Enjoy talks and photos from our 2-week retreat which celebrated 40 years of Plum Village.
Photos and Updates
Guests started arriving on Friday for the 40th Anniversary of Plum Village retreat. The air was filled with happy greetings and warm hugs after what was for many, several years of absence. At Plum Village we feel so fortunate to have a gathering of many long-time practitioners (and some first-timers), and are happily soaking up the collective energy of practice.
The three hamlets, numbering over 500 people met in Lower Hamlet, for the first mahasangha gathering of the retreat. The monastics offered the opening chant ‘Namovalokiteshvara’, the first time in two years to a meditation hall with a full audience. It was a moving moment for one and all. This was followed by the opening Dharma talk by Sr Chan Duc who introduced the four Dharma seals of the Plum Village tradition“I have arrived, I am home”, “Go as a river”, “The two times and three truths inter-are” and “Momentary ripening”.
The Sangha gathered in Upper Hamlet for a dharma talk by Br Phap Huu, who deepened our understanding of the first Plum Village seal, “I have arrived, I am home”. Br Phap Huu also shared touching anecdotes about our teacher, Thay. The walking meditation took us to the Buddha hill, where some of our teacher’s ashes have been scattered. Sr Chan Khong has been compassionately guiding the Total Relaxation and Touchings of the Earth each afternoon in each hamlet.
On June 7, the mahasangha convened in the Loving Kindness Temple (the “New Hamlet”) and received nourishment of the Dharma, friendship, and early Summer mulberries! Sr. Dinh Nghiem gave a touching teaching on Thay’s journey in developing Plum Village and how the sangha river continues to grow. It is a true manifestation of the second Plum Village Seal, ‘Go As a River’.
On June 8, the three hamlets had a well deserved lazy day, followed by an afternoon panel of Plum Village elders, lay and monastic, sharing memories and impressions of arriving in Plum Village in the early 80s, 90s till the present. Each hamlet hosted their own sharing of the elders. Many shared what inspired them to return to Plum Village again and again despite the very basic conditions at the beginning and how it was to meet Thay in small settings.
We gathered in Upper Hamlet for a question and answer session in the morning, followed by a walking meditation down to Son Ha, where we were greeted by music, a beautiful calligraphy exhibition and a birthday cake to celebrate the 40 years of Plum Village.
This year, to celebrate the 40th year since the founding of Plum Village, we had the special occasion to transmit the Dharma Lamp to monastics and lay members of the Order of Interbeing.
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Lower Hamlet held a walking meditation to scatter our teacher’s ashes in the Poplar Grove on June 14, 2022. Thay has led many peaceful walking meditations on those paths in the past, and it was a special way to be in his presence and in his footsteps that day.
In the afternoon, we transmitted the 14 Mindfulness trainings to over 50 lay and monastic members of the community. We welcome these new members into the Order of Interbeing! We were treated to an evening of music, readings, poetry and song, to round up a rich day.
On the last day of the retreat, a five mindfulness trainings transmission was conducted in each hamlet. Dharma sharing families celebrated under the stars at a Be-In in Upper Hamlet and farewells were said as the two week retreat ‘Celebrating the 40 Years of Plum Village’ drew to a close.