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Life Is a Wonder!
Q&A with Thich Nhat Hanh in Hanoi 
Saving Indra’s Net:Buddhist Tools for TacklingClimate ChangeNews from theEuropean Institute of Applied Buddhism
Winter/Spring 2009
A Publication of Plum Village
Issue 50 $8/
Dharma Talk
4 Life Is a Wonder!
By Thich Nhat Hanh
May 2008 in Vietnam
10 Return to Vietnam for Vesak11 Retreating to My Roots
By Loan To Phan
13 The Journey Home
By Van Khanh Ha
16 Deepening Dharma in Hong Kong
By Sister Hanh Nghiem
Vesak Conference
17 The Buddha’s Medicine
By Larry Ward 
Buddhist Perspective
By Ha Vinh Tho
 Tools for Tackling ClimateChange and Social Inequity
By Angela Tam
By Bar Zecharya
ISSUE NO. 50 -
Winter/Spring 2009
Dying into Life
 The Dharma of 
By Lauren Thompson
31 The Question of Overpopulation
By Brother Phap Lai 
34 Resurrection in thePresent Moment
By Sister Chau Nghiem
39 Letting Go
A poem by Susan Hadler 
40 The Guest
A poem by India Taylor 
Sangha News
41 Buddhist InstituteOpens in Germany;
 India Trip
Book Reviews
and Ecology
By Thich Nhat Hanh
45 What Book!?Buddha Poems fromBeat to Hiphop
Edited by Gary Gach
4 Winter/Spring 2009the Mindulness Bell 5
Thich Nhat Hanh in India photo by Bonnie Wiesner 
On May 10, 2008, during the “Engaged Buddhism or the Twenty-First Century” retreat at the Kim Lien Hotel in Hanoi, Thich Nhat Hanhanswered questions rom retreatants. Here are a ew o those questionsand answers.
A Beautiful Continuation
A written question: My ather is retiring ater fty-fveyears o leading companies. He has decided that unless hecan remain a very important person by having a high posi-tion or being afliated with a prestigious institution, he is“irrelevant.” As a result he does not want to live. He has saidhe cares about no one and has no interests let in lie. I’vetried watering his good seeds and spending time with him.But his anger is very deep and his
is 72 years strong[laughter]. How can I help him?
We might help him by telling him to learn to look deeply intohis own person, to understand himsel. We are usually caught inour notion o sel. We are not aware that a sel is made only o non-sel elements, just as a fower is made only o non-fower elements. Sometimes we notice that we have certain talents and skills, but we should know that these talents and skills have comerom our ancestors. When you know that your own talents, aswell as your suering and your happiness, have come rom your ancestors, you are no longer caught in the idea that all these thingsbelong to you.In the Buddhist tradition when we Touch the Earth we makethe gesture o opening our two hands to show that we have noth-ing in us. Everything has been transmitted through our ancestors.There is nothing to be ashamed o, nothing to be proud o. Weinherit many things rom our ancestors. In that light we can releaseeverything very quickly. The insight that sel is made up o non-sel elements can be very liberating. Then it will be possible or us to see ourselves in our children and in our riends.We know that the disintegration o this body does not meanour end  we always continue! We continue beautiully or notso beautiully, depending on how we handle the present moment.I in the present moment we can produce thoughts o lovingkindness, orgiveness, and compassion, i we can say inspiringwords, i we can perorm beautiul acts o compassion, then wewill have a beautiul continuation. We have sovereignty over thepresent moment.I your ather has access to that kind o insight he will changeand he will suer less. He will have joy in living. He will see thathe is in you and that you will carry him into the uture. All histalents and experiences are not lost  you will continue to havethem, and you will do your best to transmit these qualities into theuture through your children and grandchildren.
A Deep Grievous Longing
A lay woman asks: My husband and I have been trying toconceive a child or a long time. My sister and her husbandhave recently had a pregnancy loss, so we’ve both been expe-riencing a lot o suering. One o my highest aspirations is toexperience the miracle o having a child. Sometimes it’s veryintense emotionally, the intensity o lie wanting to continueitsel, it causes a deep grievous longing. I work in a clinic thatpractices Chinese medicine to help couples with inertility.So it’s very difcult not to water those seeds o suering. It ismy most sincere intention to nourish my healing practice andmy patients’ healing rom the heart o my own experience.It’s rom here that I ask or your guidance.
Someone said that happiness is something that you don’trecognize when it is there. You eel that, once it is gone, you havelost it. Happiness can occur in dierent orms. We might ocusour attention on one thing and we call it the basic condition or our happiness. I we don’t have that thing then we don’t havehappiness. But there are many other conditions or happiness thatare present in the here and the now, and we just ignore them. Wethink that only the other object is a true condition or happiness,which now we don’t have.
Not only is the rose wonderful, not only are theclouds and the sky wonderful, but the mud and thesuffering are also wonderful.
Life Is A Wonder!
Dharma talk by Thich Nhat Hanh

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