As we bid farewell to 2022, it’s time to look back at some of the most popular episodes of The Way Out Is In: The Zen Art of Living podcast. Whether you’ve been following it on the Plum Village App or elsewhere, we hope you’ve enjoyed listening to this series.
This podcast series beautifully echoes the deep teachings of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh and his Buddhist philosophy. It offers a simple yet profound methodology for navigating suffering and cultivating happiness and joy in our lives. The series takes inspiration from Thay’s calligraphy, “The Way Out Is In,” which serves as a powerful reminder that to overcome any difficulty, we must delve deep within ourselves, gaining insights, and putting them into practice.
Since its inaugural episode in August 2021, this series has been a collaborative effort between the Plum Village App, Global Optimism, and the Thich Nhat Hanh Foundation. It is co-hosted by Brother Phap Huu, a Zen Buddhist monk and Thich Nhat Hanh’s personal attendant for 17 years, along with Jo Confino, a journalist specializing in personal transformation and systems change. Throughout the series, we’ve been fortunate to welcome special guests, including monastics, dharma teachers, and lay practitioners from all walks of life. Each has generously shared their presence, stories, and wisdom.
Now, after forty-three episodes, let’s count down the top five most beloved episodes of this year:
5. ‘Pathways Through Busyness, Overwhelm and Burnout’ (Episode #34)
In this timely episode, we explore the modern afflictions of busyness, overwhelm, and burnout. Discover how Zen Buddhist practices and Thich Nhat Hanh’s teachings offer a pathway to regaining balance. From insights on busyness within a monastic environment to finding solace in crisis, we make a case for fostering an “age of community.” Dive into this episode to learn how the Zen Master himself would confront and transcend overwhelm, and gain practical examples and daily practices for navigating our modern world.
4. ‘Free from Views in a Polarized World’ (Episode #36)
This insightful episode delves into the realm of views and perceptions, urging us to move beyond them and discover deeper meaning and truth in life. Explore the Buddhist concept of right view, deconstruct entrenched beliefs, and embrace practices that alleviate suffering. Drawing from Zen stories and wisdom, we learn to let go of views that bring us pain while embracing those that foster happiness.
3. ‘Beyond Words: The Power of Presence’ (Episode #33)
Featuring Zen Buddhist nun Sister Dinh Nghiem as a special guest, this intimate and poignant episode recounts stories from Thich Nhat Hanh’s period of illness following his stroke in 2014. Witness the Zen master’s triumph over his coma and his continued teachings from his hospital bed and ‘root temple’ in Hue, Vietnam. We also explore how the sangha formed Thay’s continuation, both during his lifetime and after his passing in 2022.
2. ‘Understanding How Our Mind Works’ (Episode #28)
Joining us in this episode is Sister Lang Nghiem, a Zen Buddhist nun from the Plum Village community. Together, we delve into the role of Buddhist psychology in unraveling the mysteries of the mind and leading a more fulfilling life. Reflect on the impact of survival instincts in today’s world, the perils of self-centeredness, and the question of responsibility. We explore the notion of self and its relevance, as well as when our self-identity may hinder rather than help us.
1. ‘No Way to Happiness; Happiness Is the Way’ (Episode #35)
In this captivating episode, we explore the art of happiness through the lens of sutras from the Buddha’s time. Journey through the layers of the Discourse on Happiness and delve into the 11 causes of ‘the greatest happiness,’ as shared by the Buddha. Discover how these ancient texts can cultivate the conditions for our own happiness to blossom today. Brother Phap Huu and Jo draw from their personal and professional lives to illustrate and support these concepts, touching on topics such as living our values, the Four Gratitudes, the power of the sangha, forgiveness, and Thay’s memorable calligraphies.
Have you found your favorite episode of 2022 among these gems? Share your thoughts in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!
As we venture into 2023, more insightful episodes await. Thank you for your steadfast listenership! 🙏
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