WE WERE JOYFULLY TOGETHER IN VIET NAM IN 2014
In March, 18 friends from Germany, Switzerland, and the US joined Dharma Teacher Chân An Đinh (Trish Thompson – True Concentration on Peace) & Zen Chaplain/Order of Interbeing member Chân Niêm Quang (Michael Melancon – True Recollection of Light). for a 15-day “Joyfully Together in Viet Nam” mobile retreat. The group quickly named themselves the “Rolling Cloud Sangha.”
Our time together included plenty of concentrated practice, times of deep sharing, as well as some wonderful child-like fun, all of which allowed healing and transformation which, based on the letters within the group, is continuing.
The itinerary of this year’s retreat included more visits to humanitarian projects and interaction
with friends we met along the way, and fewer visits to empty historic pagodas. Our practice was strengthened by two Days of Mindfulness in monasteries and two half-Days of Mindfulness (without monastics), one of which was at Temple Tu Hieu in Hue and another at Tay Phuong Pagoda near Hanoi.
In response to the feedback from members of our initial mobile retreat (2013), the tour included more space for rest, relaxation, contemplation, and Dharma Sharing. Bike-riding in Hoi An and kayaking and overnighting on Ha Long Bay was good fun, as well as exercise. We even enjoyed therapeutic massage at a clinic in Hanoi, very welcome after a day of climbing Yen Tu Mountain.
A real highlight was the transmission of the Five Mindfulness Trainings to four of our sisters in a lovely ceremony held at a central room at Chua Yen Tu at the base of Yen Tu mountain. Based on their written aspiration, these sisters (including a different kind of “sister,” a Roman Catholic nun) received the names: Universal Oneness of the Heart, Concrete Practice of the Heart, Boundless Faith of the Heart, and Ancestral Transformation of the Heart.
Fifty of us attended our farewell event at the home of Barry and Phuong. This was a joy-filled evening of sharing food and friendship with members of the Hanoi Sangha, as well as young members of the Hanoi Wake Up Sangha and other friends. Three of our Rolling Cloud Sangha members, Veterans of the American War, gave a moving account of their personal experience of walking a Path from War to Peace.