A Christmas update from San Francisco

CBZ letterhead header

Official Announcement

Plum Village, France
December 24, 2015

To all Plum Village Practice Centers,
To all Practice Centers and Sanghas worldwide,
To our Dear Beloved Friends,

Our monastic centers in the United States and Europe are now a month into our traditional annual practice of the three-month Winter Retreat, observing ninety continuous days of mindfulness practice, without leaving the monastery to teach outside. In this spirit, the attendants taking care of Thay in San Francisco have also opened a Winter Retreat practice period with Thay, including early morning sitting meditation, walking meditation, silent meals, watching videos of Thay’s Dharma Talks and participating in Dharma sharings.

Every day, Thay has enjoyed joining the brothers and sisters in all of these practices, and we can see that practicing with the community is an important source of spiritual nourishment for Thay, supporting his recovery in every respect. Thay recently enjoyed watching an old Dharma talk that he gave many years ago in the UK. He listened attentively to the entire talk, often smiling and nodding when his younger self made key points. The specialists tell us that this kind of activity is very therapeutic and supportive to speech recovery. Sadly, at this time, Thay has made only slight improvements and is still unable to speak. He continues to sing with us, and is making more and more recognizable words whenever we sing the Plum Village songs he remembers so well. We witness Thay putting a lot of effort and energy into trying to form the words, even though it can sometimes be frustrating for him. We are happy to report that we have now found a new speech therapist who will be working with Thay on a daily basis throughout January. In addition, we continue to explore many new and groundbreaking neuroplastic healing techniques, including neurofeedback, and cold laser therapy.

Thay continues to enjoy peaceful and happy moments gazing at the Golden Gate Bridge and making outings to the botanical gardens and other beautiful scenic spots in San Francisco. With the support of a brace on his right leg, Thay has begun to put more weight through the right side of his body and is training to become gradually more independent in terms of balance and standing. He continues to practice walking every day, for several hours per day, with the support of his physiotherapist and monastic attendants, who are receiving expert guidance and training.

We are inspired by Thay’s spiritual vitality, his strong perseverance, and his immense will that has directed his recovery from the start. Thay is teaching us that he does not appreciate pity; he appreciates practice – and is sensitive to the mindfulness and true presence of everyone around him. We are learning from Thay’s great dignity in accepting what he has. We can see in his whole way of being that, for Thay, what he has is enough. This does not hold us back, however, from doing everything we can to support his recovery; nor does it hold Thay back from diligently re-training body and mind. We are reminded of Thay’s powerful calligraphy phrase: “This is it”. In our efforts to support Thay’s recovery, we are grounding our practice in our acceptance of the present moment, embracing it just as it is, without fear for the future, nor regrets about the past. Thay has always reminded us that the Buddha was a human being. Thay is grappling with this human challenge and we, his spiritual continuation, are always at his side. We can be at peace because we know all of us are doing our best to practice and to be there for our Teacher.

We feel deeply that Thay’s physical recovery is inextricably linked to the health and flourishing of our fourfold spiritual family. This has been evident in the recent ordination of twenty young men and women into the “Redwood Ordination Family”. Nine were ordained in Thailand, and another ten ordained in Plum Village, from Ireland, France, Holland, Italy, Indonesia and Australia. These novices ordained because they are inspired by the strength of Thay’s Sangha Body and his living Dharma Body of teachings and practices. As a community, we are taking care of every aspect of Thay’s body because we see deeply that he is not just in San Francisco. We can see his Sangha Body thriving a little bit everywhere, in ourselves, in each of the new novices, and in everyone. Thay’s vision of the next Buddha manifesting as a Sangha is being realized.

We would like to express our deep gratitude to our spiritual family for being there, practicing wholeheartedly wherever you are. Each one of us is a cell in Thay’s Sangha Body, and we contribute to taking care of Thay by coming home to take care of ourselves, our practice and our loved ones. In this way we are a beautiful, active cell in Thay’s Sangha Body and Dharma Body.

Thank you for being there for us. We are here for you.

Wishing you all a peaceful holiday season,

With love and trust,

The Monks and Nuns of Plum Village

Future official reports on Thay’s recovery will be posted from time to time at plumvillage.org, langmai.org, villagedespruniers.org, and www.facebook.com/thichnhathanh.

pdf download logo

Thich-Nhat-Hanh-Sangha-San-Francisco
Winter Opening Ceremony at the Healing Hamlet, San Francisco, December 2015

Join the conversation

  • As a cell in your sangha body, I will cultivate love and health. May you be free of suffering and it’s root causes. Emancipating Joy Of The Source

  • So nice to see Dear Thay in the photo. Wishing you continued healing and happiness. You have given us all so very much love and happiness.
    Love from your yoga Hmmm friends in Houston, Texas.

  • Seeing Thay surrounded by joyful loving monks and nuns was a perfect way to start this new year. Thank you so much for sharing the photo with us, and for taking good care of our beloved teacher.
    With much gratitude, I bow deeply,
    Maryanne (Great Action of the Heart)

  • Thank you for updating us on Thay’s health. I greatly appreciate his teachings, and want to thank him for helping me to find compassion, practice awareness and remember breathing. I wish him continuing recovery. Thank you.

  • Thank you so much for posting updated information about Thay. It was such a great relief to see the photo, and it brought a smile to my face. I am glad you reminded us of our interconnectedness.

  • I am sorry to hear of Thay’s stroke but I can tell from your post that he is being well cared for by all of you. He was a wonderful teacher for my mother and has my admiration as well as a fellow Buddhist. I will keep him in my practice and send love to him and to all of you.
    Kristi Anderson, student of Chogyam Trungpa

  • A beautiful picture with your loved one as a million words…. Pray for your health, Thầy!
    Happy New Year 2016… :)


  • 2019

    Thay travels to Bangkok for health check-ups

    1st December, 2019 Dear Beloved Community, We’re happy to announce that on Thursday 28th November, Thay traveled from Huế, Vietnam to Bangkok, Thailand for a full medical check-up in Bangkok. The trip and hospital...

    Thich Nhat Hanh turns 93

    Dear Beloved Community, We are very happy to share that today Thay has been celebrating his 93rd birthday at Từ Hiếu Temple in Huế, Vietnam, his “Root Temple” where he first entered the monkhood...


    2018

    Thay’s 92nd Birthday

    As we celebrate Thay’s 92nd continuation day on 11th October, we'd like to take this opportunity to share with you how our beloved Teacher has been doing in Thailand.


    2017

    Thay visits Vietnam for a few days

    We are very happy to confirm that earlier today, 29th August 2017, at 12h35 local time, our dear Teacher landed safely at Đà Nẵng airport in Vietnam. This is his first visit to Vietnam...


    2016

    Thich Nhat Hanh arrives in Thailand

    The Thai Plum Village Sangha is delighted that our beloved teacher was strong enough to travel to Thailand from France a week ago, arriving in the early morning on Saturday, December 10.

    Thay returns to France

    Thay has decided to return to Plum Village, France to be with his spiritual community after six months of steady progress in San Francisco.


    2015

    A Christmas update from San Francisco

    Although Thay is unable to recover his speech, he continues to inspire with his spiritual vitality, his strong perseverance, and his immense will that has directed his recovery from the start.

    Report on Thay’s progress in San Francisco

    We are happy to be able to share that Thay is benefitting from the best of Western, Eastern, conventional, and alternative medical approaches. Thay is receiving acupuncture every day, as well as physical therapy,...

    Thay returns to Plum Village

    This week the medical team have given their approval for Thay to leave the rehabilitation clinic and return to his Hermitage at Plum Village. We are deeply grateful to the entire medical team at...

    Thay transfers to Bordeaux rehabilitation clinic

    The team of monastic attendants work closely with doctors, nurses and professional therapists, and accompany Thay twenty-four hours a day, offering massage, acupuncture and comfort care, and helping Thay with his physical training. Thay...

    Thay emerges into wakefulness

    In the last three weeks Thay has gradually emerged into wakefulness, and has his eyes open for much of the day, to the point where the doctors can now say that he is no...


    2014

    Thay’s condition stabilises

    Thay continues to rest peacefully with the ticking clock on his pillow, and we sense that he is relying on his deep awareness of breathing, rooted in Store Consciousness, to guide his healing process....

    Thay remains in intensive care

    Thay's blood pressure and pulse are stable, he is still breathing on his own, and he is becoming increasingly peaceful. However, in recent days Thay has been sleeping more deeply and communicating less.

    >