Editors' welcome

Dear Thay, Dear Sangha,

In this winter edition of Nhap Luu News we continue with our study of the Five Mindfulness Trainings. Our theme is the Third Mindfulness Training, True Love. After years of absence, I've been fortunate enough to have just had weeks away with my very extended family in Indonesia. Westerners scarcely come to their distant, beautifully simple village at all. I was, as always, humbled by the incredible warmth, inclusiveness, and virtually unconditional love that is always offered as this big, big family gently gathers my son and I, like it's frayed edges, back into itself with a warm caress. We are so very privileged, and it is a backdrop against which I clearly see my own unskillfulness in love thrown up into dark relief. Like many in our world, I have much to learn and embody about love – beginning with how to properly understand, cultivate, show, and even experience it.  So, with that awareness recently sharpened, I am both deeply touched and inspired by the contributions we have for you on the topic, and trust you will be too.

We begin with a Dharma Talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh in which he teaches us that true love is made of loving kindness, compassion, joy and equanimity. In all his talks of love and happiness Thay encourages us firstly to begin to love ourselves, and thus come back to our true home. Then we continue with a deep and moving reflection on the Third Mindfulness Training from Queensland Sangha member Matt Jordan. We have also included some Plum Village practices that we can all learn to use to help bring the demonstration and cultivation of real love into our lives. These are Hugging Meditation and the Beginning Anew practices. There are, as well, some very wonderful quotes from Thay on the nature of love, for you.

Another part of my trip away was the Plum Village Indonesia Retreat for 2015, and a stay at Borobodur. This is the stunning eighth century Buddhist monument in Central Java, which dwarfs all others in the world. A group of us, including the Monks and Nuns from Plum Village, sat, atop it, at sunrise together. This is my second Plum Village Retreat in Indonesia. Each time, one of the most wonderful aspects for me has been the real-life living out of non-dualism and interbeing that we witness there, with representations from almost all the major monastic traditions, and with committed mindfulness meditation practitioners from other religious beliefs including Islam. It never fails to open my heart, for this is how it actually is. No barriers. No Them and Us, and it is so beautiful. This is a real experience of love, for me.

We hope to share with you  a little of the mood of all these things, with some of our photographic choices in this edition; and there's a video for you together with some more reading, about what's needed for us all to succeed in developing our Meditation Centre, Nhap Luu.

May you all be happy.

Susan Wirawan (Chân Nguyện Lưu) 
True Aspiration of The Stream                                                 


Editorial Staff:
Susan Wirawan (True Aspiration of the Stream)
Jenny Pittman (True Stream of Virtue)  
Leonie Clark
Going as a River. Monastic chanting, Indonesia Retreat (West Java) May 2015



Photo courtesy
of Paul Davis
True Hall of Merits

Meditation at dawn, upper most level of Borobodur. Central Java, Indonesia. May 23rd 2015.
Building Plum Village Australia

Dear Sangha and Friends,  you may recall that in the March edition of the Nhap Luu News, Thay Phap Kham published an article which many of you will have read, called ‘Nourishing Our beloved Communities’. If you wish to review the whole thing, you may do so at the Nhap Luu home page www.nhapluu.org, or in the newsletter itself (archived there under ‘News’). However here we want to specifically  address the extremely important matter that he raised in it, concerning the need for fundraising for the Nhap Luu Meditation Centre Building Project.

Click to play the video

Our commitment to sangha building is solid. We all carry it out with deep pleasure as a gift to Thay Nhat Hanh, with our hearts full of love and gratitude to him for opening us up to the depth and the beauty of the Dharma.

Since the days of the Buddha himself, it has always been the role of the lay practitioners to provide food, clothing and shelter for the Monastic Sangha, so that the teaching of the practice of the Dharma may flourish, uninterrupted. This is still the case today across all Buddhist traditions. Now, a situation faces our particular tradition in Australia which represents a wonderful opportunity for us to fully express our dedication, and strong love and appreciation for Thay.

In his article, Thay Phap Kham explained that:

there are quite a few things that concern us all, regarding Nhap Luu Monastery. There are three sisters staying at Nhap Luu right now, instead of 11 as there were last year. The reasons are that visas for the six Sisters from Vietnam expired last November, and two other Sisters changed their practising centers. New visa applications are being done for six new Sisters to come from Vietnam. The Plum Village monastics are considering the possibility of having more monastics come to Australia including Brothers. This has been under discussion for some time. However, given the need to have more Brothers in some other centers to support more pressing needs in those places, we have not been able to quickly set up a Monks' Sangha in Nhap Luu. I am hoping that it might happen in 2017.

We were also told by the local Council, late in 2014, that some of the current facilities, such as the kitchen/dining hall and the guest hut (both built as temporary shelters when Nhap Luu was first started), need to be replaced. Plans are being made for a dormitory for lay people and visiting monks, a public toilet facility, an upgrade for the meditation hall, and a kitchen/dining hall. We have about a maximum of two years in which to complete the process.

By that time the current buildings will need to have been put out of service. We estimate the cost of the first building, a dormitory for 24 people, to be about $250,000-$300,000. The toilet facility will be about $40,000 and the kitchen/dining hall perhaps another $250,000-300,000. Put together, we may need to have about $600,000 to provide minimal approved facilities for activities at Nhap Luu. We need to practise a lot of mindful breathing and walking while looking at these issues.

The matter of having only a few Sisters at Nhap Luu has been successfully addressed because we already have two new Sisters, and are expecting four more very soon. However, the matter of needing to get serious as a Sangha about raising funds for proper buildings needs to be confronted by all of us. The Monastic Sangha depends upon us, the lay practitioners, and it is clear that the time to translate our love into action is now.

Some months ago, some members of the Birrarung Sangha in Melbourne got together to discuss this concern, hoping we could just help get the ball rolling. We realise that the matter may seem overwhelming, and, as Thay Phap Kham said, ‘we need to breathe a lot’ as we take it on board.

If the Boddhisattva lying dormant in every one of us can be awakened so that we all feel deeply the desire to ensure that these wonderful teachings become more accessible to all sentient beings in Australia, then we can probably do it.

It really needs each of the five (active) States to take responsibility for its own proportion of the total. Most importantly, we need to be able to talk between ourselves about the matter, and come up with ideas as a Sangha for  how it can be done. We invite and encourage you, as practitioners who love Thay very much, and who care about the future of his practice centre in Australia, to consider this and the part that you, as individuals, and as Sanghas, can play. 

We encourage you to watch the video we have given you here, which may bring this all to life a little more as well. You may also share these  links to it:VIMEO:https://vimeo.com/125650105 ; YOUTUBE:https://youtu.be/jTrb2OYpwgY.

There will be detailed information available on the website by next week ( very early July) about the project itself, and donating. Direct contact with all Sangha Leaders and other Core Practitioners will also be made over the next over the ensuing couple of months.  But right now, let us all make a commitment in our hearts to this.  Any related questions or ideas, in the meantime, please also feel free to address to us care ofThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Any immediate contributions may be directed to: 

BSB 633000
Account Number 145651287 

Unified Buddhist Church, at the Bendigo Bank, Beaufort, Victoria.

Don't forget to please also email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , with the details of your contribution - amount, date, transfer/receipt number, and your name and contact details if you are donating within the next week or two. Otherwise,follow the directions on the web.

"Looking deeply into Mahayana Buddhism we find Theravada and looking deeply into Theravada we find Mahayana." - Thich Nhat Hanh and Phap Khong- Diep Nguyen. 
Photograph courtesy of Paul Davis. 
(CHÂN PHÚC ĐƯỜNG) True Hall of Merits (USA)


The Third Mindfulness Training

True Love

Aware of the suffering caused by sexual misconduct, I am committed to cultivating responsibility and learning ways to protect the safety and integrity of individuals, couples, families and society. Knowing that sexual desire is not love, and that sexual activity motivated by craving always harms myself and as well as others, I am determined not to engage in sexual relations without true love and a deep, long-term commitment made known to my family and friends. I will do everything in my power to protect children from sexual abuse and to prevent couples and families from being broken by sexual misconduct. Seeing that body and mind are one, I am committed to learning appropriate ways to take care of my sexual energy and cultivating loving kindness, compassion, joy and inclusiveness – which are the four basic elements of true love - for my greater happiness and the greater happiness of others. Practising true love, we know that we will continue beautifully into the future.

Butterfly. Photo courtesy of Paul Davis. (CHÂN PHÚC ĐƯỜNG) True Hall of Merits (USA)
Learning how to invite the bell, with Thay Phap Nghiem. Indonesia retreat May 2015.

Dharma Talk

Make a True Home of Your Love

Extract of Dharma Talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh on Nov 26, 2010.
Published in The Mindfulness Bell, March 13, 2015

Every one of us is trying to find our true home. We know that our true home is inside, and with the energy of mindfulness, we can go back to our true home in the here and the now.  Sangha is our true home.

In Vietnamese, the husband calls the wife ‘my home’. And the wife calls the husband her home. Nha toi means my house, my home. When a gentleman is asked ‘Where is your wife?’ he will say, ‘My home is now at the post office’. And if a guest said to the wife, ‘Your home is beautiful; who decorated it?’ she would answer, ‘It’s my home who decorated it’, meaning, ‘my husband’. When the husband calls his wife, he says, ‘Nha oi’, my home. And she says, ‘here I am’. Nha oi. Nha toi.

When you are in such a relationship, the other person is your true home. And you should be a true home for him or for her. First you need to be your own true home so that you can be the home of your beloved. We should practise so we can be a true home for ourselves and for the one that we love. How? We need the practice of mindfulness.

In Plum Village, every time you hear the bell, you stop thinking, you stop talking, you stop doing things. You pay attention to your in-breath as you breathe in and you say, ‘I listen, I listen. This wonderful sound brings me back to my true home’. My true home is inside. My true home is in the here and the now. So practising going home is what we do all day long, because we are only comfortable in our true home. Our true home is available, and we can go home every moment. Our home should be safe, intimate, and cozy, and it is we who make it that way.

Last week I had tea with a couple who came from the United Kingdom. They spent two weeks in Plum Village, with the monks in the Upper Hamlet. The lady said, ‘It’s strange. It’s the first time that I’ve lived in a place where there are hundreds of men and no women, and I feel very safe in the Upper Hamlet. I have never felt safe like that’. In the Upper Hamlet she was the only woman, and she felt very safe. And if she feels safe, the place is her home, because home should provide that kind of safety. Are you a safe place for him or for her? Do you have enough stability, strength, protection for the one you love?

And the gentleman said, ‘The last two weeks may be the best weeks of my life’. That is because of the work of Sangha building. When you build a Sangha, you build a home for yourself. And in that place, you feel at home, you feel at ease, you feel safe. If you don’t feel safe within yourself, you are not a home for your own self, and you cannot provide your loved one a home. That is why it’s very important to go back to yourself and make it safe for you and for the ones you love.

If you feel lonely, if you feel cut off, if you suffer, if you need healing, you cannot expect to heal by having a sexual relationship with another person. That cannot heal you. You will create more suffering for him, for her, and for yourself. In the Third Mindfulness Training, we learn that sexual desire is not love. And without love, sexual activities can only bring suffering to you and to the other person. Loneliness cannot be dissipated by sexual activity; you cannot heal yourself by having sex. You have to learn how to heal yourself, to be comfortable within, and then you begin to create a home. Then you have something to offer to the other person. The other person also has to heal, so that she will feel at ease, and she can become your home. Otherwise, what she has to share is only her loneliness, her sickness, her suffering. That cannot help heal you at all.


Three Kinds of Intimacy

There are three kinds of intimacy. The first one is physical and sexual. The second is emotional. And the third one is spiritual. Sexual intimacy cannot be separated from emotional intimacy. They go together. And if spiritual intimacy is there, the physical, sexual intimacy will have meaning and will be healthy and healing. Otherwise it will be destructive.

The first thing the Buddha talked about is the suffering inside. Many of us are fearful. We don’t want to go back to ourselves, because we believe that we will encounter the block of suffering inside, and that we will be overwhelmed. Instead, we try to cover it up by means of consumption. We consume food, we consume music, we consume many other things, and we consume sex. But that does not help. That is why the Buddha proposed that we go home to ourselves with courage, in order to recognize and listen deeply to the suffering inside. We can use the energy of mindfulness, generated by conscious breathing and walking, to embrace it tenderly. ‘My suffering, I know you are there. I am home. And I will take care of you’.

There are times when we suffer but we don’t know the nature of the suffering. Our ancestors, our parents may not have been able to transform their suffering, and they have transmitted it to us. And now, because we have encountered the Buddhadharma, we have a chance to recognize it, embrace it, and transform it for ourselves and our ancestors, our parents. ‘Dear ancestors, dear father, dear mother, I have received this block of suffering from you. I know the Dharma, I know the practice. I will learn to recognize this block of suffering that has been transmitted to me, and with love I will try to accept and to transform it’. You can do it out of love. You do it for your parents, for your ancestors, because we are our ancestors.

According to the teaching of the Four Noble Truths, unless you listen to your suffering, unless you look deeply into your suffering, and embrace it tenderly with your energy of mindfulness, you cannot understand the roots of your suffering. When you begin to understand the roots of your suffering, suddenly the energy of compassion, of understanding, arises. And understanding and compassion have the power to heal. By embracing and listening to your suffering, you bring about understanding and compassion. And when the nectar of compassion is born in you, you suffer less, you feel less lonely. You begin to feel the warmth within yourself; you are building a home inside yourself. The Buddha recommends that we build a home inside, an island within ourselves. Be an island unto yourself. You’ll feel comfortable, you’ll feel warm, and you can be a refuge for the other person too.

When you have understood your own suffering, your own loneliness, you feel lighter and you can listen to the suffering of the other person. Your suffering carries within itself the suffering of your ancestors, of the world, of society. Interbeing means that my suffering is in your suffering, and your suffering is in my suffering. That is why, when I have understood my suffering, it is easier for me to understand your suffering. When you understand someone’s suffering, that is a great gift that you can offer to him or to her. The other person feels for the first time that she is understood. To offer understanding means to offer love. And understanding another person is not possible without understanding self. Home-building begins with yourself. Your partner too builds a home within, and then you can call her your home, and she can call you her home.

So we go home to ourselves, we listen to the suffering inside of us. We embrace our pain, our sorrow, our loneliness with the energy of mindfulness. And that kind of understanding, that kind of insight will help transform the suffering inside us. We feel lighter, we begin to feel warmth and peace inside. And then when the other person joins you in building home, you have an ally. You are helping him and he is helping you. And together you have home. You have home in yourself, you have home in him, in her also. If that kind of intimacy does not exist, then a sexual relationship can cause a lot of damage. That is why earlier I said that physical, sexual intimacy cannot be separated from emotional intimacy.

Between the spiritual and the emotional there is a link. Spirituality is not just a belief in a teaching; it is a practice. And the practice always brings relief, communication, transformation. Everyone needs a spiritual dimension in his or her life. Without a spiritual dimension in our life, we cannot deal with the difficulties that we encounter. We should have a spiritual practice, a Dharma life. We learn how to put the Dharma into practice. With that kind of practice, we can deal with the difficulties we encounter in our daily life.

Sister Chan Khong and attendant, Indonesia retreat 2015.

Your spiritual practice can help you a lot in dealing with your emotions, helping you to listen, to embrace your own suffering, and to recognize and embrace the suffering of the other person. That is why these two forms of intimacy inter-are. You know how to deal with a strong emotion, like fear, anger, despair. Because you know how to do that, you can feel more peaceful within yourself. That spiritual practice helps you build a home within yourself, for your sake and for the sake of the other person. That is why emotional intimacy cannot be separated from spiritual intimacy. The three kinds of intimacy inter-are.

Reverence for the Body

Sexual activity without love is empty sex. It is prevalent in our society and is causing a lot of suffering for our young people. If you are schoolteachers, if you are parents, you should help your children and your students to avoid empty sex. Empty sex is bringing a lot of damage to their minds and their bodies. Damage will emerge later on in the forms of depression, mental disorders, suicide. Many young people don’t see the connection between empty sex and these physical and mental disorders in themselves.

What happens in the body will have an effect on the mind and vice versa. Mind relies on the body to manifest and body relies on mind to be alive, to be possible. When you love someone, you have to respect not only her mind but also her body. You respect your own body, and you respect his body. True love should have the nature of reverence, respect. In the Asian tradition you have to treat your spouse with respect, like a guest. And in order to respect her, you have to respect yourself first. Reverence should be the nature of our love.

There are other parts of the body that are also sacred that you should not touch. It’s like inside the Imperial City, there is the Purple City* where the family of the king lives. And you are not supposed to go in that area. If you do, they will arrest you and cut off your head. In a person’s body there are areas that are forbidden to touch. And if you don’t show respect, if you touch that part of the body, you are penetrating the Purple City. When a child is sexually abused, she suffers, he suffers very deeply. Someone has violated her Purple City and she did not have the ability to protect herself. There are children who have been abused at the age of eight, nine, ten, and they suffer very deeply. They blame their parents for not having protected them, and their relationship with their parents becomes difficult. Then their relationship with their friends and their future lovers will also be very difficult. The wounds are always there.

Be Beautiful, Be Yourself

We said earlier that sensual pleasure, sexual desire, is not love, but our society is organized in such a way that sensual pleasure becomes the most important thing. To sell their products, corporations create advertisements that water the seeds of craving in you. They want you to consume so that you will develop a craving for sensual pleasure. But sensual pleasures can destroy you. What we need is mutual understanding, trust, love, emotional intimacy, spiritual intimacy. But we don’t have the opportunity to meet that kind of deep need in us.

Thay has a calligraphy: ‘Be beautiful; be yourself’. That is a very important practice. You have to accept yourself as you are. And when you practise building a home in yourself, you’ll become more and more beautiful. You have peace, you have warmth, you have joy. You feel wonderful within yourself. And people will recognize the beauty of your flower.

Mindfulness is the kind of energy that can help you to go home to yourself, to be in the here and the now, so that you know what to do and what not to do, in order to preserve yourself, in order to build your true home, in order to transform your own afflictions, and to be a home for other people. The Five Mindfulness Trainings are a concrete way of practising mindfulness. In the Buddhist tradition, holiness is made of mindfulness. And mindfulness brings within itself the  energy of concentration and insight. Mindfulness, concentration, and insight make you  holy.

Holiness does not exist only with celibacy. There are those who are celibate but who are not holy, because they don’t have enough mindfulness, concentration, and insight. There are those who live a conjugal life, but if they have mindfulness and concentration and insight, they have the element of holiness in them. Sexual intimacy can be a beautiful thing if there is mindfulness, concentration, insight, mutual understanding, and love. Otherwise it will be very destructive. A sutra describes the moment when Queen Mahamaya was pregnant with the Buddha. Mahamaya dreamed of a white elephant whose trunk was holding a lotus flower. The elephant touched her with the lotus flower and entered into her very, very softly, and she was pregnant with Siddhartha. That is the way they describe a sexual relationship, in the palace before Siddhartha was conceived: gentleness, beauty. Sexual intimacy should not occur before there is communion, understanding, sharing on the emotional and spiritual level. And then the physical, sexual intimacy can also become holy.

* In China and Vietnam, the Imperial City contained an enclosure called the Purple Forbidden City.

Reproduced with kind permission of the editors of The Mindfulness bell.
To read the full text of this talk go tohttp://www.mindfulnessbell.org/wp/tag/third-mindfulness-training/ 

Spring - Ararat Victoria. Photograph courtesy of Caz Hamilton, Victoria.

Our two new Sisters. Sister Thinh Quang, and Sister Tuu Nghiem, arrived in April this year from Ho Chi Minh City. Four more will be arriving also, soon, from Hue.


Reflection on The Third Mindfulness Training

I received the Five Mindfulness Trainings on 22nd April 2012 as a consolidation of my love for the teachings and practices of the Buddha. Prior to my introduction to the Plum Village tradition my acquaintance with the Trainings, as they are usually introduced in Buddhist traditions, was with the Five Precepts. These Five Precepts of no killing; no stealing; no sexual misconduct; no harsh or divisive speech and no consuming of intoxicants, offered a rich ground for ethical exploration and practise. It was not until I understood these Precepts in the context of the Mindfulness Trainings, however, that my practice really began to take shape and deepen. 

I will use the Training of this season’s Newsletter, true love, as an example. The related Precept (no sexual misconduct) appears to suggest that the practice is about cutting off or denying those aspects of our experience relating to sex. In the past I related sex with intimacy. This also meant denying experiences that ran the risk of getting close to people. On the other hand, this same Precept, introduced in the Mindfulness Trainings as true love, helped me to understand what I believe to be a truer meaning behind this noble teaching. Rather than cutting me off from experiencing the wonders of intimacy this Training has helped me to experience intimacy on a deeper level. It is an intimacy that includes all of life and looks beyond seeing people as objects of desire to be denied or longed for. This understanding of intimacy has helped me to relate to myself in a new way; to be sensitive to the sensations of my body and to recognise how my mind could be thrown or destabilised by such sensations if I do not take care of them. 

In taking care of the sensations of my body, and by relationship the mind, I can see that the practice of true love begins with me first. The self-intimacy that has developed as a result of recognising and taking care of my own sensations has helped me to better connect with others in a way that is meaningful. In part this is because it is easier for me to recognise the fleeting nature of sensations and thus not be as easily distracted by them. Importantly though, it is also because I am more aware of what my needs are in relation to true love. In other words, I am more aware of my need for loving kindness, compassion, joy and inclusion. This awareness of my own needs enables me to come to understand the needs of other people. 

The blessing in this is that, as I come to understand the need that both myself and other people have for the basic elements of true love (i.e. loving kindness, compassion, joy and inclusiveness), the more my heart opens and softens. This opening and softening of the heart increases my sense of closeness to world around me. Feeling this closeness helps me to approach the world with a smile and walk upon this earth with a sense of peace and gratitude.

Matt Jordan
Tam Vien Giac (Awakened Garden of the Heart)

Incense Offering, Indonesia Retreat. 2015

Hugging Meditation

Hugging meditation is a practice I invented. In 1966, a woman poet took me to the Atlanta Airport and then asked, ‘Is it alright to hug a Buddhist monk?’ In my country, we are not used to expressing ourselves that way, but I thought, ‘I am a Zen teacher. It should be no problem for me to do that. So, I said ‘Why not?’ and she hugged me. But I was quite stiff. While on the plane, I decided that if I wanted to work with friends in the West, I would have to learn the culture of the West, so I invented hugging meditation.  

Hugging meditation is a combination of East and West. According to the practice, you have to really hug the person you are hugging. You have to make him or her very real in your arms, not just for the sake of appearances, patting him on the back to pretend you are there, but breathing consciously and hugging with all your body, spirit and heart. Hugging meditation is a practice of mindfulness.  ‘Breathing in, I know my dear one is in my arms, alive. Breathing out, she is so precious to me.’ If you breathe deeply like that, holding the person you love, the energy of care, love, and mindfulness will penetrate into that person and she will be nourished and bloom like a flower.

(Thich Nhat Hanh Fidelity, 2011, page 134).

(Editors’ note: the person being hugged does not have to be a ‘dear one’. We can also offer a stranger our presence and mindfulness with a hug.)

Indonesia Retreat 2015

Beginning Anew

To begin anew is to look deeply and honestly at ourselves, our past actions, speech and thoughts and to create a fresh beginning within ourselves and in our relationships with others. It’s a good idea to try to practise Beginning Anew as a community every two weeks and individually as often as we like.

We practise Beginning Anew to clear our mind and keep our practice fresh. When a difficulty arises in our relationships with fellow practitioners and one of us feels resentment or hurt, we know it is time to Begin Anew. The following is a description of the four-part process of Beginning Anew as used in a formal setting. 

One person speaks at a time and is not interrupted during his or her turn. The other practitioners practice deep listening and following their breath.

Flower watering – This is a chance to share our appreciation for the other person. We may mention specific instances that the other person said or did something that we had admired. This is an opportunity to shine light on the other’s strengths and contributions to the sangha and to encourage the growth of his or her positive qualities.

Sharing regrets – We may mention any unskillfulness in our actions, speech or thoughts that we have not yet had an opportunity to apologize for.

Expressing a hurt – We may share how we felt hurt by an interaction with another practitioner, due to his or her actions, speech or thoughts. (To express a hurt we should first water the other person’s ‘flower’ by sharing two positive qualities that we have truly observed in him or her. Expressing a hurt is often performed one on one with another practitioner rather than in the group setting. You may ask for a third party that you both trust and respect to be present, if desired.)

Sharing a long-term difficulty & asking for support- At times we each have difficulties and pain arise from our past that surface in the present. When we share an issue that we are dealing with we can let the people around us understand us better and offer the support that we really need.

The practice of Beginning Anew helps us develop our kind speech and compassionate listening. Begin Anew is a practice of recognition and appreciation of the positive elements within our family or friends. Recognizing others positive traits allows us to see our own good qualities as well.

Along with these good traits, we each have areas of weakness, such as talking out of our anger or being caught in our misperceptions. When we practice ‘flower watering’ we support the development of good qualities in each other and at the same time we help to weaken the difficulties in the other person. As in a garden, when we ‘water the flowers’ of loving kindness and compassion in each other, we also take energy away from the weeds of anger, jealousy and misperception.

We can practise Beginning Anew everyday by expressing our appreciation for our family, friends or fellow practitioners and apologizing right away when we do or say something that hurts them. We can politely let others know when we have been hurt as well. The health and happiness of our relationships depends on the harmony, peace and joy that exists between every member in the Sangha.


Autumn. Photo, courtesy Caz Hamilton, Victoria.


Quotes on Love and Happiness

Love and Happiness
Dharma Talk 25 November 2004, plumvillage.org

Without the capacity of listening deeply, we cannot understand.

Understanding is not something that happens “just like that” – it takes time and we have to give our ideas, our views, our prejudices, our judgement.

In the Buddhist teaching of love, there are four elements. The first is maitri – friendship, brotherhood, loving-kindness. And the second is karuna – capacity to understand the suffering and help remove and transform it – compassion. Mudita is the third element – joy – your joy is her joy, her joy is our joy. The last element is upeksha – nondiscrimination. This is a higher form of love. The four qualities have no limits – infinite love – these elements are also call the Four Unlimited Minds

The bodhisattva of love is in you.

Make a True Home of Your Love
Dharma Talk 26 December 2010, plumvillage.org

In the Buddhist tradition, holiness is made of mindfulness. Mindfulness, concentration, and insight make you holy.

We have to learn how to treat beauty. Sexual intimacy can be a beautiful thing, if there is mindfulness, concentration, and insight. Otherwise it will be destructive.

Love is not a kind of prison. True love gives us a lot of space. Whatever you enjoy, the other person enjoys; whatever is your concern is also their concern.

Five Mindfulness Trainings
Dharma Talk 10 May 2014, plumvillage.org

True love is made of compassion, loving kindness, and nondiscrimination. These are the elements of true love.


Sensual love inflicts us with suffering and ties us to worldly life.

From Thich Nhat Hanh
Fidelity, Parallax Press, 2011

Loneliness can only be healed by understanding and love. Sometimes we think that if we have sexual relations with someone else, we'll feel less lonely. But the truth is that such sex doesn't relieve the feeling of loneliness; it makes it worse. Sexuality should be accompanied by understanding and love. Without understanding and love, sex is empty. With understanding and love, sex can be holy.

The word ‘love’ has so many meanings. We say we love ice cream, a pair of jeans, or a certain movie. We have abused that word and have to heal it. Words can get sick and lose their meaning. We have to detoxify the words and make them healthy again.

True love makes us happy. If love doesn’t make us happy, it’s not love; it’s something else.

When the three roots of faith, practice and community support have fed us deeply, then we will be solid both alone and in our relationships. We will not just survive, we will flourish.

Beauty and goodness are there in each of us. A true spiritual partner is one who encourages you to look deep inside yourself for the beauty and love you’ve been seeking. 

To commit to another person is to embark on a very adventurous journey. There is no one ‘right person’ who will make it easier. You must be very wise and very patient to keep your love alive so it will last for a long time.


Retreat Bookings

Reservations for the second annual Spring Opening Retreat are still being accepted.
Closing date, September 4th 2015. Read more and book, at 


DANA, or generosity is a characteristic valued and cultivated in Buddhism.

In the time of the Buddha, he and his monks and nuns offered deep teaching of the Dharma to the village, and that community in turn offered to them food, robes, and shelter. This tradition of reciprocity has carried forward down the generations, and it is partially as a result of this that we have our teachers, and our practice, here and available for us today. 

Traditionally Buddhist Monastics and other teachers still do depend on the generosity of their lay community for actual livelihood, and the necessities of life. Giving generously is still how we demonstrate our appreciation of their offering of Dharma teaching, and of the  practice example that they set for us. In this way, we  ensure that these jewels will continue on into the future.

It can be helpful to understand that costs specified for retreats are often calculated just to cover running costs. Thus, in addition, often retreatants choose to offer discretionary dana.

Donations to the Sisters of Nhap Luu may be made by Cheque made out to Unified Buddhist Church Australia, and posted to PO Box 10 Beaufort, Vic, 3373; or by EFT to BSB 633000, A/C No 137099818. Regular (monthly) affordable, automatic transfers are also something you could consider setting in place as your way of supporting the continuation of the Practice.

*When considering donating household cleaning items and personal products, please be mindful to offer brands that are both gentle and kind to the environment( stated to be bio-degradable and garden safe) and cruelty free (stated to be vegan or entirely plant based/ not tested on animals). This reflects the real spirit of the Mindfulness Trainings,or Precepts, which the Buddha and Thay have given us as our guide to ethical and compassionate living, and which the Monastics do strive to exemplify in the way they live.


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