The Most Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh (Thây), our spiritual teacher, founded the Unified Buddhist Church (Eglise Bouddhique Unifieé) in France in 1969, during the Vietnam war. Thich Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, a poet, a scholar, and a peace activist. His life long efforts to generate peace and reconciliation moved Martin Luther King, Jr. to nominate him for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1967. He founded the Van Hanh Buddhist University in Saigon and the School for Youths of Social Services in Vietnam. When not travelling the world to teach “The Art of Mindful Living”, he teaches, writes, and gardens in Plum Village, France, a Buddhist monastery for monks and nuns and a mindfulness practice center for lay people.
The Unified Buddhist Church established Sweet Potatoes Community in 1975, Plum Village in 1982, the Dharma Cloud Temple and the Dharma Nectar Temple in 1988, and the Adornment of Loving Kindness Temple in 1995. Thich Nhat Hanh’s sangha (community of practice) in France is usually referred to as the Plum Village Sangha.