New Year’s Prayer 2016

This prayer will be offered by the Plum Village fourfold sangha on the night of the 31st December 2015, as part of the midnight ceremony to mark the dawn of the New Year 2016.

PDF download (English) | Version français PDF

Thay Burning the New Year's Prayer in the Bell, after it has been read out loud (2013).

Thay, in 2013,burning the New Year’s Prayer in the bell, after it has been read out loud in English, French and Vietnamese.

New Year Prayer to Mother Earth and All Our Ancestors

Dear Beloved Thay,
Dear Beloved Ancestors,
Dear Beloved Mother Earth,

We have gathered as a fourfold sangha in this solemn moment of the New Year to express our gratitude and aspiration as a spiritual family, and to begin anew. We know that you, our ancestors, are present in every cell of our body, and that you are always there for us to take refuge in. We know that you, Thay, are also present with us in this very moment. As we touch the Earth tonight we feel deeply connected to you, Mother Earth. We, and all our ancestors, are your children. You are our beautiful blue planet, the Great Refreshing Bodhisattva – fragrant and cool, abundant and kind. Despite our many mistakes and shortcomings, every time we come home to you, you are ready to open your arms and embrace us.

Dear Beloved Thay, many times in the past year we have allowed uncertainty to water the seeds of insecurity and fear in our hearts. Our strong emotions and wrong perceptions have overwhelmed us,  giving rise to feelings of helplessness, separation and despair.

Aware of this suffering, we are determined to take refuge in you, Thay, in our practice, and in our Beloved Community. Returning to our mindful breathing and mindful steps, we return to our true home, where we can find peace, clarity and calm. Dwelling in the heart of our community, we can be in touch with the collective energy of stability, helping us recognize and embrace our strong emotions and wrong perceptions.

Dear Mother Earth, as a human family, we have allowed greed and consumerism to prevail. We have been running after status, wealth, power and sensual comforts, forgetting that these things can never bring us true happiness and freedom. We have been so busy trying to cover up the feeling of emptiness inside, that we have not taken  the time or space to stop and ask ourselves what we are doing, or  where we are going. In the process, we have caused great harm to you, dear Mother Earth, destroying your natural richness, beauty and balance.

Aware of this, we are determined to simplify our life, to stop running, and to remember that in the present moment we already have enough conditions to be happy. With the energy of mindfulness and compassion we feel truly fulfilled and content. In the coming year, we are determined to consume less and to live in such a way that is sustainable for ourselves and for you, Mother Earth.

Dear Ancestors, we have allowed our fear and intolerance to divide us as a human family. We have caused suffering to one another, discriminating on the basis of religion, ethnic groups and nations. We have closed our hearts and our borders, out of fear and ignorance. We have forgotten that we are inter-dependent, and that our own happiness and suffering is deeply connected to and dependent on the happiness and suffering of others.

We trust that within us, there is the wisdom of non-discrimination and great compassion, transmitted to us by you, all our spiritual teachers, our ancestors, and by Mother Earth. We are determined to stay on the Path, to keep our hearts open, and to let go of our pride, so that understanding and love can prevail.

As we touch the Earth, we express our gratitude to you, our beloved teacher Thay, to our ancestors, and to Mother Earth. We have found the path of practice and a spiritual family to take refuge in. We have experienced joy, peace and transformation. We have tasted the freedom of letting go of our ideas and notions. We have felt the strength and warmth of brotherhood and sisterhood, and we know that together, we can face our challenges and realise our aspiration. We vow, in this moment, to continue to build our community and to open up the path for ourselves and our descendants.

Dear Thay, Dear Ancestors, Dear Mother Earth, please accept our offerings of incense, flowers, fruit and tea, as a sign of our deep aspiration, respect, gratitude and love.

Just a simple monk!

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14 comments on “New Year’s Prayer 2016
  1. Anne Johansson Hjälmås says:

    Thank You Thay, Thank you ancestors, Thank you Nuns and Munks of Plum Village.
    I think MAHA SANGHA, coming together by leaving the wrong conception of a separate self.
    Rising together.
    Thank you all for giving me hope and curage to keep the heart open.

  2. Thank Thay and the whole Sangha. Wishing Thay quick recovery.

  3. Dear sisters & brothers thank you so much for the beautiful prayer.
    I will try to translate for our little shanga here .
    As a few people joined this year. So we are hoping to get a space for regular
    practice weekly together.
    I had a dream last night with Thich Nhat Hanh and i am delighted
    to read his wish to be back in plum village!
    i hope to be joining again soon.

    A smile,

  4. Debbie says:

    I am not a scholar, but I think the offerings are something a traveler needs as they embark on a journey (nothing dies….)

  5. Lorenzo Ward says:

    Dear Thay, dear Sangha:

    Thank you

  6. Rich Porta says:

    It sure lifted my spirits to see the photo of Thay with his smiling attendants. Continued healing and blessings to Thay and us all. Thank you all for taking such wonderful care of Thay.

  7. Vivian Taube says:

    I love this prayer. I wanted to do the winter retreat at Deer Park, but a spinal injury kept me from it at this time. Maybe later on this year, I can do it. Reading this helps me feel more like I am a part of the retreat, which I participate in as a lay person on Facebook.

  8. Melody Peters says:

    thank you and blessing for all this new year

  9. Awesome Sangha says:

    Thank you for the very beautiful prayer.

    Would you please explain to us what do you mean by “offerings of fruit and tea.” Dead people don’t eat or drink, Is it an offering to the poor? When and how? I am confused. Thank you!

    • eaglestare says:

      I believe it is symbolic in meaning. I cannot elaborate, since I am not speaking for the monks and nuns, but my thoughts are based on what my family has done.

  10. Laurel says:

    The seeds of renewal have been watered wonderfully, & I feel refreshed. Thank you for your skillful & heartfelt words that refresh us all~ A reverent bow to Mother Earth, to my beloved Ancestors, to my dear teacher Thay, to the monks & nuns who lovingly carry & share Thay’s continuation, to my Sangha coming into being, & to my internet Sangha. Blessings to us all~

  11. Tani says:

    Beautiful thank you for the reminder, for sharing and the opportunity to renew with the Sangha. Not able to be at plum village this helps me connect with pure energy of love created there. Deepest and sincerest thanks to sisters and brothers of plum village and our teacher Thay. Wishing you all much love and light and a wonderful New Year’s celebration. Rani

    • Thanks for the Beautiful Pray and for teaching People to Love Our Mother Earth GOD BLESS YOU All.

      • Richa kumar says:

        I had tears in my eyes while reading the poem, don’t know why? I thank for sharing the prayer with people like me who cannot be at the plum village.wishing you all a very happy new year 2016