"When understood, the Buddha’s universe..is anything but alien and inhibiting. It is a world full of hope, where everything we need to do can be done and everything that matters is within human reach. It is a world where kindness, unselfishness, non-violence, and compassion achieve what self-interest and arrogance cannot. It is a world where any human can be happy in goodness and the fullness of giving." ❦ Eknath Easwara

November 26, 2011

How Even a Telephone Ringing Can Help Us Awaken

"The Buddha is someone who is very close to us. The Buddha is the power of awakening, of loving, of understanding in us. Every time the Buddha is calling, we have to listen with all our being. That is why our minds have to be with our bodies; so we stop every activity, including thinking, and we go back to ourselves, using our breathing as a vehicle. We arrive, and we listen very deeply to the voice of the Buddha. That is the voice of peace, of stability, of freedom.

If we don’t know how to listen to the voice of the Buddha, we won’t be able to restore peace, tranquility, and solidity inside ourselves. In Plum Village we enjoy the practice of listening to the bell very much. Every time I listen to the bell, I feel I am a better person. I am more solid, I am more free. I am calmer, more understanding. That is why everyone should profit from the practice of listening to the bell of mindfulness.

You will notice that in Plum Village we practice mindfulness of listening with other sounds. For, example, every time we hear the telephone ringing, all of us in Plum Village will stop our talking, stop our thinking, and go back to our in-breath and out-breath, and listen. Even though the sound of the telephone is a very ordinary kind of sound, when you practice, it becomes something very important too.

We practice breathing, with the gatha: 'Listen, listen, this wonderful sound brings me back to my true home.' 'Listen, listen,' that is what you say when you breathe in. When you say, 'Listen, listen,' that means 'I am listening deeply,' and when you breathe out you say, 'This wonderful sound brings me back to my true home.' My true home is where there is peace, there is stability, there is love, and I love to go home, because at home I feel safe."

From a Dharma Talk by Thich Nhat Hahn at Plum Village, July 1998

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