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Excerpt from "Looking Deeply" by Thich Nhat Hanh

Cover-TNH-looking_deeply-BL Beloved Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh offers teachings on mindfulness in a series of lectures titled "Looking Deeply."  The following transcribed lecture from this program gives us a taste of how Thay -- Thich Nhat Hanh's nickname -- approaches the sometimes overwhelming subject of realization with simplicity, making it accessible to all of us.

Ladies and gentlemen, during this retreat we will learn to do together some of the things like smiling, breathing, sitting, walking, looking, eating, and so this is not difficult, but I think we can learn from each other a lot. We talk about realization. Realization is a difficult word but it is not really so difficult. For instance when we smile, that’s realization. We realize a smile. You are smiling and you realize something very important. So realizing is what we are going to realize. Breathing, sitting, smiling, eating, looking, all of things are realizations, and we do not need a lot of time on order to do so.

This is not the kind of realization that we talk about every day, like realizing a project. Because realizing a project -- we need time. But this kind of realization we are going to realize -- these don’t need time. Like you don’t need much time to smile; you just smile and then you have realized some very important thing. When we see a flower, when we look at a flower and if we really see the flower, that means we have realized something very important because many times we look at the flower but we do not see the flower so we miss it. We don’t realize to see, so we are going to learn to practice realization in order to see things -- to see things in ourselves and to see things around us.

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Excerpt 2 from A Talk Based on "Life Inc." by Douglas Rushkoff

DouglasRushkoff-BL In this excerpt from a talk based on Douglas Rushkoff's book Life Inc.: How Corporatism Conquered the World and How We Can Take it Back, Rushkoff challenges the notion of what is free online and elsewhere, and how corporations conspire to charge for it all.  Rushkoff is widely considered one of the most cutting-edge thinkers of our time, especially regarding the digital revolution.

Here is one of their conferences. It was a conference called “Free Economy” and what they were looking at was something that a lot of people have been talking about -- this notion that on the internet everything wants to become free, and what happens is things become more and more free, and in reaction to the kinds of books like Free written by Chris Anderson of Wired Magazine or The New Rules of the New Economy written by Kevin Kelly. This whole notion that everything is going to become free online as information is passed around and here is what you can do about it. So as I see it, this whole notion of free, this whole world that they brought people to come in and speak about, is really not about free. For business people, what this is about is how do we figure out how to still charge for stuff that’s free.
In other words, how do we not accept and push through and embrace this tremendous revolution and value creation and value exchange that the net has wrought, but rather how do we resist it? So when I look at the assortment of my colleagues, if you will, the great cyber thinkers, who are out there lecturing on economics these days. They pretend to be lecturing and sharing on how to embrace the revolution when actually what they are doing are sharing the most reactionary approaches to a world where things are becoming free, but they are not teaching companies, people, and businesses how to survive in and embrace what is going on. They are teaching them how to resist, how to hang on to the old economy in the face of a new economic order rather than how to maintain sustainable business practices in a new economic order.

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Excerpt from "Being Peace" by Thich Nhat Hanh

Being Peace Cover with Thich Nhat Hanh
Beloved Vietnamese monk and Buddhist master Thich Nhat Hanh shares his profound wisdom in talk he gave called "Being Peace."  In this excellent excerpt, Thay - as his followers call him -- remind us that our spiritual practice is not just about suffering.  It's also about fully experiencing the beauty of life.

When you look at the blue sky, you see the beauty of the sky. Do you have to make a special effort in order to enjoy it? That is the hard question. That is the question of the practice also. Because to practice hard, we have to make a lot of efforts in order to practice. To us who have one to four days of practice, we think that practicing is a very pleasant thing and each second of the practice, each minute of the practice should be a second of joy, a minute of joy. Do you have to practice enjoying the blue sky? No, I guess not. You just enjoy it.

This morning during the question and answer period, I said something like this, “Life is full of suffering but it is also full of wonderful things like the blue sky, the sunshine, the eyes of a baby, and to suffer is not enough.” We should be in touch with the wonder of life. It is all around us anytime and anywhere. We do not need to go to China in order to enjoy the blue sky. We do not have to travel into the future in order to enjoy the air we are breathing here. So please be in touch with the wonderful aspects of life because it would be a pity if we are only in touch with the suffering.

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Excerpt 1 from A Talk Based on "Life Inc" by Douglas Rushkoff

DouglasRushkoff-BL Check out this fascinating excerpt from a talk by Douglas Rushkoff based on his book Life Inc.: How Corporatism Conquered the World and How We Can Take it Back -- a book that challenges us to think completely differently about how we see the economics, the world of business, and money itself. 

As I see it, nothing is free. Nothing is free. Everything costs. It’s just that many things are not paid for. So there is a very big difference between those two things. I think that the problem is that the operating system for money, the operating system that we use for money, is obsolete and it is incompatible with the digital era. Our money system is a legacy system and like any legacy systems, they work for a certain amount of time. You forget that it’s even a legacy and then you begin to accept the operating system as a given circumstance.

So then, we talk about free and we have all of these discussions accepting the kind of currency we use as the given circumstance of the economy. Once you understand, once you cope with the fact that it is only an operating system, you realize the programs that we are trying to run aren’t working for us anymore. Not because the programs are the problem or because we are the problem, but because the OS, the operating system that we are running them on doesn’t work for that any more. The stuff in our pockets, the stuff that we call money is not money.
Did you ever hear about general semantics? General semantics, the idea. You can’t use the word “is.” You can’t say, “This is money.” If you take the word “is” out of the equation and you’re not allowed to use it anymore, then what can we say? We can say this represents money in our society right now. We use this as currency. That’s all we can say about it. This is not money. This is not value. This is not anything. This is, if it’s going to be is, this is paper with stuff printed on it that means something.

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