Dear Friend on the Path,

We thank you for being part of Joyful Garden Sangha, for offering your presence, for cultivating yourself and inspiring others in your daily life. As year 2012 is drawing to an end, we’d like to invite you to join us in our beginning anew practice.

1) What is Beginning Anew? – Renew our practice and the sangha.

Beginning anew is a practice in Plum Village. It is an opportunity for us to renew our beginner’s mind (i.e. the aspiration to practice and cultivate ourselves) and our relationship with others, such as the sangha – the community of practice.

2) Why begin anew now? – Review 2012 and refresh for 2013.

We can take time to reflect on our practice and the sangha and see how we want to move forward for next year.

3) How to begin anew?

– Start with ourselves

First of all we can reflect on our personal relationship with the practice. We can ask ourselves the following questions: What is the role of the practice in my life? Is it a hobby that I like to do in my free time or is it an essential part of my life, something that I do in both the sunny and rainy days? Have I made the practice a priority in my life? Have I become more skilful in my practice and in my relationship with others? Do I want to share my practice experiences with other people and inspire them in their practice?* Please don’t try hard to get the answers. Let the questions sink into your consciousness and slowly the answers might arise in your sitting, walking, or quiet time.

– Then the sangha

After we have been clear of about our intention and commitment to the practice, we can start to refresh our relationship with the sangha. How have I related to the sangha? Do I benefit from being in a sangha? Have I made time to practice with the sangha? How are my experiences with the sangha members? Are the pleasant, unpleasant or both? Are we able to maintain good relationship with other sangha members? Do we still have difficulty with some people? Have we tried to resolve it? Do we feel being misunderstood and need to clarify anything with the sangha? Do we want to spend more time and energy in sangha building (e.g. join the organizing team and regular practitioners)? Regarding the sangha’s organization and communication, what have been working and what can be improved?* Etc.

4) How do we share?

Please take time to reflect on these questions as we welcome the New Year. You’re also encouraged to share with us through email (plumvillagesingapore) or in person during the DOM/ group practice, whatever ways that you’re comfortable with. We hope to receive your sharing/feedback before 2 December 2012 so that we will be able to consolidate and refresh our practice sessions next year.

Thank you for taking time to read this. Wish you peace and happiness on your spiritual journey. We look forward to hearing from you.

A deep bow in gratitude,

Joyful Garden Sangha


* Questions are based on Thay’s questions to monastic disciples, “Review the Old, Learning the New” (“Ôn cố tri tân” in Vietnamese).