The beauty of Youth Summer Retreat – Huong Phap Pagoda, Cu Chi

Update: 16/06/2022
In the spirit of spreading the Dharma, Hoang Phap Pagoda wishes to support the monks and nuns having a basis to organize retreats in order to spread the Dharma to everyone. To contribute to cultivate people and foster goodness in the souls of future owners of the country, Hoang Phap Pagoda organized a summer retreat for teenagers focusing on teaching them how to become genuine people on the basis of "piety". All young people have positive changes in terms of awareness and know how to live better. The cost of participating in the retreat is completely free for 7 days. Attending the retreat helps them learn many good things, receive the dedicated care of monks and nuns, have fun, be entertained, feel at peace, and relieve stress after a hard time studying. That's why the number of attendees of the summer retreats has increased year by year.

The beauty of Youth Summer Retreat –  Huong Phap Pagoda, Cu Chi


The beauty of Youth Summer Retreat – Huong Phap Pagoda, Cu Chi
Youth retreat took place for 7 days, from June 5th to 12th, 2022 (May 7th to 14th , the Year of the Tiger).
On June 5th, 2022 (May 7, the Year of the Tiger), the Huong Phap pagoda under the Hoang Phap Communal House in Cu Chi organized a Youth retreat at Hoang Phap Pagoda under the guidance of the Junior Venerable Thich Tam Do and more than 1,300 children attended the retreat.
Before that, on June 4th, 2022 (May 6th of the Year of the Tiger), after being instructed to register for the retreat, the youth were instructed where to eat, to take a shower and to sleep…
Junior Venerable Thich Tam Truong, abbot of Hoang Phap Pagoda, shared ideas to open the retreat. He shared about the four great graces, which are the grace of parents, of the ancestors, of the nation, and of sentient beings. For the youth, we should let them be exposed and live in a good and positive environment. In terms of activities in the pagoda environment, the children learned how to behave politely in the meditation area, with their family and friends, learn how to be scheduled, and learn to be independent to improve their learning. The monks and the youth chanted sutras to repay their parents' gratitude.
On Monday, the students listened to Senior Venerable Thich Quang Thien, the Abbot of Tinh Quang Pagoda, District 12, HCMC on the topic "With My Children On The Roads". The Senior Ven. reminded the students that if they could create a value system through practice and effort, they would have firm success without being dependent, not asking for help, not begging, and not relying on anyone. When students show themselves as independent adults, knowing how to protect and preserve themselves, it is the most practical way to repay their parents.
The monks and the students chanted the Buddhist scriptures to repay the gratitude to their parents. The monks guided the students how to fold blankets and pillows, wash clothes, learn the necessary posture when living in the meditation place and learn the rules of the retreat.

In the evening, the students listened to the stories of the Buddha's predecessors from the Junior Ven. Thich Tam Trieu, and watched the performance night with famous artists and singers.
On the third day, Junior Ven. Thich Dao Quang, Professor at the Primary School of Buddhism, who taught both inside and outside the city presented the theme "The Value of Hard Work". Hard-working people will appreciate what they have, using it rationally that is also saving blessings for themselves.
In the afternoon, Junior Ven. Thich Tam Sy had a talk with the topic "Seeing-Listening Practice Self-Awareness". The students should be careful when interacting with Game, Facebook…
In the evening, Junior Ven. Thich Tam Tri explained to the students about the life of the Buddha along with the purpose and meaning of the Three Refuges and the Five Precepts. After that, the students had a chance to watch a performance night with famous artists and singers.
On the fourth day, Nun Thich Nu Huong Nhu, Lecturer at the Vietnam Buddhist Academy in HCMC, Abbot of Thien Quang Pagoda, Binh Duong, had a talk on the topic "Give Me A Ticket To Childhood".
In the afternoon, more than 1,000 students attended the Three-Jewels Refuge Ceremony, marking the time when they officially became Buddhists. On behalf of the monks, Most Venerable Thich Chan Tinh, the patriarch of Hoang Phap Communal House, passed on the Three Refuges and Five Precepts to the Buddhists.
Junior Ven. Thich Tam Duoc shared funny stories, then students watched the music performance. 
On the fifth day, the students listened to the lecture from the Junior Ven. Thich Thien Tue, Abbot of An Lac Pagoda, Thu Duc city, HCMC, Permanent member of the Committee for the Promotion of Buddhism in HCMC on the topic "Friendship". He always emphasized that choosing a friend to play is extremely important. If we are close to a good friend, he will motivate us to do good things and vice versa.
In the afternoon of the same day, the students learned skills with Mr. Tran Viet Quan, an entrepreneur and the operator of Bach Khoa Computer company, on the topic "Forging Strong Internal Strength - Living Spirit". He inspired students to always aim for independence, to do everything by themselves, to make efforts, to take responsibility, and not to rely on anyone. All of this will train them to have a strong and steady inner strength in order to enter life.
In the evening, the children interacted with famous artists in the music performance.
On the sixth day (June 10th, 2022), the students listened to the sharing from the Junior Ven. Thich Minh Thanh, Abbot of Dien Khanh Pagoda, District 6, HCMC through the theme "The Happy Dropper". If we are unpious to our parents and do not care about the life around us, we will be the ones who have lost our happiness.
In the afternoon of the same day, the students came to the sermon session from Junior Ven. Thich Tam Luc, the monk of Hoang Phap's family house with the topic "Human". He wanted the students to sow good seeds as a preparation before entering life, which became talented people who are useful for the families and society.
In the evening, the students read and chanted Vu Lan sutras and had music performances with famous artists.
On the last day of the retreat (June 11th, 2022), the students listened to the sharing from the Junior Ven. Thich Tam An, Abbot of Hung Phap Pagoda, Dong Nai on the topic "Do you understand?". He wanted to help them understand the gratitude of their parents and cherish the time spent with their parents. They should obey their parents and study hard. Filial people are always successful in life.
In the afternoon of the same day, the students learned skills with Mr. Nguyen Thanh Nhan, Senior Advisor of ATY education system through the topic "Gratitude for Life". Let's cherish and be grateful for what we are using from the land, water, air, trees... Then, let's plant good seeds in our minds, living a valuable life for ourselves, families and society.
In the evening, in the spirit of gratitude, the ceremony "Lighting the Gratitude Candle" officially took place with the witness of the Monks, parents and all students. In spiritual emotion, the children offered tea in gratitude to the monks and offered milk to their parents. The students themselves offered wreaths, cleaned parents’ faces and hands, and massaged parents’ shoulders in order to feel the calluses in parents’ hands due to hard-work that helped care for the children.
Gratitude is a practical action, not a talk; Therefore, if a person is unfilial, lacking in morality, he cannot be a grateful person. With the desire to propagate Dharma, the monks of Hoang Phap Pagoda used appropriate means to introduce Buddhism to all ages, especially teenagers.
During the seven days of cultivation, the students all listened to the Dharma lectures, and enjoyed music performances with famous artists. That helped create a healthy and useful environment for young people in the summer and created a place where helped young people reduce stress, neutralize the soul, and cultivate a pure mind
After participating in the retreat for a year, the students liked it very much, so they introduced it to their friends and relatives to join the next one. Although it was hard work, the monks were very happy because the pagoda’s propagating the Dharma had been fruitful, and the sowing of the Buddha Dharma was favorable.
The retreat attracted a large number of young people's participation, helping bring Buddhism closer to life, making young people know more about Buddha and know more about the retreat.
When participating in the Summer Retreat, the students were trained in independence and discipline with a scientific schedule, which was good for their health and cultivation. In addition, they also learned how to protect themselves. Living in an environment away from the internet and cell phones, eating in moderation, playing folk games, doing sports, etc., gives them the opportunity to learn from each other, and to practice solidarity and collectivity. Moreover, the students made new friends and had good memories after a rewarding retreat. In addition to cultivating personal skills, the students also had the opportunity to attend the music performance with friends and famous artists, and to listen to monks and nuns preaching the Dharma.

Meaningful stories, and loving lyrics praising family love and parenting grace made the students who attended the Gratitude Candlelighting Night choking and sobbing. The tears that fell today were the children's deep gratitude to the parents who have nurtured and cared for them since childhood. It is a valuable opportunity to build beauty in the soul, and it is also a solid foundation for young people in the future, which leads to a life of truth and beauty, away from the evils of society.

The retreat left many good memories in the hearts of the teenagers. This is a place to help them reduce stress, neutralize their souls, and cultivate a pure mind.

It can be said that young people can learn about the lessons of being a human being, have the opportunity to receive the basic teachings of Buddhism, know how to take refuge in the Three Jewels, and uphold the five basic precepts of Buddhists. A young person who knows the Buddha dharma and lives according to the Buddha's teachings will be a virtuous person who knows how to live wisely, to be rich in compassion and to be willing to sacrifice his own interests, serving society and the country. That is also the highest purpose that the summer retreat at Hoang Phap Pagoda aimed at.

A retreat is an activity of practicing spiritual life according to the Buddha's teachings for a certain period of time.

Hoa Đạo

Translated into English by Khanh Phung

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