Friday, October 14, 2011


Cotton field on one of the roads leading to the monastery.

Welcome to Batesville, MS!

We have indeed arrived :)

Sign for Magnolia Village

This sign sits at the bottom of the dirt road that leads up to the monastery.  That's Thay's calligraphy!

Thay's calligraphy outside of the dining hall.  A gentle reminder to eat mindfully.

The Five Contemplations:

  1. This food is the gift of the whole universe: the earth, the sky, numerous living beings, and much hard, loving work.
  2. May we eat with mindfulness and gratitude so as to be worthy to receive it.
  3. May we recognize and transform our unwholesome mental formations, especially our greed, and learn to eat with moderation.
  4. May we keep our compassion alive by eating in such a way that we reduce the suffering of living beings, preserve our planet, and reverse the process of global warming.
  5. We accept this food so that we may nurture our sister- hood and brotherhood, strengthen our community, and nourish our ideal of serving all living beings.

The lotus pond and bridge.

Zen rocks outside of the nun's residence.

Home sweet home.

Our home for the week.

The "Look Deeply" family.  Our work and dharma family became very close in a short period of time.  They are all dear souls.

Thay makes his way to the morning Walking Meditation.

It was so peaceful to walk with him.

Getting ready to walk with Thay.

Thay and the children.

About 20 children walked in front of the line with Thay and never made a peep.  They seemed to pick up on his peaceful abiding.

Thay and one of the brothers walking mindfully to the morning dharma talk.

Reminders everywhere :)

Thay's notes.

The alter in the meditation tent.  Notice the lack of deities.

The alter says: "I have arrived.  I am home."

The mindfulness bell.

The meditation tent.

Thay jots down notes as he lectures.

View from our tent.  That's the nun's residence in the background.

Another view from our tent.

Our "home" started to get a little wonky by the end of the week :)

Late afternoon sun on the grape arbor.


One of the out buildings...a storage shed, I think.

This is where the nuns live.  Their rooms are downstairs and they have a meditation space on the second floor.

Sun on the path outside the nun's residence.

Late afternoon sun.

Near the nun's residence, on the way to our tent.

Behind the dining hall. The tent to the right is where we washed our dishes.

The back of the dining hall (to the right) and the dish washing tent (to the left). 

One of the monastics.

Setting up the dish washing stations.

Sunny slope behind the dining hall.  A great place to get warm in the afternoon.

Behind the dining hall.  The meditation tent is to the left and the bathhouse straight ahead and to the right.

Meditation tent.

Men's camp ground.

Back of the Buddha Hall.

Side of the Buddha Hall.  This was where all of our announcements or messages were posted.  There were always many smiling monks or nuns peacefully gathered there.

The beautiful sister Chan Khong.

Sister Chan Khong signing her book.

No mud, no lotus.

One of the many lovely aspects of the retreat was, if you had a question about your practice, or had something weighing on you, one of Thay's monastics from Plum Village would happily set up a consultation with you and help you in any way they could.  The beautiful sister Huang Hau helped me in SO many ways.  

Walking with Thay.

Thay on a chilly morning, making his way to the meditation tent.

Watching Thay pass by.

Walking behind Thay.

Enjoying the present moment together.

Soaking up the exquisite sunshine on a cold morning.  Lyn, on the right was one of the first people we encountered at Magnolia.

Sitting in the sun with Thay.

One of the monks stopping to smell the flowers (and gather them too!).

Dear, sweet Thay.  This photo was taken by one of our work family members, John Cotterman. He has such a great eye.

Beloved teacher.

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