Lotus is my new name for the new-born me. One day in the Autumn of 2008, I was reborn. It was the moment of epiphany for me. The moment when I fully understood my suffering and knew how to transform it. The cause of my suffering was love, which was also the source of my happiness. I had been longing to give love and receive love. In that moment I realized I could give and receive love from myself, let go of my notion of love and accept fate. I came home to my own island of self. I have been free from my own afflictions, peaceful and happy ever since.

“I have arrived. I am home.” This is the calligraphy that hangs at the Zen Buddhist monastery in France called Plum Village . I didn’t fully appreciate the meaning of those words until I practiced mindfulness and truly made the journey of home coming. I went to Plum Village for my first Buddhist retreat in the winter 2007. It was a life changing experience. It was there and then that I encountered the most wonderful application of Buddhism and learnt the Art of Mindful Living taught by the Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh (he is affectionately called “Thay” which means Teacher by his students).

Buddhism has been in my blood and veins since I was a little girl. At the age of twelve, I took the five precepts and received the Buddhist name “Lien Nhan” which means Lotus of Peace. I used to perform Buddhist rituals with a group of Buddhists in my home town in the Mekong Delta twice a month on the full moon and the new moon. Most of the reading was in Sanskrit and Chinese. I recited it all by heart but understood very little of what it meant. One of the greatest joys I had in Plum village was to discover the Buddhist teaching that was beautifully and poetically translated into English and Vietnamese by Thay. Thay Thich Nhat Hanh has successfully brought the 2500 year old Buddhism to modern daily life, relevant to our time, simple to understand and easy to practice.

I have also been a healer through Universal Healing Energy and acupressure since I was young. At school and university, my friends would come for help when they didn’t feel well or had pain. I worked mostly by intuition but later on my knowledge was enhanced with further education and my experience deepened with practice . When I first came to the West, I was delighted to find books that explained Eastern philosophy eg. yin and yang, the chakras, the meridians etc. – things that I had known and practiced subconsciously but had not understood how or why. My approach to life generally is intuitive and from the heart; spirituality and healing is natural for me.

Since I encountered the teaching by Thay Thich Nhat Hanh, I have continuously been learning and practicing the “Art of Mindful Living” taught by Thay as well as studying life coaching and other Western theories on mindfulness and psychotherapies.

My life has been a great challenge but thanks to the practice of mindfulness, I have been able to withstand the storms and find peace and joy in the midst of difficulties. The river of life has taken me home on my spiritual path and I want to dedicate myself to help build a healthier and happier society. I aspire to alleviate sufferings and cultivate love, compassion and understanding.

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