An interview with the newest member of the Blue Cliff community
Brother Linh Quang baking
Brother Chan Troi Linh Quang (True Sky of Spritual Light) ordained on December 8, 2013 at Plum Village. He was an aspirant and is now a resident at Blue Cliff Monastery. He is 28 years old and comes from Dearing, Georgia. Brother Fulfillment and Brother Dave Kenneally (our outreach coordinator and first intern) interviewed him at Blue Cliff on January 22, 2014. We sat together on the new couch in the registration office, drinking tea and hot chocolate and chatting — we laughed a lot.
Dave: So how does young man from Georgia end up at Blue Cliff Monastery?
Here’s the short answer. I was exploring different religions, and after becoming disenchanted with western religions, a friend gave me three books: one on Hinduism, one on Buddhism and one on Taoism. The one on Buddhism was by Thay (Thich Nhat Hanh) —No Death, No Fear. I read it and immediately fell in love. Now, after eight years, I’m finally here.
There is beauty all around
In your pain, your fears, your loneliness
There is beauty within
Do you have the will and endurance to look and see?
To be joyful when there is none
To see each part of your body
To see it as a miracle
To feel that not love is love
That your awareness is love
Even if it hurts to your core
When you feel betrayed by life
And all the people in it
Can you still see the beauty
Can you touch yourself from the inside
And wake up to the beauty all around
Andreas is a member of Wake Up Groningen, in the north of the Netherlands. Click here if you’d like to read more about the sangha.
“We can’t wait any longer to restore our relationship with the Earth because right now the Earth and everyone on Earth is in real danger.
“When a society is overcome by greed and pride, there is violence and unnecessary devastation. When we perpetrate violence towards our own and other species, we’re being violent toward ourselves at the same time.
“When we know how to protect all beings, we will be protecting ourselves. A spiritual revolution is needed if we’re going to confront the environmental challenges that face us.”
~Thich Nhat Hanh, Love Letter to the Earth (2013)
On March 2nd, I was blessed to have the opportunity to be arrested with 397 students and activists at the White House, during a Direct Action called XL Dissent.
Phap Ho whale watching with other monastics and lay friends in 2011
Dear Thay, dear Sangha, dear Siblings,
My name is Phap Ho, Protector of the Dharma or Brother Protection. I come from Stockholm, Sweden and I currently live in Deer Park Monastery, Escondido, California.
I became a monk because I like to practice meditation. I like to live in community, and I like to live a simple life close to nature. I like to help transforming others’ sufferings into happiness and peace. I started practicing meditation as a young adult.
There are a lot of young people coming to Plum Village, and there are a lot of young brothers and sisters living there. When I came there, I felt like I was at home because I felt I could belong to a like-minded community, where we have similar experiences in life. In the centers I’ve been, there’s the spirit of wanting to reach people and having young people ordained and practice together. I think those conditions also helped me to decide to be ordained.
Q: How did you get involved in Wake Up?
A: Before Wake Up was there, I helped with young adults retreats and teen programs in Upper Hamlet in Plum Village. Just by being with young people, it feels very meaningful and with the most fun activities. We can also do creative things. When I went to Deer Park, we already had a young adults retreat every year. Two weeks a year with college students in addition to teen camps. Generally, a lot of the people we spend time with, we were already organizing retreats for young adults.
Every year they ask me to write something for the magazine Lá Thư Làng Mai, and every year I feel confused. What am I supposed to write? Who am I writing for? Who is the audience? These are the questions that come up right away—and this is what they told me this year: “Just write about Wake Up.” But what right do I have to write about Wake Up? Brothers and sisters tell me they want to know what Wake Up is—and I say, “Yes, I would like to know too—I wish someone would tell me!”
From emotional to inspirational, here are some of the Wake Up events around the world that took place this month.
Wake Up Cork and Wake Up Dublin did a sitting meditation in peace beside River Lee in Cork, Ireland in cooperation with Peace Vigil in Ukraine on Sunday, 9 March 2014. Wake Up London organised two sitting meditations, one in St. James Park on the same day and a second one on the steps of St. Paul’s Cathedral the following week.
The event was an invitation to collect all of our good intentions, aspirations and hope, and to offer it as a source of support to all who are suffering in this crisis.
A Meditation Flash Mob in Seattle, Washington with the monastics from Plum Village monasteries on Thursday, 20 March 2014.
The monastics embarked on a one-month long Wake Up tour to lead mindfulness workshops and camps for Vietnamese American students and young people throughout Canada and the United States.
Wake Up London and Wake Up Netherlands partnered with Action for Happiness to Reclaim Happiness on Thursday, 20 March 2014.
Wake Up London brightened up the commuters’ morning walk across the bridge by the South Bank with their positive messages and cheers. The campaign was a big global hit, with over 7,000 #happinessday photos shared, reaching over 11 million people.
On the same day, Wake Up Netherlands participated in the campaign by organising a Facebook event. Wake Up Rotterdam shared their #happinessday group photo and others shared their happy moments online.
One Wake Up member wrote, “Took an early morning walk through my neighbourhood… listened how the birds sung good morning, felt the sun shining as bright and warm as it hadn’t done since last summer, and enjoyed watching many colourful spring flowers, blossom trees and little green buds sprouting… beautiful way to start the day. And it was the third time this week already!! #happinessday”
From 19 to 23 March 2014, Blue Cliff Monastery organised a Young Adult retreat. Over 100 young adults came to relax and practice mindfulness for a few days in the Shawangunk Mountains, two hours from New York City.
On 30 March 2014, Wake Up Bogotá in Colombia organised their first Meditation Flash Mob. Congratulations!
Did your sangha organise a Wake Up event or a retreat this month? Please share with us your photos and videos!
Lower Hamlet is currently looking for females or married couples to volunteer for the 21-Day retreat in Lower Hamlet, especially if they’ve been to a big retreat in the tradition of Plum Village before and who can commit to the whole retreat.
Click here for more information about Thich Nhat Hanh’s 21-Day retreat from 1 June to 22 June 2014.
If you’re a female and you’re interested, or you know someone who’s interested, below are the links to download letters and forms in DOC and PDF formats.