Mum and I were sick yesterday so we missed the first day of tours to the Buddhist Nunnerys and Temples near Ho Chi Mih City, which has been planned for the delegates who attended the Sakyadhita Conference. But today we joined (and will continue for another 6 days) on the tour by bus which will take us up the coastline of Vietnam to Hué, and then we fly to Hanoi)
The first stop today was like meditators heaven! It is Vien Chieu Nunnery, in 'the forest of meditators ' where there are always 1000 nuns and 1000 monks meditating.
In this zen temple, a certain number of nuns are in retreat, while the rest are studying and practising. The environment is pristine: lush, yet finely manicured tropical gardens, and orchards. Vietnamese Zen style shrine rooms, meditation halls and sleeping halls - all open to the garden, and sometimes elevated to the canopies of the tress so that a fragrant cooling breeze blows through the spaces.
We stayed there for 30 minutes, but I wished to stay there for 30 years - seduced by the environment as I was!
a kind of heaven for meditators, Vien Chieu Monastery
After visiting 4 more temples (of the 8 that we saw today), the Abbess of Quan Am Nam Hai Temple in Vung Tau absolutely melted my heart.
She was so moved to welcome 60 or so Buddhist women from around the world into her small Temple that she continuously bowed to us all, with a sincere display of faith. This in turn inspired faith and gratitude in all of us, so, for a few tender, silent minutes, we met, bowed to the ground in appreciation, with our hearts blossoming.
Such are the intimate and simple moments which express the joy I feel to be with so many other nuns.
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