2014 Campers’ Feedback

Tai Du – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: My a-ha moments:
  1. Eating without talking is something that I’m going to take with me especially when I’m eating at my desk.  Grounds you, minimizes the ego, and focuses you on the present.
  2. Monks and nuns are just people with more discipline and more compassion.
  3. Seeing all the young kids gave me hope.  Hope that these places of peace will continue long after I’m gone.
  4. Morning meditation was my favorite part of the retreat.  The setting, the people, all of it, made me aware of the power of collective practice.
  5. The bell.  I had no idea that sound could immediately center me.
  6. Play can be meditative.
  7. Vegetarian food can be scrumptious.
  8. Drugs and Alcohol aren’t a prerequisite for a good time.

Yen Nguyen – Cedar Park, Texas: …Coming to this trại made me realize how much I miss the connection I have with friends from childhood.   Also, I miss having the same connection with others who practice Buddha’s philosophy and teachings.  I enjoyed all guest speakers tremendously, who gave personal stories of how they became a Buddhist.  They both made me think and reinforced me to bring our Buddhist practice to our choices in life… I believe in the Retreat of Awakening.  Just seeing it blossom the way it is now is a success in its own….
Nickie Vi Tran – Houston, Texas: What did I benefit from camp? I benefited by learning small tasks I can do each day and large goals I can work up to.  I liked hearing about small easy breathing techniques or meditation that individuals can use on a daily basis. I also liked that we actually practiced it because it proved to me that it was difficult and required practice – but, at the same time, it was doable. Next, I learned about a huge network of young Vietnamese Americans, like myself, who have been practicing or are learning the practice like I am. Just realizing there is such a big network gave me a huge boost. Again, the experience was great. I went by myself and I met tons of friends. I thought it was really cool that some people have known each other for several years, but at the same time, I was welcomed by several groups and made new friends easily.  
 Elizabeth Le Denham Springs, Louisiana: Thanks to all the staff for working hard for this retreat. The retreat is better than imagined with exciting games, lectures, group discussions, etc….
Vu Huynh Neenah, Wisconsin: I had a great time interacting with the monks, nuns, and other brothers and sisters.  I enjoyed every activity at the retreat, and my favorite moment was to see the monks and nuns performing on stage. I have been more mindful and happy ever since I got back from the retreat… Overall, I really enjoyed the retreat, and I definitely look forward to the next one.  
Brian Nguyen – Houston, Texas: I want to say thank you for having such an organized, fun retreat! This was my first retreat and I came there thinking this retreat was going to be strictly learning about Buddhism. However, it was more than just learning about what is Buddhism. I’ve met new friends, learned how to meditate properly (breathing in and out, not worrying about the future or past), and learned how to get along with everybody. I enjoyed this retreat because everybody was welcoming and very open-minded. I plan on practicing all the things I’ve learned and will also continue to practice being mindful. I will always remember this retreat as it was a stress reliever and an eye-opening experience!  
Bich Phuonng Mai – Garland, Texas: Cám ơn quý Thầy, quý Sư Cô và Ban Quản Trại rất nhiều đã cho con những ngày cắm trại thật vui vẻ, hạnh phúc và đầy ý nghĩa. Con được sống rất hạnh phúc trong tình thương yêu của quý Thầy, quý Sư Cô và các anh chị em trong Trại Tỉnh Thức: được nghe Pháp Đàm, được quý Thầy hướng dẫn thực tập Thiền Quán và Thiền Hành; được chơi các trò chơi thể thao rất vui trong bầu không khí trong lành của thiên nhiên; được thưởng thức một buổi văn nghệ rất đặc sắc của các trại sinh. Đặc biệt là được quý Thầy và quý Sư Cô dạy cho cách sống và làm việc trong Chánh Niệm. Một lần nữa con xin thành tâm tri ân quý Thầy, quý Sư Cô và Ban Quản Trại đã làm việc rất vất vã trong suốt cả năm để chúng con có được một trại Hè Tỉnh Thức 2014 mỹ mãn như vầy. Chúc quý Thầy, quý Sư Cô và các anh chị em luôn an vui và hạnh phúc.
 Ai Thi Vo – Duluth, Georgia: I had such a great time at the camp. I was amazed when I got there and saw how hard and efficient the whole staff worked to provide us the wonderful time at the camp. I will return next year!  
Thắng Hồ – Baton Rouge, Louisiana: Cảm ơn rất nhiều đến tất cả anh chị em trong ban tổ chức đã dành nhiều thời giờ, công sức tâm huyết để cùng làm nên “Trại Tỉnh Thức – 2014″ mang mọi người đến với nhau cùng sinh hoạt tu tập, vui chơi với đầy ắp tiếng cười bình yên và đọng lại nhiều kỷ niệm đáng yêu! Nhìn chung, Trai hè Tỉnh Thức – 2014 thành công tốt đẹp.  Hầu như mọi người tham dự đều hài lòng; học hỏi thêm nhiều điều mới bổ ích.  Chương trình sinh hoạt, thời gian sắp xếp cho từng mục tương đối phong phú, sinh động hợp lý.  Mỗi một trại viên lại có cơ hội học hỏi, chia sẻ kinh nghiệm cho nhau – thật là quý hoá.  Đặc biệt niềm tin về Phật Pháp áp dụng vào đời sống hàng ngày của chúng ta càng vững mạnh; giúp cho mình, cho người thêm an vui tự tại…  
Đào Trương – Dallas, Texas: Overall, great job on the retreat.  You all did so well organizing, and I believe it was such a huge success!  It was nothing like I expected! I enjoyed the group activities most, from playing games to group meditation.  As Thầy Đạo Quảng stated, “collectively we are more effective”.  We can learn more from each other and share our experiences…  
Lan-Anh Ngô – San Antonio, Texas: It was an awesome camp.  This is my first retreat, not sure what to expect… love it! Also I loved the tai-chi class on Monday. Thank you all for making it a successful event.
Connie Trần – Houston, Texas: The camp was so wonderful and perfect… The camp truly changed my life from meeting new people to being more open. I actually took a lot of things I learned at the camp to my everyday life. Ever since camp I have joined groups that are all about team working… Camp made me go back to Chùa Vietnam every Sunday for :-)! Camp taught me to try new things and learn how to bond with others. I wish camp was a few days longer :-).  
Karen Nguyễn – Houston, Texas: …This was probably my favorite camp. It gave the campers time to relax and enjoy themselves while also teaching them meditation, mindfulness, etc… The family game night was absolute perfection and the tea/painting rekindled my interest in art…I cannot wait for next year’s!  
Đức Trần – College Station, Texas: Em cảm thấy Trại TT như 1 gia đình. Thật ra em muốn nói những cảm xúc của em ra trước mọi người và em cũng thật sự rất cảm ơn (không biết dùng từ nào để diễn tả nữa) anh chị và mạnh thường quân đã giúp em. Vì có anh chị giúp em biết nhiều về trại và có những nhà hảo tâm đã bảo trợ cho em. Chứ em cũng không có nhiều tiền để tham nữa. Em thật sự cảm ơn ban tổ chức.  Em hy vọng và ao ước trại mình năm tới thêm 1 lần ở Texas để em có thể giới thiệu với gia đình và bạn bè của em biết và tham dự trại.
Javier Gonzales – Houston, Texas: I found everything awesome about this retreat!  🙂  
Calvin Tạ – Houston, Texas: So many memories in just one weekend. Everyone was so kind and all of the activities were interactive. The whole experience was amazing. Waiting for next year’s to come!  The rope challenge course was pretty scary and exhilarating!  
Kim Lê – Denham, Louisiana: Thank you to my mom for making me give up my Labor Day weekend to go to this retreat. I felt pretty obligated at first, but it turned out to be one of the best experiences I have had yet. This retreat has inspired me in so many ways: Musically, emotionally, physically (omg, so sore), and spiritually. I love all the insiders, smiles, jokes, stories, perspectives, and greetings I have exchanged with others. The bond is freaking real here, and the mood is so chill. Friendships & positive energies have been strengthened and new friendships & understandings have been found. My definition of paradise is these simple moments.  
Đa Lê – Baton Rouge, Louisiana: Awesome weekend guys! Glad I had a chance to interact with amazing people like you guys. Moment to remember. Thanks for the smiles and endless laughter.  
Gary McMillen – New Orleans, Louisiana: I had intended to go to TTT as a participant then was asked to lead a morning exercise session.  Not unusual for me to wander into the wrong place at the wrong time. Here are a few (participant) comments:
  • I estimate I have been to 25-30 camps or retreats in my life.  Without hesitation, I can say that TTT was the absolute best experience ever.
  • One of the things that made TTT unique and very special was the balance between meditation, games, Buddhist teaching, speakers, open mike sharing, activities and personal time.  That continuous (never a dull moment) balance created energy and momentum beyond any and all expectations.
  • After the second day it hit me that the strategy of codes, colors, alphabet symbols, etc. on the ID card resulted in being part of different teams and meeting new people every day.  That organizing tactic was pure genius!!
  • The logo and design of the T-shirt deserves some kind of award.  Best ever.  I still wear my t-shirt everywhere I go.