If you’ve ever been to a Thich Nhat Hanh monastery, or practice center, or have attended a SnowFlower retreat or Day of Mindfulness, you’ve undoubtedly experienced the practice of mindful singing. The dharma shines in the songs and they can be a wonderful and joyful practice in a group or by yourself.
For your listening and singing pleasures, the Thich Nhat Hanh Foundation just released Plum Village Records and a large collection of songs/albums are now online and available for streaming (free) on YouTube and Spotify, or for download (purchase) via CD Baby. For more details, please see the TNH Foundation Website.
We hope that you enjoy this music and are nourished by it.
For those of you who would like to read a lovely story about Thầy and singing, please see the story below that was from a year or so ago as taken from an excerpt from Br. Thích Nguyên Tịnh’s Story… Enjoy!
Singing with Thầy
One day, Thầy was at Lower Hamlet to spend some time with his monastic children. The moon was waning when it shinned into the Areca Flower room. The sisters were very surprised but so happy with Thầy’s decision to stay that evening.
Thầy gestured for his attendants to push him into the monastic common room. The ambiance was very warm. Thầy was sipping his tea and invited all his monastic children to sit around him. Seeing that it was a bit crowded, Thầy motioned for us to move the wheelchair back a bit to create more space. The way Thầy gestured with his hands and invited his children to sit around him with his eyes really expressed all his love. Everyone thoroughly treasured these wonderful moments beside Thầy. As I stood there witnessing this affectionate bond between Thầy and his children, I remembered that Thầy kept repeating in various Dharma talks that he is still very young. Thầy is still ready and willing to fully engage, and he knows how to really enjoy life! Now I really see that Thầy has never lost contact with young people.
The brothers and sisters around Thầy began to sing with him. Thầy is still very young indeed. We could hear him sing out loud, and on his face is always a gentle smile. We sang over and over the song Cẩn trọng:
Along the deserted path,
the leaves fall.
I follow the small track,
the red earth is the color of a child’s lip.
Suddenly I become mindful of each footstep.
Thầy sang so wholeheartedly. He loves to hear his disciples singing this song, which contains a very deep practice that Thầy wants to remind everyone about. That night, in a loving environment, Thầy was able to articulate clearly many words. We were overjoyed and felt so moved. A few sisters were singing with tears in their eyes. In truth, no one needed to stop these tears of joy.
The brothers and sisters expressed their happiness when they heard Thầy pronounce so clearly the words of this song. Thầy was a bit embarrassed upon hearing the compliments, so he said, smiling: “Oh, that’s enough!” Then he said something else but because he was laughing at the same time we could not hear him clearly. We were so amazed at what Thầy was saying because many of us had not heard Thầy utter a single word since his stroke. Thầy pointed to the front and everyone looked in the direction of his eyes. Sr Trăng Non Cao was smiling while using her hands to wipe her tears. It was not only she, but also many others were crying. Thầy was also moved and his eyes were brimming with love. We have found Thầy in the depths of our five skandhas. Coming back to ourselves and being still, we can be in touch with Thầy right away.
I will always have faith in Thầy’s words (“Oneness” – a poem by Thầy) :
Walk with me now
Let us enter the dimension of oneness
And see the cherry tree blossom in Winter
Why should we talk about death?
I don’t need to die
To be back with you