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

How to Grieve

Transforming Our Pain into Compassion, Strength and Peace

Join us for an inspiring three-day retreat online

How can we find meaning, peace, and an orientation for our lives in times of change? Whether it’s our personal journey of grieving, or our grieving for the losses sustained by our planet Earth, in this retreat we will learn how mindfulness can help us go through the process of grieving with more acceptance, peace and love.

Birth and Death are only doors through which we pass, sacred thresholds on our journey.

Thich Nhat Hanh

A short video about the reteat

This retreat will be offered in English and will be in European and African time zones.

A three-day journey to cultivate peace, love and healing

Featuring specially-curated guided meditations and practices to support the grieving process

Connect live to an international community

Generating a collective energy of mindfulness

Intimate group interactions with monastics

Join a group of 16-20 people, guided by a monastic. These “Dharma Sharing” groups are a unique Plum Village offering and a highlight of the retreat. It’s a great way to enjoy live interaction, and to hear, learn, and connect deeply with people from many different countries and backgrounds. Dharma Sharing also provides a chance to ask questions to the monastics and receive guidance or recommendations for deepening your mindfulness practice. Please note that spaces are limited.

Exclusive talks from senior teachers trained by Thich Nhat Hanh

Broadcast live from Plum Village, France and the Root Temple, Vietnam

Sister Thuan Khanh

Thursday, 29 July: Self-Care in Times of Grief

Our body and mind are the altar of our ancestors and loved ones. Learning how to come back to our body in the present moment, we can be fully present for ourselves, our loved ones, the Earth, and find the stability we need to be present for our loss. This dharma talk is an introduction to the art of mindful living, exploring essential practices to help us release tensions in the body, arrive in the present moment and intentionally nourish our happiness while caring for our loss.


Portrait of Sister Tu Nghiem
Sister Tu Nghiem

Friday, 30 July: Befriending Grief and Loss

Naming our losses and how they have affected us—whether our losses are related to the pandemic, to financial security and jobs, or to the ending of important relationships—is the start of our healing journey. We will learn how to take care of body and mind with gentle compassion and mindfulness practices, as well as how to receive love and support from those who care about us. The practice of living in the present moment and nourishing our wellbeing with mindful breathing and mindful walking will support us on our path of gentle grieving.


Sister Hoi Nghiem

Saturday, 31 July: New Beginnings

How can we handle feelings of regret, guilt or remorse that comes after a loss? How can we communicate with those who have passed away? In this talk sister Hoi Nghiem shares her personal experience of taking care of survivors of loss, finding meaning, and understanding the deepest aspirations of our loved ones so that we can carry them beautifully into the future. We’ll also cover the Five Remembrances, a daily practice that can help free us from our fears and have the solidity we need in times of loss..


Brother Phap Ung

Sunday, 1 August: Touching Eternity

What does it mean to be alive? What does it mean to die? What happens when we die? In this dharma talk, we will look deeply at our fear of death, and at the views that have locked us in our suffering, including the view that we are a separate self and that we are only limited to this body. We will explore ancient Buddhist wisdom that offers eight different perspectives to help us see all the ways in which we are interconnected with our loved ones and the world around us, now and even after we die.


Special Presentations

Sister Chan Duc
Ceremony to commemorate our loved ones

Through ceremony, we can create a sacred space to honor and be with our loved ones. Their joys and sorrows, strengths and wounds continue in us on both the conscious and unconscious levels. In this special session, Sister Chan Duc will lead us in a ceremony to celebrate the lives of our loved ones and—drawing on the strength of collective remembrance and practice—bring our loved ones on a journey of healing and reconciliation.


Total Relaxation and Touching the Earth
Sister Chan Khong

Reconnecting with our ancestors, descendants, and all beings beyond time and space

In a simple act of bowing down and surrendering to the earth, the practice of Touching the Earth helps us reconnect with ourselves, our blood and spiritual ancestors, and the mother earth. We will be guided through this ancient meditation practice using a form of intimate conversation. This deeply healing and transformative practice has the capacity to purify and release our past sufferings and bring back the joy of being alive. When we can transcend our limited view of our existence as a separate self, we can truly understand the meaning of Interbeing and oneness with all beings. It is also an opportunity to heal our relationships through forgiveness and to embrace our ancestors, parents, teachers, and ourselves.


Workshops

In this retreat, we will offer a number of workshops to support you in the process of grieving, such as: 

  • Healing the Pain of Loss and Separation
  • How to Commemorate our Loved Ones
  • Healing Ecological Anxiety and Grief
  • Healing the Inner child
  • Self-compassion

Retreat Program

All times displayed in

20:00

Dharma Talk: Self-Care in Times of Grief

06:45

Mindful exercise (optional)

07:30

Guided sitting meditation and reading

09:30

Dharma talk: Befriending Grief and Loss

11:30

Outdoor walking meditation (optional)

12:30

Dharma Sharing in small groups – for East Asia & Pacific

14:00

Total Relaxation

15:30

Dharma Sharing in small groups – for Europe, Americas & South Asia

18:00

Mindful dinner (optional)

20:00

Guided sitting meditation and sutra reading

07:00

Ceremony to commemorate our loved ones

09:30

Dharma talk: New Beginnings

11:30

Outdoor walking meditation (optional)

12:30

Dharma Sharing in small groups – for East Asia & Pacific

14:00

Total Relaxation and Touching the Earth with Sister Chan Khong

15:30

Dharma Sharing in small groups – for Europe, Americas & South Asia

18:00

Mindful dinner (optional)

20:00

Workshops

06:45

Mindful exercise (optional)

07:30

Guided sitting meditation and reading

09:30

Dharma talk: Touching Eternity

11:30

Outdoor walking meditation (optional)

12:30

Dharma Sharing in small groups – for East Asia & Pacific

14:00

Total Relaxation

15:30
live now

Dharma Sharing in small groups – for Europe, Americas & South Asia Live Event

18:00

Mindful dinner (optional) Live Event

20:00

Guided sitting meditation, music and closing circle Live Event

All streamed content will be uploaded after the session, and will be available to everyone who has registered for six months.

Resource Package

Exclusive Video: How to Create a Retreat at Home

Inspiration for transforming your space and readying your heart and mind

Calligraphies

New artwork from the monastics to print and post around your home

40% off Parallax Press classics by Thich Nhat Hanh

Special offers on the recommended reading to accompany your retreat: No Mud, No Lotus, Reconciliation and The Energy of Prayer.

20% off “How to Live When a Loved One Dies”

Discount on this new book by Thich Nhat Hanh as well as selected other books from Parallax Press

What is like to attend a Plum Village retreat at home?

What was particularly helpful is to bring the retreat spirit into my own home, making the integration into daily life easier.

Recent participant

I was amazed that the nourishment and presence of a Plum Village retreat could actually be generated online! If you’ve always wanted to experience the Plum Village kindness, compassion and support, you will find it even miles from France, in your own home.

Amy, USA

It’s hard to express in words my gratitude for this retreat. I feel re-connected, re-inspired, nourished and in a place where I can act from true aliveness.

Joanna, UK

Experiences from previous Plum Village Online Retreats

Register

You can choose the contribution that suits your financial means, all options give the same retreat access.

We do not want the financial aspect to keep you from participating. If you want to attend an online retreat and your budget does not allow for it at this moment, please email us at onlineretreats@plumvillage.org to apply for a further reduction.

Questions about the program

How much time do I need to follow this retreat?

This is a 3-day retreat, Thursday evening to Sunday evening. Ideally, it is best if you can clear your days from other commitments so you can fully participate and savor the peaceful energy of the retreat, even when you are not following a scheduled session.

Each day there is a morning session from 06.45 to 11.30 (CET), which includes an optional 30-minute guided exercise session and a one-hour break for breakfast. The afternoon session is from 14.00-17.00 each day and starts with relaxation followed by “Dharma sharing” (breakout groups). The evening session is from 20.00. We recommend you always arrive a few minutes early to set up your computer connection. 

Please note that you can choose to opt-in or opt-out of the three “Dharma sharing” afternoon sessions (3.30-5pm each day). If you opt-in, we ask that you commit to join all three sessions, on time, so the group can have a strong collective experience. To avoid disturbing the group, we will not be able to admit people to the Dharma Sharing sessions once they have started.

Please also organise some time before the retreat starts, to familiarise yourself with the videos and information in the “How to Enjoy Your Online Retreat” package, and set up a peaceful corner of your home where you can have an internet connection. We hope that this immersive and interactive experience will help you strengthen your mindfulness practice and establish the spirit of Plum Village right in your home.

If I can’t join one of the sessions, can I still follow the other sessions?

We encourage you to attend as much of the retreat as possible to get the greatest benefit from the practice. Please note that if you wish to join the 3 Dharma Sharing sessions, you will need to follow the Dharma Talk in the morning in order to “unlock” the Dharma Sharing session in the afternoon. To support the collective shared experience, it is not possible to join the Dharma Sharing if you have not attended the Dharma Talk.

If I can’t join a session live, can I watch it later?

Yes, we try to livestream all sessions to our platform so you can follow both there and on Zoom. The recording of this livestream will remain available afterwards.

What is “Dharma Sharing” or “breakout groups”? 

In this retreat, the Dharma Sharing is a smaller break-out group of 20-25 participants, led by a monastic. It gives us a chance to listen deeply, to speak from the heart, and benefit from each other’s insights and experience of practicing mindfulness. We can share our experiences, our joys, our difficulties, and our questions relating to the teachings in the retreat, and the mindfulness practices we are following together.

What do I need to prepare before joining this retreat? 

Please organise your time and commitments, so you have space from the evening of Thursday, July 29th, to the evening of Sunday, August 1st, to fully participate in the retreat. A few days before the retreat starts, you’ll receive a digital package with information and resources on how to prepare yourself and your environment so you can really enjoy the retreat. Please allow an hour or two before Friday morning to familiarize yourself with these materials and set up your computer correctly.

You’re invited to prepare a room or corner in your home where you can be online, undisturbed. It is important that you are not interrupted during the various sessions, so you may like to communicate with loved ones, or other people you live with, to ask for their support in this. If you are participating in the Dharma Sharing groups, it will be important for you to log-on from a private space where you can share without others hearing you.

If I have a question about the teachings given during the retreat, where / when can I ask it?

The Dharma Sharing break-out groups are the ideal time to ask questions from the heart about the teachings you have heard and practices we are following together. You can also write a question in the comments below the video of a particular talk.

Will I be able to interact with the monastics directly? Eg. Can I ask them a question and get an answer?

The Dharma Sharing break-out groups offer a rare opportunity to join a circle facilitated by a monastic. If you are interested in connecting with the monastics, we strongly encourage you to make the commitment to opt-in to the three Dharma Sharing sessions. Our teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh, taught us that Dharma Sharing break-out groups are the most powerful way to learn and grow in our mindfulness practice. Please note that these sessions are not direct question-and-answer sessions, but a group where questions are addressed collectively.

I live with other people. Can I still join the retreat?

Yes, you do not need to be in a hut on a mountain to enjoy this retreat. So long as you have a quiet corner or room where you can be undisturbed, and perhaps have space to stretch and do the mindful movements, you will be able to enjoy the retreat fully. You may need headphones, and if you are joining Dharma Sharing, somewhere in the house where you can speak without being heard by others.

You can explain to those you live with your intention in joining the retreat and ask for their support. The idea is not to cut yourself off from them, but to generate a strong energy of mindfulness, peace and presence, during the sessions, that you can bring to your in-person interactions off-screen over the course of the weekend. You will be able to apply many of the teachings on deep listening, mindful eating and so on, right away!

Is this retreat appropriate for all ages? Can children or teenagers join?

This retreat is designed as an adult learning experience, but anyone is welcome to join the meditations, talks, movement and relaxations. Please note that in the Dharma Sharing breakout groups themes may spontaneously arise that are not appropriate for teenagers or children, and so it is not possible to register participants under 18 for the Dharma Sharing groups. We are currently exploring how we can offer a different, more tailored experience for children and teens online. Please check our events listing for future announcements.

I haven’t done a retreat before. Will I be able to follow this one?

This retreat is accessible to those new to the practice, and will be a refreshing and deepening experience for those who have been practicing mindfulness for some time. It is a precious chance to connect directly with our spiritual community, and to meet like-minded people.

What language will the retreat be given in?
I’m not in Europe. Can I join from a different time zone? Will I miss anything?

The retreats will be offered in English. For French speakers, there will be French translation for Dharma talks and French Dharma Sharing break-out groups. As we expand our experience and technical capacity, we hope to offer translation into more languages in future. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

You can check the schedule to see if it is possible in your time zone. Many activities can be done at a different time as the recordings will be available afterwards but Dharma sharing groups have to be attended live if you choose to join one.

Is there any translation for the live sessions?

Currently there is only French transation for Dharma tlaks planned for this retreat. If you are bilingual, and have experience offering simultaneous translation for the Dharma talks (teachings) and would like to offer to translate, please email the technical team, and we will see what may be possible: onlineretreats@plumvillage.org


Questions about tech issues

What do I need to join this retreat? Do I need to install anything? Do I need any special equipment?

This retreat will be delivered to you through your web browser and the Zoom app. When following the live events you can choose to join via Zoom or via the embedded video in your browser (link will be provided in advance). If you are opting-in to Dharma Sharing (the smaller breakout groups), you will need to install the Zoom software and you will need a webcam on your computer or tablet, so people can see you (just as you will see others). It is also preferable to have headphones, ideally with a microphone.

What quality will the videos be streamed in?

We try to livestream on 720p, but some of our Plum Village hamlets do not have strong enough internet so it may be limited to 480p. After the retreat we will upload all content in 1080p for your enjoyment.

I don’t have a very stable internet connection. Can I still join the retreat?

It depends how unstable. Your viewing quality is similar to watching something on youtube. So if that is a pleasant enough experience, then yes you can join this retreat. But for Dharma Sharing others might find it difficult to hear you. You can ask permission to turn off your camera, so others can hear you better.

Can I join the retreat from my phone?

Yes, when you subscribe you will receive an email with instructions and telephone numbers to join us via Zoom. You will only be able to follow the live sessions; it is not possible to join Dharma Sharing sessions from a phone.

Do I have to open my camera or can I join just audio?

Yes you can join only via audio, you do not have to start your camera, you can also choose only to watch via our platform. Only when you join the Dharma Sharing session, everybody is asked to start their camera to create a safe environment.

Will I be able to save and keep the recordings after the retreat?

All the recordings will be available afterwards on our platform, for you to access for six months. You will not be able to download them. 

If I have technical difficulties with my setup, who do I contact?

You’re invited to breathe, pray, or send an email to nh-office@plumvillage.org


Questions about registration

How are the “breakout groups” formed? Can I choose which breakout group to join? 

The groups will be assigned by the monastics, based on our experience of creating diverse yet balanced groups. It is not possible to assign you to a chosen facilitator or to be in a group with friends. 

What is my registration fee paying for?

Your contribution will go towards food, lodging, and healthcare for our community of 700 monastics in ten mindfulness practice centers worldwide. It will also enable us to invest in technical infrastructure in terms of internet, cameras, and equipment, so we can offer more teachings live online, with direct contact between monastics and practitioners. Without your support, we would be unable to sustain our community or offer the Dharma online.

Is there a refund option if I need to cancel my registration?

We can offer a full refund within 30 days of your payment. 

If I cannot afford the lowest scholarship fee, can I apply for a further reduction?

We do not want the financial aspect to keep you from participating. If you want to attend an online retreat and your budget does not allow for it at this moment, please email us at onlineretreats@plumvillage.org to apply for a further reduction.   

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What is Mindfulness

Thich Nhat Hanh January 15, 2020

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