A LETTER OF GRATITUDE: The letter below was written by Ron Landsel, our dear friend and solid supporter of LWF. The letter is one of gratitude to those who donated funds on behalf of Ron and Margaret, to benefit children and families in Viet Nam. We share these expressions of sincere gratitude to ALL donors who so generously provided support for the work of our 2018 partners.
Hi Dear Family and Friends on the Path,
We are home just a bit over 2 weeks and still clearing our heads... as best we can.
I want you to be sure that we thought of you and your practice of heart sharing support.
Our deep thanks include our wish that one day you will make this journey with us, or with our friend and coordinator, Dharma Teacher Trish Thompson. You can find out all about the wonderfully life changing experience of these annually scheduled journeys here.
Our Mindful Mobile Sangha visited many programs all along our journey, all with wonderfully inter-connected heart exchanges, while offering the practice of Pramamita Dana.
Our mobile retreat was marvelous. We found opportunities to deepen and nourish our practice of "letting go" as we travelled major cities and historical sites of our Plum Village Tradition. With our Sangha theme of "Taking it Easy, Taking it Slow...Let it All Go", it seemed fitting that we gave ourselves the name, "Clear Sky Sangha". Our path brought wonderfully warm-hearted visits to circles of joyful caring and heart - filled hope for a better Vietnam.
We were so grateful for these opportunities, and want to share with you, at least a touch of the healing and deep understanding evident in the interactions we were graced with.
I fell in love once again, this time with the developmentally challenged children at the Tâm Bính School in Hue. Thanh, above center, and below, is a beautiful child-victim of Agent Orange, who was so filled with joyful energy that somehow our hearts were drawn together as we danced and sat together. Signing ASL about our shared happiness in meeting,Thanh would point to each of our smiles, and sign "same".
I met Vietnamese war veterans in Hue, who - i guessed because of my gray hair and paunch -assumed I was also a vet. They insisted we have a photo together while holding hands. I, however, declined a puff on one eager veteran's offer of his traditional tobacco pipe.
We visited Project RENEW in Quāng Tri, where I instantly bonded with victim/missioners of UXO (unexploded ordinance) accidents. Their "Mine Risk" mission educates children and rural communities about the hazards of encountering, or disturbing these dormant, potentially lethal weapons. The teams are truly missionaries. Highly trained folks, who spend their lives locating and removing bombs, (EOD teams), while others - themselves UXO victims, like our friends below, visit schools and rural villages in areas of past heavy bombing to offer Mine Risk child education and Mirror Therapy treatments to UXO victims (which helps to mitigate the experience of phantom pain from lost limbs). They also educate and advocate for the rights and benefits of UXO victims, and the reopening of an prosthetic/orthopedic clinic. There is a great need to continue and grow this critical mission for a safer Vietnam.
Our Clear Sky sangha shared a rare and wonderfully nourishing Day of Mindfulness at the Plum Village Nunnery and Tu Hieu,Thây's root temple near Hue.
The monastic community there is vibrant with around 50 nuns and 20 or more young aspirants. They too need our practice of Dana, as they continue to offer Days of Mindfulness to many lay people, and provide formal training to aspirants, with the same loving care as all of our mindfulness practice centers.
With a deep and grateful bow,
Ron and Margaret