Sisters in the New Hamlet set up an exhibition for Thay's collection including all books in different languages worldwide, gifts from various countries and Buddhism masters. Sisters also had wonderful creativity to design several mindfulness practice display to explain how people practice in the Plum Village.
Dharma tool: A tangerine (sometimes a raisin) 橘子禪
Dharma: The present Moment is availalbe. Enjoy the wonders of life, one slice at a time.
Description: Thay teaches about meditation and being in the present moment and enjoying the wonders of life. When we are present with the tangerine, we are present to life. If we can enjoy the whole time of eating a tangerine from beginning to end; taking our time to peel the skin, to smell its scent, to savor each slice in our mouth; we have a good chance to live life, to live each day in this way. Each slice of the tangerine is like each segment of the day, each hour, or each moment of the day; if we are careful and mindful, we can enjoy every moment's sweetness.
Dharma tool: A Tea cup and White Clouds 茶禪與白雲Dharma:
Drink your tea! - a classic Zen teaching on dwelling in the present moment and enjoying waht you are doing there in front of your.
Emptiness - the cup is empty of team, but it is full of air. "Emptiness is always empty of something." Emptiness is not a concept of annihilation or of the non-existence of something, the non-existence of the cup.
Interbeing - when we drink the tea deeply, we can see that we are drinking the clouds, the rain, the river, and everything in the cosmos.
Description: Thay ususaly pauses druing a Dharma talk to make himself a cup of tea. He gently holds the cup in his two hands to drink the tea in mindfulness.He shares that when we are present with the tea, then we can truly be alive. "The tea is there, life is there; the question is are we there for the tea, are we there for life?" Sometimes, Thay holds the empty cup upside down to share about the emptiness of the cup, but points out that it is at the same time full of air, full of oxygen; and that the cup is there.
Thay uses the empty cup to teach us the deper meaning of Emptiness, that it is not a concept of non-existence; that emptiness is the emptiness of a separate, isolated existence. Thay also shares that we are also drinking a white cloud when we drink the tea. "Drink Your Cloud" When we drink tea with this awareness of the non-tea elements, we are truly drinking the tea deeply in touch with all the wonders of life.
Dharma tool: A metal Coin
Dharma: No Left without the Right. Interbeing. Suchness & the Ultimate Dimension 相即
Description: Thay on special occasions would ask the audience if he could borrow a coin from someone. He holds it up to the audience and shares aobut the interbing nature of the right and the left, the co-being of both sides. "We cannot cut out the left side and have only the right side remain." He sometimes uses the coin to share about the ultimate nature of Suchness, the essence, the true substance of reality beyond our conventional designations, of right and left, front or back; and beyond our discriminations and views based on signs and appearances. We can distinguish 3 aspects of the coin, head, tail, and the metal substance itself. Thay has used these 3 aspects to represent the 3 Dharma seals (Impermanence, non-self, & nirvana), orthe interbeing nature of 3 aspects of perception (the perceiver, the perceived, & the true nature).
Dharma tool: The match Box & the "Little Flame"
Dharma: Interbing. Dependent co-ariing. Non-discrimination. Non-dualism. Buddhist genesis. 相即，無處來無處去
Description: Thay invites the qudience to join him in a session of collective meditation, looking deeply into the nature of things. Adding the last condition to help the flame manifest, Thay strikes the match-stick to the side of the match box and the flame appears. Through a dialogue with Thay, the "Little Flame" teaches us all about its nature and the nature of reality. In this wonderful Dharma moment, thay smiles and greets the flame as if he is meeting an old child friend, "Hello Little Flame, from where do you come?" Thus begins the dialogue that would bring a smile to our lips and laughter to our hearts as the wisdom is revealed. The brilliance of this demonstration is that even little children seem to comprehend this beautiful and deeper Buddhist teaching. Thay ends the session by blowing the flame out and asks the flame where she/he has gone. "I have gone nowhere and have come from nonwhere. when the conditions are sufficient, I manifest; and when it is not, I do not. This is because that is."
Dharma tool: The Ear Corn and the Seed of Corn
Dharma: Interbeing. Non-discrimination. Impermanence. Father and son Inter-are.
Description: Thay uses this metaphor to teach us about our interbeing nature with our fathers and mothers, that we are the continuation of our fathers and mothers, and that we are our fathers and mothers. Thay invites us to reflect on the relationship between the corn seed and the corn stak;
and between us and our father/mother. We forget and do not want to admit that we were once an embryo, a single cell, and a little seed, that we are the continuation of our father/mother and of all our ancestors. In ignorance, we tend to think that we are separate and independent of our fathers and mothers. In anger, we may say thins like, "I don't want anything to do with you" or"You are not my father, get out of my life!" This contemplation helps us touch our interconnectedness and impermanent nature. We can see the continuity of life's energy always changing and manifesting. Thay asks us, "Before you were born; where were you? Before your parents met, did you exist? Are you the same little boy in the family album or are you different?"
Seed and Store Consciousness