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Thich Nhat Hanh: live blog

The latest news and stories on what is happening, edited by Thay’s monastic and lay disciples.

You are welcome to submit links and suggestions to: press@plumvillage.org



2020

Thay returns to Vietnam after health check-ups in Thailand

January 4, 2020

Dear Beloved Community,

The sangha is very happy to announce that today, January 4th, Thay will fly back to Vietnam, and return to Từ Hiếu Root Temple in Huế, after spending five weeks in Thailand for medical check-ups. Thay is doing well, has recovered his appetite, and remains strong in spirit. 

While at Thai Plum Village, near Khao Yai National Park, Thay enjoyed the peaceful atmosphere of the practice center, and was able to attend the ordination ceremony for fourteen new young monks and nuns in his community. Thay is looking forward to seeing the completed renovation works of the new Shrine Hall at Từ Hiếu Temple, and returns to his homeland in time for the Lunar New Year celebrations later this month.

Wishing the sangha a peaceful and harmonious New Year,

The monks & nuns of Plum Village

Thay being shown a book at the monks’ residence in Thai Plum Village on Friday January 3, 2020. Thay enjoyed spending his last day in Thailand visiting the meditation hall, dining hall, residences, and walking meditation paths. PHOTO: ©PVCEB
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Future updates will be posted from time to time at plumvillage.org, langmai.org, villagedespruniers.org, and www.facebook.com/thichnhathanh, as well as at thichnhathanhfoundation.org.  

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 visit went smoothly.

Yesterday morning, Thay decided to travel on to visit our community at Thai Plum Village in Pak Chong, a few hours’ drive north of Bangkok. At this point, we anticipate that Thay will stay at Thai Plum Village for a short while, before returning again to Từ Hiếu Root Temple in Huế ahead of the Lunar New Year.

Thay arriving at Don Mueang International Airport, Bangkok, on November 28, 2019 PHOTO: courtesy PVCEB

Since his 93rd birthday last month, with the cold and rains in Huế, Thay’s health has been somewhat weaker, and he caught pneumonia. In order to have check-ups with specialists, which were difficult to organise in Vietnam, last week Thay chose to go to Bangkok, where he received treatment last year.

On 28th November, Thay arrived in Thailand accompanied by a doctor, a nurse, and five monastics. The doctor remarked that Thay seemed to be “doing even better in the air.” Rather than lying down, Thay sat upright and alert, and spent most of the journey contemplating the beautiful landscape below. Thay was met at the airport by fifty monastic and lay students, before going directly to the hospital.

Thay had a check-up and a new set of blood tests—his first since traveling to Huế this time last year—and the results were very promising. As soon as Thay had rested, he was ready to leave the hospital right away, and decided to travel up to Thai Plum Village in Pak Chong, on the edge of the Khao Yai National Park, arriving yesterday morning (30th November).

Thay is very comfortable in the clear air of Khao Yai, and the weather is sunny and dry. Both Thay and the whole attendant team have been resting and eating well, surrounded by the joyful young community.

We will wait to see how long Thay chooses to spend in Thai Plum Village; he may stay on to support the upcoming ordination of novice monks and nuns in two weeks’ time. We have the impression Thay will want to return to Vietnam soon, where he has been enjoying spending time, and has been eagerly following the renovation of the Từ Hiếu shrine hall.

We are grateful that Thay is so clear and engaged with respect to his medical care, which helps us make decisions to support his needs. We are learning from Thay’s grace and dignity as he rides the waves of physical fragility. We are investing all our hearts in nurturing Thay’s spiritual community, continuing his teachings and aspiration in the world. 

With love and trust,

The Monks and Nuns of Plum Village

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Future updates will be posted from time to time at plumvillage.org, langmai.org, villagedespruniers.org, and www.facebook.com/thichnhathanh, as well as at thichnhathanhfoundation.org.  

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 aged sixteen. 

Over the last few days, Thay’s monastic students from across Vietnam have been gathering at Từ Hiếu Temple to celebrate his “continuation day.” Brothers have come from nearby Từ Đức Temple, and sisters have arrived from the South. To celebrate this special day, the monastics have created an exhibition of Thay’s books in the Full Moon Meditation Hall. Thay has been coming out in his wheelchair every day to admire the preparations and savor the joyful atmosphere. Today, hundreds of people gathered to celebrate and offer their best wishes. The monastic community can feel the strength, peace, alertness, and vitality of Thay’s presence, and the warmth and harmony he is bringing to Từ Hiếu.

Thay visiting the exhibition of his books at Từ Hiếu Temple in Huế, Vietnam this week

These are the last few sunny days before the rains arrive. Despite the heat and humidity of recent months, Thay has coped very well, perhaps because this is the climate of his youth. (For some of Thay’s attendants, the hot weather has been much more challenging!) From time to time he has a chance to visit the beach for a few days, just thirty minutes from the temple. Thay’s health remains fairly stable overall, although from time to time he faces challenges with appetite, sleep, and physical discomfort. Thay continues to receive regular treatments from acupuncturists and physiotherapists, which are very beneficial. 

Earlier this year in July, Thay made remarkable progress with his bilingual (Vietnamese-English) speech therapist, who had begun to help him in San Francisco in 2015, and with whom he has a very good connection. It seems that the mechanics for speech are still there, but that it will take a lot of training for Thay to recover the capacity to speak. Thay eagerly made swift progress over the course of two weeks of therapy, but following his great efforts his body became exhausted. Once he had rested, Thay made it known that he preferred not to continue with the speech training to conserve his energy for offering his presence in and around the temple.

This marks almost a year since Thay first arrived at Từ Hiếu shortly after his birthday last October, in time for the Ceremony of Sweeping the Ancestral Stupas. There have been many highlights, including his first Tết (Lunar New Year) at the Root Temple since the 1960s in February; the start of huge renovation works on the main shrine hall in March; and the official visit of a delegation of 9 US Senators in April. Students and followers of Thay have been visiting from around the world to pay their respects. Last month, Thay was awarded book prizes in Vietnam for his new children’s books The Hen and the Golden Eggs, and Each Breath, a Smile. Internationally, Thay has been honored with the Luxembourg Peace Prize, and in July, with the Gandhi-Mandela Peace Award

Thay with Senators Leahy, Murkowski, Stabenow, Whitehouse, Udall, Portman, Baldwin, Hirono, and Kaine, and their spouses, at Từ Hiếu Temple in Huế, on 19 April 2019

To celebrate Thay’s birthday this week we have released a new Plum Village website, with inspiring information about Thay’s life, and richer resources on his teachings for environmentalists, peace-makers, teachers and business leaders. We’ve also released a new series of images of Thay’s Life in Photos and told the fascinating story of his Life in 12 Books. Those who wish to go deeper can explore his letters, interviews, and calligraphies, and see our reader’s guide to his books.

Knowing that we are Thay’s continuation, we are coming together as a Sangha to support worldwide efforts to incite change and protect the Earth. The Earth-Holders network of sanghas has put out a call to support the student climate strikes. Recently, in Bordeaux, a large group of monastics and lay friends, attended the school strike for Mother Earth, and this joyful and compassionate action was echoed in many of our centres around the world. In August, we had our biggest ever Wake Up Earth retreat, with over 500 young people gathered in Plum Village from all around the world, including a delegation from Palestine and 10 young members of Extinction Rebellion who were sponsored to come and join the retreat. 

As we all know, Thay put great emphasis in his last years of teaching on sharing how our community can contribute to change in the world by bringing back the spiritual dimension, and showing how, together, we can fall back in love with Mother Earth. For our three-month Rains Retreat this year, we have taken the themes of nourishing Bodhicitta (the mind of love), taking care of Mother Earth, and building enduring, sustainable communities; all crucial aspects of bringing about the collective awakening we need. As a community we’re committed to continuing to explore how best we can support and engage, always keeping the Plum Village tradition relevant and up to date. 

Plum Village monastics practicing sitting meditation during the Climate Strike in Bordeaux on 20th October 2019

Next year’s 21-Day Retreat in June will explore how Thay’s Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings can be a light for our times—offering a radical, engaged, ethical and spiritual way forward, both individually and collectively. With these trainings as a guide, we will discuss how our community-building practices can establish firm foundations for long-lasting human and planetary sustainability through the challenges that lie ahead. 

We take refuge in Thay’s courage, his tenderness, his spirit of never giving up; and in the wisdom of our ancestral teachers.

With love and trust,

The Monks and Nuns of Plum Village

Stay connected

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Future updates will be posted from time to time at plumvillage.org, langmai.org, villagedespruniers.org, and www.facebook.com/thichnhathanh, as well as at thichnhathanhfoundation.org.


Thay and the Sangha preparing for Lunar New Year

Thay viewing a book of paintings last Wednesday, 30 January 2019 (the peach tree in blossom is reflected in his window)

Dear Beloved Community,

It is a great joy for our sangha to be approaching the Lunar New Year (Tết), with Thay’s presence at the root temple in Huế, Vietnam. This is the first Tết Thay is spending in his homeland since 2005, and his first in Huế since the 1960s.

Thay has been enjoying the festive preparations in and around the temple, and the light and peaceful atmosphere in the grounds, as the young brothers and sisters clean the altar and the halls, cook special dishes to offer to our spiritual ancestors, decorate the temple with an assortment of flowers and budding peach branches trimmed timely to bloom welcoming the New Year. A charming old peach tree, already showing its first delicate pink blossoms, has been planted in front of Thay’s window for him to enjoy as he sips his tea.

Despite the cool and rainy weather, Thay’s health has been remarkably stable over the past few weeks, and he is continuing to receive Eastern treatment and acupuncture. When there’s a break in the heavy rains, Thay comes outside to enjoy visiting the Root Temple’s ponds and stupas, in his wheelchair, joined by his disciples. Although his body is frail, Thay’s mind is still very lucid. Recently, on a clear and sunny day, we drove Thay around Hue for him to enjoy the New Year atmosphere, and the flower market stalls packed with bright chrysanthemums and traditional blossoming plum trees (with yellow mai flowers). Thay surprised the entourage by then directing the delegation to visit two temples where he has a connection, and paid his respects at the ancestral altars. This afternoon, the weather was so pleasant and bright, that Thay was able to go outside and enjoy visiting his favorite spots in Từ Hiếu.

Thay visiting the grounds of Tu Hieu on Saturday 2nd February 2019

Over the past few weeks, many lay and monastic practitioners from all over the world have been coming to visit the Từ Hiếu Root Temple and adjacent sisters’ community at Diệu Trạm. There is a beautiful, light atmosphere of serenity and peace, as the community enjoys practicing sitting meditation, walking meditation, and mindful eating together there, mindful of Thay’s quiet presence in his hut nearby.

Every Tết, Thay is always delighted to offer “parallel verses” to inspire the community’s practice and welcome the New Year. Practitioners from around the world can print out the calligraphies and post them in our home or at work, as a small reminder of our aspiration. The verses invite reflection and offer at least one small thing we can do to add wellbeing and happiness to the coming year.

This year, our community is offering the phrase:

Harmony in our home
Joy in the world

Is there something we can do, right now, to bring a little more harmony to our home? That home may be within our heart or body, or in our physical home and close relationships. One calming in-breath or out-breath may be enough. Or perhaps a word or gesture of loving kindness to those around us.

The calligraphy challenges us. Do we have faith that there can be joy in the world, in the heart of the present moment? Can we look deeply to see how joy begins with harmony within? In his later years of teaching, Thay would always remind us to come back to ourselves, our loved ones and the Earth. And from that solid ground of connection, we will know what to do and what not to do in order to help the situation.

If we would like harmony in our society, nation and world, then we also need harmony in our hearts and homes. There is joy in doing our best, to cultivate harmony and touch the wonders of life that are available to us, even in this very moment – our two eyes, the presence of our loved one, or even the little miraculous flower by the path. Collective peace and joy are possible in each little wakeful moment. As Thay would say, “It is not enough just to suffer!” in the midst of the challenges faced by humankind and our Earth; if we want to avoid burning out, we also have to nourish and nurture our peace and joy.

In each of our centers, our “spiritual home” in Europe, the US and Asia, as well as at Từ Hiếu Temple in Huế, there is a sense of harmony and peace this Lunar New Year, knowing that Thay is there in Vietnam, the source of our Plum Village family. It is like the calligraphic circle that our Teacher loves to make. He breathes in with the first half of the circle and out on the second half – completing the circle with all his love and care.

As part of the Tet celebrations, our community prepares traditional Vietnamese “earth cakes” to offer on the altar as an expression our love and commitment. The brothers and sisters enjoy a festive evening of songs, music, brotherhood and sisterhood while cooking these round earth cakes through the night in massive pots on open fires.  How fitting for our time and for Mother Earth that these offerings are called “earth cakes” in Vietnamese to represent our vow to live simply and help lessen the human impact on the environment.

Wrapping and cooking Earth Cakes, and offering them on the Ancestors’ altar

In the past month, Thich Nhat Hanh’s disciples have led mindfulness training retreats for hundreds of Catholic teachers in Uganda, Africa – a continuation of Thay’s inter-faith work and his deep aspiration to bring mindfulness into schools around the world. Last week, an exciting new exhibition of Thich Nhat Hanh’s unique calligraphic art and books opened in Bangkok. The film “Walk With Me” continues to fill theaters in the cities of France and around the world, allowing people to experience mediation and peace, even for a brief hour from their busy lives. Later this spring, his global community will lead retreats across the US, as well as in Italy, Holland, Belgium, Ireland, the UK, Germany and Lithuania. Plum Village monastics in Asia will go out to teach in Japan, Korea, Indonesia and Taiwan.

We are looking forward to hosting retreats for families, businesspeople, and young people, at our centers in the US, Europe and Thailand this Summer. Registration will open soon, and we hope that many of you will have a chance to join us as we cultivate collective healing and awakening with our growing community and to continue our teacher and his teachings.

With love and trust,

The Monks and Nuns of Plum Village

Thay and the community enjoying the dragon dance on the first day of the lunar new year (c. 2013)

If you would like to receive updates like this about Thay and news about the community continuing his legacy directly in your inbox, please sign up here.

Future updates will be posted from time to time at plumvillage.org, langmai.org, villagedespruniers.org, and www.facebook.com/thichnhathanh, as well as at thichnhathanhfoundation.org. Please be assured that we will continue to update our global community in a mindful and timely way.


2018

Thich Nhat Hanh Returns Home

Official Announcement

Plum Village International Practice Center
Le Pey, Thénac 24240, France

The monks and nuns of the Plum Village International Community of Engaged Buddhists stand by our beloved teacher, the Zen master, global spiritual leader, peace activist and poet Thich Nhat Hanh, as he returns again to his homeland. Since celebrating his 92nd birthday last month, he has expressed a deep wish to go back to reside at his “root temple,” Tu Hieu Temple in Hue, Vietnam, to live his remaining days. Thich Nhat Hanh has turned formidable physical challenges arising from the major stroke he suffered four years ago into a powerful teaching by continuing to live each moment peacefully and joyfully, with great presence and meaning.

Tu Hieu Temple is where Thich Nhat Hanh first became a monk in 1942, aged sixteen. After nearly sixty years spreading the teachings abroad, Thich Nhat Hanh’s final homecoming is a source of peace and happiness for his students, Tu Hieu Temple and lineage. It is very precious for Thich Nhat Hanh’s large international following to maintain this deep and enduring connection to our spiritual roots in Vietnam. Thich Nhat Hanh, who coined the term “Engaged Buddhism” and who has dedicated his life to renewing Buddhism so it can help individuals and societies address the challenges of our times, has always seen the roots of his teachings in the engaged spiritual life of the distinguished Buddhist patriarchs during Vietnam’s ancient Ly and Tran dynasties.

Although since his stroke Thich Nhat Hanh has no longer been able to speak, he remains powerfully alert and present. After summoning his senior disciples to a meeting on 24th October in Plum Village Thailand, where he has been residing since December 2016, Thich Nhat Hanh clearly communicated his wish to return to Vietnam using gestures, nodding and shaking his head in response to questions. The necessary arrangements were made for his return and he landed at Da Nang Airport, Vietnam on the afternoon of 26th October. His arrival was celebrated by a receiving party of senior Buddhist venerables, monks, nuns and lay followers.

After resting for two days by the ocean to recover from the journey, Thich Nhat Hanh arrived at Tu Hieu on the afternoon of October 28th, where he was welcomed with a traditional formal procession and the sound of drums and bells. As he entered, he took a moment to reach out and touch the cool stone of the ancient gateway: a seal of arrival and return. Everyone present remained silent as he contemplated the half-moon pond, where he had spent many memorable moments as a young monk, and then made his way to the Buddha hall to pay his respects and offer incense at the ancestral altar.  

Since his arrival, Thich Nhat Hanh’s health has remained fragile but stable. He has joined his community in walking meditation at dawn, visiting every corner of this temple that was his home and where he was nurtured as he embarked on his spiritual path. On the evening of October 26th in Da Nang, as the current Abbot and Head of Tu Hieu lineage, Thich Nhat Hanh directed his disciples to draft a letter inviting all the monks and nuns of the Tu Hieu lineage (disciples and descendants of Zen Master Thanh Quy, his teacher), to a joyful family gathering and homecoming celebration at Tu Hieu Temple on Saturday November 3rd. As Thich Nhat Hanh said when he first returned to Vietnam in 2005, after four decades of exile, “There is no religion, no doctrine higher than brotherhood and sisterhood.”

Even at this moment, Thich Nhat Hanh remains steadfast and energetic in using every breath and every action to build and strengthen the “beloved community of compassion,” and to cultivate healing, reconciliation and transformation in his community, society and the world.

Thay’s 92nd Birthday

Dear Friends,

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

After spending time recuperating in San Francisco in 2015, and then from January to December 2016 at home in Plum Village in France, Thay requested to travel to Thailand, to join his monastic students at our large monastery near Khao Yai National Park. Since that time, Thay has been nourished by the joy and youthfulness of over two hundred monastics at Thai Plum Village. In the warm and tropical climate, and surrounded by his young students, Thay has been able to continue on his path of healing, while also offering his presence to support his beloved young community’s strength and growth. In Thailand Thay has the opportunity to receive world-class healthcare from both Eastern and Western specialists. We are deeply grateful to Thay’s “doctors sangha” who have been caring for Thay with immense generosity, love and respect; and also to all the many specialists in acupuncture and oriental medicine who have offered their skills and expertise.

As part of his birthday celebrations, Plum Village nuns offered Thay and the community a beautiful dance.

As is to be expected for someone so advanced in age recovering from a major stroke, there are times when Thay’s health is stronger, and other times when it is weaker. On good days, Thay is able to eat several small meals a day and join the sangha for walking meditation in his wheelchair, or perhaps participate in a formal meal in the meditation hall, eating with great concentration, dignity and presence. When he is with the sangha, Thay will often gesture, bright-eyed, to remind us to enjoy listening to the sound of the birds, or with a gentle smirk he will point to his mouth to remind us to smile. On good days, Thay has been able to offer his solemn presence and witness at ordination ceremonies, or his joyful presence at festivals, watching his students perform songs, skits and dances. Even with his health challenges, Thay never wants to miss big sangha events. He insisted on being present for the premiere of the «Walk With Me» documentary in Bangkok (where he directed the sangha buy large quantities of popcorn), and he also insisted on travelling with the monastics to be present as they led a large retreat for families at Wang Ree Resort in Thailand.

Although Thay has still not been able to speak since his stroke, he delights in joining in when the sangha sings Plum Village songs and, when he has the strength, continues to diligently train himself to form words. Whenever his health permits, Thay trains eagerly with his physiotherapy exercises, and smiles a smile of victory whenever he is able to stand on his own two feet without any help. The nerves in his right leg are now active all the way to his foot. Although there are still some days when Thay is unable to eat or drink, and he rests deeply in his bed, as soon as his energy is restored he eats a lot, as though making up for the days he couldn’t eat. Overall, we are happy to say that, since the last two years of following a special diet, Thay’s digestive system has been strengthened and restored.

Thay enjoying walking meditation with the sangha in Thai Plum Village.

The sangha can feel Thay’s supportive and nurturing presence, always keeping a teacher’s keen eye on our practice and endeavours, urging us forward, and encouraging us to continue to enjoy the wonders of life, to advance in our practice, to grow and to serve. Thay’s continued presence in our midst has been a great gift and a huge source of energy and support for our community.

Thay makes it known when he would like to nourish himself with nature, and at one point directed his attendants to take him out for a few days by the ocean. Thay enjoyed spending time relaxing on the warm sand, and a young monk held him so he could immerse himself fully in the refreshing, salty water. Thay spent hours listening to the waves and watching the vast ocean and distant horizon. It is a great teaching for all of us to witness Thay enjoying his life so deeply despite the physical adversity he is encountering.

Since Thailand is not far from Vietnam, it has been possible for venerable monks and nuns from Vietnam to travel over to pay their respects to Thay and spend time drinking tea, sharing meals, recalling fond memories and reciting poetry. Many of these venerables are friends and students of Thay who have supported him in difficult moments, in particular when Thay was calling for peace during the Vietnam War. Thay treasures these visits very much. Indeed, last year (in August 2017), Thay was determined to make his own visit to Vietnam, and although it was extremely complex and challenging to organise such a trip, he could not be dissuaded. As soon as he learned that arrangements were in place, he was filled with energy and enthusiasm. Thay was determined to pay his respects at his ancestral shrine in his homeland and at our lineage’s Root Temple in Huế, Chùa Từ Hiếu, where Thay is still abbot, and where his students, Plum Village monks and nuns, continue to live and practice. Thay entered Từ Hiếu temple like a monk coming home. With deep concentration and presence, he chose to visit each altar one by one to solemnly bow and offer incense. After directing his attendants to lead him on a tour of the half-moon pond, and visiting the favorite spots he had loved as a young novice, he chose to leave, as simply as he had come.

Dear friends, Thay always reminded us to practice looking at our loved ones with the eyes of “signlessness”. We see Thay still with us in his physical body, teaching us with his great courage, dignity, strength and compassion. And we see Thay still with us in his teaching body—the living Dharma—expressed not only in all his books and talks, but also in the ways his message continues to resonate around the world, an inspiration for countless people in countless walks of life. Thay is also continued in his Sangha body, his community – comprising over 700 monks and nuns, thousands of members of the Order of Interbeing, and tens of thousands of practitioners who follow the Five Mindfulness Trainings and nourish their practice at local sanghas in cities around the world. It is a great fortune that Thay transmitted the Dharma Lamp to hundreds of monastic and lay teachers, and it is a great happiness that today they are helping Thay’s teachings to shine brightly a little bit everywhere.

Now, more than ever, these teachings are needed, and we are grateful for each of you continuing Thay’s love, wisdom, peace and courage in your corner of the planet. We hope that you can join us in our monasteries or at our external retreats in the coming year as we continue Thay’s legacy together. And we hope that you can be nourished by following our Dharma talks online, in particular the talks of the Autumn Rains Retreat in Plum Village, exploring The Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings more deeply. We invite you to consider making a concrete commitment in your practice that you would like to offer as a gift to Thay. Perhaps a promise to take every step in mindfulness from your front door to the car (one of Thay’s favorites), or to introduce a new habit to protect and care for Mother Earth (like eating vegetarian a certain number of days per month). You can share these commitments in the comments below. This is a wonderful way Thay’s birthday can help invigorate and inspire our collective practice.

We are profoundly grateful for your presence, your practice, and for the much-needed resource support you continue to offer our monasteries as places of learning and refuge. Your generous donations to the Thich Nhat Hanh Foundation make it possible for us to continue to keep Thay’s teachings and legacy alive and relevant for generations to come. We thank you.

Thay was amused to receive a statue of himself as a birthday gift during celebrations in Thai Plum Village on the 7th and 8th October 2018. Over 500 people gathered for a weekend retreat in his honor.

Happy continuation day, dear Thay. And happy continuation day to all your continuation bodies.

With love and trust,

The Monks and Nuns of Plum Village


2017

Thay visits Vietnam for a few days

Official Announcement

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

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 since 2008.

In recent weeks Thay has expressed a strong wish to visit his home country once more, and the sangha is delighted to have been able to realise his wish. Thay’s trip will include a visit to Plum Village’s Root Temple, Chùa Từ Hiếu, in Huế, where Thay began his monastic training in 1942.

We would like to express our deep gratitude to our global community for your continued generous support for our dear Teacher, both materially and spiritually. Your support has given Thay immense strength for his recovery, and has helped make this trip to his homeland possible.

We know how precious it is to still have our dear Teacher with us, radiating great courage, strength, and presence. And we know that Thay draws his energy from the daily practice of every one of his students across the world. He is present with us, every time we take a mindful step or mindful breath, and bring peace and joy to ourselves and the world around us.

While there are no plans for any retreats or public events during Thay’s visit to Vietnam—to help conserve Thay’s health—we encourage you to join us as we continue his vision of a collective awakening, by participating in events in 2017 “Awakening Together, Healing the Ancestral Heart” US Tour (with events in New York, California, New Mexico, Tennessee, and Mississippi), our 2017 UK Tour, or by visiting one of our mindfulness practice centers around the world.  

Walk With Me,” the documentary film about Thich Nhat Hanh and Plum Village, narrated by Benedict Cumberbatch, premiered to sold-out screenings in the US this month, and has begun opening in cinemas across the US, Europe, and Asia. We hope everyone in our worldwide community will have an opportunity to enjoy this cinematic journey into our world of mindfulness, and to share it with friends, helping realize Thay’s vision of transforming cinemas into meditation halls.

As Thay said on his second return trip to Vietnam in 2007, “I’ve been a monk for 65 years, and what I have found is that there is no religion, no philosophy, no ideology higher than brotherhood and sisterhood.» Thay reminds us that with solidarity and true brotherhood and sisterhood, everything is possible.

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, as well as at thichnhathanhfoundation.org.

Thay arrives at Da Nang airport, 29 August 2017

Download this announcement as PDF (letter)


2016

Thich Nhat Hanh arrives in Thailand

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Thai Plum Village International Practice Center
17th December, 2016

Official announcement

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

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Thay arriving at Bangkok airport

During his stay in Thailand, Thay will be residing in his thatched hut at Thai Plum Village International Practice Center, Pakchong, Nakornratchasima Province. Thay has an opportunity to rest and restore his health, near the beautiful mountains of the Khao Yai National Park, and surrounded by the practice energy of his students.

The purpose of this trip is primarily Thay’s health and wellbeing, and there are no plans for Thay to lead retreats, to join any particular sangha activities at the practice center, or indeed to receive any guests. This is to give Thay all the space and quiet he needs to support his health. Thay is receiving daily physical therapy and medical care, and is nourishing himself with his practice of mindful breathing, mindful eating, mindful exercise and so on. As his health permits, we hope that Thay may be able to join some sangha activities from time to time.

When Thay arrived at Thai Plum Village, our large fourfold sangha gathered to welcome him with love, deep respect, and joy. Thay eagerly directed his attendants to turn his wheelchair around so he could see everyone’s faces, and look into the eyes of each student, before he went into his hut to rest from the flight.

Here at Thai Plum Village we have just finished a retreat for healthcare providers, with about 140 participants (December 10 to 14 ). During the retreat, on December 11th, the sangha practiced walking meditation around the grounds after sitting meditation as usual, and we stopped to practice mindful movements close to Thay’s hut. Thay was sitting by the window watching us while his attendant giving him a hand massage. After we finished doing some exercise, the sangha all turned to bow to Thay, and he gently waved his hand in greeting.

From December 25 to January 1, we will host a retreat for core sangha members from the Asia-Pacific region. This is a joyful annual event for us to build community, deepen our practice, and mindfully celebrate Christmas and New Year together. This year, over 300 practitioners will join us from Japan, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand. We regret to announce that we are already at full capacity for this retreat, and registration is now closed.

Thay always reminds us, as his students, to practice wherever we are: whether we’re at home, at school or at work. We invite you all to keep Thay in your hearts with every mindful step and mindful breath. This is a wonderful way to connect to Thay, and to send him our energy as a gift, as a medicine and as strength to support his recovery.

Thai Plum Village Sangha, in association with the Buddhadasa Indapanno Archives (BIA) will be organizing a Day of Mindfulness in Plum Village Tradition on Tuesday, December 27 from 09h00 to 15h30, at the BIA (Railway Park, Bangkok). This event is part of a series of mindfulness events on the theme “New year, New Life…Following in the Footsteps of His Majesty King Bhumibol” The teachings and practices will be led by our senior Dharma Teacher from Plum Village France, Sister Chan Khong. You are warmly welcome to register to attend the event at: http://register.bia.or.th/

For more news of upcoming Days of Mindfulness and retreats led by the Thai Plum Village sangha, please visit www.thaiplumvillage.org, or contact us via:
Facebook: Thai Plum Village
Email: visitus@thaiplumvillage.org

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Thay was present at the gathering a few days ago to welcome the new novices into the monastic community. That is sitting center, and the novices are sitting in inner circle, with headscarves and newly shaven heads!

Thay returns to France

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Official Announcement

Plum Village, France
January 8, 2016

To all Plum Village Practice Centers,

To all Practice Centers and Sanghas world wide,

To our Dear Beloved Friends,

Since the dawn of the New Year, Thay has very clearly communicated to us a wish to return to his hermitage in Plum Village, France. Thay is satisfied with the progress he has made so far, thanks to the phenomenal care and attention of the doctors at UCSF, as well as all the many wonderful therapists treating him in the past six months. Thay would now like to return home to benefit from the healing collective energy there and to be with his Plum Village family. The doctors approved of Thay’s decision and assured us that Thay could make the journey without risk. The attendant team will continue to care for our teacher around the clock and to find the most appropriate therapies.

We are very happy to announce that Thay arrived safely at Bergerac airport in France this afternoon (Friday 8th January), and returned to his hermitage in Plum Village, to a warm welcome of songs and smiles from his monastic disciples.

We are profoundly grateful for all the support and loving donations that Thay and the attendants have received throughout their stay in San Francisco. The loving embrace of the global Sangha has allowed Thay to make great progress on his path of recovery, and he returns to Plum Village invigorated and full of joy. On the eve of the New Year, Thay joined in the joyful celebrations with his attendants, smiling and humming along as they sang. In the last few days, Thay has also enjoyed listening animatedly to recordings of his own voice reading some of his best-loved poems. We are all happy to trust in Thay’s new intuition to return to Plum Village. In the coming weeks we will celebrate the Lunar New Year, the Daffodil Festival, and the Great Ordination Ceremony at Plum Village, and are very happy to know that Thay will be able to enjoy these celebrations with us.

We continue to practice together to care for our teacher, to care for ourselves, and to care for the present moment; by doing so we can assure a bright future that contains the love of community, sisterhood and brotherhood. We are deeply grateful for the supportive energy that everyone is sending our teacher, and invite you to continue doing so as we turn this new page.

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.

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New Year Happy Photo 1
Celebrating New Year’s Eve with attendants, San Francisco, 31 Dec. 2015


2015

A Christmas update from San Francisco

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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.

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Winter Opening Ceremony at the Healing Hamlet, San Francisco, December 2015

Report on Thay’s progress in San Francisco

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Official Announcement

Plum Village, France
September 8, 2015

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

It has been two months now since Thay arrived in America, with the hope of getting more intensive treatment to recover from his stroke. Thanks to the incredible support of our Beloved Community we have been able to obtain the very best doctors and therapists for Thay, across all treatment modalities. 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, speech therapy, osteopathy, and neurofeedback, with the support and oversight of a phenomenal team of doctors at UCSF.

With Thay’s advanced age, the severity of the hemorrhage, as well as various complex health issues, recovery is extremely challenging. When Thay first started physical therapy, Thay was very engaged and enthusiastic with his therapists and the program that they had created for him. Preparing for Thay’s sessions of physical therapy, we could all feel the joyful determination in his body language. We would tell him, “Thay, let’s get ready for physical therapy” and Thay would raise his fist in the air and smile, as if to say “Let’s go!”

However, the level of fatigue and physical discomfort that Thay was experiencing when we first arrived in the US limited his ability to participate in the sessions. With the help of the whole team of doctors and therapists we have been able create an integrated program of treatment which allows Thay to have restful sleep, and more alertness, ease and peace in his body, enabling him to more fully participate in the sessions of therapy.

A recent breakthrough has been that whilst using a partial weight support walking frame, Thay’s right leg has started to make small movements, initiating the stepping motion.

Thay has received training from three different speech therapists over the last two months, one of whom was able to help Thay speak his first words since the stroke. It was a legendary day. We are happy to be able to share his very first words:

In, out (several times)
Happy (several times)
Thank you (several times)

and “Vui quá” (meaning, “So happy,” in Vietnamese)

It was like a guided meditation. Everyone was crying and laughing at the same time, including Thay.

Unfortunately, as the speech therapist who helped him to achieve this breakthrough lives far from San Francisco, she had to go back home after three days and Thay lost some momentum. We have tried a number of other speech therapists but have not been able to maintain Thay’s initial rapid progress. We are still looking for a local speech therapist, ideally fluent in Vietnamese, who would be able to work with Thay several times per week.

Besides all the medical treatments and therapy, Thay has been able to enjoy the Bay Area, going to visit the beach at least twice a week, enjoying beautiful views of the city and the Golden Gate Bridge, being in touch with nature and the wonderful fresh Pacific air. Every day Thay continues to remind us to enjoy the wonders of life, often pointing at the blue sky and helping us come back to the present moment. Sometimes Thay playfully switches roles with the doctors and therapists, putting a finger on his lips and inviting them to stop. In these moments he often indicates for us to prepare tea so his doctors can have a chance to enjoy a cup of tea in mindfulness. One therapist knelt down by his side, looking out of the window and began to cry silently. She later shared with us that it was perhaps the first time in her life that she had really stopped and appreciated the blue of the sky.

A very good friend of Thay’s came to visit and shared his own experience of balancing his intention to live in the present moment with the natural wish for a loved one to recover as much as they can. He said that every moment with Thay is a “bonus moment,” and that all we have to do is cherish these bonus moments. Every moment that Thay has to breathe, to smile, and to enjoy the blue sky is indeed a bonus moment, reminding us all to appreciate life fully, without expectation, peacefully accepting things as they manifest.

This is the spirit in which we have been continuing our large mindfulness retreats, both in Europe and now in the United States. We know that it has long been Thay’s deepest wish to build a Beloved Community of practitioners, and it has been powerful and joyful for thousands of us to come together and realise that dream in France, Germany and now here at Blue Cliff Monastery in New York, where we have just finished a 5-day retreat. We have generated a strong collective energy in our silent sitting meditations under starlit skies, and in our walking meditations along streams and forest paths. We have sung together, laughed together, cried together, and celebrated the miracle of community. We see so clearly our Teacher’s presence here with us at this retreat; he is not only in San Francisco. As Thay said in 2009 when for health reasons he could not be at the retreat in Colorado:

The presence of the Sangha carries Thay’s presence. Please let me walk with your strong feet, breathe with your healthy lungs and smile with your beautiful smiles.

With great gratitude we thank you for keeping your practice alive, with your mindful breathing, your mindful steps, and your gentle smiles. When we come together to generate a strong collective energy of mindfulness, compassion and insight, we are manifesting Thay’s vision for our collective future. Together we are discovering ways to continue Thay’s legacy of bringing peace, happiness and healing to ourselves and the world.

Please join us at our retreats and events in the US this fall: tnhtour.org

With love and trust,

The Plum Village Monks and Nuns

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.

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Thay has travelled to San Francisco for treatment

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Official Announcement

Plum Village, France
July 14, 2015

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

Since our last update, Thay has been able to communicate more clearly a very strong wish to intensify his recovery program. Thay is very determined to do everything possible to recover both his physical movement and speech. After many options were presented to Thay, he made a clear decision to travel to the United States to receive a more intensive rehabilitation program that could be specifically adapted to his needs.

We are happy to report that Thay arrived safely on the West Coast of the United States on the afternoon of July 11. In order to make the flight as safe as possible for Thay, he was flown in a private jet, generously offered by a kind friend. He was accompanied by Sister Chan Khong and the team of attendants who will be continuing their round-the-clock care for him during this new stage of recovery. Thay’s rehabilitation will be guided by a team of distinguished neurologists specializing in stroke and cognitive rehabilitation at UCSF Medical Center.

We remain deeply grateful to all the bodhisattvas on the medical team in France, in particular the doctors and nurses at the University Hospital of Bordeaux. It is thanks to their loving care, professionalism, and kindness that Thay has made such remarkable progress. In preparation for Thay’s flight, they even set aside a whole day to conduct thorough medical tests to ensure he would be strong enough to make the journey.

With a new US team of doctors, we are confident Thay will continue to progress to his maximum capacity. It is a new chapter for our Teacher and our community. The doctors recommend that Thay follow an intensive program of therapy for five to six months, including hospital visits during which he will have access to the latest innovations in robotic rehabilitation techniques, as well as physical training with specialists. Thay will also have therapists visit and train with him at home during the other days of the week.

During the flight, Thay was relaxed and at ease, eager to practice walking meditation through the plane with the help of his attendants. He enjoyed looking out of the window and contemplating the icebergs passing beneath. When the flight finally touched down, Thay was determined to leave the plane on foot rather than in a wheelchair, and he smiled with the joy of arrival.

Thay’s diligence and determination are a powerful message for us all. Thay’s heart and mind will never abandon us or the practice. Although he cannot speak to us, he continues to transmit the essence of the practice. He continues to be with his beloved community, even in times of difficulty.

Let us renew our efforts to practice and connect with our Sangha, whether locally or at mindfulness retreats in practice centers around the world. Let us open our hearts and reach out to our loved ones and to those who are suffering and need a little kindness. We know that with every mindful step and breath, our collective energy of practice and togetherness is supporting our Teacher’s healing.

We have been able to assist Thay in realising his intention to come to the US thanks to the extraordinary generosity and support of a few friends. Now we would like to invite you all to participate in this new chapter of his journey. Thay has shown tremendous courage and determination in every moment since his stroke last November. Let us come together to do everything we can to support him. Many of us have expressed our appreciation to Thay by sending beautiful letters, cards, and well wishes over the past months. We are so grateful for this outpouring of love. And we invite you to express your gratitude for Thay in another concrete way, by helping us to take care of his medical costs at this pivotal time. Our wish is to raise the necessary funds as a collective manifestation of the love of the whole community – your contribution, no matter how small, will be an important support for Thay’s healing.  

The new team of specialists is preparing an estimate of overall costs for Thay’s rehabilitation program, and we expect it to be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Your gift will actively help give Thay the best possible chance of recovering his ability to walk and talk again.

We invite you to contribute at www.thichnhathanhfoundation.org/healingthay. We will keep this page updated with the latest information on Thay’s health care and our collective progress towards the fundraising goal. All gifts made through the Thich Nhat Hanh Foundation are tax deductible for US donors.

We are deeply grateful for your generosity.

May you and your loved ones be peaceful, happy and light in body and spirit. May you experience your own deep healing and transformation on the beautiful path of practice that Thay has opened up for us all.

With love and trust,

The Monks and Nuns of Plum Village

As Thay’s recovery is progressing well, we will offer updates only from time to time. We will keep our global community informed of any major developments, and provide information on how you can continue to support Thay’s healing. All official announcements will continue to appear at plumvillage.org, langmai.org, villagedespruniers.org, and www.facebook.com/thichnhathanh.

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Thay enjoying the fragrance of a lotus flower, 16 June, 2015
Thay enjoying the fragrance of a lotus flower, 16 June, 2015

Thay’s recovery continues in Plum Village

Official Announcement

Plum Village, France
June 28, 2015

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

We are happy to report that Thay’s health has improved greatly since he returned to his Plum Village Hermitage in early April. Every day Thay has been out in nature, enjoying the blossoms, listening to the birds and resting at the foot of a tree. Thay enjoys lying in his hammock next to the running creek, in the fresh cool of the bamboo grove he planted more than thirty years ago.

Doctors and nurses continue to visit Thay, and he receives physiotherapy, massage and acupuncture daily. The team of attendants continue to care for Thay and support his needs around the clock.

Despite his advanced age, Thay has been making remarkable progress.

One day, Thay decided for himself that he was ready to start swallowing solid food, and directed his attendants to prepare an apple, then a lemon and then an avocado. Thay enjoyed each bite with great delight, chewing each mouthful at least forty times before swallowing. Everyone was very surprised. Thay’s mindfulness, concentration and joy to really savor the food was remarkable. Since that day, with great concentration and determination, Thay has been able to enjoy feeding himself. The sisters have been investing their love and creativity in preparing diverse nutritious healthy food for Thay, which he eats with delight. As soon as Thay was able to nourish himself with several wholesome meals a day, he surprised all the doctors by successfully removing his own feeding tube, without any complications. Thay smiled, and we all smiled.

More recently, Thay has begun to develop his vocalisation, joining the attendants when they hum or sing. The first time this happened, one of the sisters was chanting in Vietnamese the name of Avalokita, the Bodhisattva of Great Compassion: Nam Mo Bo Tat Quan The Am. Thay suddenly pronounced the final sound “Âm” (pron. “um”) clearly and on cue. Miraculously, the word “Âm” actually means “sound”. Thay looked at those around him, his eyes gleaming, as if to say “everything is possible”. It was a very moving moment, and the attendants all gathered to continue to chant with Thay. Since that very first “um”, Thay now enjoys singing and humming every day, all the familiar Plum Village tunes in Vietnamese, English and French. At this point, Thay is able to voice the melody and, once in a while, he can form a word. He raises his arm in such a way as to express the meaning of each line, and has great joy and surprise every time he is able to produce a clear and accurate word.

Thay’s therapists have been struck by his extremely strong will to recover, and have pointed out to us that this is the most important factor in his rehabilitation. Thay has been very determined to train himself so he can recover his physical strength and regain his balance and posture. Thay is clear about what he wants to do, and what he does not want to do. He is now able to sit by himself, beautifully upright. In the last three weeks Thay has wanted to start walking, even though his right side remains paralysed. With the support of one attendant behind, and one at his right leg to help move it forward, Thay now practices walking meditation in the garden, several times a day. We can feel Thay’s delight and freedom at each step. Even though it takes great effort, we can see that, for Thay, each step is a step of victory, an affirmation of life and joy to be alive on this beautiful Mother Earth.

From time to time the whole monastic community of 150 monks and nuns has come to practice walking meditation with Thay. Last week we could feel Thay’s joy to see his disciples, and his happiness to lead the sangha in walking meditation. Thay pointed to the blue sky, the swaying bamboo, the smile of a brother, directing us to enjoy the present moment. Thay’s courage, determination and joy, despite his physical limitations, was a clear teaching for all those present as we walked behind Thay with our two healthy feet. With every step, Thay demonstrated that he will continue to practice no matter what the conditions. Thay was affirming that he would never desert the Path. He was encouraging us to stay on the path, and enjoy the wonders of life.

We would like to thank everyone for offering your loving support to Thay and the sangha through the past months. We are deeply grateful for your energy of compassion and prayers, and for your commitment to continue to practice mindfully and deeply for Thay. A special thank you to those who have sent us beautiful children’s drawings for Thay’s room and those who have sent us heartfelt donations to support Thay’s care.

The lotuses are blooming in our ponds, the plums are ripening in our orchards, and we are preparing our hamlets to welcome our guests for the Summer Retreat, around 800 people each week, for a whole month. The Summer Retreat is one of Thay’s favorite times of year. We will welcome families and children, and the Dharma Talks will be given by Thay’s continuation in the form of his Senior Dharma Teachers. Under the shade of the oak trees, bamboo groves and verandas in the late afternoon sun, we will see many circles of friends sharing deeply with one another. Hearts will be open, tears will be shed, as the sound of the bell reverberates.

Nine years ago Thay was asked,
«You will be 80 this year. Do you plan to retire as a spiritual teacher at any point?”

This is the answer he gave:

In Buddhism we see that teaching is done not only by talking, but also by living your own life. Your life is the teaching, is the message. And since I continue to sit, to walk, to eat, to interact with the Sangha and people, I continue to teach, even if I have already encouraged my senior students to begin to replace me in giving Dharma talks. In the last two years, I have asked Dharma teachers, not only in the monastic circle but also in the lay circle, to come up and give Dharma talks. Many of them have given wonderful Dharma talks. Some Dharma talks have been better than mine. I see myself in my continuation, and I will not retire. I’ll continue to teach, if not by Dharma talks then in my way of sitting, eating, smiling, and interacting with the Sangha. I like to be with the Sangha. Even if I don’t give a Dharma talk, I like to join walking meditation, sitting meditation, eating in mindfulness and so on. So don’t worry. When people are exposed to the practice, they are inspired. You don’t need to talk in order to teach. You need to live your life mindfully and deeply. Thank you.

These inspiring words are our compass as we prepare to lead retreats for thousands of people in the coming months: here in Plum Village this Summer, at the EIAB in Germany in August, and on the Miracle of Mindfulness Tour of the United States this fall. Please join us.

May you cherish the presence of those you love, and enjoy each step together.

With love and trust,

The Monks and Nuns of Plum Village

As Thay’s condition is now stable, and his path of recovery is long, we will post updates only occasionally. We will keep our global community informed of any major developments in Thay’s recovery. All official updates will continue to appear at plumvillage.orglangmai.orgvillagedespruniers.org, and www.facebook.com/thichnhathanh.

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Thay enjoying the fragrance of a lotus flower, 16 June, 2015
Thay enjoying the fragrance of a lotus flower, 16 June, 2015

Thay returns to Plum Village

Official Announcement

Plum Village, France
April 6, 2015

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

We are happy to report that Thay’s health has continued to improve at the specialist stroke rehabilitation clinic in Bordeaux, where he has been steadily recovering his strength.

In the warm spring weather in the last few weeks, Thay has been able to enjoy going outside, sitting under a tree and listening to birdsong, drinking a cup of tea and enjoying the sound of the bell.

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 the University Hospital in Bordeaux for their professionalism and wholehearted care to support Thay’s healing over the past four and half months.

Thay expressed his clear wish to return home, and arrived on Friday April 3, in time to enjoy the beautiful magnolia blossoms and the first spring leaves as they unfurl. We are all very glad that Thay can come back to his spiritual home, where his devoted team of monastic attendants are continuing to support him and care for him 24 hours a day, under the guidance of visiting doctors and nurses.

We hope that in the nourishing and peaceful environment of Plum Village, and with the support of on-site physical therapy and speech therapy, Thay will have favourable conditions to treat his hemiparesis and make progress in swallowing and recovering his speech.

We would like to thank our global spiritual family for your loving energy and support. Thay’s journey of recovery will be long, and we thank you for continuing to send him your prayers and energy of compassion and healing.

It has been a pleasure to welcome so many of you at our monastic practice centers in America, Europe and Asia in the past few months as we walk, hand in hand, the beautiful path of awakening that Thay has opened up for us all.

 

With love and trust,

The Monks and Nuns of Plum Village

 

pdf download logoFuture official reports on Thay’s recovery will be posted from time to time at plumvillage.orglangmai.orgvillagedespruniers.org, and www.facebook.com/thichnhathanh.

 

 

smile to the cloud in your tea

 

Thay plum blossom 2014

 

 

 

Thay transfers to Bordeaux rehabilitation clinic

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Official Announcement

Plum Village, France
February 19, 2015

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

As we enter the Lunar New Year, and our practice centers conclude our annual 90-day Winter Retreat, we are very happy to report that our dear Teacher continues to steadily make extraordinary progress.

Thay has now moved to a specialist stroke rehabilitation clinic, where he is receiving the best possible professional care. 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 is steadily recovering his strength and rebuilding his muscles day by day. We have been struck by Thay’s great determination, motivation, courage and concentration as he sets his own program to train himself to learn anew how to sit upright, stand, and move his limbs.

The medical team is also helping Thay learn to swallow again, and last week Thay was able to drink his first cup of tea since November. The attendants prepared Thay’s favorite tea in his cup, and Thay even signalled to invite everyone to drink a cup of tea with him. Contemplating the tea, Thay smiled, put his hand on his heart, and looked up. All could clearly see that Thay was reminding everyone to bring our mind back to our body and to look deeply into the tea, really enjoying the tea and the presence of those around us.

During the last full moon of the lunar year, Thay enjoyed watching the moon rise from his bed, and invited the attendants to enjoy it silently with him. In the peace and joy with which he enjoyed the moon, we can see Thay’s love for the wonders of life and his generosity in teaching us to cherish these wonders at every moment.

With each week that passes Thay is becoming increasingly alert and engaged. Although Thay is not yet able to speak, he has begun to vocalize, and is developing a means of communicating silently with his attendants and physicians. Thay’s path of healing is still long, yet we know that every moment can be a moment to deeply touch the wonders and miracles of life.

We are very grateful for the great compassion and support that Thay has received from his global Sangha Body, creating wonderful conditions for his recovery and healing. We are thankful for your practice of mindfulness and prayers sending positive energy to Thay, and for your letters, donations, and the many beautiful children’s drawings.

Here in France the cold winter is beginning to give way to beautiful blossoms, in time to decorate the hamlets for the Lunar New Year, Thay’s favorite festival. Last week the community prepared hundreds of traditional “Earth Cakes”, and stayed up all night with music and song to cook them over open fires. Each New Year Thay offers us a compact “parallel verse,” to guide our practice in the year to come. For this New Year of the Goat the Plum Village elders have chosen an excerpt of a poem written by Thay, which hangs at the altar of the Still Water Meditation Hall in Upper Hamlet:

Look deeply to understand clearly
Listen deeply to truly love

These phrases have been written in calligraphy and prepared in “diamonds” that can be printed and posted around your home or workplace, as gentle reminders to practice. (You may download the print-friendly pdf here >>>)

Wishing you health, happiness and many fruits of the practice,

The Monks and Nuns of Plum Village

Future reports on Thay’s recovery will be posted officially at plumvillage.orglangmai.orgvillagedespruniers.org, and www.facebook.com/thichnhathanh.

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ENG - Look Deeply - diamond ENG - Listen Deeply - diamond

Thay emerges into wakefulness

CBZ-village-des-pruniers

Official Announcement

Plum Village, France
January 3, 2015

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

Happy New Year! May you and your loved ones enjoy a truly New Year, blossoming with health, happiness and peace. We would like to thank everyone for continuing to generate the energy of healing and compassion for our Beloved Teacher.

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 longer in a coma.

In his current state, Thay is able to recognize familiar faces. He is very responsive to verbal stimuli and has brought everyone great joy by starting to smile in the last few days. One of Thay’s close attendants recounted some shared memories from being on Tour with Thay. There was a particularly humorous story which, to his astonishment, even made Thay smile and chuckle.

However at the present time Thay is not yet able to speak. This indicates some degree of aphasia, which is being monitored closely and may evolve favourably in response to therapy.

Thay’s physical condition remains stable, and thanks to the excellent care Thay has received from the medical staff, he is able to enjoy being comfortable and at ease. Thay is investing great effort in his physiotherapy sessions. He is making daily progress, and the attendants are learning from his mind of determination, as they witness him practising the exercises from time to time throughout the day.

There are plans for Thay to be transferred to a specialist Stroke Rehabilitation Clinic soon. In the Rehab Clinic he will get the best possible care and training in order to regain as much as he can in his speech ability and movements.

Today in Plum Village we concluded our special Christmas and New Year Retreat. Nine hundred people, including many friends from near and far, participated in our New Year’s Celebrations on the 31st. We practised walking meditation together along Upper Hamlet’s legendary paths, burned New Year Resolutions in a bonfire, listened to a nourishing Dharma Talk from a senior Dharma Teacher, and enjoyed a festive meal and lively performances, ranging from jazz to rap, kung fu and an in-house skit of “The Goodfather”. Sister Chan Khong offered a Total Relaxation and Touching of the Earth, and the whole community sat in meditation as midnight arrived, signalled by the giant temple drum and bell.

Thay has built a beautiful community for us all to take refuge in, and we know the peace and joy of our spiritual family is Thay’s peace and joy.

A real sangha always carries within itself the energy of love, the energy of brotherhood and sisterhood, hope and compassion.
Our sangha is our home. Our sangha is our hope.

TNH, December 24, 2010

With trust and love,

The Monks and Nuns of Plum Village

Future reports on Thay’s recovery will be posted officially at plumvillage.orglangmai.orgvillagedespruniers.org, and www.facebook.com/thichnhathanh.

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2014

Thay’s survival astounds the doctors, but he remains in a coma

CBZ-village-des-pruniers

Official Announcement

Plum Village
December 13, 2014

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

Thay continues to surprise the doctors with his strong vital signs and steady, peaceful breathing. They are still amazed that Thay has been able to survive and even to show small signs of progress.

A few days ago, one of the doctors shared that «Thay is an enigma», and another said they were “witnessing a miracle.» When a top neurosurgeon from the US visited last week, he was deeply impressed by the medical team’s commitment to giving Thay every possible chance of recovery.

In recent days Thay has been showing some indications of wakefulness, but he continues to remain in a coma. There have been times when Thay had his eyes open for more than two hours, and is responsive, but he is not yet showing clear signs of communication. The doctors remind us that it may be weeks or months before we can understand the damage caused by the hemorrhage and discover the extent of healing that may be possible.

The medical team has started to stimulate Thay to have more wakefulness. Every day the nurses help Thay sit in a chair, and in addition to acupuncture and massage from the attendants, physiotherapists come to activate Thay’s body. We sing to Thay, and we also let Thay listen to Sangha chants and beautiful sounds of nature.

We are very grateful to the EIAB and Maison de L’Inspir’ sanghas and all the Venerables from Vietnam and elsewhere, who came to offer their support and presence in Plum Village, as well to all the many lay practitioners who have offered your presence, or sent energy, letters and drawings of love and support. We can feel the Sangha body, as an extension of Thay’s body, finding nourishment and healing. Here in Plum Village the Sangha continues with our Winter Retreat, offering Days of Mindfulness, monastic days, dharma talks, dharma circle sharings and classes, deepening and strengthening Thay’s sangha body.

On December 18th there will be a Monastic Ordination Ceremony for new novices, as Thay would have wished. The monastic community will ordain 31 new monks and nuns in Thailand, nine in Plum Village, and one new novice monk in Deer Park Monastery, California. This group of new monastics will belong to the “Red Oak Family”. This event is momentous for our Plum Village community as we continue the work and love of our Teacher. There truly is only continuation.

During the holiday season, please take some time off to take care of yourself, your loved ones, and friends. Find time to be with nature, to enjoy the stars, and the white clouds and to truly come home and be at home within ourselves, as Thay always encourages us to do. You may like to write love letters instead of spending money and consuming more. The New Year is a wonderful opportunity to begin anew with ourselves and let go of resentments and regret.

We will release another update about Thay’s health in the New Year.

Until then, may you and your family touch true peace and happiness.

May you be able to enjoy your true home.

“Eternity can be touched in the present moment,

and the cosmos in the palm of your hand.”

TNH, 18 March 2012

 

With trust and love,

The Monks and Nuns of Plum Village

Future reports on Thay’s condition will be posted officially at plumvillage.orglangmai.orgvillagedespruniers.org, and www.facebook.com/thichnhathanh.

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Thich Nhat Hanh Hong Kong Compassion Chant 2

Thay’s condition stabilises

CBZ-village-des-pruniers

Official Announcement

Plum Village
November 30, 2014

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

As the Winter Retreat continues to unfold in all our practice centers in Europe and America, Thay’s condition in the hospital remains stable.

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. Even the doctors have been surprised at the consistent level of oxygen in his blood. Thay is truly the best breather in the world, inspiring us to deepen our full awareness of the breath. Thay continues to remind us that each day we are alive is a miracle, and that simply to breathe is a gift.

The latest scan shows that Thay’s hemorrhage has slightly reduced in size. The edema is still present, but has not worsened. The doctors have met to re-evaluate their approach and review how to nourish Thay’s body more as we enter medium-term treatment. Thay continues to receive 24-hour care from his monastic attendants as well as hospital nurses. We are very grateful for the commitment of the hospital neurologists who are maintaining Thay’s healing process with open hearts and minds.

Earlier this year, Thay accepted an invitation from Pope Francis to go to the Vatican on December 1 & 2 to support a global initiative to end modern slavery. A delegation of 22 monks and nuns, including Sister Chan Khong and Thay Phap An (Director of our European Institute of Applied Buddhism in Germany) are now in Rome to realise Thay’s wish.

We continue to be grateful for your messages of support and the energy of mindfulness and compassion being generated for Thay. Wherever we are, we know that our practice of nourishing and healing ourselves is the best way we can all take care of Thay, and take care of the present moment.

Because suffering is impermanent, that is why we can transform it.
Because happiness is impermanent, that is why we have to nourish it.

-TNH, 10th June 2014

With trust and love,

The Monks and Nuns of Plum Village

Future reports on Thay’s condition will be posted officially at plumvillage.org, langmai.org, villagedespruniers.org, and www.facebook.com/thichnhathanh.

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Thay offering the Namovalokiteshvara chant  in Hong Kong, 2013. Photo: Kelvin Cheuk
Thay offering the Namovalokiteshvara chant in Hong Kong, 2013. Photo: Kelvin Cheuk

Thay remains in intensive care

CBZ-village-des-pruniers

Official Announcement

Re: Thay’s current condition

Plum Village, 22 November, 2014

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

The doctors have expressed surprise at Thay’s resilience and stability over the last week, as the intensive treatment continues. 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.

The monks and nuns attend our teacher continuously at his bedside, breathing with him, embracing him with their love, praying that the millions of healthy cells in Thay’s body may become millions of bodhisattvas, helping his brain to heal. As Thay’s condition remains critical, please intensify your practice of generating the energy of Great Compassion of Avalokita for Thay.

Let us support Thay by sustaining our practice of mindfulness throughout the day, wherever we are, keeping Thay alive within us and within our community. With deep conscious breaths and mindful steps, let us allow Thay’s teachings to ripen within us, helping us see Thay’s continuation body and Thay’s sangha body.

May we let go of resentments against those who have hurt us, and release our fear and sorrow, by coming back to the calm and gentle breathing that Thay has transmitted to us. This is the best way we can support Thay and be his beautiful continuation.

With trust and love,

The Monks and Nuns of Plum Village

Future reports on Thay’s condition will be posted officially at plumvillage.org, langmai.org, villagedespruniers.org, and www.facebook.com/thichnhathanh.

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Thay remains in a critical condition in hospital

CBZ-village-des-pruniers

Official Announcement

Re: Thay’s health situation

Plum Village, 15 November, 2014

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

Thầy is now in a hospital with a highly reputable neurologist monitoring his progress. He is in the right place with the best possible care and attention. New tests have been done. Doctors report that Thầy is showing good progress in terms of remaining stable and not having major changes in his condition during this critical part of his recovery. The area of hemorrhage has not grown and his vital signs are normal.

In the early morning, Saturday, November 15, Thầy opened his eyes for the first time since his cerebral hemorrhage, to look at his attendants for a brief moment. He was very conscious and attentive to what was happening around him, lifting his left hand to touch the attendant next to him. Since then, he has also opened his eyes several times and his gestures of communication are clearer, nodding or shaking his head to respond. Thầy has been able to rest and sleep peacefully for several hours each day. The doctors are cautiously optimistic and remind us that Thầy’s condition is still in a critical stage and conditions can change at any moment.

Winter Retreat Opens
The Fourfold Sangha of Plum Village gathered this morning in the Still Water Meditation Hall of the Upper Hamlet to formally open the Winter Retreat and to participate in the “Face To Face and Request for Refuge Ceremony”. We know that it has always nourished our Teacher to see all his students, lay and monastic, gather to practice and take refuge in each other for 90 days. At least in Upper Hamlet this year, we have broken a record high with 60 lay friends taking refuge, 52 Bhikkhus and 18 Novices. We will share this wonderful news and spiritual food to nourish Thầy. All our monasteries around the globe will also host the three month retreat as usual, to deepen our practice and nourish our community and our brotherhood and sisterhood.

Collective Support
We are aware and grateful for the love and practice that people are offering from all around the world to support Thầy’s recovery. Sanghas and groups of practitioners are gathering to send their peaceful energy to our Teacher. He is clearly receiving this energy. Each of our mindful breaths and mindful steps is nourishing Thầy. Please continue to enjoy the blue sky for Thầy, the fresh morning air and the small pathways in nature for Thầy. Especially, please enjoy each other, your loved ones, and our togetherness for Thầy.

If possible, you can dedicate a day to eat vegetarian as a way to generate compassion to send to Thầy. You can reconcile with your loved ones, or to let go of your resentment of someone and write them a love letter. And in the same Winter Retreat spirit being practiced at our monasteries, you can participate in your local Sangha more, support the collective energy of mindfulness, consume less and reduce your time online.

With trust and love,

The Monks and Nuns of Plum Village

Future reports on Thay health and recovery will be posted officially at plumvillage.org, langmai.org, villagedespruniers.org, and www.facebook.com/thichnhathanh.

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Touching the Earth to the abbots and abbesses during the "Face to Face Ceremony"
Monks and Nuns Touching the Earth as a gesture of taking refuge in their elders, the abbots and abbesses, during the traditional «Face to Face Ceremony» to open the Winter Retreat

Sixty lay men will be participating in all 90 days of the Winter Retreat in Upper Hamlet. Hundreds of others are expected to join for stays of a week or more.
Sixty lay men will be participating in all 90 days of the Winter Retreat in Upper Hamlet. Hundreds of others are expected to join for stays of a week or more.

The four-fold sanghas of Upper Hamlet, Son Ha, Lower Hamlet, New Hamlet and Maison de l'Inspir' all gathered this morning to perform the formal ceremony to open the retreat.
The four-fold sanghas of Upper Hamlet, Son Ha, Lower Hamlet, New Hamlet and Maison de l’Inspir’ all gathered on Saturday morning in the Still Water Meditation Hall of Upper Hamlet, to perform the formal ceremony to open the retreat.

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What is Mindfulness

Thich Nhat Hanh January 15, 2020

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