Easter Sunday is a regular day of mindfulness in Plum Village. This talk is from the Lower Hamlet on Sunday, April 20, 2014, and has world-renowned Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh beginning with two chants from the monastics. The mindfulness practice of the sequoia tree, the sky. He speaks of an Albert Camus’ book called The Stranger. Here too the prisoner talks about truly seeing the sky. The talk is in English. Here is the transcript of the meditation’s text:
Here too the prisoner talks about truly seeing the sky. This is awakening. Camus called this a moment of consciousness. Many people are living as if we are dead. The blue sky is a wonder of life. Awakening. Can we wake up? Mindful breathing. Resurrection. From forgetfulness to mindfulness. The miracle of the resurrection. This is not dogma. When we wake up then we can get in touch with the wonders of life. Joy and happiness are possible. How? Waking up to our suffering. Jesus was aware of his suffering and the role of suffering. In Plum Village, we say this bread is the body of the cosmos. Similar to the breaking bread by Jesus. To wake up is to see no birth and no death. It is not because of birth or death that Jesus exists.
The same is with mindfulness. Birth and death. This is our true nature and highest awakening. And Nirvana is the same. We can go back to ourselves and touch our true nature. If we have time to look deeply, we can see the connection between suffering and happiness. Jesus himself realized the role of suffering. As a practitioner of mindfulness, we should know how to handle our suffering. Most of us are afraid of suffering. Through the energy of mindfulness, concentration, and insight we can be strong enough to touch and embrace our suffering. When we can do it for ourselves, we can help people around us do it as well. Joy and happiness are possible and transcend anxiety and fear. We don’t need to be afraid of suffering. If you understand the art of suffering, then you understand the art of happiness. If you understand the art of happiness, then you understand the art of suffering.