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Snapshots—Six-word stories of our pilgrimage in Vietnam

Dharma teacher Karen Hilsberg and her son Ben were honored to join the Sangha in January 2023 to honor the anniversary of Thầy’s transition and to visit places that are special and historically significant to Thầy and the Sangha.

photo by Leslie Davis

Amazing dream with Sangha honoring Thầy.

Together with my son, Sangha arms.

Bowing in gratitude to Venerable monks.

Warm hospitality, delicious meals, rich culture.

I embrace past suffering, allow healing.

C’mon, quiet already, my judging mind.

Tales of Thầy’s early practice, teaching.

In Thầy’s footsteps, here and now.

Gratefully touching earth before Buddhas, Bodhisattvas.

Everywhere flowers, peach blossoms for Tết.

One small suitcase for two weeks.

Hidden bottle of Maggi, delicious rice.

Slipping, falling, wet moss on stone.

Thầy’s journey, overnight train to Huế.

Train arrives at 6 a.m., rain.

Celebrating Thầy’s anniversary at root temple.

Crowded formal lunch in meditation hall.

Surprise reunion with Deer Park friends.

Hut where Thầy took last breath. 

My master’s room, a place of peace.

My teacher’s smile in pink camellia.

Anna, concierge in Huế, motorbike ride.

Learning my own lessons—love, surrender.

Chanting Namo’valokiteshvaraya at Thầy’s headstone, umbrellas.

Six course gourmet meal, yum yum!

Thầy’s true presence at Phương Bối.

Stoic poet’s widow points to grave. 

Remnants of meditation hall on hilltop.

Thầy’s eucalyptus towers over cistern, well.

Foundation of hut beneath tall grass.

Picnic lunch beneath Thầy’s pine trees.

Deep international bonds transcend language barriers.

Witnessing SưCô’s visits with old friends.

Sharing snacks and treats on bus.

Ubiquitous toilet paper roll in pocket. 

Sleeping in planes, buses, trains, hotels.

Seven hot pots in six days. 

We return to Thầy’s beloved waterfalls.

Rock climbing with son, fun times.

Struggles with not knowing—what’s next?

One hundred-year-old tea plants.

Fifteen years later, here I am.

Paddling canoe takes me back: 1978.

Most delicious warm croissant and baguette.

Tending sick son, frigid hotel room. 

Gratitude, once in a lifetime pilgrimage.

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What is Mindfulness

Thich Nhat Hanh January 15, 2020

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