Summer Retreat

Night-Shift Security Guard’s Confidence

Update: 31/07/2016
It’s a quiet and long night tonight. The shower is depressing almost all of us. The moonlight no more shines like the days before. Strong winds roar through the trees in the front yard while the lights in corners are sparkling. Early morning sutra chanting echoes in the air enabling to release almost anyone’s anxiety and depression. Deep in my heart, still are there thoughts and sentiments.

Night-Shift Security Guard’s Confidence

Mommy! I wonder if you go to bed yet or you are still awake thinking of me now. Though I am in the age of 20s, I still find myself very immature. Tonight, I would like to be in your arms as a child again. Autumn wind started blowing and I’m worried about a strong wind or some rain that can affect your health tonight.  Do you know that my heart is beating wildly, thinking of you, my dear mom?


Obviously, when we are deeply concerned about someone or something, time seems to stand still. Recalling the days I joined summer retreat at Hoang Phap Pagoda that year, although hearing the steps of the supervisors and the security guards in section D’s corridor, we still kept on whispering or even laughing late at night. And now, when I take the role of a security guard in night shift, I can fully understand the hard work of the pagoda’s service department during the retreat. I sincerely repent of my playful folly!


Many times during night-shift, I was terribly sleepy and wanted to fall asleep. I also intended to give up and considered switching to day-shift for my own benefits but I could not bring myself to do that. For the sake of retreat trainees’ safety and good sleep, I tried to overcome this challenge. Nevertheless deep in my heart, I felt sorry about some moments of falling asleep in the last one or two nights of the retreat.


Perhaps, the love of monks and nuns in Hoang Phap pagoda towards retreat trainees never decreases. It is like parents’ care of their kids. When we are parted one day, I will always remember the times the monks covered us with blankets while we were sleeping at night!


Stepping out of the pagoda entrance, I saw a quite different and strange life as if I had never come to HCM City before. At that time, I was conscious that I was going to cope with inevitable life pressure and felt anxious in this stuffy world. I recall food ration for a security guard consisting of a bowl of instant noodles and a milk box, the time I was on night-shift duties with my colleagues and the moment of handing over duties to the day-shift guards. Even a simple wish: “good night, my friend” is warm enough for my heart!


Now, Hoang Phap pagoda is so “close” but also so “completely far” in the figurative meaning. It is an immense distance between religious and secular life. Although living in this world, I can partly attain peace in my heart thanks to knowing the right Path, how to apply Buddha’s teachings into daily life.

Many people think that when we repeatedly experience the same event, we will become unfeeling. That may be true for someone but for me, every time I attend the summer retreat at Hoang Phap Pagoda, either as a participant or as a servant, I am always overfilled with deep and fresh emotion as if it were the first time!

Tinh Nguyen


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