600 fresh young BBQs practice Buddhism at monastery’s summer camp


Six hundred youngsters practice Buddhism at monastery’s summer camp
Last update 06:39, Thursday, 17/06/2010 (GMT+7)
VietNamNet Bridge - As the summer holiday begins, families in Hanoi,
Ha Giang, Thai Nguyen, Nam Dinh and other northern provinces are
delivering their kids to the Truc Lam Tay Thien Monastery in Vinh Phuc
province to practice the life of monks and nuns.

Private fine arts museum village gem
Village of Ninh Hiep resonates with culture, colourful history
Serene pagodas make an ideal study spot

Some girls practice reading Buddhist texts during their rest hour.

The monastery began offering its free classes last year, and attracted
about 50 trainees. After the good reputation of this class spread
everywhere, this year the number of trainees has soared to 600.

Senior monk Thich Kien Nguyet said that Truc Lam Tay Thien Monastery
can’t welcome 600 kids at once. At present, all its 90 monks are
doing their best to manage and teach the kids, who come for two week

The monk said “Scientists have proved that kids who practice Zen
meditation are more intelligent and persevering than others. Many
countries have made Zen meditation part of their school curricula.”

Monks teach the youngsters to wake up at 3 am, tidy up their own beds,
enjoy vegetarian food, to look at the world with love, to know right
from wrong, to know the meaning and the value of rice or potatoes, and
to learn how to do simple housework.

The youngsters finish the day by reviewing their activities to realize
wrong and right and mend their manners.

Families have sent their children to the monastery for a number of
reasons. Some think they need a different experience, free of online
games. Some wish their children to learn Buddhism to understand the
meaning and value of life. Some parents think it’s important that
their children learn how to do household chores like cooking and

On his first day at the monastery, Pham Phuong Thao, 14, from Hanoi
grumbled “I didn’t want to come here. It is very boring! My parents
forced me to go. I’m addicted to Audition (an online game). With only
two bottles of water to sustain me, I can play that game all day long.
My friends are now perhaps sitting at an Internet café on To Hieu

Fourteen year-old Nguyen Viet Ha and six year-old Nguyen Viet Huong,
sisters from Hanoi, were very shy. Ha talked with swelling eyes: “My
sister began crying after the afternoon blessing hour yesterday. Nuns
had to soothe her for an hour. She cried again at 11 pm. All our
roommates cried too. I miss my home very much. May I use your phone
to call my mum?”

A homesick boy can’t hold back tears.

The two kids hugged each other while both cried and talked to their

At the same time, two nuns soothed young Bui Cong Huy, 10, from Ha
Giang. Huy cried and said: “I don’t like vegetarian food. I have to
wash my clothes, cook rice, queue up to receive rice. . . . I don’t
like this. I want to go home with my mum.”

Teens seem to adapt themselves to the life in the monastery more
quickly. Phan Thanh Hung, 16, from Hanoi said: “This is the second
time I’ve lived in this monastery. Last year my parents sent me here
to break my addiction to the Internet. This year I’ve voluntarily
joined this class. I’m used to this life now. The monks and nuns here
are very thoughful”.

Quach Ngoc Huy, from Hanoi, was about to say goodbye to his daughters.
“I have three daughters and would like to send them all to this
monastery, but my youngest is only four so she must stay home with my
wife. The air here is very clean and peaceful. Seeing my children do
chores themselves, I’m very glad. They didn’t know how to do these
simple things at home. I wish the pagoda would open many more classes
like this,” Huy said.

Photos of kids practicing at the monastery:

Opening ceremonies.

The first study session.

The children don’t hide their feelings.

Heading down the mountain together to beg for food.

Snack time.

Heading back to dorms after lunch.

A nun gently reminds youngsters to stay in line.

Studying the dharma together.