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The 10 Gates, Lessons from the Book "Nothing to It" with Brother Phap Hai

Today we are pleased to bring you part two of the transcription from The Ten Gates - Lessons from the book, Nothing to It with Brother Phap Hai.  This is a twelve week course to help lead you on the road to spiritual and mental health.

Each of the teachings that we are exploring through this twelve week course is a tool for us to apply in our daily life. It's a lens through which we can contemplate and understand our own unique situation a little bit more deeply. They are not just concepts. In the beginning when we hear one of the teachings, we receive it on the intellectual level and that's great, that's a good beginning, but we need to always ask ourselves "how do I apply this to my own situation? Can I apply this? Can I use this?"

Each of the gates that we'll be exploring over the next twelve weeks are different frames through which we can view our situation. Some are going to be appropriate for us right now and some maybe later, or maybe not at all. But the important thing for us to ask is "How can I use this? How can I apply this? How can I bring this from the intellectual level of concept only, into experience?"

The Buddha offered so many different opportunities. There are the four establishments of mindfulness. There is a noble eight fold path. There are the four noble truths. And these twelve weeks are twelve different opportunities and twelve different invitations for us to apply these particular gates, these particular frames of reference, to our situation and see which ones help us to go just a little bit more deeply.

Let's take the example of nutriment that we used last week. We begin to use this contemplation in our daily life by beginning to bring awareness to edible food. This is the simplest. Edible food is right in front of us where it is easy to see. It is very concrete. Sense impressions and volition comes later when we develop the capacity to be fully present. We develop the capacity to be with what's there.

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The Ten Gates - Lessons from the Book, "Nothing to It" with Brother Phap Hai

Today we are pleased to bring you part one of the transcription from The Ten Gates - Lessons from the book, Nothing to It with Brother Phap Hai.  This is a twelve week course to help lead you on the road to spiritual and mental health.

Whether we're walking, whether we're sitting, whether we're standing, whether we're together with others. To really choose to be there, in that moment with that practice a hundred percent, and to look at the places that we hold back, [and] the situations that we hold back, that we're not as open as we could be. For me, that's really the essence of the winter retreat. To choose to be there, in every moment a hundred percent. So that might be a very welcome and timely invitation for us.


Very often we struggle against where we are. In this moment, we want to be somewhere else. With someone else. Doing something else. So [Tee]'s teaching in the last week really hit home. And it reminded me a little bit of a teaching he gave back in 1998. He was sharing about the [Plum] Village style of practice. And he shared that in the Institute of Higher Buddhist Studies, which is another name for [Plum] Village, and the [Plum] Village tradition, one hour of study should equal seven hours of practice. That for every hour of study that we do, every hour of book learning, we need to have seven hours of putting that into practice. Many of us are very, very good at learning a lot of Buddhist terminologies and concepts, and reading a lot of common-tries and things but, we're not so good at actually taking those concepts and ideas and applying them to our daily life. For me, this winter retreat in this course, it's an invitation for us to look deeply and to see how we can apply the things that we're learning into every moment of our life as an active transformation.

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