Update: We are offering online retreats while Plum Village France remains closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

2016 Lunar New Year “Parallel Verses”

We are very happy to announce the new Plum Village practice phrases to celebrate the upcoming Lunar New Year of the Monkey.

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Nourishing our togetherness | Protecting our planet

The practice phrases are a traditional parallel verse (or “couplet”) for the Lunar New Year (“Tết”), which will be celebrating in Plum Village soon: Sunday 7th February, 2016 is New Year’s Eve.

The phrase is a poetic gift that we can print out and post on the walls as a reminder to practice mindfulness. 

The couplet can be combined with our breathing. For example, we can contemplate “Nourishing our Togetherness” as we breathe in, and contemplate “Protecting our Planet” as we breathe out. These words are not a declaration, but a living aspiration we wish to nurture.

In Plum Village practice centers all around the world, we print out these calligraphies (keeping the diamond form), paste them onto coloured card, and pin them up around the dining halls, meditation halls and living quarters in preparation to celebrate the Lunar New Year. We hang them (with the help of a little cotton thread) from early-blossoming Japonica and Plum branches that we bring in to brighten our rooms.

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Diamonds decorating cherry blossom branches (soon to bloom) in the Assembly of Stars Meditation Hall, Lower Hamlet, Plum Village

Ancient tradition, creatively renewed

Poetic couplets for New Year are an ancient tradition in the East, especially in Vietnam and China. Often on red paper, they are pasted on door-frames, lintels, and even farm tools to bring good luck for the year to come. Calligraphies by spiritual masters are especially popular. The traditional couplet written in Chinese characters is a masterful art – a kind of profound and concise “written form of counterpoint”.

Thay has established a tradition, on the eve of the Lunar New Year, of offering the sangha a simple poetic couplet in calligraphy that can inspire and nurture our mindfulness practice. Thay’s innovation has been to offer the couplet in English, French and Vietnamese (rather than in Chinese characters). The Plum Village Community is very happy to continue this beautiful tradition.


Join us in this practice

You can print out and post the couplets on your fridge, doors or near light switches as an auspicious reminder to be mindful of their message, and renew ourselves by applying them into our life. You can get creative with how and where to post and practice the phrases. You could post them on the doorframe as you step out to face your day, or even on the bathroom mirror.

In Plum Village, we always post the two complementary diamonds as a pair, near each other (above, below, beside – it doesn’t matter which) – typically on doors, windows or walls.

We hope this brand new couplet will bring you and your loved ones inspiration and nourishment in the New Year to come. This year the calligraphy is by Thay Phap Huu.

Download easy-print one-page PDF:

››English

››French

››Vietnamese

Nourishing our togetherness 2Protecting our planet

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What is Mindfulness

Thich Nhat Hanh January 15, 2020

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