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

Sister Chân Từ Nghiêm

Sr Tu Nghiem

Adornment with True Loving Kindness


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Life Story

Sister Chân Từ Nghiêm (also known as “Sr. Eleni” to lay friends) was ordained by Thầy as a novice nun on January 26th 1991 in the Red Candle Meditation Hall of Lower Hamlet, Plum Village, France. She received full ordination as a bhikshuni on August 5th 1994, and the transmission of the lamp from Thầy to become a Dharma Teacher on December 3rd 1996. She is the 11th disciple of Thầy.

Before becoming a nun, Sr. Chân Từ Nghiêm was a nurse. The first time she saw Thầy walk, she was moved by his tranquillity. It reminded her of the sail boats she had seen gliding into the harbour when she was a student in Hawaii. She knew then that she had found a practice of walking meditation, and a teacher who truly embodied the practices he taught. She is grateful for Thay’s teachings on Buddhist psychology, and living in the sangha, which have been essential elements for her transformation and growth.

Having grown up in Greenwich Village, Manhattan, NY she loves people, animals, plants and minerals, i.e. the Mother Earth, especially the beauty of nature surrounding us, and the international sangha of monastic and lay retreatants at Plum Village. She also enjoys walking in nature, poetry, and listening to Mozart Piano Concertos played by Alicia de Larrocha. To honour her Greek ancestors, Sr. Từ Nghiêm makes Greek Salad for the community and our neighbours on the Open House Day. She hopes Thầy’s practices of mindfulness can be shared in countries of her ancestors (the Ukraine and Greece), and in other countries around the world.

Sr. Chân Từ Nghiêm offers Dharma Talks in English and French. Residing at the New Hamlet, she gently guides her younger sisters and the lay practitioners, in practices she has learned from Thầy, and from her experience of living and practicing in the sangha. Her kind presence and compassionate listening are invaluable to the community, both monastic and lay.

Dharma Talks

Invoking the Bodhisattvas’ Names

The word Bodhisattva means “awakened being”. In the text Invoking the Bodhisatva’s Names, written by Thich Nhat Hanh, 5 Bodhisattvas are mentioned who represent qualities we can all uncover in ourselves.  In this talk, Sister Tu Nghiem offers us an explanation of this text. You can find the text…

Sr Từ Nghiêm

September 19, 2021

The Birds are Still Singing

As we come in touch with the newly blooming flowers and the rising bird-song of Spring, Sr. Từ Nghiêm guides us in inquiring: how may we offer Spring cleaning and renewal to our body, and to our mind? In this warm and image-rich talk, our elder sister shares practical…

Sr Từ Nghiêm

March 7, 2021

The Four Fruits of the Plum Village Practice

Talk in English given on September 29, 2019, in the New Hamlet of Plum Village Sr Tu Nghiem talks about the Four fruits of the Plum Village practice, which are 1) froglessness, 2) Dwelling in the present moment 3) interbeing and 4) no birth and no death. With ‘froglessness’…

Sr Từ Nghiêm

September 29, 2019

Compassionate Healthy Living and Generosity

Everyone is capable of being mindful. Mindfulness helps us to live in the present moment and be truly present for life. The mindfulness trainings when practiced help us to be truly present. Sr Tu Nghiem covers the 5th and 13th Mindfulness Trainings of the Order of Interbeing. They are…

Sr Từ Nghiêm

November 4, 2018

Re-manifestation, Easter Talk

Easter represents renewal of life. Through Christian aspect of Christ’s resurrection and the pagan aspect of spring new life is being born. (2:07) As mindfulness practitioners we can get in touch with the renewal of life by being aware of our breath and our steps. To be in touch…

Sr Từ Nghiêm

April 1, 2018

Awakening In Everyday Life

The seven factors of awakening are practiced right in the heart of everyday life. For example, when we are in touch with the raindrops hanging on a branch, the daffodils bursting through the soil, the birds singing to us, we are in touch with joy. Mindfulness is like the…

Sr Từ Nghiêm

February 8, 2018

Relationships – Trust in Change

Relationships can be the most nourishing and the most challenging aspects of our lives. We may have inherited complex ways of relating from our ancestors that they’ve never had a chance to clearly understand. As the French philosopher XXX Pascal said, “The heart has reasons, which reason itself does…

Sr Từ Nghiêm

October 29, 2017

Practices for True Freedom

The theme of the fourth week of Summer is Freedom. Sr. Loving Kindness shared that whenever she felt stressed as a young person, she would go and watch sail boats glide peacefully into the harbor to anchor. The first time she saw Thầy walk, she saw that Thầy walked…

Sr Từ Nghiêm

July 31, 2017
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What is Mindfulness

Thich Nhat Hanh January 15, 2020

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