Posting Essays

I Miss the Days at Hoang Phap Pagoda

Update: 21/09/2015
I miss those days at Hoang Phap pagoda. I miss the frangipani falling on green fence, the chubby pigs in the garden, the fish swimming around in the water and so on.

I Miss the Days at Hoang Phap Pagoda


It is casual, simple but watching them always brings joy unexpectedly

I like gazing at franpagini, white petals peaking out from behind distant leaves, falling down gently, slowly.  Flowers fell on walkways. Someone quietly picked and put them on the fence. The way to the lecture hall or the main hall seemed funnier and strangely lovely.

But perhaps, that is also why I could be at a cultivation course that deemed unsuitable for the youth. I did not expect such simple things could bring me that much joy.


At times I wondered why I like it, why I love flowers this much. Gently picking up a fallen flower and placing it on my hand is inexplicably joyful to me. It must be the love for the delicate frangipani. Looking at the flowers, hanging on the branches, fallen on the ground, I wondered if that was the lesson of impermanence that the monks still preach. Indeed, it was a gentle yet deep lesson.

The days of the cultivation, I could freely gaze at and pick flowers. Sometimes I brought one back to my room to enjoy its subtle fragrance. Each day I wanted to bring back one flower but felt regretful about it. Bringing it back to my room meant I was the only person who could see it. I thought putting it on the hedge would give many people a chance to look at it. Someone at some point would feel peace in their soul as well as the lesson of impermanence from each flower petal. That was my only wish.

Most adorable were the chubby pigs made of clay in the garden. Each one was fat. The big ones are mommy pig and daddy pig, the smaller ones are the baby pigs. So adorable! There was another big one with the words written on its body “This is a pig”. Although it did not look like a pig, more like a cow. There were also a cat and a dog, both of which were cute. There was a piglet with broken ears that I loved dearly. Even though its ears were gone, it was still adorable with the tiny ears and the round buttocks behind that I just wanted to tap.


Those were my thoughts. I don’t know when I started loving even the clay animals. I am not sure if it is compassion that Buddha taught me. But I believe that it is that love that makes me feel more peaceful. And I want to keep feeling this way.


I rearranged the pigs. Mommy pig and daddy pig are much alike. I put a flower on one’s ear to make it mommy pig. Baby pig lay next to mommy pig so that it could be warm and protected. Daddy pig was next to them, protecting both. That image made me feel warm inside. The pig family was so happy and carefree.


Every day that I had the chance to see the monks, listen to the bells and prayers, I didn’t need to worry. Happiness is cherishing the moments of the present and feeling the peace within ourselves, which is enough to make life meaningful. The image of the pigs made me think about the less fortunate people. Out there, plenty of children still have to struggle to make a living. How sad! Studying Buddhism made me realize that it could be due to karma from their past lives that led them to such situations. I promised myself that I would always try my hardship best to create good karma for the present as well as the future.


Everything has a soul and is able to feel joy or sadness, from the leaves to the flower petals to these clay pigs, isn’t that right?

At this place, everything is lovely…!

At this place, things are peaceful…!

Being away makes me miss it even more…!

I miss the fish in the pond, miss the moments when I reached down my hand and they would gather around to tickle it. I wonder if they were hungry or if they just really liked me. I used to sit and gaze at the fish, gold fish, red fish, big fish, small fish. Just watching them swimming carefreely around the pond is enough to cheer me up. I hope they always stay healthy to bring joy to people. I miss the pebbles being stacked next to the pond, the water lilies, the water hyacinth, and little white flowers whose name I yet to find out…


I miss being on the terrace in zone C, where everything was quiet and serene. I like being there alone to enjoy the breeze while feeling at peace with myself. I miss the clear blue sky filled with clouds shaped as various amusing things. I miss gazing at the innocent doves flying past.


I miss the conical hat I used to wear when it was sunny. What I love the most is wearing Buddhist clothes and a conical hat. I miss the brown apron and the gloves I wore every time I helped out in the kitchen.

Whatever I did here, I felt happy, even when the job was simply just sweeping the floor. I miss the time when we cleaned up zone D to prepare for the one-day cultivation course. My friend and I were cleaning and singing songs like Peaceful Joy and Boundless Bodhisattva. It was fun! I miss the afternoons in the library looking for books or poems to write down. At first there were only a few poems, after 15 days at the pagoda, I now have a notebook full of poems. In my free time I sat down and wrote down my thoughts on my diary. Ah! I also miss the adorable cats there.

I still recite Buddhist sutras and perform merits. I still gaze at the frangipani and the clay pigs on the grass, to feel the surge of happiness in my soul. And of course, one thing that is even more important than all of the above things is the images and voices of the monks in the Dharma talks, the sound of Buddhist recitation echoing, the meditative walking, the meals in the right mightfulness; all of which gave me deep feelings about the value of life. Those are such simple but extremely meaningful things.


Fifteen days spent at the pagoda is not a short time, but not too long for a girl who is almost twenty years old like me. The days spent at the cultivation course and performing merits are days I can never forget.

I will memorize all of your teachings.

I would like to say thank you, to the monks and the mentors who perform merits for having taught me so much, so that I could have the chance to look at myself and understand lots of things. I feel that I have become more mature and confident on the path of cultivation.


I wish all of you to always be healthy, to have a peaceful body and mind, to always be the source of light and compassion to guide us to the edge of liberation as well as a peaceful, happy life.

I will cherish the precious books the Venerables gave me. I was lucky to have been personally given the book “Still happy”.

Indeed! I am still happy…!

Someone wrote…

“This place is painted with the colors of life, colors that are as pure and simple as the souls of the respected monks. In the ringing of the bells, my heart felt strangely at peace!”


I wish everyone in this world could be as peaceful as this place.


Hoang Phap, Tan Hiep commune, Hoc Mon district, Ho Chi Minh City.



 Lạc Nhiên.


Translated into English by Doan Thanh Truc.

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