held at Thien An Monastery Sydney 2019, Buddhist Era :2563
Sangha Winter Retreat this year marks a significant aspect of my life, as I recently was ordained as a Samanera (Sa Di) at VienGiac Pagoda located in Hannover, Germany. The Ordination Ceremony was named after To Quan Thong.
After coming back from the Ordination my mind kept of the future; I know that there will be more challenges to overcome and even higher expectations of me. When those thoughts entered my mind, it made me think of the upcoming Sangha retreat, in which it was the best time to learn from the Most Senior Venerable, Venerable and so on.
As the days of the Winter Retreat comes closer, everyone settles down at Thien An Monastery to part take in this Retreat. Bringing the Congregation of Monks and Nuns together to learn and recapture the important messages of the Buddha also teaching the dharma to Lay men and women.
During my first experience as a Sa Di, it has been a pleasure to service the Most Senior Venerable during this time. Helping the Most Senior Venerable helps bring me back to a state of inner peace as I notice their very calm and gentle actions, from their way of walking and to their way of eating and talking. I look up and admire their ways, thinking to myself is this what I want to be in the future?
As the Morning comes by the sounds of the bell spreads across the Chanting Hall, my mind and body sense the presence of the Buddha and Bodhisattva. As the voices of the Venerable chant the Sutra, the atmosphere was filled with a sense of peacefulness.
The rhythm of the Chuong and Mo, keeps our mind to be in one state and reminds us to be mindful of our surrounding and blocks out disturbances from our minds; it makes us focus on the words, phrases and sentences that we chant in order to understand and feel the connection of what the buddha has taught us.
During this Sangha Retreat it has made me reflect on the things that I’ve learnt and new things that have come aboard to my mind, it makes me really think that its truly not just learning, from scriptures of what the Buddha has taught, also to the small things from the Kitchen, Dinning hall etc. I sometimes ask myself, am I capable of continuing this path? Is this the life I really want to live for a lifetime? But with the guidance of the Most Senior Venerable, the answers to those question are still strong.
I would like to say, Thank you all Most Senior Venerable, Venerable Monks and Nuns teaching and guiding me, to the people that have help prepare the meals, also the people that have stayed up tirelessly to look after the environment that we have been staying in. with all my gratitude and respect.
Thien An Winter Retreat 10 – 20/7/19
Sa Di Huu Tin