Answer: I practice Tian Gong Qi Gong, which is a special form of Qi Gong. I have found a spiritual home in Tian Gong. On the book-suggestion-list of Tian Gong I found Old Path, White Clouds by Thay.
After reading, I was so inspired that I wanted to live and practice in this mindful way and also to get to know the community of Plum Village. When I saw a video of a Dharma Talk on the Internet, I was touched so deeply that I wanted to come to Plum Village and practice with the community.
Now, shortly after my first visit at Plum Village, I’m glad to say that I have found even one more spiritual home for me.
Question: How did your spiritual journey start?
Answer: I guess every spiritual journey starts long before we even recognize it. I believe that even those people, who are living in a very bad way like in criminality or other destructive forms of living, are in the depths of their souls and on their spiritual journey.
I also believe that it isn’t my ego-me who is leading or deciding on this spiritual journey. There must be something inside of me, and it is also around me always that pushes me through many lives and forms and transformations. It is maybe what we call “Buddha Nature” and “divine spark”.
The universe loves us so much. As soon as we wish to awaken to our inner truth there is all love and guidance we need. And with some patience we can find out that all we need is right here with us, in this very moment. Joy, Peace, and a fountain of love!
Question: What do you like most about Plum Village or its practice? How can it be improved?
Answer: I really enjoyed the peaceful ambiance at Plum Village. I could feel the strong connection to the Nature especially because I was sleeping in a tent, so every night I could rest my head on the mother earth. I felt so much at home!
There is true peace in Plum Village and the Nature around. It is alive and this special atmosphere brought me to mindfulness in a natural way. I could really come back to myself because there were absolutely no expectations of me, so I let them go. I loved how we connected to each other.
All this singing and smiling and hugging opened my heart deeply, so I let myself shine. I loved to see all the others being happy, enjoying the present moment, and opening their hearts. It was very touching! I found deep peace in the practice of Noble Silence and breathing.
I deeply enjoyed the Dharma Talks, where the monastics shared the fruits of their practice in this ambiance of deep listening. That was very beautiful! Thank you so much, dear Sister Trang Mai Thon and all monastics of Plum Village for opening your hearts and the doors of Plum Village to us! It gave me (and I think all of us) the chance to bring mindfulness and love into my life and to lives of many other beings. Thank you!
I have no improvements for Plum Village because I have only spent one week there.
Question: How has the practice made difference in your life? (e.g.: before and after you encountered the practice, any changes in your way of doing/thinking, your transformation, and how did it happen? Are there any particular things you apply that bring about those changes?)
Answer: I have received so many presents from the practice that it isn’t easy to know where to start. But to name only a few important effects: since I began practicing, my life has changed so much for the best. For example, I feel love and luck very often in my life.
I feel at ease thanks to the practice and I am calmer. I am less stressed; even if it comes to difficult situations I remain clearer and as positive as possible. I can listen more to my friends and family now and also to myself. I don’t need so many things any more.
I am the happiest when my life is simple and I am open for the joy and love of present moment. I look deeper inside of me and I am happy to find my home there. I love the singing, the breathing, the silence and try to come back to these “islands of peace” as often as I need it.