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Photo: Paul Davis

Peace Through Service


OUR MISSION: The Loving Work Foundation was founded as a means to inspire personal interest in the cultural vibrancy, the spiritual practices, and every day lives of the people of Viet Nam. We do this by supporting humanitarian programs that improve the lives of disadvantaged Vietnamese children and families, and by organizing and leading mindfulness retreats within the country, providing friends around the world the opportunity to practice together in the spirit of global community-building and engaged service.


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Joyfully Together Loving Work Retreats in Viet Nam

These retreats focus on community-building through mindful work with, and visits to, local nonprofit organizations in Central Viet Nam. One or two work projects are selected each year by the director of the Foundation, in collaboration with our local non-profit partners, following an exploration with the directors of these projects about what is needed and what is achievable.


Funding for these projects comes in part from funds raised by the retreat participants (see Community Partnerships) and implemented by those who join us as part of the Loving Work Retreat team for that year.


Our primary focus in these retreats is witnessing and supporting the work of our local partners, while cultivating deeper relationships with the people of Viet Nam. We especially enjoy the opportunity to share mindful work side-by-side with local staff and volunteers, Examples from past retreats include meeting with village elders before helping to build a community playground; weeding and planting an organic garden, and meeting with the local farmers who are bringing organic farming to Viet Nam. A real joy every year is our “Play Day” with rural school children, organized by school staff and local volunteers, during which the children (and the adults) delight together in games and crafts.


Other components of the retreat include days of mindfulness, early morning sitting meditation and stretching, bicycling in the countryside, afternoon swims, delicious and fresh vegan meals, and regular Dharma Sharing.


Maximum 20 registered friends.


Read more for details on how to register:

Joyfully Together Homeland

Retreats in Viet Nam

Going as a river, we travel as a Sangha, Joyfully Together, Discovering the Homeland of Our Teacher. We explore sites important in the life of the Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, as well as places and projects that reflect the general history and contemporary culture of the country. Highlights include Days of Mindfulness in pagodas, bicycling in the central countryside, a visit to the charming Old Town of Hoi An and the city of Hue, lunch on an afternoon cruise on the World Heritage site of Ha Long Bay, overnight at the base of Yen Tu Mountain, and enjoying an evening with the Hanoi Mindfulness Community.

 Maximum 20 .registered friends

Read more for details on how to register:

All of our retreats are experienced as "Joyfully Together", in honor of the retreat offered when Thich Nhat Hanh returned to Viet Nam to practice with the Sangha in 2005. We continue this tradition.   



We are happy to partner with some of the many non-profit charitable organizations doing wonderful work in Viet Nam. We prefer this collaborative approach, rather than attempting to initiate and organize projects on our own. We are fortunate to have personal contact and experience with a number of fine groups, enough to be able to determine whose goals match our own and which ones are effective.


Our friends have the option, throughout the year, to choose to financially support the work of one or more of these organizations, based on the information provided on this website. Friends can become even more directly involved as retreat participants on either or both of the annual Retreats.


Those who attend our retreats are asked to raise a minimum of 400 USD from among families, friends, and other connections.These funds are distributed directly to our partners during your retreat. We, then, pool these funds to support local projects of our participating partners. The fund raising effort which we ask retreat participants to undertake in advance of their arrival serves to shine light on the wonderful work of local NGOs to bring education and self-sufficiency to families and children in underserved communities in Viet Nam. In this way, we continue to grow our Loving Work community.


Read about our various partners and how you can become a part of our community of people dedicated to improving the lives of disadvantaged children and families in Viet Nam.

What We Do

Our Team

Our Team

Our Ambassadors


A reminder: Anyone can practice Mindfulness.
Breathing and Smiling, Mindfully Sitting and Walking,
Being in the Present Moment – these practices do not
require us to be a "This" or a 'That." Everyone who finds
our program appealing is welcome to join us.

Mindfulness is a Path, one to which we have been dedicated for the past 26 years. Every moment of our lives is an opportunity to practice being present for what is happening inside and around us. We do our best to stay in our bodies, in touch with our breath, with the thoughts in the mind, and with the feelings in the body while aware of the elements and energies in our immediate environment. This is a demanding practice. We simply do our best in whatever circumstances we find ourselves. Our best is good enough!

Our two primary teachers on this Path are the Zen Master Thích Nhất Hạnh (affectionately called "Thay", meaning Honored Teacher) and the most elder nun in our tradition of Budhhism, Sister Chân Không. Others have influenced us; others have been and continue to be exemplary teachers for us; however, Thay and Sister Chân Không have been the Lights shining most brightly on our Path, showing us the way to transform our suffering into happiness and joy. Their teachings are most evident in how they live. We aspire to do our best to continue their example..

Thay, a monk since the age of 16, began in the early 1960's to teach the importance of service to one's community. His was a compassionate response to the suffering of the people in his war-torn country. He coined the phrase, "Engaged Buddhism." Sister Chân Không began her social work as a teenager in the 1950's in the Mekong Delta of Viet Nam. Our Loving Work is an extension of their work.  Most of what we do is in Central Viet Nam, an area in which they both worked extensively during the war.

The retreats we offer contain the basic practices that support our commitment to be free (of doubts and worries), to be truly alive in the present moment. Loving Work is Mindful Work. We give our time and resources, with the clear understanding that the giver and the receiver are One. Our Homeland Retreats are modeled after our teachers'  2005 three-month tour of Viet Nam, during which 200 of us - both monastic and lay friends - "went like a river," mindfully and joyfully together, experiencing the country and the people.

Mindfulness as a Path asks us to practice Love and Compassion for all of Life. We avoid doing harm - to ourselves or to others. Our retreats are therefore, alcohol and tobacco - free, featuring only the freshest, most delectible plant-based food.

Our Roots in Mindfulness

A Culture of Financial Transparency

The Loving Work Foundation is committed to sustainable resource management and community building, working through grass-roots community partnerships to ensure that donations we receive are unitilzed in the most impactful way possible.  

We maintain a culture of financial transparency so that our donors can see how funds are allocated. Please contact us at if you would like to request a financial statement.

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Support the Children

Supporting a child is a wonderful way to water seeds of happiness in ourselves and in others. Through a relatively small annual contribution, we can transform the life of a disadvantaged child, providing access to education and opportunites for a bright, healthy future. Commitments with our partner organizations range from $50 - $720, annually.

Your gift can make all the difference.


Make a Donation

Give online

The Loving Work Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization. Our sole means of financial support comes through donations made by compassionate supporters of our work and any small profit made from our retreats. The majority of our operating budget is comprized of donations made by each retreat participant as part of the registration process. We gratefully receive support from friends around the world and welcome online contributions. Some of the funds we receive go directly to cover costs associated with the service projects in which we participate during the Loving Work Retreat or that we visit on the Homeland Retreat, including reasonable fees for our Retreat Coordinator and our Registrar. We endeavor to keep administrative costs as low as possible, on average only 10% - 15% of donations received are used for adminstrative purposes.Our practice leaders receive no fees. Any funds not spent on work projects or adminstrative costs are allocated to a Descretionary Relief Fund, from which we can offer additional financial assistance in circumstances of need brought to our attention by our partnering community agencies. Our aspiration is to make the greatest possible impact with the generous donations we receive.


Thank you for your support.

We accept donations through PayPal to make giving more convenient. Please click the button below to make your gift. Thank you for your generous and compassionate heart!


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Other ways to give

In lieu of giving online, you can arrange to make a donation via bank deposit, wire transfer, or personal check.

For information on how to complete these transactions,

please email us at

When making your gift, please be sure to email us

and let us know it's on the way.  And, if you'd like to designate your gift for a specific purpose, or to honor

an individual,  please note it in your email.

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