Welcome to episode 61 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/journalist Jo Confino are again joined by frequent guest Sister True Dedication (Sister Hien Nghiem). Together, they discuss the sixteen exercises of mindful breathing which are at the heart of the teachings offered by Thich Nhat Hanh and the Plum Village community.This episode, the first of a two-part special, explains and breaks down the practice of breathing exercises one to eight. It includes the exercises’ traditional texts, revised versions (plus the reasons for their revision), and variations and adaptations, with extensive explanations given by the two monastics about how to apply each one to our daily lives. 

In addition, stories are shared about Thich Nhat Hanh practicing meditation, as well as the concrete steps taken and challenges faced over time by both Brother Phap Huu and Sister True Dedication. 

And why is sitting meditation the hardest practice? Is it essential to meditate in order to be a good practitioner of mindfulness? How can one ease oneself into attention? What difference does paying attention to our breathing actually make? These and many other questions are answered in this installment of the podcast.Enjoy.

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 

Sister True Dedication https://plumvillage.org/people/dharma-teachers/sister-hien-nghiem/ 

Songs: ‘The 16 Exercises of Mindful Breathing’https://plumvillage.org/library/songs/the-16-exercises-of-mindful-breathingDharma Talks: ‘The Noble Eightfold Path’ https://plumvillage.org/library/dharma-talks/the-noble-eightfold-path

The Five Contemplations Before Eatinghttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MjyQVYqr6-U 


Breathe, You Are Alive!https://plumvillage.org/books/breathe-you-are-alive 


Jo-ann Rosenhttps://www.parallax.org/authors/jo-ann-rosen/ 

Sister Jinahttps://plumvillage.org/people/dharma-teachers/sr-dieu-nghiem 

Dharma Talk: ‘Sutra on the Full Awareness of Breathing’https://www.parallax.org/mindfulnessbell/article/dharma-talk-sutra-on-the-full-awareness-of-breathing-2/


“From a more Western background, there’s a goal we need to meet and then we’re done. And I think that has also been applied to meditation, mindfulness, or spirituality: we think that there is one aim and if we practice for this long, then we will feel successful and accomplished, and then we’re finished. But Thay didn’t stop practicing, even after being named a Zen Master. The Buddha himself never stopped practicing, even after his enlightenment. So we have to change our view of meditation, to see and understand it as a path of practice. And each step, each breath is a journey, is a continuation. And we will grow in our own understanding of the breath.”

“Our practice is also learning to befriend the breath, and seeing that the breath is our spiritual foundation, our spiritual home. And it’s mobile, because wherever we go, that breath is with us.” 

“Meditation in the sitting position offers a combination of stillness, alertness, and deep calm, and then deep looking can arise from that stopping and that stillness. And so, each of us may have to be quite creative to find the moment when we can have real stillness.”

“Meditation is not a fixed point in time or a fixed place; it’s a way to see the world.”

“In our

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