My time in Melbourne has almost come to an end and I thought before I go back for good, I have to visit Plum Village Australia, or Nhap Luu Monastery. As usual, the night before the visit, I was anxious and full of expectations that I ended up sleeping at 3 to 4 a.m. Nevertheless, I mustered up my courage and went on a 2 hour train ride to Beaufort. Arriving in Beaufort station, there was a sister who came to pick me up as the monastery is far from the station. Immediately, I feel welcomed.
Upon reaching the area of Nhap Luu Monastery, the sister and I were greeted by kangaroos. Apparently, it is not a surprising sight to see kangaroos here jumping around the monastery. I should have just went here instead of the zoo, then! Anyways, lunch time came and I met the other sisters who are all very welcoming and friendly. Even though there are language barrier, smiling becomes the universal language, and that is all that is needed for me to feel welcome.
The lasting impression or the activity that moved me was the walking meditation. There were around 15 of us just practicing walking meditation. In that moment, I thought how precious these moments are. Despite being strangers to one another, we practiced together, and in those moments, we were the most important companion for one another. How miraculous that we can practice together amidst the pandemic. This reminded me of Buddha’s teaching of interbeing. How one moment leads to another moment that leads to this very specific moment that we are walking together. It is fascinating.
Another activity that moved me was the Dhamma Sharing session, where all the lay friends and sisters formed a circle and shared their thoughts. This was first Dhamma Sharing session where the group was formed of diverse age groups. So, there was not only young adults, but adults, and also elderly people. As the Dhamma Sharing gained its momentum, many people started sharing about their personal lives. Through deep listening, I was able to share some of their suffering and practice being compassionate. I also could not help but think how inevitable life’s problems are. Even the elderly are seeking for Dhamma to face their difficulties. For some of them, it was their first time receiving this practice and I thought of the line, ‘it really is better late than never’.
It was fascinating to me how we were all strangers, but because of the practice of deep listening and loving-kindness, we are able to share each other’s sufferings and create a bond between one another. The fact that we were strangers to one another did not matter, because in that moment, we are connected by some karmic ties that granted us this opportunity to practice and share together. Life really does work in mysterious, but wondrous ways.
Even in one night of stay, there are so many new things that I experienced. Not only the activities, but the interactions with the sisters is as equally memorable for me. It is the little talk that made me bond with the sisters at Nhap Luu Monastery. The little talk when we encounter each other during our walk, during lunch or dinner, and many other random times. I am glad and grateful that I decided to practice at the monastery and reminded of how important the practice is. Thank you Sisters who have welcomed me and arranged everything for me. This visit might only be a night, but the bond that we created will last for years to come. Hopefully, we will meet again in the future.