By Sister Chan Khong The revitalization of the School of Youth for Social Service (SYSS) in Vietnam has been possible because of the dedicated energy of many thousands of people within Vietnam and supporters outside the country. With better and better accessibility, monks, nuns, and laypeople are able to be in contact with Thay' s teachings and students so that the spiritual dimension of the work has developed greatly. In many self-supporting "pioneer villages," for example, not only are bridges being built and other such developmental projects being accomplished, but the social workers are spending time in meditation and study, learning how to practice conscious breathing while working and deepening their understanding of life based on Buddhist teachings. The social workers maintain a practice of the "Peace Treaty" and "Beginning Anew" teachings, as well as regular discussion of the precepts. These teachings are presented without Buddhist terminology, so as to easily include Catholic and former communist Vietnamese. Always, the social workers take ample time with a community to distribute funds and supplies while simultaneously offering teachings that will strengthen their spiritual life as well.
Sister Chan Khong, True Emptiness, Dharma teacher and the author of Learning True Love, assisted Thich Nhat Hanh in establishing the School of Youth for Social Service during the Vietnam War. Tax-deductible donations for "Working Together for Rejuvenation in Vietnam " can be made through the Community of Mindful Living.