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Summer in Monastery

Update: 11/06/2014
Coming to Hoang Phap pagoda, she feels something familiar as at her own house – gentle, strong. It’s not like the impermanent boarding neighborhood on earth.
 

Summer in Monastery

 
 Summer is coming for rain in Saigon. That is sudden\r\nrain, which excites people much.  Each rain drop full of soil smell slash\r\nover the face, the shoulder, the hair, which cools down its unbearably\r\npropitiate fervency. Sun shining in the South isn’t quite mild as in the North.\r\nAt midday peak, it can knock out any people who play in the yard with it. Going\r\nhome from school warming down with a shower bath is stupid, because after that\r\ncooling is a cold spine for a fever. Moreover, sun shining, then raining\r\nfollowed with the cold, and so on. All seem to lead to something unceremonious,\r\nsome pleasant memories, a dew-drenched sky, and some Sala flowers falling\r\nunshapely on the foot in the evenings. A fragment of connected memories upsets\r\nindescribable anxiety! Are they very routine cause someone to forget quickly?\r\nAlternatively, are those customary invasions into human flesh until something\r\nevoked arises and appears clearly? - Right. It is made to remember Hoang Phap –\r\nthe quiet pagoda is on large compound of land in Hoc Mon.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n

Until now, she has known this pagoda for 2 years, whose fate\r\neventually led her to Hoang Phap pagoda accidentally. It is a day in late\r\nOctober when she is a freshman and just in the city for the first time. She\r\nheard some talks about Hoang Phap pagoda from colleague sisters betting for\r\nretreat in it. In addition, in that evening, she was off and came\r\nto the pagoda with new friend for One-Day Cultivation Course. At the beginning,\r\nshe was actually afraid when going with a stranger. That the girl was wondered\r\nif being good or bad, who would take use of herself to do illegal events had\r\nbeen propagandized by her family before she went into city. However, she would\r\nhave a risk as well; it was moment that she showed gratitude for that risk.\r\nSince then, she had arrived in the pagoda more regular! As a repeatedly causal\r\ncondition, when reaching Hoang Phap pagoda for the first time, she met a tall\r\nwoman who invited to serve for the pagoda. This time was not a risk. She likes\r\nthis “merit” word and certainly accepts the deed.

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The first time in the pagoda completely surprised at the\r\nactivities here. Everyone seems to do gently, deliberate things – a lifestyle\r\nrarely happens in Saigon bustling city.  All always had smiles and\r\nfriendly greeted by bowing a Buddha’ name. Moreover, the ones who are at the\r\nsame age named each other “co, chu”, which she later realized that it is a\r\ntypical way at pagoda. Being at Hoang Phap pagoda, she felt something familiar\r\nas her own house – a stable house. It does not like an impermanent boarding\r\nplace in worldly life. Because only when being  here does she have time to\r\nrealize that sky is very beautiful in early morning with dew as well as in\r\nevery step of Buddhist mindfulness walk, people needn’t to worry about their\r\nintention for future. At Hoang Phap pagoda, people step for awareness, not for\r\ngetting destination quickly. She likes to go to to the pagoda for this reason.\r\nIt is June in summer. The pagoda maybe busily prepares for The Summer Retreat\r\nperiod, such a vague thing that excites her! There had been many times she\r\nwished for participation of The Summer Retreat once with friends, but she did\r\nnot have any condition. She had been busy for military course or preparation of\r\nthe exam in both recent summers. However, seeing others who carried luggage and\r\nwent to Hoang Phap pagoda for cultivation made her very excited and joyful.\r\nSummer is coming! The monks here are busy with giant rice cookers to serve\r\nmeals since 2:00 – 3:00am for students who come to take part the Cultivation -\r\nSummer retreat! Buddhists are busy with washing, cleaning the accommodation for\r\nstudents. Moreover, Summer! In the lecture hall, she witnessed students’ tears\r\nwhen they confessed from their past mistakes. At Hoang Phap pagoda, people come\r\nfor correcting the faults, not for self-blaming. Therefore, there are\r\n  emotional letters, which express repentance and determine for\r\nbetter things.

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Approaching the pagoda regularly, she is told to be an old\r\nwoman. While staying at there all day, how can she develop and compete in\r\nsociety after graduation? However, ones being asked that when being young if we\r\ndon’t learn how to cultivate their own love and personality, what can they do\r\nwithout sympathy and pitiful passion? Hoang Phap pagoda consults her to respect\r\neven smallest things and instructs her how to create immune system to suffering\r\nin life by practicing the non-ego Dharma!

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Namo Amitabha Buddha!

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Translated by To Le Van.

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