Thay and the Sangha preparing for Lunar New Year



2nd February 2019


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.

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

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




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,,, and, as well as at Please be assured that we will continue to update our global community in a mindful and timely way.


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


Just a simple monk!

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43 comments on “Thay and the Sangha preparing for Lunar New Year
  1. Patrick Chalmers says:


    I am a longtime student of Thay.
    I have tentative plans to be visiting family in Thailand this Summer and wonder if students of Thay are welcome to visit him in Vietnam, i would like to make that pilgrimage if so.

    With Love and Peace,

  2. David Hevia says:

    Thank you all very much for sharing. It makes me a little sad seeing Thay like that, but, at the same time, when I think that many beautiful, loving, and kind people are looking after him, it brings me joy. I also trust he is happy, too. After all, Thay is a true experienced master in the practice. I really wish you all, Thay and Sangha, a happy Lunar New Year celebration. Much love from the other side of the world!

  3. Norbert says:

    Dziękuję za wszystkie twoje słowa. Życzę ci wielu pięknych chwil w dobrym towarzystwie.
    Thank you for all your holy words. I wish you all the best with your sanga.

  4. Lin Rongxiang says:

    I am a cloud, I am the blue sky
    I am a bird spreading out its wings
    I am a flower, I am the sunshine
    I am the earth receiving a seed

    and I am free when my heart is open
    Yes I am free when my mind is clear
    oh dear brother, oh dear sister
    let’s walk together, mindfully

  5. Benly says:

    Thank you 🙏 ((Thay)) San

  6. Timothy says:

    Daily I remember lessons learned from the book “Mindfulness in Plain English”…Thay’s life is, and will always be, a gift to the world.
    I hope he knows how appreciated he is, and that the gifts he’s given us all will continue to impact the world.
    Those peach blossoms are like minds that he has helped bloom.
    Enjoy every moment.

  7. Amy says:

    Thank you, Plum Village Monks, for posting! I’m in joyful peace hearing that Thay was able to spend Têt in his homeland with the love and support of Plum Village. His teachings have reached me and connected me to so much wisdom. Please let him know that I bow in gratitude and send love. *bow*

  8. Dennis says:

    Dear Thay dear Sangha,

    present moment wonderful moment.

    Its good to see Thay at such a beautiful place.

    Peace and Happiness

    Dennis from Germany

  9. Wanda says:

    I send him blessings and thank yous for all the miraculous and inspiring things that he has done for us all. Please tell him I love him and wish him the very devine best.🙏♥️😍🕯🎶

  10. Leandro says:

    Infinite thanks to Thay for his blessing teachings! Wishing he get well! Mariana & Leandro

  11. damien says:

    will thay be touring at all to california pasadena? just asking thanks or maybe by skype?

    • Chanh Niem says:

      Dear Damien,

      Thank you for your question. Thay is enjoying the Lunar New Year in Vietnam at his root temple now. You are welcome to check the website for future updates about Thay and his whereabouts.

      The Plum Village Web Team

  12. Alex Wong says:

    Thank you for sharing about Thay’s health and Happy Lunar New Year to all. I have been dealing with Ugandan LGBTI Refugees who escaped Uganda’s homophobic society, and they are seeking refuge in Nairobi and Malawi. I send them Thay’s reading daily, and they seek solace and hope in his words. Since I read about Plum Village’s to Uganda, I would like to ask if members are willing to visit the refugees in Nairobi and Malawi, and provide a workshop on Thay’s practices. I see a lot of despair and hopelessness in the words of young people who have been shunned from their families and societies. They have literally become one of the oppressed people in the world. Please consider this and I can get you in touch with these people.

    • Chanh Niem says:

      Dear Friend,

      Thank you for your message. We really appreciate your care and support for the Ugandan LGBT refugees and for your proposal. If you would like to make further inquires about this possibility please email

      Best wishes for you and your practice,

      The Plum Village Web Team

  13. Liliana Tonini says:

    I 💜 THAY 🙏🔔☁️🌻🌿🦋
    Muchas gracias querido Maestro!
    Un gran abrazo desde Argentina 😘

  14. Deanna says:

    Peace and love! I have learned much in the short time I have read this beautiful souls words of wisdom! Forever grateful! Thank you!

  15. Judi says:

    Happy New Year dear Thay & to all at Plum Village. It is so good to hear this lovely update. I am so happy that Thay can be at his home in Plum Village where he is still enjoying life. May peace, harmony, & compassion be in our meditations this New Year! Blessings dear Thay! 🙏

  16. Sonia says:

    DearThay, I’m so joyful to hear that You still can enjoy Life. When I drive my car I let You drive. So I enjoy IT. When there is walking I let You walk for me. IT brings so much Joy. Thanks to You all for taking good care of him. He showes all of us the path to freedom and Peace. Warm greetings Sonia from Belgium

  17. Linda Baugh says:

    A lotus for you…and many thanks for the updates.


    I am so happy to hear the update about Thay, and your preparations for Tet. Thank you so much for communicating the news.

  19. Nancy Dao Nguyen says:

    When is That coming back to the states??

    • Chanh Niem says:

      Dear Nancy,

      Thank you for your question. Thay is enjoying the Lunar New Year in Vietnam at his root temple now. You are welcome to check the website for future updates about Thay and his whereabouts.

      The Plum Village Web Team

  20. Deb Nerby says:

    Thank you for the update! I, one of many continue to seek any information on his health and continuing journey. I send love and gratitude for his teachings,life, and wisdom.deb nerby

  21. Faye Harasack, Still Pond of the heart says:

    Dear friends, thank you for sharing news of Thay, and also for the meditations on harmony and joy. Ever since I learned what our New Year couplets would be, I have been singing a song introduced to me by OI member John Bell at retreats. I’t’s called Chinese Proverb and it’s sung by Sweet Honey in the Rock:
    Where there is light in the soul
    There is beauty in the person.
    Where there is beauty in the person
    There is harmony in the home.
    Where there is harmony in the home,
    There is honor in the nation.
    Where there is honor in the nation,
    There is peace in the world.

    May we all cultivate minds full of light this year, as Thay has been showing us how to do for so many years! With love and gratitude

    • MSVL says:

      Thank you for sharing such a wonderful song. I stumbled upon this site because I had an experience this afternoon jostling for a parking space in Chinatown. I don’t know why I thought of showing that woman a finger when I have rejected that thought in my mind (mostly because my mom was sitting next to me). The woman failed at getting in position for the parking space and lowered her window (which her closed shortly before after claiming she got the space first) to lecture me of showing my finger at her in front of my mom. It was vulgar and wrong, and I apologized to my mom for that and about the whole incident. I’m not young and I should never have done the obscene gesture. Right or wrong is irrelevant but that bad karma is a thing that must be avoided.

      Your song explained it. I didn’t have the wisdom in me to avoid the altercation. I followed behind the two girls and saw that woman’s car at the top of the side lane. Similar situation when I saw other people following the driver for his parking space and I’m on the wrong side of the same lane, I would drive away. She happened to stop her car at the front of a lane and the car happened to be right pass the cross lane in front of her, but I put on the signal when I saw her talking to the girls. Everyone probably thought I was wrong, but how many times people can make up their mind quickly on things they choose to believe is the truth! Regardless, your song is correct. If I had the wisdom to avoid confrontations and bad karma, it would be ideal. And the anger I brought into the restaurant and the uneasiness among family at the table would’ve been nonexistent, the patrons of the restaurant at the time would’ve had a more quiet ambience, and the world would’ve been more peaceful if the whole incident were handled satisfactorily with compassion and understanding. I lowered the window to tell that woman I got that space first, but wouldn’t listen and closed up her window before she pointed at her wrist. Who would’ve guessed an American woman pointing at her wrist meant “I got here first?” Her car stopped at an advantageous spot. As I was following behind the driver, I had thought about foregoing the parking space when I saw that woman’s car and the line of cars behind hers. But where’s my wisdom to make the right decisions at all times? I said to my mom I’ll not do the vulgar gesture again. I was surprised to see myself doing the gesture I mentally rejected to do. That’s a sign of mental weakness, let alone culture and character degeneration. For fear of bad karma I went online to see if there are Buddha’s teachings that will help to educate and prevent similar future incidents, and I saw your posting. Thank you, and may all beings have the wisdom to guide themselves and correctly take care of the situations at hand.

  22. Ilja Tammen says:

    Thank you for the updates ! Connection stable and deep, joy nourished, trust in my heart gains strength. Namosangaja.

  23. Joyce Schwartz says:

    Thank you for this message. Recently I have lost a close friend to heart attack. My heart is lighter when I hear about Thay.

  24. Susan Terris says:

    Thank you for the lovely new year gatha and update about Thay! Happy Tet to the community.

  25. Joycelyn Persad says:

    Thank you for this Blessed Update. Happy New Year to Thay. I love him Dearly he is so wise.❤️❤️❤️😍😍😍💝💝

  26. Gerlinde says:

    Thank you for this beautiful update!
    Love and peace to Thay all of you 🙏

  27. Such joy for Thay to be among you.

  28. Patty Egbert says:

    So happy to hear this news. Thay continues to inspire so many. Thank-you for the update. What a wonderful human being he is

  29. Fabiola Molina says:

    Happy to know Thay is at home celebrating with his community the Lunar New Year, sending energy of love and peace.
    Harmony in our home
    Joy in the world

  30. Cynthia says:

    Thank you for this beautiful article. Peace & harmony is within me while I read the article. As I also celebrate Lunar New Year, we share many common traditions & well wishes for this spring festival. I have not attended any mindfulness retreat by Thay, but I have read his books, and listened to his dharma talk, his wisdom is a blessing to me and to this world. I do hope that I’ll be able to attend a retreat at Plum Village in the near future. Thank you Thay for his teaching & loving-kindness!

  31. Phillips says:

    Thank you for the update

  32. Lebinh Nguyen says:

    Grateful to Thầy et all of You who organized the meaningful days for us !

  33. Barbara Sullivan says:

    Thank you for these updates! Thay s a real Prophet of our times. It is such a privilege to be guided by his wisdom and love.

  34. Diana Arnold says:

    Thank you the update on our dear teacher. May the sangha continue to care for each other, cultivating harmony and joy with each breath and every smile. Thay has nourished our spirits and practice. May we cultivate the same love and compassion. Namo Thich Nat Hahn. May the seeds that he has planted and so mindfully cultivated in our sangha continue to flourish and continue to remind us to return to home.

  35. Rebecca Roe says:

    Thank you for the update, friends. Also, I wanted to alert you to an error in the caption of the first lovely picture you shared. It says “30 Feb” instead of “30 Jan”- as you document these important moments in Thay’s life, I know accuracy is important. Thank you again for letting us share in these moments and Happy New Year . 🙏