Tag Archives: dharma talk

Practising Listening with Empathy, by Thich Nhat Hanh

Just wanted to share a talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh in 1991. Though he said these words twenty-four years ago, they resonate with me very well – perhaps because I only recently had a rather unpleasant falling out with some people due largely, I suspect, to a mutual lack of listening ability.

Buddhism now

Mustang girl and prayer flags. Photo © Lisa DaixYesterday, Sister True Virtuetalked a little bit about the fourth precept concerning speaking and listening. This is a very deep practice. Listening is an art, and many people do not have the capacity for it, especially in the case of listening to the suffering of others. One reason for that is that in the listeners themselves, there is also much pain. The store consciousness is filled with pain and grief, and that is why it is so difficult for such people to listen to others. In order to be able to listen, we need to learn how to transform the suffering in ourselves.

Talking is also an art because if we have many internal formations within us and if we do not know the art of mindful breathing, then while speaking we shall be carried away by our feelings, our anger, and what we say may hurt people deeply…

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