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The American Friends

Karen & Allan

Hello Pho,

It was wonderful meeting you and Kiet at the Deer Park Retreat. I wanted to thank you again for the beautiful book you gave Karen & me.

I have fallen in love with OLD PATH WHITE CLOUDS and I read it every morning. I wake up at 05:00 AM and sit outside with a candle, incense, a cup of tea, and the book. As of today I have read 215 pages, but most of the time I re-read most pages and take notes.

I have included 4 photographs, and I’m sorry to say that the quality is poor as they were taken with my iPhone 4. The third photo is of our Buddha, our bell, and the book my friend Pho gave us.

Is it possible for you to translate the fourth photo into English for me?

With Love

Karen & Allan

Sư Cô Thích Nữ Đạo Hạnh & Joni Edison

Joni Edison

Thoughts on The Heart of Compassion Association, Inc.

There are many organizations and individuals who are called and compelled to provide aid and comfort to those who are in need.  I am a person who has the benefits of health, education, employment, and resources. I am always conscious of others who are living parallel lives, but without those benefits.  As someone who wants to contribute financially to those in need, I often worried that the money and good will I desired to send would not reach those in need. 

My co-worker, Phô Duy Trần, introduced me to the Heart of Compassion Association 4 years ago. I immediately noticed something different: a direct and loving connection between the association members and those receiving compassionate aid. The association members are involved in fundraising efforts and in distributing funds and goods.  

•     Disabled children in Vietnam were assisted with cash and home visits although they lived in remote villages or mountainsides.

•     Children that need to travel for school were provided bicycles

•     Scholarship for poor students

•     Disabled adults that need means for work by themselves were provided tricycles

•     Cash provided to hurricane victims in the Philippines

•     Earthquake victims in Nepal provided with cash, blankets, water pumps, sheet metal.

What is unique and beautiful about the Heart of Compassion, is that the money and goods are personally handed to the needy by the association members. This is the part that involves loving kindness. To personally give help, and to touch the hands and share hope and concern. The Heart of Compassion connects those of us that have plenty, to those who suffer. I will continue to support their efforts.

Joni Edison

Suni Camerer

The Heart of Compassion Association, Inc.

P.O. Box 581883

Elk Grove, CA  95758

Attn:  Pho Tran

The above Corporation was introduced to me by Phô Trần, a fellow co-worker. He explained how the organization helps poor kids. I am poor; I have no gifts for Christmas, but Pho showed me the real meaning of poor. There are disabled and crippled children along with cancer ridden patients living in deplorable conditions and lacking foods and transportation. Okay Pho, do you want me to cry? I cannot save the world, but Pho said these kids receive bikes, wheelchairs and food through this organization. 

The Heart of Compassion’s helping hand has no boundaries. Pho told me volunteers come together and help people in India, Africa, Haiti, Japan, Vietnam, and homeless shelters in America. He explained how the organization works: recycling cans, making running necklaces during events such as Relay for Life.  Even small donations of $1.00 make a difference. Pho said small amounts of money donated by donors contribute immensely to this year revenue. 

I became more hopeful as our conversation continued and learned that Pho has been volunteering for 15 years. Wow!  He and his family exhibit self-sacrifice every day to help unfortunate people. So, I realized that one way I can raise money for the Heart of Compassion is to give a donation, $0.25, for each cup of coffee I drink. I hope to give you a whole bunch of money next month. Thanks for the great conversation this morning but most importantly thanks for enlightening me this Christmas season. 


Dear Suni,

I was very emotional when I read your feedback from our friendly conversation this morning. Your writing “I am poor; I have no gifts for Christmas” made me remember my poverty as a child in Vietnam. During that time, I was often hungry and had no gift, snacks, clothing, shoes, books, and many others for many years! Some of my friends and neighbors gave me their used items, but they were very valuable to me.

I have experienced the difficulties and sufferings these unfortunate people endure; therefore, I voluntarily participated in charitable activities since eighth grade. The Heart of Compassion Association, Inc., accepted by California Government on 12/04/2006, is the continuation of activities of my fellows and I did in Vietnam and the ten years before we officially became a non-profit organization.

On behalf of the poor recipients, I thank you for your donation today and tomorrow. You know, 25 cents can feed a disabled child for 2 days!  We do not pay attention to how much money our donors give; instead, we value their compassionate heart filled with love and understanding. I will always cherish the kindness you, my dear co-worker, exhibit.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Pho Tran