Resilience: Transforming worry
and fear with mindfulness

A mind-body health retreat with the Plum Village monastics
at the Asian Institute of Applied Buddhism,

Lotus Pond Temple, Ngong Ping Village, Lantau Island, HK

Date and time: 19/10/2016@4:00pm - 23/10/2016@2:00pm



Registration is available on line at the Plum Village Hong Kong Online Registration Website,

August 28, 2016

Dear friends,

You are invited to attend the annual autumn mind-body health retreat at AIAB–Lotus Pond Temple. The theme of this retreat is the role of mindfulness in resilience, our capacity to bounce back from challenges in life. We will look into how to apply mindfulness to calm ourselves via daily activities and look deeply into ways to bounce back from worry, fear and despairs, which may manifest because of unfavorable (and at times tragic) events in our life


In the Buddha’s time, there was a woman named Patacara1 (cloak-walker) who lost her husband, two children, her parents and a brother because of events related to a thundering storm. She became mad and walked around in circles. Her clothes became ragged and started to fall off. People chased her away when she was nearby. One day she walked near a place where the Buddha was teaching. The people there wanted to chase her away but the Buddha approached her and told her to recover her mind (to bring her mind back to her body). She did and then asked the Buddha to help her, after telling the Buddha her tragic story. The Buddha then said in her many lives, she had suffered more than this, and she was able to recover. The person who helped her overcoming the grief was nobody other than herself. The Buddha then taught her about the Dharma. After that, she asked to be ordained to become a nun. She later got enlightened and became a respected teacher for many nuns.


What did the Buddha taught her? How was she able to bring her mind back while walking around mad? Do we have to become monastics in order to transform our pain and suffering? No, we don’t have to. At the winter retreat 2002-2003 in Plum Village France, a man came to attend a retreat for one week. Ten days before that, his wife and two children were killed in a car accident. After the funeral, he asked himself what was the reason to live while all his loved ones were gone. In the retreat, he participated in the usual activities like sitting, listening to the bell, walking, eating, listening to the talks, working meditation …. just like everybody else.   At the end of his one-week stay, he told the story and said that he had regained his positive outlook. He did not know what he would do yet, but he was willing to go back to his former life and ready to face life as it came. What did he learn and practice in the retreat that created such a powerful transformation?

Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh wrote the following gatha about the power of mindfulness:

 When sunlight shines,
  it helps all vegetation grow.
  When mindfulness shines,
  it transforms all mental formations.
           -   Verse # 45 on 50 Verses on the Nature of Consciousness

In this retreat, we will learn the art of cultivating peace and happiness to allow the fear, anger and despair to rest. This enables to recognize and embrace these negative seeds as they arise. We will then invite them to our mind consciousness and to look deeply into their true nature. Real transformation is possible when we understand the roots of our suffering, which are mainly caused by our deluded mind. As Shakespeare said “Nothing is good or bad. It is the mind that makes it so,” with mindfulness, we can transform our deluded mind into clear wisdom.

This retreat is open to all people, whether they have practiced mindfulness before or not. For new practitioners, there will be a practice session for sitting meditation on Thursday morning Oct. 20. As this is a mind-body health retreat, there will be an evening outdoor walking and sitting meditation on Thursday Oct. 20, a hiking session (about 5 km long), along the Nei Lak Shan Trail on Friday afternoon Oct. 21 and an Outdoor walking along the Wisdom Path, sitting & breakfast at the Heart Sutra Platform on Sunday morning Oct. 23.


The mind-body health retreat is organized as part of the Healthy Body Healthy Mind Initiative, started in 2012 by Plum Village Hong Kong. To further bring the benefits of mindfulness into the mainstream, Plum Village Hong Kong established the Breathe and Smile Mindbody Wellbeing Center in 2015, an independent social services organization, to promote the art of mindful living and the art of healing by integrating professional and clinical services with the mindfulness practice.

An approach called “Mindfulness Born Peace and Happiness” (MBPH) 2 was adopted to help:

  1. Cultivating peace and happiness
  2. Transforming pain and suffering, and
  3. Living a healthy and compassionate life.

Asian Instiute of Applied Buddhism and Breathe and Smile Mindbody Wellbeing Center, as coorganizers of the retreat, will give out certificates of attendance to those who need them for professional training.

The retreat will be conducted in English with Cantonese and Mandarin translation.

Accommodation and cost: Accommodation for this retreat is limited to dormitory-room. Participants will be housed in dormitories (bunk beds). Pillows, bed-linens, and blankets are provided. The cost per person is listed below.

Room Type (5 days,4 nights) Dormitory   (HKD)
Adults 2,000.00

The tentative schedule is as follows:

Oct. 19
Oct. 20
Oct. 21
Saturday Oc.t 22 Sun.
Oct. 23
5:15   Wakeup
6:00 Sitting & Slow Walking & Reading Discourse Outdoor walking, sitting & breakfast
7:00 10 Mindful Movements & Walking Meditation
8:00 Breakfast
9:15 Working Meditation Packing
10:30 Lecture Lecture Lecture Questions & Answers
12:30 Lunch
14:00 Total Relaxation Closing Circle
Check- in
Group sharing

Hiking along the Nei Lak Shan Trail

Fruit break

Group sharing Farewell & Happy Continuation of the practice at home
16:30 Fruit break Fruit break
17:00 Exercise Exercise
18:00 Dinner
19:30 Lecture Outdoor Walking and Sitting Group sharing Beginning Anew/Touching the Earth
21:30 Rest - Noble Silence

Working Meditation:
Because the retreat is held in the monastery, all the preparation and cooking will be done by the monastics and some volunteers. During the retreat, we need help from participants in preparation works like: setting up the meditation hall and dining hall, washing up after meals… Participants will be grouped into Dharma discussion groups and will work together in the same groups to help with the retreat.

How to register: Registration is available on line at the Plum Village Hong Kong Online Registration Website, on a first-come-first-served basis. Registrations are not final until we receive your payment. Please make payment within one week after you register. If payment is not received within one week, your registration will be placed on waiting list. For means of payment, details will be sent along with the confirmation email to those who completed online registration.

Closing date for registration: October 12, 2016Payment is not refundable for cancellation after October 1, 2016. Cancelation is subject to a 20% cancellation fee. For enquiries, please contact us by e-mail: or by phone from14:30 – 17:00 (Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday): 2985-5033 (English), 2985-5281(Chinese).

We are looking forward to seeing you at the retreat!

Breathe and smile
Retreat Registration Staff


  1. “First Buddhist Women: Poems and Stories of Awakening”, Murcott, Susan. Parallax Press.
  2. Mindfulness Born Peace and Happiness: A Way of Wellbeing”, The Mindfulness Bell, issue #71, Winter/Spring 2016.