The Voices of Young Monastics

“Before ordaining, I lacked confidence when I smiled. When I met someone and smiled, there was something in me that made me feel insecure. After becoming a nun, I’ve had the chance to live more naturally. Now, my smile comes from the peace and joy in my heart, and it is very natural.

I also train to see things more positively. In the sangha, we come from many different regions, countries, and cultures. Naturally, friction occurs sometimes. I practice to look into myself first so that I am not caught up in those frictions. Or, I find ways to make the issue smaller, and I notice how much lighter I feel.”Sr. An Niem

“When I was a lay person, I spoke very little, even though my work was in management. I communicated very briefly, and sometimes felt nervous to share. When I became a monk, I began to practice loving speech. I started feeling more inner space and time to say what I wanted to say. In this way, my words now contain more love and understanding.”Br. Ruong Hieu

What is a positive habit
that you have developed
since entering the sangha?

“When there is an emotion coming up, I like to recognise it, and take time to sit with it, acknowledge it and embrace it for a few minutes. I don’t want to move onto something else too quickly anymore. Otherwise, I know that this emotion will ‘follow’ me for hours. I prefer to take care of it right away and re-establish inner peace as soon as I can.”Br. Thien Y

“After ordaining, I felt I didn’t need to rush anymore. In the past, I was always rushing: to work, to do this and that, running after time. Now, first thing in the morning, I just drink a cup of tea with my brothers. No need to rush anymore - just drinking our tea, being relaxed, being together. Sitting like that, in silence, I find it a very healing time for myself.”Br. Ruong Duc

“Before becoming a nun, I had the tendency to walk very fast, to save time. I worked as a nurse, and had to prepare the necessary tools before the doctors arrived, taking care of patients and their families. When I first entered the temple, everyone said I flew as I walked! So my first lesson was learning to walk.

At the start it was really difficult for me. I was used to walking fast and didn’t know how to be aware of the body or hear the sound of my footsteps rushing. I had the idea that the elder sisters were watching me and would give me reminders. So if an elder sister walked in front, I walked behind; if she took one path, I took another. I was hiding! I felt like a train being halted.

After a while, I began to see myself as a baby learning to walk, to balance herself. Practicing like that, I knew better how to stop. When there is a lot of work or something urgent to do, I notice old habits coming back, so I try to slow down and have more understanding.”Sr. Tuong Niem