar 03, 2022
The Meditator, the Artist, and the Warrior (Episode #22)
1:24:08

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.” 

Feb 24, 2022
Being the Change We Want to See in the World: A Conversation with Christiana Figueres (Episode #21)
1:45:56

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.”

Feb 17, 2022
A Cloud Never Dies: The Passing of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh (Episode #20)
1:48:08

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.”

Feb 09, 2022
The Miracle of Mindfulness: Thich Nhat Hanh in Conversation with Krista Tippett (Episode #19)
47:03

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

Jan 28, 2022
The Three Doors of Liberation (Episode #18)
1:18:58

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?” 

Dec 30, 2021
Wise Leadership (Episode #17)
1:36:37

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.’”

Dec 16, 2021
From Extraction to Regeneration: Healing Ourselves, Healing Society (Episode #16)
1:47:10

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.”

Dec 02, 2021
Building and Sustaining the Beloved Community (Episode #15)
1:21:42

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.” 

Nov 25, 2021
I Have Arrived, I Am Home; What a Blessing (Episode #14)
1:18:54

Welcome to episode fourteen 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, presenters Zen Buddhist monk Brother Phap Huu and lay Buddhist practitioner and journalist Jo Confino are joined by special guest, Zen Buddhist nun Sister Jina (Sister Chân Diệu Nghiêm). A former abbess of Lower Hamlet in Plum Village, since 1990, Sister Jina has been one of Thich Nhat Hanh’s first European monastic disciples. 

Together, these three delve into what it means to arrive home in our bodies, in the present moment. And what is the present moment?

Sister Jina talks about her path to meditation – from yoga teacher in County Wexford, Ireland, to Plum Village, France, via Hokyoji Temple in Japan; her new book of poetry, Moments of Joy (“Instamatic photographs of my daily life but in words”); and her thoughts on meditation after more than 30 years’ practice.

She also shares further wisdom on Buddhist psychology; self-acceptance and self-healing; the importance of sangha; store consciousness (both individual and collective); the benefits on daily life of practicing meditation; guidance on the spiritual path; gladdening the mind and focusing on what’s right in the world. You’ll also find out how walking meditations can sometimes alleviate migraines. 

Brother Phap Huu recollects moments of joy, wisdom, and support from the former abbess, while Jo tells of an unexpected encounter with a real estate agent.

Informed by memories of how others touch our lives, gratitude runs through the whole conversation. By the way, what are you grateful for today?

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 

Sōtō
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S%C5%8Dt%C5%8D

Dōgen Zenji
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D%C5%8Dgenhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D%C5%8Dgen

Eihei-ji temple
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eihei-ji

D.T. Suzuki
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D._T._Suzuki

The Mindfulness Bell
https://www.parallax.org/mindfulnessbell// 

Ayya Khema
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayya_Khema 

Wabi-sabi
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wabi-sabi

‘Discourse on the Dharma Seal’
https://plumvillage.org/sutra/discourse-on-the-dharma-seal/

Moments of Joy
https://www.parallax.org/product/moments-of-joy/


Quotes

“I have come to the right place in the right way, aware of every step I take.”

“It’s who we are, individually and collectively, that changes the world.” 

“The journey is the goal. It’s walking the path, it’s practicing. And to arrive in every step, every moment. It’s not, ‘I’m going to run because I want to get straight to enlightenment.’ That’s not how to get to enlightenment. In fact, enlightenment, if I’ve understood correctly, is in the present moment: to arrive in every step, to be fully present in every step, to live fully every moment.”

“This present moment holds the past and the future.”

“The present moment is the only moment we have. And if we realize that, we will live our lives differently.” 

“Nowadays you hear a lot about self-compassion; I think that it’s a door that leads to full self-acceptance and to arriving home. The oneness of body and mind. My body is the home of my mind.”

“People tend to look for the problems in life, rather than looking at what’s right.”

“What goes into the mind, comes out of the mind.” 

“We’re not headings, we are beings.”

“[Plum Village in 1990] looked like a very welcoming place. It had a meditation hall, a dining hall, and there were teachings. So, for me, that’s the monastery, that’s what makes a monastery. You have teachings, you have clothing, food, and a roof over your head – what else do you want?”

“I made a distinction between what I called passive thinking – thoughts just passing by – and active thinking: engaging with the thought that passed through my mind and caused pain.”

“If a tree dies in a garden or a forest, the mistake is to give all your attention to that one tree, when actually it’s really important to look at all the other trees that are still healthy and vibrant.”

“I think home is that sense of collecting all the fragments of our life back together.”

“My experience is gratitude, and gratitude is definitely one way to gladden the mind. So look at what is right in our lives. Even if a lot of things go wrong, look for what is still right, and I’m sure we will find something. And then allow what is right to gladden our mind.” 

“Let’s say store consciousness is like the Earth, which contains all the seeds. And the seeds that you water will grow into plants. But when they grow into plants and flower, they become mental formations. And you have positive mental formations, not-so-positive mental formations, and neutral mental formations. So I practice, ‘What do I consume? What seeds do I water? What plants am I growing? What is my garden of the mind looking like?’” 

Nov 18, 2021
Desires and Temptations: The Illusion of Happiness (Episode #13)
56:32

Welcome to episode thirteen 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, presenters Zen Buddhist monk Brother Phap Huu and lay Buddhist practitioner and journalist Jo Confino talk about sensual pleasures, temptations, and what the Buddha had to say about these topics, 2,600 ago. They further ponder how to come back to our true selves rather than looking outside of ourselves for happiness and indulging in fame, sex, and power. And is it true that what you put in your head manifests in your daily life?  

Brother Phap Huu reads relevant gathas from Discourse on Youth and Happiness and digs deeper into the four elements of love and the three complexes. He also talks about finding joy and happiness in a simple monastic life (do you know why monastics shave their head?); true connection; the joy of being part of a retreat for thousands of people; witnessing transformation; togetherness; becoming ‘a place of refuge’ for others.

You’ll find tips on recognizing when the ego takes over, how to direct sexual energy into something wholesome, and how to not become a slave to pleasure.  

Jo delves into spotting insecurities; breaking through the myths we create about others; letting go of inferiority and superiority complexes; humility and trust.

You’ll get some journalistic tips for editing your own life. And talking of life, if you were a sunflower in a field, which one would you be?

The episode ends with a 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

Discourse on Youth and Happiness
https://plumvillage.org/library/sutras/discourse-on-youth-and-happiness/ 

‘Creating Gathas’
https://plumvillage.org/articles/creating-gathas-mindfulness-at-play/ 

World Economic Forum (Davos)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Economic_Forum 

Dr. Seuss
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dr._Seuss   

Sutras
https://plumvillage.org/genre/sutras/ 


Quotes

“When we become a monk or a nun and we enter into a spiritual commitment, we are learning to let go of something, learning to put a stop to our habits, a stop to our desire. So when we shave our heads and commit ourselves to this life, it is also a sign of determination that I am ready to cut off all my friction, cut off all my desire and learn to live deeply in the present moment and be free from it.” 

“To learn to recognize suffering, sometimes we have to learn to recognize our habit of running after pleasure.”

“The Buddha teaches me that I am not chasing something in the future. I am learning to live deeply in the present moment because the desire that we run after can offer just a little sweetness, but much bitterness later on.”

“When we run after pleasure, we are losing ourselves.”

“For most of us, the truth is that we don’t know ourselves and we don’t spend the time to come back to ourselves. So we get caught in this pattern of chasing after things we think will make us happy. But ultimately, we always know that you can’t find happiness outside of yourself. That’s why this podcast is called The Way Out Is In, because it’s only by coming back to ourselves and understanding who we truly are that we can be happy.”

“So much in life is a creation of our mind, and if we pierce it, we find truth. And I would much rather get to know someone more deeply than to have a fantasy about them.” 

“The way you navigate in today’s world is not only internally, but you also have to take care of your connections, your environment, and the people around you, because they are also influences. They can also give some hooks unmindfully through conversations or even ideas and views.”

“The whole purpose of Buddhism, Buddhist philosophy, is to find true happiness.”

“Most of Western society now is built on bypassing our suffering, thinking that happiness is to avoid suffering, not to go through our suffering. Because the truth is that it’s by going into our suffering that we find our way through.” 

“We have to heal this idea of what love is.”

“Ending desire, overcoming the three complexes,
Our mind is stilled, we have nothing to long for.
We lay aside all affliction and sorrow,
In this life and in lives to come.”

“If you think you are greater, less than, or equal, you cause dissension. When those three complexes have ended, nothing can agitate your mind.”

“Life continues in so many different ways. And the Buddha, even though he passed away 2,600 years ago, is still present today through his teachings. So each and every one of us, as human beings, we have many ways to continue in this life, even after we are not here.” 

“One of the things within Thich Nhat Hanh’s mindfulness training is to be careful what we consume because the fact is, what we consume is what we become.”

“This is because that is. We all inter-be, we all are flowers of humanity, and each flower is unique in its own way.”

“We’re always growing, we’re always changing, and that is the beauty of us. And if we recognize that we’re always changing and that the way we take care of ourselves in this very moment will shape who we will be tomorrow, then our future is very bright.” 

Nov 11, 2021
Grief and Joy on a Planet in Crisis: Joanna Macy on the Best Time To Be Alive (Episode #12)
1:22:35

Welcome to episode twelve 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, presenters Zen Buddhist monk Brother Phap Huu and lay Buddhist practitioner and journalist Jo Confino are joined 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 from six decades of activism, has written twelve books, and teaches an empowerment approach known as the Work That Reconnects. 

Together, all three discuss: the relevance of Thich Nhat Hanh’s teachings to the crises we face today as a species; the energy of simplicity; truth-telling and the power of facing the truth; the grounds for transformation; impermanence; interbeing. 

Joanna recollects what Thich Nhat Hanh’s teachings and activism have meant to her, and shares a special meeting with him in the early 1980s, during a UN peace conference, when Thay read one of his essential poems in public for the first time. Joanna’s activism, forged during many campaigns, and her practice and study of Theravada Buddhism, shine through in her priceless advice about facing the current social and ecological crisis, grieving for all creation, and finding the power to deal with the heartbreaking present-day reality. She also addresses how grief and joy can coexist in one person, and how to be present for life even in the midst of struggle.

Their conversations will take you from the current “great unravelling” and the “gift of death” to Rilke’s poetry; the magic of love as solution; active hope; the contemporary relevance of the ancient Prophecy of the Shambhala Warriors; the possibility of a “great turning”. And can you guess her aspirations at 92? Could a swing be just the perfect place to discuss the evanescence of life?

Brother Phap Huu shares a lesson in patience from Thay, and adds to the teachings of touching suffering, recognizing and embracing the truth, consumption of consciousness, finding balance, and smiling at life. 

Jo reads a special translation of one of Rainer Maria Rilke’s Duino Elegies, expands upon some of Joanna’s core books and philosophies, and recollects “irreplaceable” advice about overwork.  

The episode ends with a guided meditation by Joanna Macy.


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  

Lotus in a Sea of Fire (1967)
https://plumvillage.org/books/1967-hoa-sen-trong-bien-lua-lotus-in-a-sea-of-fire/

Call Me By My True Names
https://plumvillage.org/books/call-me-by-my-true-names/

Celestial Bodhisattvas
https://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/buddhas-and-bodhisattvas-celestial-buddhas-and-bodhisattvas

Rainer Maria Rilke
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rainer_Maria_Rilke 

Duino Elegies
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duino_Elegies 

The Tenth Elegy
https://www.tellthestory.co.uk/translatedpoemduino10.html

The Book of Hours
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Book_of_Hours 

Satipaṭṭhāna
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satipatthana 

World as Lover, World as Self
https://www.parallax.org/product/world-as-lover-world-as-self-a-guide-to-living-fully-in-turbulent-times/

‘The Shambhala Warrior’
https://www.awakin.org/read/view.php?tid=236 

The Shambhala Warrior Prophecy
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=14dbM93FALE 

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

‘Entering the Bardo’
https://emergencemagazine.org/op_ed/entering-the-bardo/ 

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

Ho Chi Minh
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ho_Chi_Minh

Śūnyatā
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C5%9A%C5%ABnyat%C4%81

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

Kṣitigarbha
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%E1%B9%A3itigarbha 

Parallax Press
https://www.parallax.org/

Ānāpānasati
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anapanasati 

Satipaṭṭhāna
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satipatthana


Quotes 

“Do not be afraid of feeling pain for the world. Do not be afraid of the suffering, but take it. That’s what a bodhisattva learns to do, and that makes your heart very big.”

“Life is only difficult for those who pick and choose. You just take it. And that helps you feel whole, and maybe flying with the birds helps you be with the deep levels of hell. But this is life and it’s all given to us and it’s given free.”

“It doesn’t take a poet; all of us can feel that there are times when a shadow passes over our mood and we taste the tears. Taste the tears. They’re salty. It’s the living Earth. We are part of this.” 

“All Rilke says is, ‘Give me the time so I can love the things.’ As if that’s the great commandment. So I want more time to do what I’m made to do. Why else do we have these hearts with more neurons in them than our brains? Why else are we given eyes that can see the beauty of this world and ears that can hear such beautiful poetry? And lungs that can breathe the air. We have to use these things for tasting and loving our world. And if she’s ailing, now is the time to love her more.”

“You are the environment; the environment is not outside of you.”

“We are in a space without a map. With the likelihood of economic collapse and climate catastrophe looming, it feels like we are on shifting ground, where old habits and old scenarios no longer apply. In Tibetan Buddhism, such a space or gap between known worlds is called a bardo. It is frightening. It is also a place of potential transformation. As you enter the bardo, there facing you is the Buddha Akshobhya. His element is Water. He is holding a mirror, for his gift is Mirror Wisdom, reflecting everything just as it is. And the teaching of Akshobhya’s mirror is this: Do not look away. Do not avert your gaze. Do not turn aside. This teaching clearly calls for radical attention and total acceptance.”

“We all have an appointment, and that appointment is with life. And if we can touch that in each moment, our life will become more beautiful when we allow ourselves to arrive at that appointment.”

“Even in despair, we have to enjoy life, because we see life as beautiful; [we see] that planet Earth is still a miracle.”

“We know we are still alive, and because we are alive, anything is possible. So let us take care of the situation in a more calm and mindful way.” 

“Even wholesome things can become a distraction if you make them take the place of your sheer presence to life.” 

“Maybe this really will be the last chapter. But I’m here, and how fortunate I am to be here. And I have imagined that it’s so wonderful to be here.”

“Impermanence: the fragrance of our day.”

Nov 04, 2021
High Fashion to a Higher Purpose: A Zen Nun’s Journey (Episode #11)
1:06:45

Welcome to episode eleven 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, presenters Zen Buddhist monk Brother Phap Huu and lay Buddhist practitioner and journalist Jo Confino are joined by special guest novice Zen Buddhist nun Sister Hien Tam of the New Hamlet in Plum Village. This time, they explore monastic life: why do people want to become monastics? What happens between aspiring to be a monastic and actually becoming one? And what’s it like to live in a monastery? 

The two monastics talk about: their own journeys; engaging in society as nuns and monks; the secret to a long-lived community like Plum Village (40 years old next year!); individualism; transformation; conflict; practices that support the community. 

Sister Hien Tam tells the story of her pre-monastic life as a busy, restless, consumerist TV writer in Korea, and the unplanned visit to Plum Village which led to her becoming an aspirant and then a nun in less than three years. She candidly shares about saying goodbye to “external expressions”; her family’s reaction; ditching her “fancy”, colourful clothes for the brown robe; following clear guidelines; sharing a room with many sisters after having lived her life alone; dealing with habit energies; inner beauty; the “Buddha company”.

In addition, Brother Phap Huu discusses moderation; aspirations; inferiority complexes; loving clothes as a monk; learning to live a simpler and happy life; growing up in a monastic community; the practices of Shining Light and Beginning Anew; observing and training new aspirants; community work days.

Jo shares his own formula for a ‘mini’ Shining Light in individual relationships, and having to face his own suffering when the distractions of the outside world fade away.

Finally, Brother Phap Huu ends the episode with a guided meditation on generating peace.


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/

‘Becoming a Monastic’
https://plumvillage.org/about/becoming-a-monastic/ 

Beginning Anew: Four Steps to Restoring Communication
https://plumvillage.org/books/beginning-anew/ 

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

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

‘Slow Down, Rest, and Heal: The Spirit of the Rains Retreat’
https://plumvillage.org/podcast/slow-down-rest-and-heal-the-spirit-of-the-rains-retreat/ 

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

‘Deciding to Become a Monastic in Plum Village’
https://wkup.org/become-monastic-plum-village/ 

‘Life as Monastic Aspirants in Plum Village’
https://wkup.org/monastic-aspirants-plum-village/


Quotes

“Be beautiful, be yourself.”

“Everyone needs a spiritual dimension in their daily life to help them maintain their balance. And within ourselves, we have this seed. We call it bodhicitta. Everyone has this. It’s called the mind of love or the mind of awakening.” 

“As I became a monk, I learned that that is a way of engagement that we practice – not just to be peaceful and happy for ourself, but that our practice is a way of contributing to society, to those around us.”

“I always remember Thich Nhat Hanh saying that relationships never break up out of the blue, from something major happening. It’s from the very minor drip. He talked about it like a stalagmite or a stalactite in a cave: the small drip of problems which, at the time, are very often not addressed.”

“We share our joy and we share our success. That’s really important because in our time, where individualism is prioritized, growin up, we’re all taught to be successful by ourselves. And now, in a community, we have many talents and many types of leaders. I think a community needs a leader, but we don’t need one leader. We can have many types of leaders and when we offer a retreat, we have people leading dharma sharing, people leading Dharma Talks, people leading walking or even cooking. And for me, that’s leading like a team.”

“The simple life makes me very creative […] I feel I have more energy to take care of my inner beauty.”

“Sometimes the answers are the most obvious ones, but we don’t immediately think of them, we don’t realize that the reason I’m not fully happy is because I’ve stopped and I’m having to face myself. I’m feeling this tension in myself because I’m in Plum Village, not in spite of being in Plum Village. So this idea of how we stop means we have to look at ourselves as if we really stop and take away all the extraneous stuff: cinemas, Netflix, restaurants, and everything. All we’re left with is ourselves, and that’s quite a challenge.” 

“The practice teaches us to see ourselves like a mirror. Everything you do is you. You can’t put that blame on anyone else and you cannot hide away from it.”

“We are all cells of one body, so if I shine a light on you, I am also shining a light on myself.”

“I remember Thich Nhat Hanh would say about couples that you can share the same bed, but if you don’t have the same dream, then actually it can never work out.”

“Thich Nhat Hanh always says that love is understanding. And I think what you’re saying is that, unless we start to more deeply understand each other, then actually you don’t really generate love.”

“Thanks to the practice, we learn about moderation. And when you have one thing that is beautiful and it does what it needs to, you don’t have to search for anything else. And so I apply that to everything, even to happiness or my community. Even though we’re not the best and we have shortcomings, that’s good enough. I don’t need to keep searching or else I’m just going to be going round and round looking for something.”

“Letting go of the extraneous stuff, letting go of things outside and just saying, ‘Actually, I’m good enough as I am and actually I want to be myself.’ I don’t want to be this egoic mask of myself that’s seeking to feel better about myself by proving anything. I can just be truly who I am and be at peace. And it makes life so much more enjoyable, not wanting to grasp things or think that something outside of us is going to make us happy.”

Oct 28, 2021
Healing Our Inner Child: Pathways to Embrace Our Suffering (Episode #10)
1:12:15

Welcome to episode ten 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, presenters Zen Buddhist monk Brother Phap Huu and lay Buddhist practitioner and journalist Jo Confino are joined by special guest Zen Buddhist nun Sister Sinh Nghiem (Adornment with Liveliness). Together, they look deeply into healing childhood wounds. 

All three further discuss: inner healing, from healing the child within to collective healing and how to face our challenges, traumas and suffering to find a way through;  the possibility of transformation and healing past relationships; the original fear.

Brother Phap Huu expands upon: the importance of understanding the source of inner wounds in order to start healing them; Thich Nhat Hanh’s teachings on childhood traumas; the Four Noble Truths; his own experience of being bullied as a child and its consequences; understanding and compassion for those we think are responsible for our suffering; apologizing and forgiveness; stopping the cycle of hate.

Sister Sinh Nghiem shares insights about: her journey to becoming a nun, from escaping Vietnam on a boat with her family after the war, to her career as a psychologist, and finding Thay through another teacher in the Theravada tradition; how the practice of mindfulness helped her deal with abuse suffered as a child; healing her inner child after she became a monastic. She also discusses specific spiritual practices that helped her healing process, like reconnecting with the body, and mindful movement.

Jo recollects a workshop by John Bradshaw on healing the inner child and the deep experience of transformation. He further muses on childhood and creative visualization, defense mechanisms, and the importance of understanding the context of our parents’ lives.

Finally, Brother Phap Huu ends the episode with a guided meditation on generating love for our own selves.


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/

The Inner Child (short guided meditation)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zauJYihF2fQ 

Stream Entering Monastery
https://plumvillage.org/practice-centre/stream-entering-monastery/

John Bradshaw
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Bradshaw_(author)

Theravada tradition
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theravada 

Understanding Our Father
https://plumvillage.org/articles/understanding-our-father/ 

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

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

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

Tai chi
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tai_chi 

Engaged Buddhism
https://plumvillage.org/series/engaged-buddhism/    


Quotes

“I’ve always been very impressed with Thich Nhat Hanh because he has integrated the very depths of Buddhist teachings with Western psychology. And he focuses a lot of his teachings on healing our childhood wounds, and that the wounds we receive as children tend to stick with us throughout our lives.”

“In Buddhism, we always practice in order to have liberation – but liberation has to be the liberation of something. Much of the time, as an adult, we want to understand our suffering. And in Buddhism, we have to shine light into the reality of what is happening in the here and now. In meditation and in mindfulness, when you are aware of yourself, you can start to recognize what is causing you pain and what is causing you suffering.”

“When suffering is present, happiness is also there. These opposites go hand in hand. If there is happiness, then we know that suffering is also present – and we have to understand that suffering is not solely negative, because if you truly look deeply into it, you start to understand yourself more.”

“When we meditate on our suffering, we can recognize that it is a continuation of the past. A lot of us experience early suffering as a child. If we didn’t have the chance, as a child, to transform it or to have a breakthrough and be free from it, then that suffering will still be very present with us today.”

“I had all the knowledge and all the wisdom and all the understanding to be able to go and sit with myself as a child and start that healing process.”

“Tai chi and qigong for me are not just about the movement, but about learning to be mindful in my movement.” 

“We may forget about the event itself, the situation, the story, but the body remembers the wound; the body remembers the events that happened.” 

“Even though our practice is to learn to dwell in the present moment and not be carried away by the future or be swept away by the past, in meditation itself we have to also visit the three times. The three times means we have to know how to reflect on the past, no matter how miserable it can be; it can be a lesson, it can be an insight that allows us to stop because we recognize that what has happened to us gave us so much suffering. And if we don’t transform this, we will offer the same suffering to the next person that is close to us.”

“If we don’t let go, then the perpetrator continues to make us suffer; we never break that cycle.” 

“I have learned through Thay’s teaching that, as an adult or as a parent, as an elder brother, as an elder sister, an uncle, an aunt, or a friend, our way of being is a teaching. The way we interact is a transmission in its own right. So my suffering has given me a lot of awareness about how I behave, and that has an immediate impact.” 

“We’re all on that path, we are all hurt, we all suffer; Thich Nhat Hanh talks about this original suffering existing from birth. It’s not that we must have had a traumatic experience growing up, but that, actually, birth itself is a traumatic experience.”

“I realized it’s so important to be able to heal through these very simple things, like being able to reconnect with your body to relax and release the tension in it.” 

“Our teacher emphasizes a lot about brotherhood- and sisterhood-friendship. This is one of his messages to all of us: that we need communities as individuals. Yes, we can recognize our own suffering, but sometimes our own dark corners are too big for us to illuminate. We need friends to help us see the blind spots so that we can step out of our suffering, to recognize and transform it.” 

“This present moment is creating the past. This is one of the keys that helped me become more free in this present moment. If we live it deeply, it will become the new past.”

“When you come here for the practice, you learn to bring the practice into your daily life, so that you become more solid, more stable, and more peaceful, in order to embrace the really difficult stuff – because you need that. If you don’t have a solid foundation of peace and connectedness and groundedness, then when your suffering comes up, you are automatically carried away. You are overwhelmed by the past and are not able to be grounded in the present moment with your breath. And that is a really, really important daily practice, which enables you to heal deeper wounds.”

Oct 21, 2021
Engaged Buddhism: Applying the Teachings in Our Present Moment (Episode #9)
57:36

Welcome to episode nine 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, presenters Zen Buddhist monk Brother Phap Huu and lay Buddhist practitioner and journalist Jo Confino are joined by special guest Zen Buddhist nun Sister True Dedication (Sister Hien Nghiem). Together, they look deeply at the whole concept of engaged Buddhism, and ways in which Thich Nhat Hanh made ancient teachings relevant to day-to-day questions.

Additionally, they discuss: how Plum Village is shedding the stereotypes about Buddhist monastic life; how to refresh Buddhism through a hands-on approach and engaging teachings in daily life; what it means to not take sides; the roots of evil; reducing suffering through compassionate action; healing; patience. 

Brother Phap Huu digs into: what it means to apply Buddhism in contemporary life; the spiritual dimension of breathing; the importance of communities and practice centers as spiritual refuges; the dynamics of anger coming up; moving from anger to peace in activism. Plus: can you guess the one time it’s best not to do sitting meditation?

Sister True Dedication shares insights about: the early events in Thich Nhat Hanh’s life which led to the inception of the engaged Buddhism movement in war-torn Vietnam; Thay’s peace activism and his exile; Buddhism’s potential to deal with injustice; Plum Village monastery’s engagement with the outside world and what this busy community of monastics has to offer it, through retreats and active engagement in various causes. She also delves into ways of handling strong emotions, deep looking, understanding the roots of our suffering, and the importance of dialogue. And what does compassion look like in a time of crisis? How can we listen to those people in our lives who we least want to listen to?

Jo remembers his first visit to Plum Village, and tea with Thay. He further muses on: how feeling steady and grounded can act as “the tuning fork” of our being; how we can perpetuate mindful living by simply approaching the world mindfully; failure and criticism.

Finally, Brother Phap Huu ends the episode with a guided meditation on embracing suffering with compassion.


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 

Engaged Buddhism
https://plumvillage.org/series/engaged-buddhism/ 

Mindfulness, Suffering, and Engaged Buddhism
https://plumvillage.org/about/thich-nhat-hanh/interviews-with-thich-nhat-hanh/thich-nhat-hanh-on-mindfulness-suffering-and-engaged-buddhism/

The Practice for Engaged Buddhism
https://plumvillage.org/library/dharma-talks/the-practice-for-engaged-buddhism/

Please Call Me by My True Names
https://plumvillage.org/library/songs/please-call-me-by-my-true-names-poem/

Israeli Palestinian Retreat
https://plumvillage.org/teachings/israeli-palestinian-retreat/ 

Invoking the Bodhisattva
https://plumvillage.org/library/dharma-talks/invoking-the-bodhisattva-dharma-talk-by-sister-lang-nghiem-2020-6-21/

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

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

Greta Thunberg
https://www.instagram.com/gretathunberg/

Koch brothers
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koch_family



Quotes

“We need to act with the urgency of today and the patience of a thousand years.”

“Thay says that it doesn’t matter if you’re Buddhist, Jewish, or Christian; as long as you’re breathing, you have a spiritual dimension and can practice.”

“I’d describe Plum Village as a beautiful oasis, and an engine of healing, transformation, and training. So we’re really training in practical skills that we can later take back into life outside the monastery.” 

“The most effective tool in my toolbox is to turn up mindfully, because it gives others the chance to also come home.” 

“[Thay] said, when we hear the bombs falling all around us, how can we sit there and do nothing, or sit there and just chant? It’s not enough. Our compassion has to reveal itself.”

“In multiple talks, Thay says that everyone needs a spiritual dimension in order to cope with what’s happening in the world, or to themselves. We may have that aspiration, but we need companions to support us. That’s where a community comes in and can be an example, can lead, and can also be a companion.”

“When Thay was exposed to peace activists and events and retreats and conversations and dialogue, his realization was that there’s a lot of anger in the peace movement. This became the kernel of Thay’s development of real practices of peace, so that, as an individual peace activist, we have a way to calm our body, to calm our emotions, to keep our mind clear, and to be truly nonviolent in body and mind.”

“You could send all the bombs to the moon, but you would still have the roots of war in people’s hearts and minds. It’s not about destroying all the nuclear warheads; it’s about destroying the nuclear warheads that are there because we hate each other, because we resent each other, because we can’t handle the other side politically, because we can’t handle people who have betrayed us. So for Thay, then, the challenge became this much deeper, human one: of creating environments where we can heal, transform, and look deeply, and make use of Buddhist teachings.”

“Our practice is to understand the roots of our suffering.”

“A bigger impact is what we carry from thought into our daily action, whether by words or by deed.”

“Man is not our enemy. It is ignorance, fear, and despair that is the root of all of this negative action.”

“When we say that, in our tradition, we do our best to not take sides, we don’t deny that people are doing what we would call wrong action or wrong speech, or perpetrating injustice against others and creating harm. What it means is that we position ourselves a little differently, and want to avoid placing blame and the aggressive stance of labeling someone a perpetrator. Because, with our way of looking at things, the perpetrator is themselves also a victim, of their wrong view, and of the wrong way of seeing the world, which is leading to this hate speech or hateful action.”

“Man is not the enemy. The enemy is wrong views. And, according to Buddhist teaching, the way to liberate ourselves from wrong views is with deep looking, and with listening, and reexamining what’s going on. And for that, we need a huge amount of compassion and collective energy, which monastics can help to bring.” 

“When you’re angry, you are not very clear, you are not very present, and you won’t really see what to do and what not to do. Because, at that moment of energy erupting inside of you, the natural tendency is to act, to punish. Anger goes with punishment; they are very linked. And often we will want to retaliate, to make the ones who made us suffer, suffer themselves. But in Buddhism, we want to break free from that; we see that they make us suffer because, actually, they suffer.”

“Taking time to see the hurt that precedes the hatred and the anger, and to give that hurt the witness, the embracing, the holding, and ultimately the healing by bringing it out to the light and saying, actually, it is this hurt that we need to take care of. That work takes time. It’s not the work of one or two days; in Plum Village, those retreats would be at least two weeks long. Fourteen days of breathing, of living simply, of mindful walking, mindful eating, quiet time, sitting and breathing and meditation, as well as the support of a whole community.” 

“We cannot possibly build a future unless we’re able to talk to each other, unless we’re able to dialogue across the divide, unless we’re able to respect each other’s differences and different needs.”

“When we’re angry at someone, we’re always angry at ourselves. When we see someone else being wrong, we’re always, to some extent, thinking that we’re wrong.” 

“There’s enough suffering already, we don’t have to contribute more.” 

Oct 14, 2021
Thich Nhat Hanh: Zen Master and Simple Monk (Episode #8)
1:27:06

Welcome to episode eight 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, on the eve of Thich Nhat Hanh’s 95th birthday (or continuation day), presenters Zen Buddhist monk Brother Phap Huu and lay Buddhist practitioner and journalist Jo Confino take a walk down memory lane, remembering behind-the-scenes stories about Thay (Vietnamese for “teacher”): the humble monk, rather than his well-known public persona as spiritual teacher.

They do so in Sitting Still Hut in Upper Hamlet, Thay’s residence during his years in Plum Village. By taking a tour of the hut, they trace the teacher’s daily routine and linger over the minimal but essential objects in his life. With fine strokes, the conversation portrays Thay the gardener and community builder, his (compassionate) fierceness, his incredible memory, and his ability to turn complex teachings into simple, accessible ones. 

Through many memories, Jo and Phap Huu muse about minimalism, sharing, consumerism, simplicity, the beginner’s mind, being grounded, nourishing humility and humbleness, the power of smiles, and some of Thay’s major teachings and legacies.

Befittingly, Brother Phap Huu ends the episode with a guided meditation.

Happy continuation day, dear Thay!


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 

A Precious Gift for Thich Nhat Hanh’s 95th Continuation Day: Deep Listening for Mother Earth
https://plumvillage.org/articles/giftforthay/

The Toadskin Hut and Paths of Legend
https://plumvillage.org/about/thich-nhat-hanh/letters/the-toadskin-hut-and-paths-of-legend/

Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames
https://www.parallax.org/product/anger/

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

Dalai Lama
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dalai_Lama

Joan Miró
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joan_Mir%C3%B3

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

Plum Village Practice Centers
https://plumvillage.org/monastic-practice-centres/

Plum Village Hamlets
https://plumvillage.org/retreats/visiting-us/hamlet/

Deer Park Monastery
https://deerparkmonastery.org/


Quotes

“Simplicity and nothing extra: everything in the hut is something that he uses and has a meaning.” 

“Humility comes through action; not through what you say, but through how you live.”

“Meditation is the capacity to really be in the present moment to connect to oneself and to others.”

“In Buddhism, we have to learn to identify the simple joys in our life and our simple happiness. We may think that happiness is something very far away, something that we have to work hard to achieve. But if you touch the present moment and are really in touch with what you have right here, right now, are you sure that those conditions aren’t enough for you to be happy?”

“Thay made the teachings so simple just by the way he walked, by the way he was there with us.”

“Thay’s way of renewing Buddhism is to make the teachings of the Buddha and the teachings of mindfulness part of everyday life. And it’s not something that you seek for 10 or 20 years of practice, then say, ‘I got it’; you can say ‘I got it’ in this very moment.” 

“It’s only when you go very deep into something that you can make it simple.”

“In our daily life, it is okay to make mistakes. But to continue, to move forward, we have to stand up and we have to clean up our mistakes.”

“Thay often talks about the fact that the Buddha was not a god, but a human being. And I think, by teaching that, he’s saying that anyone can be like the Buddha. The Buddha wasn’t a god, so everyone has the opportunity to transform. But also, everyone has his weaknesses; Thay talks a lot about the fact that, when he was enlightened, the Buddha didn’t just stay enlightened: he needed to continue his practice and keep on working on his stuff.”

“Having a garden helps you connect to reality in the present moment, but you can’t rush the process.”

“There is something about who Thay is, deeply: he’s completely present, but also invisible. Because he’s made himself invisible, but the teachings are full, they speak for themselves. A teacher often thinks they own their teachings, so they think that they are an important person. Whereas Thay always faded into the background, but his teachings were very alive.”

“As a human being, Thay was able to cultivate the practice and remain true to his aspiration, his ethics, and his direction.”

“The spiritual dimension is not far away: it is within your own breath, within your capacity for connecting to the present moment. This is something that Thay has said on multiple occasions: that you don’t have to be Buddhist to practice meditation, because as long as we’re breathing, we all have the chance to practice.”

“My actions are the ground upon which I stand. We all will leave a mark, a legacy on our planet. Know that what we think, what we say, and what we do all have an impact. So allow yourself to be mindful of your actions in daily life. Be mindful of what you say, as it has a profound effect. And be mindful and take care of the thoughts that are generated throughout the day; they all are impacts that we leave behind.”

Oct 07, 2021
Slow Down, Rest, and Heal: The Spirit of the Rains Retreat (Episode #7)
1:11:58

Welcome to episode seven 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, hosts Zen Buddhist monk Brother Phap Huu and lay Buddhist practitioner and journalist Jo Confino were recorded in Thich Nhat Hanh’s former residence in Plum Village, the ‘Sitting Still Hut’. 

Here, they talk about the yearly Rains Retreat – a 90-day retreat started by the Buddha – including the aspirations and other key concepts at the core of this gathering of practitioners. Brother Phap Huu explains in detail the origins of this ancient tradition, and how it unfolds in Plum Village, including some special insights from this year’s retreat.

Both then share their own aspirations, and discuss taking refuge in the sangha, the need to slow down, stillness, getting support from the community for our aspirations, and that even zen masters need constant reminders to practice. (Did Thay need help from the sangha? And is Phap Huu as busy as the others think?)

The conversation touches upon our (and their) relationship with ‘stuff’; a free yard sale in the monastery; how to know when we have enough; and Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh’s jackets, and how he relates to his few material possessions.

Jo opens up about his youth and the burden of collective pain; letting go of possessions; and getting some of his best creative ideas while sitting still on a train.

You’ll also find out where the yellow-orange in our podcast’s logo comes from. And autumnal fruit trees make a cameo appearance.

Finally, Brother Phap Huu shares daily tips for beginners’ practice, and ends the episode with a guided meditation to find calm and solidity.

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 

Alms Round – The Practice of Love, Humility, and Gratitude
https://plumvillage.org/articles/alms-round-the-practice-of-love-humility-and-gratitude/ 

‘Breathing In, Breathing Out’
https://plumvillage.org/library/songs/breathing-in-breathing-out/

The Faces of Manas Revealed
https://plumvillage.org/library/dharma-talks/live-dharma-talk-by-sister-tue-nghiem-2020-11-29-plum-village/ 

The Green Mile 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Green_Mile_(film)

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

Monkey mind
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monkey_mind

Rains Retreat 2021
https://plumvillage.org/retreats/info/rains-retreat-2021-gems-of-the-plum-village-tradition/

Rains Retreat Opening Ceremony
https://plumvillage.org/articles/rains-retreat-opening-ceremony-2021/ 

The Spirit of the Rain’s Retreat
https://plumvillage.org/library/dharma-talks/the-spirit-of-a-rains-retreat/

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

Store consciousness
https://plumvillage.org/library/dharma-talks/interbeing-and-store-consciousness/

Sutra
https://plumvillage.org/sutra/ 

Theravada tradition
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theravada


Quotes

“The Rains Retreat carries the spirit of being still; not running from suffering or chasing after an idea of happiness. This is an opportunity to return home to oneself, to take refuge in our spiritual family, to enrich and deepen our dharma body with our mindfulness practice, and to continue our teacher’s legacy in our sangha body.”

“Even though we devote ourselves to a monastic life and the practice of transformation for ourselves and our spiritual growth, it’s still very important to be connected to everyone in the world.”

“Walk just to walk, and do it with ease.”

“When we stop is the only time we’re able to face ourselves.”

When we are still, our internal aspirations, voices, and perceptions have a chance to really reveal themselves. Then, we have the clarity to look at them with the eye of a practitioner, in order to take care of them.”

“This stillness that we cultivate is not only for our aspiration, our internal stories, or our internal reflection; it is also very important in the present moment, where we need rest or healing. We are so busy. We are not aware of our body. We’re not aware of our posture. We’re not aware of where there is stiffness, of where there’s stress. So learning to be still is an art for healing. And this is very important. To have total relaxation is one of the core teachings in the Plum Village tradition.”

“Stop, rest, and heal.” 

“In modern Western society, we don’t trust natural processes. We think we need to intervene in some way. But, actually, sometimes the art of simply stopping, of resting, creates the healing.”

Through the stories, the history, and the sutras that we read, we see that even the Buddha, after enlightenment, continued to keep his practice alive – because the practice is a living energy that you have to maintain.”

“That evening, the meeting ran late and I went straight home. I was sitting on the train – no computer, no phone, no book, no bag; just me. And I had one of my best creative ideas in years, which manifested into a whole new section of The Guardian. If I’d had my phone, my computer, or a book, I would have filled that time. But because I couldn’t, I just had to stop. And what I realized in that moment was that, when we stop, we allow more than just our mind to take place. Some people call it grace – well, there are all sorts of names, but it exists in those moments.”

“If we are constantly busy, we don’t allow for that channel of grace, that openness to life to actually show up.” 

“Science is also showing that it’s not that you learn to practice mindfulness once and get the job done; we have to constantly remind ourselves, work with it, practice it, build it.” 

“Thay was very selective in his possessions. Not because he’s picky, but because when you have enough, you don’t need more.”

Sep 23, 2021
Are You Truly There for Your Cup of Tea? Practical Ways to Slow Down (Episode #6)
50:07

Welcome to episode six 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, hosts Zen Buddhist monk Brother Phap Huu and lay Buddhist practitioner and journalist Jo Confino talk about the sacred practice of drinking tea, and why it’s important in a world where grabbing a cup of tea on the go seems to be the norm. 

Over a cup of genmai (cloud tea), they discuss bringing the energy of mindfulness into daily life with a cup of tea; sitting with a cup of tea and its power to bring people together; the ceremony behind this daily habit and why enjoying making tea is just as important as drinking it.

Brother Phap Huu recalls making his first cup of tea for Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, as his attendant, and doing so again years later, after Thay’s stroke. The brother explains why drinking tea is so significant in a Zen monastery; how to feel at home with a tea kit; and why one should offer and receive a cup of tea with both hands. There’s even an in-depth exploration of the types of tea drunk in Plum Village.

Jo recollects Thich Nhat Hanh’s calligraphies and why he poured tea into the ink. He discusses transformative moments in simple gestures, and shares his love of PG Tips and how it can get one through climate talks. 

The conversation also touches upon slowing down and enjoying the simple things in life; good habits; the cloud in the cup of tea. And have you ever wondered if the tea is experiencing us too? They did.

You’ll also experience the mindfulness bell of the Plum Village monastery.

Finally, Brother Phap Huu ends the episode with a guided meditation.

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 Tea Inside the Calligraphy
https://plumvillage.org/library/dharma-talks/the-tea-inside-the-calligraphy/ 

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

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

High-mountain tea
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-mountain_tea 

Cloud tea
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloud_tea 

Bamboo shoots and tea
https://plumvillage.org/articles/bamboo-shoots-and-tea/


Quotes

“If you know how to slow down and be more present, allow things to settle, then your way of life will be much better.”

“Even a small, simple practice, like drinking tea, contains all of life.”

“A woman in the Indian Sangha said, ‘In India, they say if it’s hot, it’s time for tea. If it’s cold, it’s time for tea. If you’re happy, it’s time for tea. If you’re sad, it’s time for tea. It’s something that calms us down.’”

“When you drink a cup of tea, you’re not drinking your projects, you’re not drinking your worries; you’re not drinking, you’re thinking. And it’s a real art for being in the present moment.”

“There’s something very powerful and symbolic about tea. It’s a chance to come back to ourselves, to relax, to hold something in the palms of our hands – which is itself almost a reverent act, to feel the heat, to smell the aroma. It’s actually a very visceral experience.”

“The cloud is in your tea.”

“In the present moment, the way we live, the way we think, the way we talk, and the way we act is a contribution to society, to life. So our actions are already our reincarnation.”

“It’s an act of awakening: to wake up to life and smell the fragrance of the tea; you taste it, you feel its warmth, and turn to your body. It’s very simple, but very deep in that moment. If you allow yourself to be in the very here and now, drinking tea is meditation in disguise.” 

“This cup of tea in my two hands is mindfulness held perfectly. My mind and body dwell in the very here and now.” 

“Having good habits is part of meditation.”

“You can have a moment of enlightenment just sitting there drinking your tea.”

“Have time for a cup of tea, because it is present for you. You just have to be there for it.” 

Sep 16, 2021
Connecting to Our Roots: Ancestors, Continuation and Transformation (Episode #5)
53:55

Welcome to episode five 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, hosts Zen Buddhist monk Brother Phap Huu and lay Buddhist practitioner and journalist Jo Confino talk about connecting to our roots, and the three lineages in Buddhism: spiritual, blood, and land ancestry.

They further share about what it means to be a continuation of blood ancestors; transforming the suffering of our ancestors for ourselves and our descendants by healing the past in the present moment; honoring land ancestors and creating harmony with the land we live on; dealing with estranged parents; reconnecting to past wisdom to help a society in crisis; transcending the individual frame of mind.

You’ll also discover what the red and white roses mean in the Rose Ceremony which celebrates parents; and why a former Gestapo building was turned into a monastery.

Brother Phap Huu recollects growing up in a Buddhist family and its daily ways of honoring ancestors, and what it was like to move from East to West as a child. He also expands on spiritual ancestors; transforming land and memories; the power of collective energy; trees as ancestry.  

Jo recalls his mother’s suffering during the Nazi regime, her subsequent journey of forgiveness, and considers the power to heal our parents’ suffering in the present moment. He also comments on the consequences of the lack of connection to ancestors for Western consumerist societies; reports on a feng shui story in Hong Kong; and considers why it’s best to be responsible stewards rather than owners.

Finally, Brother Phap Huu ends the episode with a guided meditation connecting us to our parents and ancestors.

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 Rose Ceremony
https://plumvillage.org/thay-shares-about-a-rose-for-your-pocket/ 

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

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

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

Sutra
https://plumvillage.org/sutra/ 


Quotes

“We are a stream, a lineage, and we have roots and that give us grounding.” 

“When I meet somebody, I never meet that person as an individual, I meet their entire lineage.”

“I am a representation not of just myself, but of an entire history of a group of people.”

“With our ancestors, we can do the things that they were not able to do.” 

“If we see that we are our parents’ continuation, we can have more understanding for them and more love for them.” 

“Having compassion for our ancestors means having compassion for ourselves, because we are their continuation, and because we will become an ancestor.”

“The practice of mindfulness and the teachings of the Buddha tell us that we can transform for our parents, for our ancestors. And if we have that chance, then our descendants can be free from suffering.”

“If we heal something in the present, we heal the past, because our ancestors are not just gone and buried. They are in us, so we’re healing both ourselves and our ancestors within us. And by doing this healing, we’re changing our future because we’re not passing that [negativity] on.” 

“Whenever you listen to the Buddha’s teachings, ask yourself, ‘How can I apply this to my daily life?’ The teachings have to continue to be renewed because they have to be relevant.”

“What have we got? Well, we can shop. We can amass things. But when Thich Nhat Hanh talks about a stream or a river, when we understand that we’re not separate, then that changes the very nature of how we see life. And this idea that we’re coming from somewhere and going somewhere actually creates an ethical responsibility.”

“People are talking about the importance of bringing Indigenous wisdom, bringing feminine wisdom. A lot of the wisdom which we have lost is coming back, because the challenges that humanity is facing means that people are recognizing that the past has a lot of the answers that modern society doesn’t.”

“Our spiritual ancestors are those who have taught us how to love and understand in our life.”

“This idea that we’re a separate self, that we’re born alone, is actually very painful.”

The wisdom from our ancestors is our inheritance, and we have to recognize that they have been there and their past actions are there for us to learn from.”

“If I look after this house, if I look after this garden, if I look after these grounds, then they’ll be passed on and then the next person will take it on. And that changes the nature of how I perceive the house, because there’s part of me that wants to put pictures on Instagram saying, ‘Look at my house, look at my garden’. As though by having paid money for it, I am able to feel better about myself because it’s mine. But actually that’s a false idea of ownership.”

“My mother, despite being the only remaining member of her family after the Second World War, and despite suffering enormous traumas as a result of the Nazi rise to power, she chose to go back as she got older, to heal those wounds. And not just her wounds; she visited old classmates who had excluded her at school and treated her very badly, she went and gave talks at schools about her experience.”

“The great original suffering is to be born.”

“If we don’t know anything about our blood ancestry, there can still be lots of data in how we respond to things, which can give us clues about our past. But beyond that, we can find refuge in many other parts, not just about blood family; each of those rivers can offer us a chance to understand ourselves better.”

“We all have our traumas. We all have our sufferings. But we can all take responsibility for doing our bit. And that actually does change the world.”

Sep 09, 2021
Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet (Episode #4)
51:08

Welcome to episode four 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, presenters Zen Buddhist monk Brother Phap Huu and lay Buddhist practitioner and journalist Jo Confino are joined by special guest Zen Buddhist nun Sister True Dedication (Sister Hien Nghiem). Together, they address contemporary environmental crises and Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh’s ethical framework of living, to help us reach a better future – as presented in his new book, Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet

The three further discuss Buddhist insights into the many existential crises faced by the global community; practical ways people can become empowered; not being overwhelmed by the suffering in the world, and how to work with our emotions to take positive action. 

Jo recollects interviewing Christiana Figueres, the architect of the Paris Climate Agreement, including on how the practice of mindfulness was instrumental in her achievements, and the importance of deep listening in global talks. 

Brother Phap Huu explains the insight of interbeing; the practice of gratitude; and shares about walking the (sustainability) talk in Plum Village; the ‘no car days’, shifting to veganism during a 800-people retreat, and starting a happy farm to become more self-sufficient and in touch with the Earth as a community of practitioners.

Sister True Dedication talks about editing Thich Nhat Hanh’s new book, Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet; the hardest part of working on a book; Thay’s involvement in the environmental movement since the early 1970s, as a pioneer of deep ecology; the importance of joy and vitality for facing hard times; falling in love with the Earth; accessing the insight of interbeing in our daily lives, and having fulfilled present moments; finding peace and equanimity in a suffering world; practicing deep truth; taking care of our despair. 

Finally, the sister ends the episode with a guided meditation.

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://www.parallax.org/product/zen-and-the-art-of-saving-the-planet/

Deep ecology
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep_ecology

Spiritual ecology
https://plumvillage.org/book/spiritual-ecology-the-cry-of-the-earth/ 

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

The World We Have: A Buddhist Approach to Peace and Ecology
https://www.parallax.org/product/the-world-we-have-a-buddhist-approach-to-peace-and-ecology/

Other key books by Thich Nhat Hanh
https://plumvillage.org/about/thich-nhat-hanh/key-books/

Alfred Hassler
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_Hassler 

The Diamond Sutra
https://plumvillage.org/sutra/the-diamond-that-cuts-through-illusion/  

Christiana Figueres
http://christianafigueres.com/#/

Jo Confino interviews Christina Figueres
https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/climate-change-unfccc-christiana-figueres

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

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

Happy Farm
https://plumvillage.org/community/happy-farm/ 

A koan
https://plumvillage.org/bg/about/thich-nhat-hanh/letters/bat-nha-a-koan/


Quotes

“To be able to see heaven on earth is part of our mindfulness practice.”

“What we learn in this kind of spiritual practice is that it’s a very embodied, complete, fully human experience of what it means to be alive and to be on this planet.”

“If we allow ourselves to fall in love with the Earth, we will know what to do and what not to do to help. When there’s love, the possibilities open up right away. The priorities are clear; we would sacrifice anything for the one we love.”

“This [planet] is the source of all life, our shared home, a miracle in the middle of a very spartan cosmos. And we want to do everything to ensure that the Earth can have a healthy and beautiful future, and that humans can have a part in that.”

“Through the eons of history, everything comes into manifestation and everything passes. And that’s true of civilizations; civilizations rise and civilizations fall.”

“The environment is not outside of you; you are the environment. So interbeing, this insight, lets you see that the way we live, the way we are, is already a contribution.”

“It’s important to do one thing well, not to take on the whole weight of saving the planet on your own.”

“I have learned to sit well and walk well.”

“As children of the Earth, activists for the Earth, and as members of humanity, while doing what we can to save the Earth it is really important to not lose the present moment, because the present moment is life.”

“If we lose the present moment, we lose everything. The future is only made of the present moment.”

“The beauties of Mother Nature can nourish us and give us the strength we need to keep going, to find balance, and to sustain ourselves.” 

“If we know we have done our part, made our contribution, and done our best, that is how we can have peace.” 

“Thay once asked the question, ‘What’s the worst thing that can happen?’ And he said, ‘Your despair is the worst thing that can happen.’ We have to be vigilant against despair. We have to take care of our despair and metabolize it into the kind of action that can give cause for hope.”

“We want to transmit an energy of hope, of possibility, of living fully, and of fearlessness. These are the qualities that future generations will need. And it’s up to us to develop them now.” 

“We look for our own happiness. We look for our own success. We look for our own pleasure. And therefore, we act in a way that only relates to our wellbeing; we don’t see how our action has an effect. But with the insight of interbeing, when you have awareness, when you have mindfulness, you start to see how what you consume has an impact on the earth.”

“The first thing to do with a meditative practice, a mindfulness practice – any kind of contemplative practice where we’re trying to see how we can help our beloved planet – is to come back to our body, a body that has come from the Earth, and to really touch what it means to belong to this beautiful realm.”

“One action contains thousands of actions within it.”

“The planet doesn’t need to be saved once. It doesn’t even need to be saved only in the next 10 years. It needs to be saved by countless generations for hundreds and thousands of years to come. So we need to discover truly sustainable ways of being with the Earth, and being with our human nature. Ways that don’t burn ourselves out, and don’t burn the Earth out, so that we can really find peace and simplicity in what we are doing, with a massive resonance across space and time.”

This meditation is about facing something and then being with that fear, being with that grief, listening to it in our hearts, in our bodies. Not repressing it, not pretending it’s not there, but allowing it to be present, embracing it with the energy of mindfulness and compassion in order to metabolize it into not only a quality of peace, but a quality of action that can then follow.”

“It can seem paradoxical to accept the likelihood of a very bad end to our civilization in order to have the energy to take actions that will change that destination. It’s a strange reverse engineering, but it’s very powerful as an exercise and it comes from an original Buddhist meditation on contemplating our own impermanence.”

“Our next task is to see how we can make the book a force for change in the world, not simply something that sits on the bookshelf.”

“Whatever we can do about the future is rooted in the present moment.”

Sep 02, 2021
Mindfulness, Concentration and Insight – Where to Start? (Episode #3)
1:11:34

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

In this episode, Zen Buddhist monk Brother Phap Huu and lay Buddhist practitioner and journalist Jo Confino talk about the ancient roots of mindfulness and its growing contemporary popularity. 

Along with special guest Sister Trai Nghiem, from the Plum Village community, the hosts further discuss the differences between mindfulness and concentration; how to deal with strong emotions; ways to awaken the seeds of awareness and mindfulness; being present to ourselves; asking for forgiveness. 

All three share insights about changes mindfulness has brought to their personal lives: “the fruit of the practice”. 

Brother Phap Huu explains what it means to dwell in the present moment; shares observations about Thich Nhat Hanh’s daily mindfulness practice and his “superpower”; addresses the different styles of walking meditation and how to make the most of nature’s energy; and considers the importance of resting in today’s society.

Both monastics go on to share about the weekly ‘lazy day’ in a busy monastery, and why this may just be the most advanced practice day.   

Jo contributes memories of Thich Nhat Hanh explaining the difference between practicing concentration and practicing mindfulness; ways to heal past wounds by being in the present moment; and methods for getting instant understanding when we are good observers of ourselves.

Sister Trai Nghiem shares about her spiritual journey to becoming a nun, and about life in the nunnery before and during the pandemic; being a musician both inside and outside of the monastery; combining playing violin with mindfulness; and how she let go of professional goals for perfection, instead just enjoying the energy of music created by the monastic community.  

Finally, the sister ends the episode with a guided meditation.

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/

Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path
https://plumvillage.org/library/dharma-talks/the-noble-eightfold-path/ 

Books by Thich Nhat Hanh
https://plumvillage.org/about/thich-nhat-hanh/key-books/

John Bradshaw
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Bradshaw_(author)

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

Samsara
https://plumvillage.org/library/dharma-talks/nirvana-is-in-samsara-samsara-is-in-nirvana-dharma-talk-by-sr-chan-duc-2018-06-21/ 

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

Lazy days
https://web.plumvillage.app/item/give-yourself-a-lazy-day


Quotes

“Mindfulness is the capacity to also see the beauty of life.”

“When we observe ourselves as though we’re an outsider looking in, then we can develop instant understandings.”

“To develop the seed of mindfulness, we need a few formal practices that we can develop in our daily life; that way, we can always come back to them when strong emotions come up. We want to invite mindfulness to be present to take care of these strong emotions.”

“Mindfulness is the energy of cultivating awareness in our daily life.” 

“Only when we’re truly ourselves can we go into the past and heal things, because we’re bringing that awareness of who we truly are. It’s about lifting the veil and being present to ourselves.”

“If you want to take care of the future, learn to handle the present moment.”

“Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh would define love as understanding, because if you want to have compassion and love, you have to have understanding. And to have understanding, you need attention and time and focus.”

“We like to invite people to connect to their breath, letting that breath become a bridge. As they become aware of the breath, suddenly they bring their attention and mind to their body.”

“There are so many people trying to change the world who are burning out, who don’t really realize that you can only change the world if you change yourself.”

“Practicing mindfulness is not just practicing when we suffer. This is really important. Our teacher would encourage us to invest in our practice right now, when we’re happy, because when the storm arises, you don’t go look for a refuge. At that moment, you are the refuge.” 

“There’s no such thing as a thought or an action that is neutral. Everything has an impact. That means that every time we open our mouths, every time we have a thought, it’s either going to create something of beauty or it’s going to create hardship.”

“It’s interesting to see how, when we feel spacious inside, physical space outside doesn’t really matter. We can be anywhere and feel spacious and happy.” 

“To create change in our world, we have to come back to ourselves. And when we come back to ourselves – wow, we can really change the world.”

Aug 26, 2021
Lessons in Impermanence: How to Handle Life when Everything Changes (Episode #2)
46:58

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

In this episode, Zen Buddhist monk Brother Phap Huu and lay Buddhist practitioner and journalist Jo Confino address one of the deepest teachings in Buddhist philosophy: impermanence.

They discuss reasons why it’s difficult for humans to recognize the impermanence of life; how impermanence can help us deal with suffering as well as happiness; how to live with the fact that everything changes, and how to avoid become attached to anything (including happiness); enjoying every moment in life, and not taking life for granted, since it is only available in the present moment.

Brother Phap Huu explains the Buddhist insight into impermanence, and how to practice impermanence as meditation. He recollects his first mindfulness retreat at Plum Village (aged just nine) and the teachings about handling strong emotions; visiting Thich Nhat Hanh in 2020, in Vietnam; and reuniting with his grandmother after 15 years.

Jo shares a lesson in impermanence with his favourite cup of tea, and investigates “dying (and living) well”, as well as letting go as one of the most challenging obstacles to embracing impermanence.

Their discussion also touches upon renewing Buddhism and making traditional spiritual practices relevant to the younger generations and to the suffering of today, true happiness, having no expectations, awareness, simplicity, Buddhahood, the practice of gratitude, non-attachment, and the importance of gathas (poems) in the practice of impermanence.

The sound of the bell makes a cameo appearance, and Brother Phap Huu offers some insights into this “Plum Village mark.”

Finally, the episode ends with a guided meditation on impermanence 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/

Thich Nhat Hanh Foundation
https://thichnhathanhfoundation.org/

True Love and the Four Noble Truths
https://plumvillage.org/library/dharma-talks/true-love-and-the-four-noble-truths/

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

Creating Gathas 
https://plumvillage.org/articles/creating-gathas-mindfulness-at-play/

Gathas to print at home
https://plumvillage.org/articles/mindfulness-verses-for-daily-living/


Quotes

“Imagine every day as though it’s your last.”

“You are much more than your emotions and your feelings.”

“Don’t believe things just because I say them.”

“My life is my message.”

“Actually, Buddhism is very simple, but because of all the scholars and philosophers that have come along the way, they have made it much more difficult for people to understand.”

“When you change, you have to let go of something. And I think that is something that is very challenging for a lot of people.”

“Bringing impermanence into our own life is to recognize that nothing we do in life is ever lost. It’s always there for a moment in one form, and then it will become another form.”

“Impermanence tells us that whatever we are feeling today, it will change tomorrow.”

“If we come back to who we are and recognize our strengths and our way of dealing with something, then you can have all the thrashing on the outside, but we ourselves can become clear.”

“All we can count on is our actions, our thoughts and actions, because those have an impact in the world that ripple out forever, actually, because everything we do has an impact on someone else.”

“Even a mountain that looks as though it’s never going to change, by its nature, is impermanent. It came from nothing and will eventually erode into nothing.”

Aug 19, 2021
The Beginning of a Mindful Journey (Episode #1)
54:50

Welcome to 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 creating more happiness and joy in our lives.

Meet your hosts, Zen Buddhist monk Brother Phap Huu and lay Buddhist practitioner and journalist Jo Confino, as they introduce themselves and share their aspirations for this series. In this episode, they discuss choosing the title and its meaning, the art of calligraphy, the work of the Plum Village zen monastic community, discovering the practice of mindfulness in the tradition of Plum Village, and their first encounters with Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh (Thay).

Brother Phap Huu also shares stories from his seventeen-year period as Thay’s personal attendant, and glimpses of life in the monastic community. You’ll also hear a short history of Thay’s early years as a monk in war-torn Vietnam, his travels to other parts of the world, and how he joined forces with civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. to call for global peace, and started “the beloved community.”

Phap Huu remembers his first encounter with the mindful art of calligraphy, how the title of the podcast was inspired by a calligraphy, and Thay’s fondness for this art. 

Jo shares his first experience interviewing Thay, an unexpected introduction to mindful walking, how he truly came home to the here and now during his Plum Village visits and retreats, and why he currently resides in the vicinity of the monastery, in the south of France.

The discussion also touches upon the ideas behind applied or engaged Buddhism, the interconnection between suffering and happiness, Sangha (community), Samatha, and Vipassana.

The episode ends with a guided meditation 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/

Thich Nhat Hanh Foundation
https://thichnhathanhfoundation.org/

Parallax Press – Publishing House
https://www.parallax.org/

Tu Hieu PagodaThe Root Temple
https://plumvillage.org/tag/tu-hieu/

The Hero with a Thousand Faces
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hero_with_a_Thousand_Faces

The Hare and the Tortoise
https://fablesofaesop.com/the-hare-and-the-tortoise.html


Quotes 

“One Buddha is not enough.”

“‘The way out is in’ is telling us that a lot of the answers that we are looking for actually begin from within us.”

“The great mystery is to explore within to find the answers, because we now have come to a place in society where we recognise that this is a dead end and actually we are not going to progress as a civilisation or be at peace with ourselves or with nature if we don’t actually go deep into ourselves for the answers.”

“There’s only one style of walking in Plum Village and that is mindful walking, and mindful walking is to enjoy each step.”

“If we know how to suffer, we will suffer much less.”

Aug 12, 2021
Coming Soon
1:35

“The Way Out Is In” is a new weekly podcast by Plum Village where hosts Jo Confino and Brother Pháp Hữu explore how to bring the practise of mindfulness into our daily life. First episode launches on Friday the 13th of August.

Aug 05, 2021