Young Buds – Mindful Manners

The Voices of Young Monastics

“The mindful manner on ‘receiving a reminder with joined palms, saying thank you.’ I found it so simple, and yet so liberating. Outside, in the workplace, if anyone reminds you, they expect a quick reply, something back. But in the monastery, the person who is receiving a reminder can have a lot of freedom and insight.

Firstly, I try to receive any reminder with a lot of gratitude, because the other person had the courage and compassion to share something difficult. Afterwards, even if I totally disagreed in the beginning, I wait a few days to check inside, ‘is it true?’ By not reacting emotionally, remaining humble, sometimes I discover how that feedback was right. Then, I reflect that without this mindful manner, I would never have seen that about myself.”Br. Thien Y

“For me, not drinking alcohol. It’s not that I did it often, but sometimes I did. Now, after a long time of not doing that, I can compare then and now. I can see how much freedom there is in not being in that state of mind, where I wouldn’t have had much control over what happened to my body and mind.

Also, our precept on chastity makes me feel free to interact with clarity with others, knowing where I stand in any relationship. This way, I feel free to direct my energy onto the spiritual path.”Br. Niem Thuan

“Working together with the sangha, as an organism, makes me feel free from individual concerns, and I can enjoy working with more ease.”Sr. Lam Hy

What is the mindful manner
that gives you the most freedom,
and why?

“I like to practice not chatting while working. I can feel the energy of stopping and calming in my heart, and I can contemplate more clearly my body and mind.”Sr. An Niem

“Mindful cooking. While I work, I can be aware of my breathing, of what I am doing, of the thoughts and speech I produce… being aware of what I am doing clearly, I feel very free and joyful.”Br. Ruong Duc

“The practice of knocking three times before entering a room, helps me to stop. Before, I used to knock as if I wanted to bring down the door! Then, I started to practice the mindful manner, but only the outer form, like a robot. However, day by day, that practice has become a very beautiful new habit. I enjoyed seeing this practice bloom naturally, without having to feel forced.

Also, there are always people coming and going in the sangha, and this practice of knocking has become my way of acknowledging the person whose room I am entering, to really cherish every relationship.”Sr. Tuong Niem

“I really like all the mindful manners. I like very much how they create harmony among us, and that is a kind of freedom already, because it makes me feel more at ease. I also feel safe, knowing all my brothers and sisters practice the mindful manners and precepts. This is also a kind of freedom, to feel safe and spacious.”Br. Niem Xa

“The mindful manner about sharing a room helped me to become more aware of others’ needs - which are often different from mine. More and more, I am learning to interact, to double check, and to hear what is said and what is not being said - something I find so interesting.”Br. Dinh Tuc

“Bowing. When I had some relationship problems, I still practiced bowing, and recited the gatha, ‘A lotus for you, a Buddha to be.’ It was not easy, but I chose to keep practising it fully. Slowly, I found more freedom, more insight: I saw our ancestors practicing together with us, in us. Finally, we could reconcile and begin anew, and I recognised how freeing this practice of cultivating openness had been to me.”Sr. Hien Tam