A couple of years ago in 2008 I traveled with some friends to go and see Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh give some talks in Bangkok. Now I don’t normally go so very far to attend a Dhamma talk, but I reasoned that Thay was very old – over 80 even at that time – and the chances of him coming to Asia again and therefore being able to see him were slim, and I had better not waste my opportunity, so I went.
We managed to attend three of the talks at the time, which were given over the Vesakha celebrations in Thailand, and I remember being very impressed indeed, and thinking: this is the most mindful monk I have ever seen! I was also impressed with the good discipline of the Plum Village Sangha which was traveling with him.
Then in July of this year I heard that Thay (an affectionate name meaning Teacher) would be coming to Asia again, and this time doing a two-month tour, which besides going to Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and Hong Kong, was also coming to Malaysia and even to Penang, where I am currently staying! (For Thich Nhat Hanh’s itinery during his SE Asia tour see this page.)
Now last Tuesday I went along with Bros. Cheng Why and Will Wong to the newly relocated Phor Thay High School in Penang for the talk. Quite impressively around 2,500-3,000 other people also turned up for the talk! That is quite a turn out for a Dhamma event in Penang and shows how much respect he commands here.
The talk was preceded by newly composed Dhamma folk songs by members of the Plum Village Sangha (missing here), and a wonderful chanting of Namo Avalokiteśvara complete with Gongs, Violin and Cello, with which the video below begins.
The talk he gave that night was recorded and the first 45 minutes has just been posted by brother stream on Vimeo, so I am embedding it here. The talk is given in English and has a line by line translation into Mandarin. The video starts and ends abruptly, but the content, although raw, is well worth anyone’s time.