October 20, 2009
(Written by a Bat Nha aspirant, who is now at Phuoc Hue with the Bat Nha Monastics. Currently taking refuge with the monks and nuns at the Phuoc Hue temple are many young women and men from the ages of 18-25 who aspire to become ordained as a monastic, even within these trying and turbulent times. They are courageously determined not to leave and to remain with these monks and nuns to the end, even with pressure from the police and their family members.)
Last Updated (Sunday, 25 October 2009 06:51)
A letter from a mother whose son is one of the monks forcefully evicted from Bat Nha.
I know that you have received the full ordination, and I have to refer to you as “Teacher.” But then I also know that you want me to continue calling you the way I used to when you were living at home. Plus, this is a love letter, and if I am too formal, it would diminish the communicating effectiveness of a letter. So, I’ll continue to call you my son, even though you are also the son of the Buddha and of Thay.
Bat Nha is no longer. Bat Nha has become a legend. I am thinking about the trees, the stream and the birds at Bat Nha. Absent of monks and nuns, Bat Nha must be so deserted and depressing, especially when all the meditation halls and dormitories have been smashed, and the statues of Mother and Children have fallen.
Last Updated (Sunday, 30 September 2012 12:43)
I am a Buddhist at heart but I am not a disciplined practitioner. I come to the retreat every year to listen and see our dear Thay. In 2005, when I first heard Thay speak he broke my heart and then put it back together with his words, compassion and wisdom. Since then my practice has been to do what Thay asks of me. I joined a Sangha, I use the skills he taught me to live in harmony with my significant other, I practice compassion with my co-workers and my patients and during the retreats, I try to move as one with the Sangha. During this retreat, I worried about his health to the degree that I was almost unable to participate in the meditations or dharma talks without breaking down. I realized at this retreat that everything I have done in my practice is to please my teacher and not to find my own way. Thay's absence this retreat helped me realize this. I love Thay dearly and want him to be at peace, not experience pain or disease and be pleased with the progress of the Sangha to the point that I missed his message. Thay's teachings are present even in his absence.
read other articles from "One Buddha is Not Enough":
Last Updated (Saturday, 26 September 2009 21:16)
On August 21st, the first evening of the Estes Park 2009 retreat, we all gathered for orientation in the meditation hall. 900-ish of us, settling in, quieting, curious, happy, travel-weary, who knows what. For me, happiness at the opportunity to quiet and focus on practice, to share the week with my 11-year-old daughter, and for us to be in Thay’s presence and hear his teachings.
We sang some songs. Then the monks and nuns collected on the stage, and the bell-ringer rang the bell. I calmly breathed and smiled, looking forward to the moment when Thay, my dear teacher, would walk in. Then one of the monks said something about a love letter from our teacher. What? And then he read, “Boston, August 21, 2009.” What???
Last Updated (Saturday, 26 September 2009 21:18)
...And me to the YMCA of the Rockies in a switch-back line of people who are equally tired from waiting in airports, and wondering why I thought this was a cozy intimate place when in fact it’s a gigantic resort like place, and chatting with others and…oh well, we’re all here, young and old, children with ice cream and psychiatrists from Boulder, and soon we’ll be rested and settled into a fantastic dharma talk by one of the worlds’ greatest teachers. Ahhhh, breathe!
But wait…we’re settled in and there’s an announcement, a “Love Letter from Thay”, uh-oh, that can’t be good. Rats! We can’t have what we want, what we traveled for, what we saved for, and arranged for, oh this is not good. This is very not good.
Last Updated (Saturday, 26 September 2009 21:17)
Dear brothers, sisters and friends,
Last Updated (Monday, 28 September 2009 21:06)
It has become a tradition for Plum Village to hold a month long summer retreat for lay practitioners. People come to the retreat from more than 40 different countries from around the world – countries such as France, Italy, Germany, Holland, The United States, Canada, Vietnam, Thailand, and Brazil. In these countries, Plum Village has become something of a familiar address over the past 20 years. However, Plum Village is still unfamiliar to the Vietnamese communities in the Czech Republic and Eastern Europe. They think of it as just a place where the monks with shaved heads are sitting and chanting.
This letter was written by Brother Phap Xa, one of our young monastic brothers at Prajna Monastery. He was ordained at Prajna in the Plum Village tradition at the age of fourteen. It comes to us by way of Sr. Dang Nghiem.
Fragrant Palm Leaf, 2009-07-24
I return to the familiar corner of the library in a very quiet space of a summer afternoon. The warm golden sunlight drapes over the luscious mountains surrounding the monastery. A severe storm has swept through this place, but this afternoon, all is peaceful again. It is uncertain whether the storm will return tonight, tomorrow morning or the next days, but this afternoon is gentle enough for me to look back at myself and to enjoy the natural beauty around me.
Last Updated (Wednesday, 09 September 2009 15:00)
(Transcribe from T.Phap Due’s Vietnamese dharma talk… translated article of Linh Linh from Vietnamese)
In our lives, each of us alternately go through occasion of ups and downs, has to face times of adversity force. Those events will unexpectedly intrude into our lives without exemption of anyone. The most important things are how we accept and overcome those unexpected events so that we will have less suffering and to have more stability. So that we become more embracive, our love can be stronger after each of our suffering.
Recently, my family has to endure a tragedy, which is the passing of one of my younger brother, whom is only 18 years of age. Just few more days before the Summer Retreat finishes, I received a telephone called from my family that my younger brother, Tony had an accident and is lying unconsciously in the hospital. I just thought that the calamity is not severe, maybe he will recover, and that is why I tried my best to just wait till the end of the Summer Retreat before asking permission of the Sangha to leave Plum Village to visit my brother. Not until I returned home that I was surprised how severe my younger brother is.
Last Updated (Monday, 24 August 2009 01:11)
Thay and the monastics spent five days in Nagpur, the nerve center of the Buddhist revival in India. Nagpur could one day be as important as Sarnath.
On 14 October 1956, Baba Sahep Ambedkar, the visionary socio-Political Leader of the Dalits* took a historic step. He converted to Buddhism with 4,00,000 Dalits and rolled the waves of Buddhism’s return to India. This happened at Diksha Bhoomi at Nagpur.
The day of Shakyamuni Buddha’s first ever teaching at Sarnath, is known as the Dhammachakra Pravartan Din, the day of Setting the Wheel of Dhamma in Motion. On arrival in Nagpur on 7th October, the Sangha found hundreds and hundreds of banners welcoming the Buddhists from all over India to celebrate Baba Saheb’s conversion day. The Dalit Buddhists celebrate it as the second Dhammachakra Pravartan Din, the day of Setting the Wheel of Dhamma in Motion.
When I close my eyes, I see hundreds of eyes looking at me. Those eyes open wide, round, dark, and innocent. Yet, they wrench my heart and force me to seek deeper understanding of my path.
Therese came to our monastery last Friday evening. She represented John, who has become one of the financial supporters of our "Understanding and Love" programs in the highlands of South Vietnam since October this year. We organized a tea meditation on the night of Therese’s arrival, to celebrate her visit as well as the visit of one of our elder sisters. The meditation hall was packed with over two hundred and fifty monks, nuns, lay men and lay women. We sat silently in concentric circles - three people on two mats - with tea and cookies placed on a leaf in front each of us. In the center of the circle, there was a simple arrangement of flowers and candles. It was cozy being together as a community of brothers and sisters.
Last Updated (Saturday, 15 August 2009 12:46)