May this email finds you peaceful and happy. The closing ceremony of the Winter Retreat was taken place last Sunday. Looking back at the last three months, we are filled with deep gratitude to the land ancestors, the presence of the lay friends, the teachings of the Buddha and the guidance of Thay (Our Teacher). It was the first winter retreat at Magnolia Grove Monastery with the presence of 30 monastics. We have created a beautiful past and due to this beautiful past, we are currently having a beautiful present moment, which will lead to a beautiful future.
During the Winter Retreat, the monks and nuns were encouraged to stay in the premises of the monastery and only leave the boundary of the monastery when it is most needed. Now that the Winter Retreat has ended and the arrival of Spring, number of monks and nuns will be going to different places to share with friends the practices. In March, Thay and the monks and nuns of Plum Village, Blue Cliff, Deer Park and Magnolia Grove Monasteries are travelling to Southeast Asia (Thailand, Japan & Taiwan) to share the teachings of the Buddha to those who are seeking to find a spiritual and mindful life. For more information, please visit www.plumvillage.org .
Peaceful and beautiful flowers such as magnolia, tulip and daffodil are manifesting themselves joyfully on the ground of the monastery. The presence of these flowers helps us to get in touch with the wonders of life and the teachings “happiness is here and now” more deeply. We enjoy walking mindfully, stop for a moment and smile to these flowers that are smiling to us. At the same time, we are enjoying moments we help to build a hut for our Teacher. With the upcoming retreat in September, projects such as building a public restroom and expanding the kitchen are currently taking place. It is our deep hope to make everybody feels comfortable and happy during their stay at the monastery.
There is a Day of Mindfulness March 6th, 2011, starting at 9:00am. You are welcome to join us for this day of practice. We would like to share with you the visit of Venerable Phuoc Tinh to the monastery. Venerable Phuoc Tinh, a residential monastic of Deer Park Monastery, is coming to Magnolia Grove Monastery from March 8th-March 15th, 2011 to give teachings on a Sutra to the Four Fold Sangha (monks, nuns, laymen and laywomen). This is a very precious and rare opportunity; we hope you could organize your schedule and join us for this special time.
Thank you for taking your time to read this letter. May you have peace and happiness in each of your breath and step.