Young Buds – About Elders

The Voices of Young Monastics

“I really appreciate seeing an elder one follow the schedule. It makes me feel that I can do the same as I grow up; that I don’t need to sacrifice those moments of happiness, of practice. It makes me feel happy about my future.

Having someone who allows me to grow, to make mistakes, to not be perfect. Anyway, one day, we’ll be able to do it in a way people call ‘perfect’, but there’s no need to rush in that process! For me, learning in a slow, kind and compassionate way is very important, and my mentor has the capacity to be there for me in that spirit.”Sr. Xuan Hanh

“When I can see their practice, I am impressed by their way of daily living. I am really inspired by that kind of presence, cultivating more ‘being’ rather than knowledge.”Br. Niem Xa

“A heart of service brimming with enthusiasm and sincerity. Some elder sisters have inspired me, and given me plenty of inspiration to practice in this way.”Sr. An Niem

“Sometimes I feel ‘small’ when talking to some elder siblings. I find it really cool when there is one who talks to me in a respectful and open way, that it shakes me out of that ‘role’ of the younger one. There is something in their energy of listening that makes me feel heard, that my opinion is important. I had some organising team members and mentors who embody that spirit, and I really try to bring it with me - for example in a cooking team, asking others for their input, and seeing their surprise and sense of self-worth being re-kindled.”Br. Thien Y

What is the quality you appreciate
the most in an elder brother or sister,
and why?

“For me, I appreciate when they have some stability and commitment to the teachings of Thay. Then, I feel I can learn a lot from them, from their teachings and experiences. In particular, how they went through a difficulty: even if in that moment it doesn’t help me, if I have a similar suffering in the future, I will be able to relate to it.”Br. Niem Thuan

“Kindness and openness. For example, as an aspirant once I had to invite the activity bell, but I didn’t know I had to wear the long robe for that. One sister came around, and just said to me, ‘oh, let me do it for you,’ without any judgement. I felt it was such a nice way of showing the path, without saying, ‘you should do this,’ but rather by example and as a kind offering.”Sr. Lam Hy

“For me, it is their acceptance. When I entered the temple, I brought all my difficulties along with me, and there are some I cannot practice with yet. The elder sisters have given me a great deal of space, patiently waiting for me to practice. And they are always ready to be present, to guide me. This makes me feel at home.”Sr. Tuong Niem

“I know everyone comes from different walks of life, that people grow up in different cultures, and have different aspirations. I really appreciate an elder when they can embrace all of these cultures; they may have strong self-discipline, but at the same time they can be very flexible for others. They understand the essence of Plum Village practice, and how to apply it in modern times. I think those aspects have to go together: understanding the younger siblings, and understanding the world.”Sr. Hieu Duc

“When I have the chance to live closely with my elder sisters, I can feel their love, especially from those who had directly received the guidance and love of Thay. They have such great love for the sangha. They always wish to transmit the practices and words of advice from Thay to the younger ones who don’t have the chance to be with Thay. That is truly the beauty of sisterly love in one family. The elder ones give the younger ones all their love, care, and encouragement. Therefore, I also feel that I need to be responsible and to practice well so that I do not let down my elder sisters.”Sr. Tam Duc