A retreat at Plum Village is an opportunity to experience the art of mindful living. We do everything in a spirit of meditation, whether it is walking to the bathroom, washing the dishes, or listening deeply to the sound of the bell.
The daily schedule in Plum Village varies depending on the season and the retreat, and varies slightly between the different hamlets. Every day we practice sitting meditation, walking meditation, mindful eating and mindful working together as a community. There is always a period of “Noble Silence” from the last evening activity until after breakfast the next day. One day a week is a designated Lazy Day, with no formal practice schedule.
During themed retreats such as the “Earth Retreat”, “Summer Opening”, “Wake Up Retreat”, retreatants are part of a “Dharma sharing family” facilitated by a Dharma teacher.
There are usually four Dharma Talks a week, for which the whole community gathers in one hamlet for the morning. The talk is offered by one of our Dharma teachers, or by Thay (Thich Nhat Hanh) through a recorded-DVD, and is followed by walking meditation all together through the beautiful orchards and woods.
General Practice Weeks
During the general practice weeks in Winter, Spring, Autumn and the Rains Retreats, retreatants have an opportunity to follow the monastics’ routine schedule to deepen the fundamental practices of sitting and walking meditation, chanting, touching the earth, mindful eating and working.
The whole community gathers on Thursdays and Sundays for a full Day of Mindfulness in one of the hamlets. The rest of the week is spent in our “home hamlet”.
When you arrive we offer a full orientation about Plum Village mindfulness practice and the practice schedule for your stay. There will not be “Dharma sharing” families.
Here is what a typical day in Plum Village might look like
5:00am: Wake up
6:00am: Sitting Meditation
(followed by Sutra Reading / Touching the Earth / Slow Walking Meditation)
7:00am: Physical exercise
9am: Dharma Talk / Class / Presentation / Mindful service
11:30am: Walking meditation in nature
1:30pm: Rest or Optional Guided Relaxation
3pm: Dharma sharing or mindful service
6pm: Light dinner
8pm: Personal study time/ sitting meditation or other collective practice
9.30pm: Noble Silence begins
10pm: Lights out
There is often time in the early morning or late afternoon for personal exercise (eg. Yoga, Chi Gong, Tai Chi, Jogging) or, depending on the weather, group sports (football, volleyball, frisbee etc).