Good morning, dear friends.
Today is October the 21st,
in the year 2003.
We are in the Lower Hamlet Dharma Nectar temple
in our second day of the IP retreat.
Our intention is not to give you ideas.
Even ideas of peace.
Our intention is
to offer you an opportunity
to recognize the seeds of peace and joy
that are already in yourself.
A talk, a Dharma talk
is like a cloud, rain.
The rain can help the seeds
in the soil
to sprout and to bring forth
flowers and fruit.
The rain is not the seed.
But the rain can help the seed to sprout
and bring forth the flowers.
The flowers of understanding, the flowers of peace,
the flowers of joy.
That is why it is not my intention to give you ideas.
It is not your purpose to come here
and receive ideas
and put it in a notebook.
When there is rain,
we allow the rain to penetrate into the soil.
If the rain is enough
all the seeds within the soil will be penetrated
by the rain.
And they have a chance to sprout.
So during a talk like this
we don't need to do anything.
We don't need to try to understand
or to try to record what it is being said.
In a talk like this you just allow to yourself
to be penetrated by the rain.
And suddenly you find
that the seeds of understanding, wisdom and love in you
There is nothing whatever to do.
Just sit there and allow the rain to penetrate.
You have to believe
that the seed of peace,
the seed of joy and the seed of happiness
are already in you.
The seed of the Kingdom of God
is in you.
It is not outside of you.
If you think that God is outside of you
and if you are looking for him or for her
you never encounter God.
It is like a wave running
to search for water.
She never encounters water.
She has to go home to herself
with the strong conviction that the water is within.
And then, there is a chance.
You are not looking for something outside.
When the brothers and sisters came up this morning to chant,
they did not address these words
to someone outside of them.
That someone may be the Buddha, a bodhisattva, or God.
They are not addressing God outside of them at all.
And they know that.
This chanting is only
a kind of rain
in order to water the seeds
of peace within themselves.
And when we stand up and bow
in this direction
it does not mean that the Buddha,
God is in this direction at all.
When we bow to that
we touch the ultimate in us.
We touch the good, the beautiful, the good in us.
There is a belief that there is nothing in here,
there something on that direction.
If you believe that there is something on that direction
you are wrong.
There is nothing whatsoever in that direction.
Although there is a Buddha statue sitting.
That is only a block of rock.
It is not the Buddha.
The Buddha is the capacity of understanding and loving
that is in every cell of our body.
So let us not be fooled by the form.
The most precious gift
we can offer
to the person we love
is our energy of understanding
If we do not have understanding and love within us
we have nothing to offer to him or to her
or to the world.
But how to cultivate understanding and love?
You can cultivate understanding and love when you are alone.
To be alone does not mean that you have to cut off
cut yourself off from society
and go to a mountain and live in a cave.
To live alone means
you always are yourself.
You do not lose yourself.
You sit in a market place and yet you can be alone.
You never lose yourself, you are always yourself.
You are the boss.
You are not a victim.
When you practice walking
you are concentrated on your steps
and your in-breath and out-breath.
Even if you are walking with 300 people,
you are still alone.
Because mindfulness and concentration are in you.
Every breath, every step nourishes you
and brings you the energy of understanding, of love.
Because if you are not yourself,
you cannot love,
you cannot offer anything.
To live alone, to be alone means
to come home to yourself
and become the master of yourself.
Not to allow yourself to be carried away.
This is the practice of mindful walking, mindful breathing
than can help you to always come home to yourself
so that you can get the nourishment,
you can cultivate awareness,
understanding and love.
Because understanding is the foundation of love.
If you don't understand,
you cannot love.
If you cannot understand yourself,
you cannot love yourself.
If you cannot understand him,
you cannot love him.
If you cannot understand her,
you cannot love her.
Understanding is the other word for love.
your partner, you don't understand her.
You don't understand anything about her.
You don't understand her suffering and difficulties,
her deepest aspiration.
How can you say that you can love her?
And how can you understand her?
You have to be yourself.
When you look at her, you begin to see.
To see her suffering, to see her difficulty.
To see her deepest aspiration.
If you are not yourself,
how can you listen?
How can you see deeply like that?
When understanding is there, love is possible.
Love is the water
that springs from the source of understanding.
A relationship is meaningful
only when each person is himself, is herself.
If you are empty
if the other person is empty,
you don't have anything to offer to each other.
Empty of what?
Empty of understanding, empty of love,
empty of beauty, empty of truth.
That is why we have to nourish us.
That is why we have to be ourselves.
When we meet each other, we love to talk to each other.
It is a pleasure to talk to each other.
I know that.
But if we don't practice mindfulness,
talking is just
to be carried away
by the talking.
You don't have much to offer.
And the other person has no much to offer to you.
Of course, when you have something in you
you can share.
You can offer.
And talking is one of the ways
to offer, to express yourself.
But if you have only empty ideas,
that is not a true gift.
You may have opinions and ideas about everything.
But that's not what the other person needs.
What the other person needs is your understanding,
your love, your insight.
Your insight not as ideas
but as a living reality.
You embody insight.
You embody compassion and joy.
That is why a relationship becomes meaningful.
If we know the art of living alone,
it means that if we know how to be ourselves,
to cultivate each moment
the energy of peace, the energy of understanding,
the energy of compassion,
then our relationship will become meaningful.
Each of us has to be ourselves
in order for the relationship to be meaningful.
This is quite simple.
That is why
when you have five minutes,
when you have ten minutes for yourself,
you profit from these 5 or 10 minutes
in order to enrich yourself
to become more solid, more free,
more understanding, more compassionate.
Because when we love someone
we want to offer him and to offer her
what we have.
And what we have
is joy, understanding, compassion.
And then, the offering is the best thing
we can make to our beloved one.
We should ask ourselves:
What can I offer her?
What can I offer him?
Do I have much to offer?
If you want to have something to offer,
And you cultivate it by being alone,
walking alone, cultivating alone.
The practice of mindful breathing, mindful walking,
can help you to come home to yourself
and begin to get
the energy of joy, of peace.
Imagine a tree standing out there.
Because the tree is always standing there,
it continues to get
the nutrition from the earth.
The water, the minerals,
and so on.
With that kind of input
she can nourish her branches,
she can make flowers,
she can make leaves and so on.
And she has so many things to offer to the world.
If we move the tree around
the roots of the tree
will have no chance to get in touch with the soil.
And the roots of the trees cannot get the nutriment
that she needs in order to make flowers and fruits.
We are like a tree.
If you not know how to go home to yourself
to become fully present
to have a chance to cultivate
to practice looking deeply and listening deeply,
then we cannot get the nutriment for ourselves.
We don't have much
in order to offer to the person we love.
In our retreats we always have
a time for discussion
that we call Dharma discussion.
The kind of discussion in which we can offer our insight,
our joy, our experiences.
It is very meaningful.
There are those of us
who don't feel that we should say anything,
because the thing we would like to share
is not very clear yet.
We don't need to speak.
We just need to listen,
to allow the insight of other people
to penetrate in us.
Even if we don't say anything,
we are profiting from the insights of everyone.
And what we profit is not the ideas,
but the living experiences
that other people in the group have.
It is our duty to share.
If you have something, some living experience in you,
you should share to the Sangha.
This is mindful talking.
This is a real Dharma discussion
enriching everyone, everybody.
You are encouraged to share
when you do have something to share.
Each of us is like a tree.
Every minute of our daily life
we get the nourishment.
If we have something
we can flower,
we can offer the flowers and the fruit.
This is our contribution.
The gift we can make to the world.
Yesterday we talked about
how to go home to ourselves
in order to have an opportunity
to get in touch with the wonders of life
that are available within us and around us.
We practice walking in the Kingdom of God.
getting in touch with what is refreshing and healing
in us and around us.
This is so important.
That is to get a kind of nutriment
for our nourishment
and the nourishment of our beloved ones.
Walking in the Kingdom of God.
Touching the wonders of life.
You cannot do that
without going home to yourself.
Our time together is very precious.
Therefore, if you have 5 or 10 minutes,
please, enjoy the practice of being yourself,
of nourishing yourself
going home to the here and the now.
Because we want to become an instrument of peace
for ourselves, for our family, for our society.
That is what we want.
We don't want anything less than that.
That is why
we should profit from the time being together.
at home, when we go home,
we can do continue.
But if we are not solid enough
we cannot continue the practice when we are home.
That is why while we are with the Sangha
we should try our best
so that the practice becomes a habit.
The Sangha means the community.
A community where everyone knows how to do it,
how to be alone.
How to enrich herself or himself.
How to get the nourishment and the healing.
There are things that alone we cannot do,
but with a Sangha
it becomes very easy.
Alone we will be lazy.
Although we know how to sit,
we know how to listen to the bell,
we know how to practice mindful walking
but we don't do it
because no one around us is doing that.
That is why the presence of a Sangha
whose members are practicing
is a great encouragement, a great support.
That is why in a Sangha the practice becomes very easy.
You naturally do it
you don't have to make any effort.
That is why we have to profit from the time we are with the Sangha
so that our practice becomes a habit.
We need the practice in order to be ourselves.
When it has become a habit,
when we go home
we will be able to do it without the Sangha.
In our practice, we get in touch with the wonders of life.
You may encounter difficulties.
that the morning is very beautiful,
the hills, the mist,
the sunrise is beautiful.
You want to get in touch with that beauty.
You want to stand there,
to sit there and contemplate
and allow the beauty of nature, of the morning to penetrate in you
because you know that this is very nourishing.
But sometimes an emotion, a feeling
comes up and prevents us
what is enjoyable,
what is happening in the here and the now.
While the other person
is capable of allowing himself
to enjoy the morning,
and allows all the beauty
to penetrate into his body and his mind,
we are blocked with our worries,
our fear, our anger.
And the beauty of the sunrise
cannot penetrate into us.
some worries, some anger
prevents us from getting in touch with the wonders of life.
And we prevent the Kingdom of God
from being in touch with us.
We prevent ourselves from being in touch with the Kingdom of God.
With the Pure Land of the Buddha.
What to do in these circumstances.
We believe that we have to remove that feeling,
that feeling, that emotion,
in order to be free again.
So that the beautiful sunrise
can penetrate us.
We consider our fear, our anger
our worries as enemies.
Without them we are free.
We can get in touch with the many wonders of life.
But because they are there
that is why
we cannot get the nourishment that we need.
The practice offered in Plum Village
is that in moments like that
we should stick to our mindful breathing.
And we should recognize
the afflictions that are there.
Whether it is a feeling of anger,
a feeling of frustration,
a feeling of fear.
And with that energy of mindfulness
generated by mindful breathing
we can recognize that feeling.
Suppose that is a feeling
of worry, anxiety.
Breathing in I feel that anxiety is in me.
Breathing out I smile to my anxiety.
I have the habit
even if worrying is not necessary, I still worry.
And every time I feel the worry coming up,
I know that happiness is not possible.
I would like to ban worry away.
To remove it.
Sometimes they call me Mister Worry,
Because I use to worry.
I'm used to worry a lot.
And I know that when I worry,
I cannot get in touch with the wonders of life.
I cannot be happy.
So I get angry at my worry.
I don't want it.
But worry is part of us.
That is why when our worry comes up,
we have to know how to handle it.
Because it is possible to handle our fear, our worries, peacefully.
You can do it if you have the energy of mindfulness.
If you want to have the energy of mindfulness
practice mindful breathing,
practice mindful walking.
And you'll have the energy of mindfulness
in order to recognize and embrace tenderly
your worry, your fear or your anger.
When your baby suffers and cries,
you don't want to punish your baby.
Because your baby is you.
You don't want to hit your baby.
You don't want to throw you baby outside the window, no.
Your fear, your anger, is your baby.
Don't imagine that you can throw it away out the window.
Don't try to do violence to your anger, your fear,
The practice is to recognize it.
Oh, my baby! I know you are there.
I will take good care of you.
Continue to practice mindful breathing, mindful walking
and with that energy generated by the practice
you recognize it, you smile to it.
You embrace it very tenderly.
This is nonviolence.
This is a practice of nonviolence
directed to you fear, your worry, your anger.
If you are angry at your anger,
you anger will be multiplied by ten times.
To get angry at your anger.
This is not very wise.
With anger you suffer already a lot.
And if you get angry at your anger you suffer much more.
That is why it is not wise to get angry at your anger.
The real practice
is to recognize your anger that is coming up,
to smile to it as tenderly as you can.
Good morning, my dear little anger!
I know you are there.
I will take good care of you.
The baby is not pleasant when it cries and it kicks.
But you, as a mother,
you have to pick it up very tenderly
and hold the baby very tenderly into your arms.
And the tenderness of the mother
will begin to penetrate into the body of the baby.
If you continue for a few minutes,
the baby will feel better
and the baby may stop crying.
Your anger is your baby.
Your worries, your fear is your baby.
You should know how to take care of your baby.
You should not try to punish the baby
or ban the baby.
We have to learn how to handle our emotions,
Without the basic practice,
namely the practice of mindful breathing,
mindful cooking, mindful tea drinking,
you have no ways to generate the energy of mindfulness.
It is that energy of mindfulness
that helps you to recognize your pain,
and helps you to embrace it tenderly.
And after having embraced your pain, your sorrow
tenderly for a few minutes
you feel a relief.
And your baby
agrees to be quiet.
And now you can enjoy the beautiful sunrise.
Now you can allow yourself to be nourished by the beauty
the wonders of life around you and inside of you.
This is a very basic practice.
We should be able to do it,
to master the practice.
Sometimes we cannot do it alone
because we are just beginners.
We have some mindfulness,
But our mindfulness and concentration are not strong enough
to hold our baby, that is huge.
A big baby!
That is why we need a Sangha.
The Sangha is a community.
And we can borrow the energy of the Sangha.
Because the Sangha,
whose members are practicing,
is generating a collective energy of mindfulness.
The collective energy, the good energy is strong.
And if you know how to borrow it,
you'll be strong enough to hold your baby.
And not to be overwhelmed
by the suffering.
This is very important.
That is why in the Buddhist tradition we speak of
taking refuge in the Sangha.
When you throw a rock into a river,
no matter how small the rock is
it will sink
into the bottom of the river.
Every rock will sink.
But if you have a boat,
you can keep many kilos of rock floating.
You can even keep tons of rock floating.
The same is true here.
If you are alone,
you may sink
with your suffering
into the river of suffering.
But if you have a Sangha,
a community of practice,
and if you allow the Sangha
to embrace your pain and your sorrow,
you will float.
You will not sink into the river of suffering.
This is very important.
When you are in a Sangha like this,
you allow the pain,
the fear, the sorrow
to be recognized and embraced by the Sangha.
You are borrowing the collective energy of the Sangha
in order to recognize, embrace your pain.
Dear Sangha, please see my pain.
Please, help me to embrace
the pain, the sorrow the fear in me.
And you can survive, you can float.
Many of us have profited from the collective energy of the Sangha.
If you think, you see that the Sangha is precious,
is crucial in your practice,
when you go home try your best to set up
a group of people practicing with you.
Everyone will profit from the group.
That is your boat.
You need a boat in order to float.
Sangha building is very important.
In Plum Village we do nothing
except Sangha building.
Everything is dedicated to Sangha building.
Cooking, cleaning, sitting,
walking, everything is for the sake of Sangha building.
Because the Sangha can be the refuge of many, many people.
If the Sangha is solid, is happy, is mindful,
then many people can come and take refuge
so that they can transform their suffering,
their fear, their anger.
When you practice well you become your own refuge.
You become the refuge for your beloved ones.
For your family.
You can transform your family into a Sangha, into a refuge.
And other people can come and take refuge in your family.
If you are capable
of bringing a few families together,
you set up a Sangha.
And if the practice goes well within your group,
your group becomes a refuge for many people.
That is Sangha building.
There is no hope
without Sangha building.
We are in a Sangha
like a drop of water in a river.
Allow the Sangha to hold us,
to transport us.
Don't be a drop of oil
in the river,
not mixing with other drops of water.
That way you arrive nowhere.
Allow yourself to be transported by the Sangha.
Allow your pain, your sorrow, your suffering
to be recognized, to be embraced by the Sangha.
You have to trust the Sangha.
Dear Sangha, I suffer.
Please, help me to embrace my suffering.
Imagine you are a drop of water
who likes to go to the ocean.
If you go alone,
you might be evaporated
in just a few days.
But if you allow yourself to be embraced and transported by the Sangha,
you go to the ocean.
The Sangha will guide, will help.
Sometimes the Sangha pushes a little bit.
And you are always in the stream.
You are no longer a drop of oil.
You have become the river.
And as a river,
you don't have to suffer anymore.
You suffer only when you are a separated drop of water.
You suffer only when you are a drop of water.
If you have become a river,
you don't have to suffer anymore.
to be embraced by the Sangha.
To be transported by the Sangha.
To be carried
by the Sangha.
Accept your Sangha as yourself.
Become the Sangha, become the river.
This is a very wonderful practice
and does not need a lot of time.
You just allow yourself to be the river.
There are those of us
who are capable of handling our own suffering.
Because our practice of mindfulness is solid.
We have the energy of mindfulness, of concentration.
Every time the pain, the sorrow comes up
we are able to recognize it by ourselves, alone.
We are able to embrace and smile to it alone.
And by the walking, by the breathing,
by the looking deeply
we can understand the block of sorrow.
We can transform it.
But there are those of us who are not so strong.
We need a Sangha.
When you sit alone,
you rely on your energy of mindfulness,
alone on your energy of mindfulness and concentration.
Sometimes you may wander,
you lose your mindfulness, you lose your concentration,
you begin to think of this or that.
But when there is another friend sitting close to you
you are two.
And the solidity of the other person sitting close to you
So every time your mind begins to wander
you bring it home to you
and you continue the practice of mindful breathing,
to cultivate more solidity, more freedom.
It is our solidity and freedom that bring us
happiness and joy,
understanding and love.
If you continue to be a victim
of the environment,
if you continue to be a victim of your fear, your anger,
happiness is not possible.
Peace is not possible.
And you don't have much to offer
to him or to her, your beloved one.
That is why we have to profit from the Sangha,
we have to profit from a brother or a sister
who knows the practice.
Sometimes we feel
that we cannot go on anymore,
we are going to crack.
We are the victims of despair.
We are not on our own anymore.
We are to give up.
And suddenly we remember
that we have a friend.
And we wish that
at this very moment
if that friend sits close to you,
you will be okay.
Because that friend has solidity,
And if that friend sits close to you
in this moment,
you will be able to survive.
But that friend is not here.
She is far away.
She is in Tokyo or Los Angeles.
And you feel very well, very clearly
that if you have a chance to go to him, go to her
and sit close to him, you can survive.
Because alone, you are
you are lost.
You know that
you cannot restore
If you feel like that,
if you feel yourself in such a condition,
you should try
everything to go to him or to her.
Give up everything.
Just try to go to him or to her.
Because you need a balance,
and no one around you here
can help you to restore the balance
so that you can survive this very difficult moment.
You have to go to him, go to her.
And when you arrive
and sit close to that person,
you feel that you can survive.
You think that you can breathe,
you can walk,
you can drink your tea.
You are okay.
But you also know
that you cannot stay with her all the time.
In a few weeks you have to go home to your place.
And without her, without that person,
you lose the balance again.
You rely on someone else
in order to maintain the minimum of balance
that helps you to survive.
My advice to you
is while you are with her, or him,
and feel you can survive,
you have to profit.
You have to profit from the moment
in order to cultivate enough energy
so that when you are alone
you can survive.
So her presence, his presence,
is an opportunity.
It is like
during the summer and autumn
the sky is clear, there is sunshine.
You know that the winter will be harsh.
And you need some wood in order to put in your stove
to heat the house.
You know that if you wait until the winter
to cut the wood
it will no dry.
It won't have enough time to dry
for you to heat the house.
That is why you have to profit from
the heat of the sunshine of autumn
of summer in order to cut the wood
and to keep a pile of wood
so that you can bring it home at the end of autumn.
If you spend your time doing nothing,
you cannot survive the winter.
That is why while you are with that friend
and feel that you can survive,
profit from these moments in order to practice
to cultivate enough energy of mindfulness,
of concentration, of freedom, of solidity
so that when you go home to your place
you will be able to survive.
A retreat is something like that.
It is an opportunity.
It is a pleasure to talk to each other, of course.
But if we don't profit from the retreat
in order to
master the practice of being oneself,
to get the habit of generating
the energy of mindfulness and concentration,
then, when we go home,
we cannot be ourselves.
We cannot help others.
This is why the noble silence is very helpful.
Because the noble silence helps us to be ourselves.
To profit from every moment of being here
in order to generate the energy of mindfulness
Generating the energy of mindfulness and concentration
if that has become a habit
then, it will be wonderful.
Every time the energy of fear and sorrow
and anger comes up,
we know what to do.
We need only to go home to our in-breath and out-breath
and then the energy is generated.
It is possible for us to recognize our afflictions,
to embrace them,
to make friends with them
and to continue.
We can help other friends to do the same also.
Our mind can be seen as having two layers.
The upper layer is called mind consciousness.
And the lower layer is called store consciousness.
It is like a house with a basement and a living room.
This is --
Sometimes we consider this to be the earth,
the soil of our consciousness.
All the seed are buried here.
The seed of understanding,
the seed of love, the seed of joy,
the seed of happiness
are always here.
The seed of sorrow, the seed of fear, the seed of despair
there are all there.
When you hear a Dharma talk,
the Dharma talk will fall like the rain
on the soil of store consciousness.
It penetrates into the seed of joy
and makes the seed of joy sprout
and bring forth flowers here.
When you read an article in a magazine
that contains violence and fear,
the article waters the seed of anger in you.
and it brings forth the flower of anger,
of fear, of discrimination.
So it depends of the kind of rain
that you have,
what kind of seed down here
will come up.
Down here they are called seeds.
And up here they are called mental formations.
In the teachings of Buddhism
we speak of 51 categories of seeds.
And among them, mindfulness is one.
Mindfulness has a seed.
If you practice
mindful walking, mindful sitting, mindful cooking,
mindful drinking, mindful eating,
then the seed of mindfulness becomes stronger and stronger.
It grows stronger here.
And when we need it to come up,
it comes up very easily.
But if you don't practice,
it remains a small seed.
Your anger also.
When you were a baby,
the seed of anger may be still very small.
But if your parents do not know how to take care of you,
if you are exposed to a kind of environment
that is full of violence and anger,
then, the seed of anger will grow up like this.
When you watch television,
you get in touch with the violence in society,
the seed of anger and violence grows up like this.
they will manifest and occupy the living room of the mind.
So our happiness
depends entirely on our seeds.
There are people who are very angry now.
Ten years ago, they were not angry like that.
They were not violent like that.
Because they have allowed the seed of anger in them
to be watered every day, every day, every day.
That is why it is very important
not to allow the seed of anger and violence to be watered every day.
There are ways to do that.
In a Dharma discussion we can discuss
how to prevent the seed of anger to be watered every day.
Everyone has experiences.
In a Dharma discussion we may discuss as
how for the seed of mindfulness, the seed of joy,
the seed of compassion to be watered every day.
The Sangha is a place where we learn.
We put into practice what we learn.
If you have a family,
your partner, your children will profit from the practice.
You can organize so that your family becomes
a unit, a practice unit.
You know how to help yourself, your partner and your children
to avoid watering the seeds of violence, and anger, and fear.
Every day, you organize
so that the seed of joy, understanding, compassion
will be watered many times.
This is a problem of organization.
You can organize your practice.
Your practice may be very natural.
It does not look as a practice,
but it is a real practice.
We have our intelligence.
We need to use our intelligence in order to organize our daily life,
the daily life of our family,
so that we can take good care
of the seeds in here.
The practice is called the practice of selective watering,
this word we have invented in Plum Village.
We water only the good seeds.
And you refrain from watering the negative seeds in you.
When your child consumes
television three hours a day,
it may bring a lot of poisons into himself or herself.
Because the TV programs they are consuming
may contain a lot of anger and violence.
You allow your child
to intoxicate herself.
That is not good for her, that is not good for you,
that is not good for our society.
If we allow these items of consumption
to water the seed of discrimination, of hate,
that would not be for his profit,
for own profit and for the profit of our society.
This must be arranged now.
You have your insight
as from now on, you organize our life in such a way
that can protect us,
that can protect members of our family, our friends.
Because our suffering, our happiness,
depends entirely on the seeds we have in our store consciousness.
Although our children are still very young,
we can sit down with them and discuss about this.
They are able to understand.
In the last few years,
every summer we had children sitting with us in Dharma talks.
And the children show the capacity of understanding.
They understand all these things.
They are ready to cooperate with us.
We have to treat them
That helps them
to be aware,
to be responsible.
They know that they have a role to play
in the happiness of the family and society.
much quicker, much more quickly.
The practice of selective watering
can bring forth results very quickly.
One hour of practice can make a big difference already.
Look at the person you love.
She has all kind of seeds in herself.
She has her talent, her joy,
her suffering, her anger.
If you water her anger, in five minutes you'll see.
You bring the worst out of her.
But if you know how to water the seed of her compassion,
her joy, her understanding,
she will bloom like a flower just after 20 minutes of practice.
That is for her to enjoy herself.
That is for you to enjoy herself also.
the practice of selective watering can bring results very quickly.
And you can do it.
You are just telling the truth.
Because that person has many good seeds in her, in him.
And if you recognize that seed you say:
Darling, you are wonderful.
You can do this, you can do that.
Then, you water the seed of self-confidence in her.
And she'll be the source of happiness
not only for her, for him, but for you also.
That person is your garden.
And you are the gardener.
You should learn the art of flower watering.
In every one of us there are flowers,
there is also garbage.
If you water the garbage, you get the garbage.
Garbage is the anger,
the fear, the discrimination, the jealousy.
The flower is compassion, understanding, love.
Up to you, up to the gardener.
You are a gardener.
You have to take care of your own garden.
You may have to master the art
In fact, you have two gardens.
Your own garden here
and the person you love.
If you don't know how to water,
to practice selective watering
of your own garden,
you would not have enough wisdom
in order to help watering the flowers in the other person.
So the garden is in yourself.
You have to cultivate your garden well
and you will help cultivating his garden,
And believe me, a week of practice
can make a big difference.
You are intelligent enough, more than enough
to do the work.
You have to --
you have to
take the situation in hand.
You should not allow the situation
out of your control.
You can do it.
Every time you practice walking meditation
investing your mind, your body into every step,
you take the situation in your hands.
Every time you breathe in and know that you are breathing in.
Every time you breathe out and you smile to your out-breath
then you are yourself.
You are the boss, you are the master.
You are the gardener of your own garden.
And we rely on you to do it,
to take good care of your garden
so that you can help taking care of her garden, of his garden.
When you have succeeded with you and with that person,
you become a Sangha, a two person Sangha.
You become a refuge for a third person
and the Sangha will grow.
There is mutual understanding
within you and her,
within you and him.
But before that becomes a reality,
you have to understand yourself.
Self-understanding will bring about mutual understanding.
You understand that you have blocks of fear, suffering, anger.
You understand that you have the seeds of joy and peace
And understanding that, you practice
so that you can water the good seeds
and make your garden beautiful.
When your garden is beautiful, it is so easy to help the other person!
If your garden is not beautiful,
it is very hard to help the other person.
If your garden is beautiful, you are fresh.
You are compassionate.
Your look, your smile are very pleasant.
Anything you try to do to help will have an effect.
But if you don't have that freshness,
that beauty in your garden,
no matter how hard you try
you cannot help the other person to transform himself.
So take good care of your garden.
That is not an abstract thing.
It is very concrete.
You can do it at every moment of your daily life.
You can do it here,
now with the Sangha.
So tomorrow you can continue to do it
when you go home to your place.
Take good care of your garden in order to help
take care of the garden of the others.
When mutual understanding is there,
communication is good,
happiness is possible
and you two become a refuge
for a third person, for a fourth person.
And that is a process of peace.
That is a peace process.
That is the real road map.
The peace process does not come from Washington D.C.
The road map does not come from Washington D.C.
It comes from your own heart.
It comes from you, it comes from your beloved one.
You two, you form a multitude.
If there are enough of you
who know how to handle
who know how to calm yourself,
you can organize
a people's peace conference.
You don't need your government to do it.
Because your government has tried very hard
in the past.
It has not succeeded.
Because they don't know, they don't really know
the peace process.
They don't really know the peace road map.
They talk about that.
They think in terms of politics.
They do not know how to think of peace in terms of
When the warring parties come to a peace conference,
each side is full of
And with that in the heart
not much can be achieved.
Because there is no peace inside
in order to really make peace with the other side.
negotiators for peace should have some peace within themselves.
At least they should know to handle
the anger, the fear, the suspicion in them.
Peace talks are always organized in such a way
right in the beginning begin to talk about peace.
Making a lot of proposals,
making a lot of
But the real peace talk
a real peace convention
should be organized like a retreat.
It means, both warring parties
would be given the time
to calm themselves,
to take care of their emotions, their fear, their suspicions.
There should be time in order for each side
to cultivate their own garden.
There are those of us
who know how to help.
Those of us who have come from the Middle East,
who know something about the practice of calming, of resting,
of embracing our fear, our anger.
Those of us
that can help
to prepare the ground
for mutual understanding.
I just told you about your individual garden.
We have to go home to our own garden
in order to take good care of it.
We should know the art of selective watering
so that we have enough calm, enough peace,
enough joy in us
so that we can help the other person
to cultivate the same
and to go home to ourselves
and take care of our own garden.
This is step one.
When our garden has begun to offer flowers,
we know that we can begin to help other persons.
This is the step two.
Your beloved one.
There is suffering,
there is difficulty,
in your beloved one.
And now, as you have become a beautiful garden,
you can go to her and help.
And she will do exactly like you.
She will have an opportunity to go home to herself.
Those who don't know the practice
they always in the very beginning try to go out to the other person.
"You have to change.
You have to do this, you have to do that
in order for me and you to be together."
And the other person is doing the same.
No one knows the practice of going home.
This is the real peace process.
When you can help the other person
to do the same
and help her garden to be beautiful,
mutual understanding becomes possible.
Real communication is possible.
This is the road map.
This is the peace process.
I believe very strongly
that if there are enough of you
who know the art
of cultivating our own garden,
we can organize a peace conference.
The Israeli group
can practice together one week, or two weeks
going back to themselves and cultivate their own garden.
Meanwhile the Palestinian group will do the same.
We need people who know the practice
of calming, of embracing, of smiling
so that we calm down our emotions, our fear, our distress
so that communication can be possible.
If peace negotiation always fails it is because people don't start with that.
They are in a hurry, they want to discuss right away.
But mutual understanding cannot be possible
with a lot of suffering and fear and suspicion in every side.
It is possible for you to organize a people's peace conference
somewhere in the Middle East.
Even in Plum Village, in Paris
you can have the international press to come
and see how you do.
You are practicing peace.
You are not discussing peace.
You are practicing peace,
you are establishing real communication with the other group.
A relationship within a couple.
Whether you are son or father,
you are a couple,
whether you are partner and partner,
or son and father,
or mother and daughter,
if you have difficult relationships
a difficult relationship
and if you want to make peace with him, with her.
you have to go to this process.
The father has to go home to himself.
And if possible, the son will go home to himself.
The son may be the initiator of the peace process.
We know that he has to help himself
before he can help his father.
So he goes home to his garden
and cultivates the flower of compassion, understanding and joy.
And after he succeeded he comes to his father,
Before that, he cannot --
he cannot help his father.
He feels that it is impossible.
He can never help his father to transform.
But now, since he has transformed himself
he becomes pleasant, he becomes joyful,
with a lot of compassion, he knows that he can help transform his father.
it looks like there is no hope.
No hope to reconcile with the other person,
even if he is your own father.
in a retreat in northern Germany,
in the city of Oldenburg,
we had six days entirely for the practice.
The first, the second, the third day
are for the practice of going home
and practicing calming, embracing, looking deeply.
The third and fourth day, the fifth day,
we learned about peaceful communication.
How to use the practice of listening deeply
and with compassion.
How to use loving speech in order to communicate.
Because listening with compassion
and using kind, loving speech
is very important to open up communication.
In the beginning
people find it very difficult to use loving speech,
because they have got a lot of anger.
Father and son could not look at each other.
Mother and daughter could not look at each other.
Impossible for them to use loving speech and to listen
because when you listen you get irritated,
because the other person is watering the seed of irritation in you.
But after 3 days, 4 days of practice
the seed of compassion and understanding in every one
was watered by the Dharma talks.
Because everyone has the seeds of compassion and understanding.
Everyone is capable of recognizing
that they are not the only one who suffers.
The other person suffers also very deeply.
And we are partly responsible for the suffering of the other person.
When you realize that,
you can look at the other person with compassion,
with the eyes of compassion.
Oh, now I know that he suffers a lot also.
Not only I suffer,
but he, she has suffered a lot also.
I used to blame him for my suffering.
But I know that I have been partly responsible
for my suffering
and I have made him suffer also.
So the moment when you are enlightened like that
you get understanding.
And with understanding and compassion suddenly you can look at him, at her
The situation changes.
Suddenly you find you can listen to him,
you can listen to her with compassion.
The way you look at him now is different.
The way you listen to him now is quite different.
It changes the whole situation.
It makes the communication possible.
Oh my God!
I didn't know that he also has suffered that much.
And I have been responsible for his suffering also.
In the past, I believed that I was the only one who suffered.
I didn't know that he, she, has suffered also a lot.
At that moment, when you get that kind of enlightenment,
your eyes are different.
Your words are different.
And communication is possible.
On the eve of the fifth day,
I gave the instructions
as how to reconcile
with your beloved one.
I told them: You have until midnight, tonight
in order to complete your work of reconciliation.
The Dharma talk was given at 9 o'clock in the morning
and I told the people in the retreat,
600 people or more,
to do the work of reconciliation using loving speech
and compassionate listening
in order to
There was a day of practice.
If your beloved one is in the retreat,
you can come to her, come to him
using the techniques of listening deeply,
using the technique of loving speech.
Darling, I know that you have suffered a lot.
During many years.
I have not been able to help you
to suffer less.
In fact, I have made the situation worst.
I used to blame you for my suffering.
But I know now that I have contributed to your suffering.
Please, give me a chance.
I don't want you to suffer.
I want you to be happy.
Please, tell me.
I don't want to repeat the mistakes,
the unskillfulness that I have done in the past.
If you don't help me I cannot do that.
So please, help me.
That kind of talking.
Everyone in the retreat was able to talk like that.
Before that, they did not believe that they were able to do like that.
Because before that,
the seeds of understanding and compassion in them
had been not watered.
4, 5 days of selective watering can transform the whole situation.
And they are able to
to do that on the fifth day.
In the morning of the sixth day,
four German gentlemen came to me
and reported that last night
they had used the cell phones to talk to their fathers.
They were able to reconcile with their fathers
just by using cell phones.
It is very remarkable.
Because the other person did not practice.
Their fathers, who did not come to the retreat
they did not practice at all.
Just on side, one person practiced
and that can help
the one who does not practice.
It is a miracle.
When you are transformed,
when you have understanding and compassion in you,
you can transform the other person.
In fact, that night they were able to use loving speech.
They were able to open the door
of their fathers' hearts.
They got the reconciliation.
They were very happy.
And I knew that there were more people who had done that
but they were a little bit too shy to come to me and report.
Last year also, in a retreat organized for Chinese people in Macao
the same thing happened.
There were people in the retreat who used the telephone
in order to call their husband, their wife and reconcile.
On the last day, they came to me
after the last tea meditation
and reported to me that they had been able to reconcile
with their wife or their husband who were at home,
who could not come to the retreat.
It is very crucial that
we are able to water the seeds of compassion and understanding in us.
Come home to ourselves and do it
with the help of the Sangha or without the help of the Sangha.
Then, when you are okay
you can come to him, come to her and help him to do that.
And mutual understanding, mutual communication is possible.
Suppose you are not a person, but you are a group.
You are a group of Palestinians
who so much wants peace.
Now, you know
the peace process, the real peace process.
You know the real map road for peace.
And it doesn't come from Washington D.C.
What we said yesterday about God?
We should not look for God outside.
We should not look for God in Washington D.C.
For peace in Washington D.C.
We should look for peace within our heart.
The peace process, the road map for peace
has to come from ourselves.
This is a real peace process.
Peace always begins with yourself, your group, your people.
We have to be peace
on order to help the other side to make peace.
We should not continue to blame the other side
of not practicing peace.
We have to practice peace.
And we encourage the other group to practice peace.
Suppose this is the Palestinian group
who knows the peace process.
They come together.
They are in no hurry to discuss peace.
They are taking their time practicing peace, being peace.
When their garden is beautiful,
they can approach the group of Israelis.
if the Israeli group knows the peace process
they will do the same.
If they come together as two beautiful gardens
mutual communication becomes very easy.
I think that in six months or one year
you can organize a people's peace conference.
You can organize it in Paris.
You can organize it in the Middle East somewhere.
The world will come and listen to you
and see how you do peace.
This is a real peace process.
Because you know what is the process.
Peace always begins with you, with your group.
And when you listen to the other group
with all your compassion
you see that their people suffer as much as your people.
The adults, the children, they live in constant fear.
When you are able to see them as victims of suffering
the nectar of compassion flows in your heart.
And you suffer less.
And when you suffer less, you help them to suffer less.
Every agreement made on that kind of mutual understanding
will be real, a real peace solution.
signed by both parties,
but if the fear, the anger,
the suspicion still remain intact in both sides,
that is only a piece of paper.
It is not peace.
But if there is compassion, understanding,
mutual understanding, compassion,
then you don't even need that piece of paper
signed by both sides.
And many of us in the world will come and support you
in your peace conference,
people's peace conference,
that will show the world, that will show your governments.
You can come and help your governments also.
Your government will listen to you if you are
a real entity of peace.
I don't think that we should wait for our governement.
They may continue for a long time.
They may not arrive anywhere.
We have to take the situation in hand.
We have to make peace.
We have to organize the peace process
with our own practice.
You may spend time alone
and write a letter to your partner.
To your father
or to your son or to your daughter
if you do have difficulties with him or with her.
Give yourself three hours and write a letter.
And use loving speech.
During the time of writing that letter,
you practice looking deeply
into the nature,
into the situation of your relationship.
Why communication has been difficult?
Why happiness was not possible?
You can begin like that:
My dear son,
I know you have suffered a lot
during the past many years.
I have not been able to help you
but I have made the situation worst.
It is not my intention to make you suffer, my son.
But maybe because I am not skillful enough
I tried to impose my ideas on you,
make you suffer.
I think that you have made --
In the past, I thought
that you made me suffer.
My suffering is caused by you.
But I now realize
that I have been responsible for your own suffering.
As a father, I don't want you to suffer.
Please, help me.
Please, tell me
of my unskillfulness in the past so that I will not continue
to make you suffer.
Because if you suffer, I will have to suffer too.
I need your help, my dear son.
We should be a happy couple,
father and son. I'm determined to do it.
Please, help me.
Please, tell me what is in your heart.
I promise to do my best
to refrain from saying things or doing things that make you suffer.
But you need to help me.
I need your help. Otherwise,
I will not be able to do it alone.
Write a letter like that.
Spend three hours, even one day to write such a letter.
I am sure that after you finish the letter
you will feel much, much better in your heart.
You become another person.
That is what we call loving speech.
In the past, every time I suffered
I was inclined to punish you, to say things, to do things
that made you suffer.
I thought that that was the way to get a relief
but I was wrong.
I realize now
that anything I say or do that makes you suffer
that makes me suffer also.
I'm determined not to do it anymore.
But please, help me.
I have the confidence
that after you have finished that letter,
which is a process of peace,
a process of transformation,
you feel much better.
Because peace is in you.
Understanding and compassion are in you.
And now you become very pleasant, much more pleasant to him or to her.
And you can help him or her to transform.
A miracle can be obtained in 24 hours.
That is the practice of loving speech.
It is coupled with the practice of deep listening, compassionate listening.
Compassionate listening is very crucial.
If you don't have compassion in you,
you cannot listen.
Because what the other person says
may water the seed of irritation and anger in you.
And you lose all your compassion.
You are no longer able to listen.
And to listen is very important.
If you know how to listen for one hour,
deeply, with compassion,
the other person will suffer much, much less.
It is very healing, very transforming
the practice of compassionate listening.
That is the practice of Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva,
the great being who has the capacity of deep listening.
You have that seed in you.
When you listen to someone,
you tell yourself
that listening like this is to help him or her
to suffer less.
Because so far no one has listened to him or to her.
No one has been able to listen with compassion.
Even the therapist.
Because the therapist may have a lot of suffering inside of her, inside of him.
And although she pretends to listen deeply,
maybe she is listening to herself.
If she does not know how to listen to herself
she does not know how to listen to you.
That is why you have to be the therapist.
You have to be the Bodhisattva
and listen to your beloved one.
This is possible.
First of all, you have to see that that person has suffered a lot.
And you have made the situation worst.
What you said in the letter is true.
You believe in what you have said in the letter.
And you want now to listen to her, to him.
And you can look at her with compassion.
she has suffered quite a lot,
partly of me.
And you ask her to tell you
what is in her heart.
She may not be able to use loving speech yet.
In her speech there may be a lot of bitterness,
a lot of blaming, a lot of judgment.
But if you are a Bodhisattva,
you can still continue to listen with compassion.
You can be a Bodhisattva.
The Bodhisattva is in you, and not outside of you.
You say: I listen like this
with only one purpose.
That is to help the other person to suffer less.
That is why even if his speech is full of judgment,
I am still able to listen.
The energy of compassion protects you.
What the other person says cannot water the seeds of irritation and anger anymore
because you are able to nourish the compassion,
to keep compassion alive.
Compassion is mindfulness.
I listen to him like that with only one purpose,
to help him to suffer less.
If you can maintain this awareness alive, you are protected.
The seeds of irritation and anger in you
will not be watered.
You can listen for one hour
without being affected by what the other person says.
You don't want to correct him or her,
even if her speech is full of wrong perceptions,
you feel only compassion.
That person is victim of so much wrong perceptions.
You don't want to punish,
you don't want to criticize,
because you have compassion.
That is why you can continue to listen.
Listening like that for one hour is very healing.
You are the Bodhisattva.
Don't look for the Bodhisattva outside of you.
Don't look for God outside of you.
During the process of listening,
you notice that there are so much
misunderstanding in her.
And yet, you don't get angry.
She is accusing you. She is bitter.
But you don't get angry.
Because you are protected by compassion.
I listen to her just because I want her to suffer less.
You know that you can help
that person to remove wrong perceptions later on.
You don't need to do it now.
If you try to correct him or her right now,
you spoil everything.
So just listen, and you say:
Tomorrow or after tomorrow
I'll have plenty of time to offer her information
that can help her to correct the wrong perceptions.
With that in mind,
you are not in a hurry to correct him, to correct her,
you are very peaceful, you are very compassionate.
That is peace.
Then, a few days later,
when you feel that the atmosphere is good,
you begin to release some information.
Darling, it was not like that, it was like this.
You release just a little bit of information.
Don't try to release all the information at one time.
The other person will not be able
to believe it. It is too much truth at one time,
it is not good.
So after three days, you release a few information
and 5, 6 days later you release another set of information
helping that person to correct her perceptions.
This is a peace process.
In a relationship between two people,
whether it is partner and partner,
son and father, mother and daughter,
the process is exactly the same.
The situation has dragged on for many years.
But if you are determined to practice,
one week is enough.
One week or two weeks are enough for you to restore communication,
to improve the quality of the relationship
and to make yourself happy, to make the other person happy.
And when it comes to the situation
of the two parties, two warring parties,
it is exactly the same kind of process.
can begin to write a letter, a collective letter.
And the language can be exactly the same.
Dear people over there,
we know that you have suffered a lot.
Dear people over there.
They are the Palestinians,
they are the Israelis.
Dear people over there,
we know that during the past many years you have suffered a lot.
We thought that we were the only people who suffered.
But now we realize that you have suffered quite a lot.
We have not been able to help you to suffer less.
In fact, we have made the situation much worst.
Which is the truth.
It is not our intention to make your group suffer.
Because we have not been very skillful.
We don't know the peace process.
We have reacted with anger and frustration.
We wanted to punish every time we suffered.
That is why we have made the situation worst.
We don't believe more in punishment.
We need your help.
We don't want to continue like this.
We want really to give you a chance
to live peacefully and happily
so that we will be able to live peacefully and happily also.
Because your peace, your happiness
is crucial for our own peace and happiness.
If you don't have safety, security,
then we will have no safety and security.
We recognize that we inter-are.
Our peace and safety depends on your peace and safety.
That is why you should help us
and we should help you.
Let's come together as brothers
and not as opponents.
Please, tell us.
We listen to you.
The Palestinians and Israelis who use to come to Plum Village
in the last many years
they were offered exactly the same kind of practice.
During the first 5, 6 days
they don't say anything.
They just practice mindful breathing, mindful walking,
recognizing the fear the anger, the suffering in them
and to calm down.
Then, they would sit down and listen to the other group
and recognize that the other group has suffered a lot also.
Now they are able to look with the eyes of compassion.
They are using deep listening, loving speech.
And it is their turn
to tell the other group about their suffering,
mutual understanding becomes a reality.
And the two groups always come up together on the last day
in order to give a report to the whole Sangha
about their practice.
They all make the vow to go home to the Middle East
to organize Sanghas
so that many people can come and profit from the practice of peace.
You are intelligent people.
You have to use your intelligence,
your lucidity, to make peace
with your partner, with your beloved one
so that you can become an instrument of peace
to make peace with the other group.
They desperately need you.
And you also need them.
My suggestion of a people's peace conference
is just such suggestion,
to illustrate the path of peace.
You know that in the world
so many people are concerned about the suffering in the Middle East.
If you can do anything like that,
like a People's Peace Conference
you will have a tremendous power of education.
Not only you educate yourself and the other group
but you educate the whole world
about how to make peace.
And many of us will come to listen to you,
to observe you making peace.
Not in the political way that has been used,
but in the real way of making peace.
In your Dharma discussion
please, share your experience on this.
How you make peace with your beloved ones.
How can you become the refuge of a third person, or a fourth person
and so on.
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