Brother Phap Dung is a Vietnamese American who has been residing in Plum Village, a Buddhist meditation centre founded by two Vietnamese monastics, Chân Không and Thích Nhất Hạnh, for the last six years.
You might be familiar with Thích Nhất Hạnh, a Buddhist monk and peace activist who has written more than 100 books, including The Miracle of Mindfulness and Peace is Every Step. He also coined the term “Engaged Buddhism,” which refers to Buddhists who are “seeking ways to apply the insights from meditation practice and dharma teachings to situations of social, political, environmental, and economic suffering and injustice.” In 2014, Thích Nhất Hạnh suffered a stroke and has made few appearances since. He has been living at Plum Village, located in the south of France, since 2016.
Barclay questioned Phap about his opinion on Trump and asks how America can better manage their emotions through all the uncertainty created during this presidency. “As a collective energy, fear and anger can be very destructive. We make the wrong decisions if we base it on fear, anger, and wrong perception. Those emotions cloud our mind. So the first thing in the practice that we learn from the Buddhist tradition is to come back and take care of our emotion. We use the mindfulness to recognize it,” he says.
He also shares his opinion on anger, a natural reaction many Americans are experiencing during this presidency:
People are so convinced that anger and all this energy will produce change. But in fact it’s very destructive, because you’re opposing. Opposition wastes energy. It’s not healing.
Emotions can be good. Passion can be good, and compassion is very passionate. But compassion doesn’t waste energy. It includes and it understands; it’s more clear.
Engage in protest, but not from a place of anger. You need to express your opinion, and you need to go out there and say this is wrong. But don’t do it by saying hateful things. In a way, we Buddhists look more at energy than personality. That helps us be wiser.
Phap goes on to share some interesting perspectives on Trump that reflect points we also raised in an article detailing our stance on Trump. He says, “Trump is not an alien who came from another planet. We produced Trump, so we are co-responsible. Our culture, our society, made him. We love to pick somebody and make them the object. But it’s deeper than that. We have to see him inside of us.”
Elizabeth expresses how difficult it is for Americans to show compassion during these times, as they are afraid it will make them “passive” and therefore run the risk of getting hurt. Yet Phap explains that compassion can be active, too:
Compassion is not sitting in your room; it’s actually very active and engaging.
Trump is not an alien who came from another planet. We produced Trump, so we are co-responsible. Our culture, our society, made him. We love to pick somebody and make them the object. But it’s deeper than that. We have to see him inside of us.
We’re shocked because we found out there’s a member of our family that we’ve been ignoring. It’s time to listen and really look at our family.
We are afraid to engage, but you can dialogue and debate. It requires a lot of practice to sit there and listen, and not judge so you can understand.
You cannot end discrimination by calling the other names. All the people who voted for him are not bigots and racists and women haters. We are all judgmental, sometimes even a bit racist.
What’s in my heart is that people find the patience and clarity to listen before they start to blame and criticize.
Phap also expresses his admiration for Bernie Sanders and his decision to speak publicly about the illusion under which Americans are living. Bernie not been shy about his belief that it doesn’t matter who wins the presidency, since he or she will remain under the control of corporations.
Phap shares his own perspective of the media as well, saying, “Our society is very vulnerable to being very polarized and that’s what the media is taking advantage of. We have to be really careful. I don’t follow politics a lot, but because of my background and my teacher and how I come from a war, I had to look at some of these things. I’m not fooled by the media anymore.”
Assuming that we’ve stabilized our emotions when it comes to taking action, he suggests going out in nature and finding out exactly what it is you want to change instead of operating out of despair. It is then that we can go out and truly help others: “Our friend may be somebody who is being discriminated against. You can only be there to offer them that kindness if you are stable. You cannot help them if you are filled with hate and fear. What people need is your non-fear, your stability, solidity, clarity. This is what we can offer.”
We’ve explored the benefits of meditation extensively here at CE, and Phap offers further guidance for how it can help to calm our minds and connect us to one another. He says, “When you sit with someone who’s calm, you can become calm. If you sit with someone who’s agitated and hateful, you can become agitated and hateful.”
He also stresses meditation is a practice that has no setting, no rules; it can take place any time we remember our presence: “It can happen right in whatever activity you’re doing — while walking, in the office. It means you are there, present with calm and peace. With a breath, you can bring calm, clarity and rest your thinking.”
Phap also explains the importance of deep listening. Plum Village has hosted many retreats, inviting both Israelis and Palestinians, and spends three days preparing both groups to listen to one another through exercises like walking and meditation. Even political strife can be overcome in this way.
“Both sides are suffering — they may have different levels of suffering — but both sides are suffering. People don’t want to be hateful or harming. We keep that in mind. The wake-up call is to not to be too quick. That’s the hard part. When someone hates, it’s hard for us to accept that and listen. But to find relief, we have to listen,” he says. When Buddhist practitioners choose to get involved in politics, they have to be inclusive.
So how can we properly deal with a family member or friend we anticipate disagreeing with?
Drop all expectations.
The way I practice is that you cannot ask people for what they do not have. You only make yourself suffer. So you don’t need to try and convince them. Don’t put stuff in their box they’re not going to want. It’s a waste of saliva.
When there is discrimination, you can use the opportunity to increase understanding. You can concentrate on what makes you happy; there are other elements in this person, not just the prejudice. You have to find also the good qualities in them. Don’t focus on wrong views because that makes you angry.
This is not wishful thinking or deluded thinking. This is taking care of yourself. Only when you can do that — when you can be a good listener and be nonjudgmental — is a dialogue possible.
When I think I am right, I am on a course for a lot of conflict. Because I am stuck with my own views and not open to other people. So I suffer. When I see that in other people, I see they are suffering. Maybe kindness is there. Their viewpoints may not be correct, but their heart may be kind.
Barclay also asked Phap how we can best prepare for the future, and he offers a uniquely positive response focused on individual accountability:
The future is built with the present moment and how we take care of it. If you are fearful, the future will be fearful. If you are uncooperative, the future will be divisive. This is very important.
The future is not something that will come to us; the future is built by us, by how we speak and what we do in the present moment.
Community practice is crucial at this time. It’s crucial not to be alone in front of the computer, reading media. That makes the world dark for you. Find flesh. There are still wonderful things happening.
And what does Phap’s mentor, Thích Nhất Hạnh, think of Trump? “I heard that he took his left hand; he went like this (opens palm). You can interpret that all you want.”
The Wake Up Call We All Need To Hear About Politics
- The Facts:
We exist in a time, especially with the US in the midst of another election cycle, where we must face the reality that personal transformation and identifying the REAL workings of our world is crucial to creating change.
- Reflect On:
Why are we always baited into left/right politics? Why is so much media focused on taking left or right angles? Are we getting to any real truth by not addressing the real, proven workings of our world? Are we living in a delusion?
Back in 2009 I created a documentary that kickstarted Collective Evolution’s popularity. It focused on taking a big picture, conscious, look at the state of our world and what needs to change. This film was made on a handy cam with a budget of about $800, haha. But it was the beginning of something powerful, and played its role.
One of the key insights I wrote into this film was the idea that we must begin looking at our world and our political system from the standpoint of consciousness – how our inner belief systems and programming create the world we see in our world.
The current challenge we face is that people are not seeing the truth of our world and thus are living in a delusion, or illusion. They are being baited into identifying as either a democrat or a republican. Baited into various heated issues that also don’t address the truth of what’s happening in our world. These societal manipulations are distracting people from something that can actually create change, and this is why the mainstream media and culture in the US is so developed to keep people lost.
Because of this, we must begin to take a new approach to understanding our world that looks not just at policies and people who create ideas that governments push through, but also, and most importantly, the elephant in the room that few political candidates ever discuss in any meaningful way – the deep state.
A combination of personal transformation and viewing the truth of our world couragiously, is the way forward. I’m not stating this in a way where I’m suggesting there is only one pathway forward, I’m stating this as 2 key ingredients that must be brought together to properly understand our world and what we must do to evolve it. This is precisely why for 10 years the formula I built for Collective Evolution’s media has been focused on combining personal transformation with truth.
Currently, many are too afraid to have these honest and grounded conversations as they don’t want the label of being airy-fairy or a conspiracy theorist. Both of these labels, of course, are convenient forms of ridicule that seek not to answer ideas brought forth, but to brush them aside as something people don’t wish to look at and face.
In the video below, I address a detail that is so crucial to our understanding of our world. As the US moves yet again into another cycle of elections, this message is more important now than ever.
To watch full episodes of The Collective Evolution Show every day, sign up for a free 7-day trial to CETV here.
Are Human Beings “Extraterrestrial?” Did We Come From Somewhere Else?
Are we alone in the universe? The obvious answer coming from mainstream science these days is a big no. It’s quite clear that we’re not alone, that’s the general scientific consensus. The next questions to ask are: Has advanced ‘super intelligent’ extraterrestrial life visited our planet in the past, and is extraterrestrial life visiting our planet now?
For years, if you believed that intelligent extraterrestrial life has visited our planet, you would have been put in the ‘conspiracy theorist’ category. But today, that’s not the case. Perhaps this ridicule was as a result of something specific–the very first director of the Central Intelligence Agency said that there was an “official campaign of ridicule and secrecy” when it came to the topic of UFOs.
UFOs are no longer taboo, and their existence has been disclosed thanks to millions of pages of unclassified government documents from around the world. They’ve been photographed and recorded on video as well as tracked on radars. They’ve performed maneuvers and were clocked travelling at speeds no known aircraft on Earth can travel. Furthermore, there are many witnesses, from astronauts to civilians to high ranking military personnel to academicians and more, who have been creating awareness and putting all of the evidence out there for us to see.
We are in a process of ‘disclosure,’ a slow one, and it’s a subject that leaves no aspect of humanity untouched. The implications are huge, from spiritual to technological to scientific and beyond. It really opens up pandora’s box.
The question of whether or not we are alone in the universe is one of the biggest questions in the history of mankind, along with how we got here and who created us. Perhaps they are all interrelated? We have yet to answer these questions, yet God as well as the theory of evolution seem to be heavily pushed on the population in an almost unquestionable manner, leaving humanity in a divide, constantly disagreeing with each other without ever being able to find common ground.
Did we come from outer space? I don’t watch Ancient Aliens, but I am sure many people are aware of the biblical, ancient, and indigenous lore of human beings coming from outer space. There are no shortage of stories regarding this, but it’s a perspective that we never really hear about and one that is never addressed within mainstream academia. That being said, anybody who truly has a passion for this subject is going to go down that rabbit hole.
Dr. Edgar Mitchell, the 6th man to walk on the moon, said he “happens to be privileged enough to be in on the fact that we are not alone on this planet” and that we have “been visited many times.” He is one of many astronauts to express this. It was while coming across his comments that I stumbled upon the comments of Al Warden, who said in a TV interview:
We are the aliens, but we just think they’re somebody else, but we’re the ones who came from somewhere else. Because somebody else had to survive, and they got in a little space craft and they came here and they landed and they started civilization here, that’s what I believe. And if you don’t believe me, go get books on the ancient Sumerians and see what they had to say about it, they’ll tell you right up front.
He seemed pretty confident in his knowing.
He’s not the only one to assert such things, Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins were jointly awarded the 1962 Nobel Prize for Physiology for Medicine “for their discoveries concerning the molecular structure of nucleic acids and its significance for information transfer in living material,” and they also shared this belief.
In his book published in 1982, Life Itself, Crick argues that there is no possible way that the DNA molecule could have gotten its start here on Earth and that it had to have come here from somewhere else. Within the mainstream scientific community, the generally accepted theory is that we are the result of a bunch of molecules accidentally bumping into each other, creating life. However, according to Francis, we are the result of what is now known as Directed Panspermia. Crick and a British chemist, Leslie Orgel, published their paper on it in July of 1973.
Their theory explains that, “organisms were deliberately transmitted to earth by intelligent beings on another planet. We conclude that it is possible that life reached the earth in this way, but that the scientific evidence is inadequate at the present time to say anything about the probability. We draw attention to the kinds of evidence that might throw additional light on the topic.” (source)
As far as Crick’s thoughts on the theory that we are the result of accidentally bumping into each other, he thinks this was as likely as the assembly of a jumbo jet hit by a hurricane in a junk yard. In other words, he thought the theory held little to no credibility.
The theory of evolution is taught today as a fact, when in reality it has little backing. In fact, 500 scientists in several fields came together a few years to create “A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism.” There are countless studies being published calling into question the theory of evolution. Not long ago, we wrote about a new genetic study that did exactly that, you can read more about that here.
A recent paper published by 33 scientists in the Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology journal suggests that the flourishing of life during the Cambrian era (Cambrian Explosion) originated from the stars. This is another example of how the theory of evolution would be thrown out of whack.
“With the rapidly increasing number of exoplanets that have been discovered in the habitable zones of long-lived red dwarf stars (Gillon et al., 2016), the prospects for genetic exchanges between life-bearing Earth-like planets cannot be ignored. ” (The study)
There is a great little blurb from Cosmos Magazine, one of the few outlets that talked about the study:
With 33 authors from a wide range of reputable universities and research institutes, the paper makes a seemingly incredible claim. A claim that if true, would have the most profound consequences for our understanding of the universe. Life, the paper argues, did not originate on the planet Earth.
The reasons for this are as fascinating as the evidence and claims advanced by the paper itself. Entitled Cause of the Cambrian Explosion – Terrestrial or Cosmic?, the publication revives a controversial idea concerning the origin of life, an idea stretching back to Ancient Greece, known as panspermia.
What about giants? There are several examples of evidence that exist in support of the idea that giants once roamed the Earth. For example, stored in the vaults of the medical school at WITS University, Johannesburg, there is part of an upper leg bone with a hip-joint that would have stood approximately 12 feet tall. It’s been there since the early 1960’s and was found by miners in Northern Namibia. It is one of the most precious and rare specimens available today that clearly indicates the existence of giants in Southern Africa more than 40,000 years ago.
That’s another story in and of itself, and you can read more about that here.
The point of this article is to show you that there is a lot more to the human story than what we’ve been told, yet we are still taught that there are only two acceptable possibilities. The truth is that we don’t know, and the evidence points to the fact that what we are being taught and what we are learning from a young age doesn’t hold nearly as much credibility compared to theories that don’t even get mentioned within the mainstream.
Perhaps there is much more to human history and the story of our origins than what we’re told? Perhaps intellectual authorities have been involved in concealing this information from humanity because it would completely change the collective worldview and the controlling mechanisms used to enslave humanity?
Study Shows That Horses Understand Our Emotions & Remember Us Deeply
- The Facts:
In a recent study, researchers at the universities of Sussex and Portsmouth have discovered that horses can recognize and recall human expression.
- Reflect On:
We are all interconnected and it is beautiful to see more studies coming up that clearly showcase just how aware and in tune animals can be and are.
The more in tune with myself I strive to become, the more drawn I am to explore how connected we all are – not solely with one another, but with everything. This, like many other deeper concepts surrounding life, begs to answer the ever-present question of ‘are there other emotionally intelligent beings out there?’
One could argue that their dogs or other galactic beings (if real) could be emotionally intelligent, but as we look at all of the research, it is clear that most living organisms actually display a very obvious intelligence. From lobsters to plants, they have all been known to display some form of intelligence. This is precisely what was revealed when a recent study explored horses and their interaction with humans.
Let’s take a step back real quick. If you have ever owned or spent a lot of time riding with one particular horse, chances are good that you’ve felt some sort of special connection with them — and wondered if horses even like humans. Maybe you’ve felt like they were actually your friend, or a small part of your family, and wanted to know if the feeling was reciprocal. Research is now confirming that that connection isn’t all in your head — and anyone who has ever had a pet before, horse or not, definitely won’t be surprised at some of these recent findings.
In a recent study, researchers at the universities of Sussex and Portsmouth showed domestic horses photographs of humans with either a happy or angry expression on their faces. Then, later on, the horses were introduced to the same people they saw in the photographs, now with neutral expressions. This new study shows that horses can actually understand and remember human emotions, which is something that makes them seem even more magical than they already did.
“Researchers watched the eye movements of horses as they met the photograph subjects in real life. The horses perceived those who had been photographed with an angry face as more threatening.” – UPI
UPI reports that previous research showed horses tend to focus on negative or threatening objects and events with their left eye, as the right hemisphere of their brain is tasked with assessing risk. In the new experiment, researchers found horses stared at subjects who had been photographed with an angry expression using their left eye.
“What we’ve found is that horses can not only read human facial expressions but they can also remember a person’s previous emotional state when they meet them later that day — and, crucially, that they adapt their behavior accordingly,” Karen McComb, a professor at the University of Sussex, said in a news release. “Essentially horses have a memory for emotion.”
Scientists have previously shown horses can recognize expressions, but the latest findings, published this week in the journal Current Biology, are the first to show the mammals can recall an expression linked with an individual’s face.
“We know that horses are socially intelligent animals, but this is the first time any mammal has been shown to have this particular ability,” Portsmouth researcher Leanne Proops said. “What’s very striking is that this happened after just briefly viewing a photograph of the person with a particular emotional expression — they did not have a strongly positive or negative experience with the person.”
This is a beautiful discovery in and of itself as stated above, outside of ourselves there had not been any recording of other mammals showing this ability.
With more of us beginning to turn inward for growth, it is beautiful to see that more and more research is coming to the forefront revealing our fellow animal kingdom as being connected and in tune with us as much as their surroundings. At times when everything else seems to be chaotic, remember to be still. The real magic within us and our connectedness to everything is what oneness consciousness is all about. You are not alone in this world, let alone in the universe. It is in our awareness that we allow bonds that were seen as less than to blossom — it is in our remembrance of Self that we re-member as One with all.
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