The Practices of the Buddha
In Plum Village we have a gatha, a short poem that we memorize. It has only a few words.
Present moment, wonderful moment!
The first one, “in, out,” means breathing in, I know that I’m breathing in. Breathing out, I know that I’m breathing out.
The second one is “deep, slow.” Breathing in, I see that my inbreath has become deeper. Breathing out, I see that my out-breath has become slower. In the beginning our breath is very short, but if we continue to follow our breathing for a while, naturally our in-breath becomes slower, deeper, and our out-breath also becomes slower, more relaxed.
This is our practice. Just as when we want to play the guitar, we have to practice every day, or if we want to learn to play tennis, we have to practice to be a good tennis player, we also have to practice our breathing. After one hour of practice we already feel better. Then slowly we’ll be able to sit still like the Buddha, and be worthy to be his disciples.
Perhaps for a long time we have been going to the temple only to do offerings. But that’s not enough. We have to learn the teachings of the Buddha, the practices that the Buddha wanted to transmit to us.
By Thich Nhat Hanh