Sangha of the Month for April 2016: Wake Up Hong Kong
What does Wake Up mean to you?
Gabriel: Wow! I’d say “Wake Up!” “Be fully awakened in the here and now!”
Arnold: “Wake up” means to aware the beautiful things in every moment.
Minnie: Adopt an awakened way of life, day by day, moment by moment.
How would you describe Wake Up HK?
Gabriel: “beautiful, good-looking :P, happy, lovely, and funny.” I answer light-heartedly. Certainly, we are close friends who aspire to continue a mindful way of living. We nourish the wholesome qualities within us and in one another.
Arnold: My closest Sangha to whom I can take refuge. We are all quite different in terms of age, career, characters. But we enjoy being with each other, and are always supportive to each other.
Minnie: energetic, unique and cheerful.
What do you feel is your greatest benefit from Wake Up?
Gabriel: The greatest benefit is to keep nourishing the beautiful qualities in myself and friends who are of similar age and share similar aspirations to continue mindfulness practice at home, in the society, and in nature. With the practice, I am relaxed, peaceful and happy with myself and others.
Arnold: It’s like a walking mindfulness bell to me. It reminds me about the beauty of mindfulness. Meanwhile, the collective energy helps encourage me to keep up with my practice and go as a river with Wake Uppers. The community is the best antidote to procrastination.
Minnie: We are all like-minded people who have a deep faith in practice. Knowing that we are walking on the same path deepens my determination and persistence towards the right direction in my life.
Do you organise activities together outside the Wake Up Sangha sessions? If yes, what kind of volunteer work do you do and how is it nourishing you and your Sangha?
Arnold: We recently helped an institute at the Chinese University of Hong Kong to host a mindfulness programme for students from several different Catholic schools in Hong Kong. The programme aims to plant the seed of mindfulness in those students who will then share the technique they learned from the programme to other students in their school.
Plum Village’s songs and Thay’s teaching were used/quoted and I am very grateful that all the elements actually are not “very Buddhist” and they are easily adopted and grasped by non-Buddhists. The overall experience further strengthened my confidence to the teachings.
What has been your happiest Wake Up moment?
Gabriel: Very hard to say. Each time when we meet is a happy moment.
Arnold: Every moment with the Sangha 🙂
Minnie: It’s definitely more than words can describe.
What does being part of Wake Up in HK involve?
Arnold: We are in charge of a bi-weekly in-town Monday night practice and also help out in most of the Sunday Days of Mindfulness at AIAB Plum Village Hong Kong at Lotus Pond Temple.
Gabriel: We also update our own Facebook page to let the public know about our activities.
How does Wake Up HK build friendship and community?
Arnold: by our true presence, deep listening and loving speech
Gabriel: by the practice of watering flowers (in an informal way). While staying at the AIAB, we enjoy hiking on the Lantau hiking trails.
In town, we sometimes have ad hoc veggie meals together. We naturally catch up with one another.
We wish to allow more opportunities for new youth retreatants to continue mindfulness practice with the Fourfold Sangha. That’s why we organise 2-day-1-night retreats at AIAB in 2016. The themes are all relevant to young people, such as “be your own valentine” on February 13-14!
In town, we are having a workshop series on “taking good care of our body and mind” in 5 monthly sessions.
We offer what we can with peace and joy!
Is it possible to be part of Wake Up without going to the monastery?
Arnold: Yes…as the monastery actually is a bit far away from downtown. But we do encourage Wake Uppers to practise at the monastery.
Minnie: Haha..very difficult to answer; but practicing with monastic Brothers and Sisters is more supportive and nourishing. Lotus Pond Temple, where the monastics in HK are stationed, has been my spiritual home.
Gabriel: The monastic Sangha is our root. Practising at AIAB with Plum Village Brothers and Sisters remind us of the clear directions of nourishing peace in oneself and in society.
Is everyone in Wake Up HK Buddhist?
Gabriel: Yes. The facilitators have received the 3 Refuges and the 5 Mindfulness Trainings.
We are happy that once in a while a few Catholic youths join our Sunday Day of Mindfulness.
What have been the challenges for you in your involvement with Wake Up?
Arnold: Time…as Hong Kong people are all busy!
Gabriel: Yeah. We need to take good care of our studies, career, family, partner, work, health, physique, etc. 😛
Have you had any difficult moments? What were they?
Minnie: Not having a favourable condition of body, I might not be able to fully take part in the whole session of some activity/practice sessions. When the body is overloaded, it is sometimes quite disheartening.
Arnold: Everyone has difficult moments and that’s why we need to practise mindfulness. The problem gets exacerbated if we can’t see through the impermanent nature of all phenomena.
Have you needed more support? What kind of support?
Arnold: I guess…. I have enough 🙂
Hayman: Our monastic Sangha gives us a lot of support, for which we are truly grateful.
How are you building relationships with the Order of Interbeing community?
Minnie: Be kind and genuine, treasure the presence of each other.
Arnold: Be open-minded and respect others
Gabriel: Agree. If there is a need, we support one another’s practice sessions. Besides, we occasionally have informal gatherings, such as hiking and home visit during public holidays. Apart from connecting with one another, Plum Village practice elements naturally unfold in those activities.