Welcome to episode 60 of The Way Out Is In: The Zen Art of Living, a podcast series mirroring Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh’s deep teachings of Buddhist philosophy: a simple yet profound methodology for dealing with our suffering, and for creating more happiness and joy in our lives.

In this episode, Zen Buddhist monk Brother Phap Huu and leadership coach and journalist Jo Confino share 32 words from Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh that can make your relationships deal with suffering and create happiness. The Four Mantras, Thay’s beloved teachings, are intended to help create healthy relationships by allowing conversations and enabling people to be truly present for each other. 

The discussion touches upon generating presence; setting up intentional practices; being a refuge for people; building two-way communication; calligraphy as a way ‘to change the energy’; and so much more.

Brother Phap Huu shares the origins of mantras and helps introduce each mantra with practical tips, real stories from his life and from the monastic community, as well as unheard (yet!) insights from Thay’s practice and creation of the mantras. And can you guess which is Thay’s favorite mantra? 

Jo brings his lay perspective on the mantras and their application in life. A couple of new mantras are discussed, too, but you’d better dive in for some pure essence of Buddhist wisdom. 

The episode ends with a mindful recap of the mantras discussed. 

Co-produced by the Plum Village App:https://plumvillage.app/

And Global Optimism:https://globaloptimism.com/ 

With support from the Thich Nhat Hanh Foundation:https://thichnhathanhfoundation.org/

List of resources 

Rains Retreathttps://plumvillage.org/retreats/info/rains-retreat-2023 

Historical Vedic religionhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_Vedic_religion 



New Heart Sutra translation by Thich Nhat Hanh https://plumvillage.org/about/thich-nhat-hanh/letters/thich-nhat-hanh-new-heart-sutra-translation 


Sister Chan Khonghttps://plumvillage.org/about/sister-chan-khong 

Dharma Talk: ‘The Six Mantras’https://plumvillage.org/library/dharma-talks/the-six-mantras-2 

‘Plum Village Mantras and How to Be the Sum of Your Acts’ https://tnhaudio.org/2012/07/30/plum-village-mantras-and-how-to-be-the-sum-of-your-acts/

‘The Four Dharma Seals of Plum Village’https://plumvillage.org/articles/the-four-dharma-seals-of-plum-village Dharma Talks: ‘True Love and the Four Noble Truths’https://plumvillage.org/library/dharma-talks/true-love-and-the-four-noble-truths


“Thay created these mantras, which are very practical; it sounds very simple, but if done with right mindfulness, it has such impact. The first mantra is the essence of the practice of mindfulness. When we practice mindfulness, it is to generate the energy of awareness, so that we can offer ourselves a presence and know what is going on inside of us and around us. And with that mindfulness, we are in control. We have the agency of the present moment.”

“When we’re close to someone, we take each other for granted. We stop noticing the little things. We stop noticing that what someone is doing is generous. That what someone’s doing is making them happy. We just stop noticing.” 

“The first Dharma seal of Plum Village is, ‘I have arrived, I am home.’ What does it mean to arrive and be home? It is to say, ‘I am safe here. I can show up as myself and I know that I will be held.’”

“We forget how precious things are right in front of us, and we forget to be present for the ones we truly love. So the first mantra is, ‘I am here for you.’ It is as simple as that. But in the word ‘present’, when we want to give somebody a present, our natural tendency is to think about buying something, to

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