Life is a symphony
It is freecingly cold in Plum Village, New Hamlet. The rain is pouring out oft he sky. My suitcase is packed with dozens of colourful, extra-thin, summer clothes. Breathe and smile … I wonder if this will help me now.
Text&Photos by Julia Brugger
No way, this is far too cold for this season and for my holiday. However, I get up in the morning, tip with one toe out of my warm bed and tell myself: „Present moment, Wonderful moment.“ My leg moves slowly back under the blancket and I fall asleep once more. Two hours later, I stretch my body, get out of my bed and walk mindfully to have breakfast.
It is still cold. My dear room mate Rini borrows me a jacket, which she has borrowed from a sister. I develop much understanding for poor Rini, who, as an Indonesian woman, suffers so much from the low temperatures in France.
My selfmotivation for getting out of my bed early does not really work. But luckyly, my room-mates – each from a different country: US, China, France, Spain, Austria, Indonesia – share their motivation with me: „Julia! It is lunchtime! Get up! Quick!“ that was Helen from Hongkong, who wispered on day three to me: „Call me by my true name Julia: call me Romeo.“
We had lots of fun in our room – despite the weather. France is mindfully fun-fighting against China
Indonesia who always cares for me when I am ill, changes between sleeping and meditation, saying: „ Oh, meditation makes me so lazy.“ Breath and smile. An me? I change between sleeping, trials in meditation, which often turn out to become meditative sleep, painting, taking pictures and reading.
Something starts to open up
I am busy taking care of all the sadness, anxiety and anger, which first overwhelm me and – due to the loving kindness and help of the sister – finally find some warm and cosy room inside myself while my mind starts calming down. I feel extremely grateful for being in this place, which the nuns of New Hamlet care so much for. With all their love and compassion, they keep an open and safe space for all suffering and for the realisation of all happiness in oneself and in the world.
The rain is so much of an analogy of what happens in myself. I start crying and my tears carry with them all the weight, pressure, feeling of over- and underestimation, of pain and a whole sea of lonelyness. Something inside myself starts to open up. How beautyful this is.
Light and bright
And as if life wants to show me another analogy of how the rhythm changes again and again, the sun comes back and shines on our faces.
Beauty, joy and peace spreads slowly from cell to cell, from eye to toe, from heart to hand. It evolves from within where it found a solid ground to grow upon. And I understand: Life is a symphony and I dance to the sound of it. Life is a garden and I am a flower. I need the rain as much as the sun, the cold as much as the warmth, the wind as much as the calm air. All of hem are there because I am there. All are there to nourish me and I am there to nourish them. The sun is always there – it is only hidden by the clouds. And the coulds give me shadow to rest.
Finally I can say: yes, indeed, it does help me a lot – breath and smile – these three little words that are written on every door and every wall in the Hamlet. They seem so simple – even banal. But they are so powerful. I bow in gratitude for this gift.
Last Updated (Sunday, 14 August 2011 20:46)
What Do They Say About
On the Road with Thich Nhat Hanh?
Thay is a Living Buddha. The way he walks and talks with such mindfulness brings peace and calm to us spantaneously. His teachings using examples from our daily lives make the right understanding of Buddhism so much easier. Even though I have not met Thay, his teachings through his writings have certainly make me a better person. Now, I know what is my appointment with life. Thay’s speech, thought and actions have inspired my life and I can feel that I am inter-are with him. Thay, thank you. [Tehsenghin]
Did you know that the monastics play volleyball—in their robes? Well, they do! If you contribute now, you may see it on the big screen. Peace. [Eloise]
This is exactly what I have dreamed about for may many years…100% support and will definitely contribute for this project without any reservation. Deep bow and smile to Max Pugh. [ntheduc]
I’m so happy to be able to contribute to this project when the retreats that you so lovingly give contribute so much to my wellbeing and peace! With love, from South Korea. [One World]
I love the idea of this film— featuring the monks and nuns. They embody our practice for us all over the world. [lincolavin]
what a wonderful idea. i was in plum village for the week of the tet, and the joy and fun was so evident. feel that the world needs to practice mindfulness and see the monks giving us the example. [mvfwhite]
thank you for this fantastic project – can’t wait to view indra’s net with the 4-fold sangha! nirvana is sharing joyfully together!!!! [nteng]
Dear friends, I just enjoyed your song on the bus-vimeo and want to thank you for posting it! I hope to see many of you in a couple of weeks in Waldbröl, wherre I will be on staff (again) for Thay’s retreat. The weather is wonderful in Europe, sunny and not too hot. Joyful greetings and a warm smile [Verena]
Thank you all for the good work in sharing Thay’s teachings with the world. Your active use of the Internet media, especially, has made Thay’s teachings so much more accessible. I am truly greatful for this. [Raymond.pmy]
Thank you so much, Thay! I’ve joined the Hong Kong retreat last autumn, and it really transformed me. “Live in the present moment.” I’ll always remember your words! [SL Law]
The greatest gift is being able to share with our beloved ones… Plum Village family! We are one…[Dewi Kusnadi]
i have been fortunate to have been able to travel with the PV Sangha to China, Vietnam and Israel. Viewing the introductory video,helped me to touch the happiness, connection, adventure and unique practice opportunity these retreats offered. To be able to be with the traveling Sangha ,when ever i would like, will be a great fortune. Good luck with this wonderful film project! [Marjoriem4]
Last Updated (Friday, 29 April 2011 18:41)
I just made a donation that made me really happy! I contributed to On the Road with Thich Nhat Hanh, a documentary film that is being produced in honor of the upcoming 30th Anniversary of Plum Village. I hope you'll consider making a contribution, too. This feature-length film will share the stories of monks and nuns who travel the world with our beloved teacher, Thay, leading retreats that bring people home to the peace and joy that reside in our own hearts.
Why do I want to see a film about Plum Village monastics? Because every time I've met them, I've been deeply moved by their genuine kindness and infectious joy. Because they radiate childlike wonder, trust, and profound love, even while they go directly toward suffering in order to transform it. Because even when they wash dishes, they demonstrate supreme gentleness. Because they're devoting their lives to being peace.
Go to http://www.indiegogo.com/tnh to watch a sweet video clip, read about the vision, and see photos that will make you smile! As the website says, "Through a portrait of the community that is humorous, warm and intimate, the film will inspire young people and the public in general, to live true to themselves and to bring meaning and happiness right into their daily life even when there is suffering still left in their hearts."
The filmmakers have raised $7,200 to date, and they need $22,800 more in order to make this "road movie like no other." Every dollar helps! P lease join me in helping this wonderful film to manifest -- a beautiful gift for ourselves, our Sanghas, and generations to come. Forward this message to friends who might like to support the film, too.
May you be well and happy, enjoying your breathing in each moment today.
*Managing Editor of Mindfulness Bell, she lives in San Francisco - Bay Area
Last Updated (Tuesday, 26 April 2011 19:32)
Although there is no record of the date of Tang Hôi birth, it is likely that he was born sometime in the first decade of the third century. The date of his death has been recorded as 280 C.E. His father was of Sogdian descent. Sogdia was a province in central Asia to the northwest of the modern subcontinent of India, in what is now Uzbekistan.
His mother was a native of Jiaozhou (Vietnam). When Tang Hôi was only ten years old both his parents passed away, and he was accepted in a local temple as a young novice. We do not know the name of the monastery which Tang Hôi studied and practiced, but we do know that it was in Luy Lau, the capital of Jiaozhou, in the province of Bac Ninh in what is now northern Vietnam. In the temple he studied the Buddhist Sutras in Sanskrit and also learned Chinese.
Last Updated (Saturday, 31 October 2009 13:04)
Written by a member of the Communist Part of 36 years, who directly witnessed the event of the eviction of Bat Nha Monastics during his visit on that day.
Thursday, October 08, 2009 Source: http://bauxitevietnam.info/c/12705.html
By Nguyễn Đắc Xuân
From June to September 2009, the official and unofficial websites gave a lot of information, photos and video clips that included statements critical of Venerable Duc Nghi, abbot of Bat Nha Monastery and his students for committing acts of violence towards about 400 monks and nuns residing there and practicing in the Plum Village tradition. That they were helped by governmental and local police forces, along with gangsters to apply these violent means were unheard of in the Vietnamese society. That these aggressions included cutting off electricity and water, beating, throwing rocks, throwing excrement at the Most Venerables from the Buddhist Church of Lam Dong Province and using speaker phones throughout the day, to curse at the monastics in the Plum Village tradition, etc.
Last Updated (Friday, 30 October 2009 19:15)
October 20, 2009
Translated from Phusaonline. (Vietnamese source)
(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.)
I want to start this letter by telling you up front that I am an aristocrat young lady – born and raised in a completely traditional and well-mannered family. My maternal grandmother had two daughters. My auntie is a teacher, and then there is my mother. My father and mother are owners of a well-known business. And on my father’s side, needless to say, everyone is an accomplished Communist Party member, with important positions in a district in Ho Chi Minh City.
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)