As joyful as Tết, as reviving as each new day

I recently visited a Buddhist monastery near my parents’ house in Hanoi. I went with an uncle, a friend of my parents, since we wanted to offer the monastery a sack of sticky rice. My Mom does that every year on Tết, we usually ask my uncle to help bring the offering since my Mom is not able to walk to this monastery where she used to come often.

When visiting the monastery, we always first go inside the temple to bow to the Buddha, then walk around to enjoy the stillness of the monastery, when there aren’t many people around.

The temple had visitors today but it was not too crowded. After we bowed to the Buddha, my uncle took me to meet a monk whom my uncle saw often. (I didn’t remember the monk’s Dharma name). My uncle and the monk exchanged a few words. We then walked through a small garden where we could see roses, daisies, and a couple of orchid baskets. The monk and my uncle talked about orchids, how and what to take care of them, as they explained different types of orchids in the garden that I enjoyed.

We stopped in front of a gigantea orchid (phong lan đai châu). They seemed to like this type of orchid very much, I liked it too.

This orchid is truly elegant. I’m actually fascinated by its English name. I guess they name them such gigantea because its stems could grow really big – gigantic – and its flowers smell like tea fragrance. (Picture: example of a gigantea orchid planted by my uncle and he gave it to my parents)

Talking about this particular orchid, the monk said: “Quite a pity that this orchid is not blooming right at Tết this year, it’s not easy to train them to bloom at the time we wish”. *

Without any intention, I uttered, “I’m happy whenever a flower blooms, anytime, whenever at Tết or on any other day”. I meant, Ngày Tết cũng như ngày thường, we don’t need to wait for only Tết to enjoy the flowers.

“That sounded like The Bodhidharma (Tổ Bồ Đề Đạt Ma)”. The monk smiled and said. Mind you, this monastery is under Vietnamese Truc Lam Zen tradition, and this actually is the only Truc Lam monastery in Hanoi.

On Bodhidharma, he was a Buddhist monk living around the 6th century, credited as the first master who brought Zen to China. His teaching about living Zen is “no mind”, seeking nothing, living in the here and now, living Zen is as simple as our manner should be with the same esteem as when having guests or being alone.

As simple as that,…

Wish you a Happy New Tiger Year. Everyday is as joyful as Tết, as reviving as each new day.


* (In Vietnam, many people plant flowers inside their house for decoration. Regardless of flower, everybody always wishes to see their flowers blooming during Tết as a good sign of the coming Spring. Not to mention that many people earn their living by planting and selling flowers, their annual income is much reliant on Tết and festival season. It is truly an art and it must take a lot of patience and skills to raise and tame flowers for them from bursting bud to blooming at certain expected time.)

Một bình luận về “As joyful as Tết, as reviving as each new day”

  1. Happy New Year, Chị Hằng 🌸

    Thanks for sharing your interesting story about gigantea orchids. This kind of flower is really beautiful. I think that, if we plant flowers for fun, then there is no need to force flowers to bloom at a particular time. Just let them flower when they want.

    Likewise, we don’t need to force ourselves to achieve something at a certain time, we just need to live in the here and now, and enjoy our progress every single day. Just go with the flow.

    “Everyday is as joyful as Tet”. I love this, Chị.
    May love and peace always be with you in every moment, every day of this New Year.

    Best wishes,
    Em. An An

    Đã thích bởi 2 người

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