Rains Retreat 2021: Gems of the Plum Village Tradition

90 days to explore the roots of Thich Nhat Hanh’s sutra translations, teachings and practices

Follow the highlights of our annual 3-month Rains Retreat, online

The Rains Retreat dates from the time of the Buddha and is a chance for the monastic community to deepen our training with 90 days of studies and practice. We invite you to join us online this autumn, as we explore the unique gems of the Plum Village Tradition together.

During these three months, for the first time, we’ll be offering an online program that includes talks, meditations, Mindfulness Trainings recitations, Q&A’s, dinner hangouts, and Dharma Sharings (places are now filled).

If you have a Sangha to take refuge in, then you will be supported in those moments when you feel down. The Sangha will embrace you, will support you, will encourage you, and with the sangha you are again on the path.

Thich Nhat Hanh

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

A deeper exploration of key Plum Village teachings

The talks will center on Thich Nhat Hanh’s sutra translations and the mindfulness practices that bring them into our daily life

Connect live to an international community

Support your practice with a deep connection to other practitioners also following the Rains Retreat from their homes

Practicing Together for 90 Days

Unlike our previous “immersive” online retreats (which take place in a concentrated way over a few days), our 2021 Rains Retreat will offer a lighter program spread out over three months. This will be a powerful way to nourish and support a continuous practice of mindfulness in your daily life. Most sessions can be followed between Fridays and Sundays, with some Mindfulness Trainings Recitations early on Tuesday mornings. Please note that the live-streamed opening ceremony will take place on Thursday 9th September.

 The program will include: 

 • A welcome talk on how to enjoy the Rains Retreat
• Live-streaming of the Opening & Closing Ceremonies 
• 2 New Dharma Talks every week 
on Sundays and Fridays
• Weekly Friday evening meditation sessions 
broadcast live from our meditation halls
• 6 Dharma Sharing sessions facilitated by monastics 
on Sunday afternoons every two weeks**
• 2 live Q&A’s on Sunday afternoons
• 3 Saturday evening “dinner hangouts” with a monastic host
• 3 live “Precept Recitation” sessions (at 6am on Tuesdays)
• Transmission Ceremony for the Five Mindfulness Trainings 
on Sunday 28th November at 3pm 

*Please note that the program may be subject to change 
** Places for Dharma Sharing are now filled

A 3-month program of talks from Dharma Teachers trained by Thich Nhat Hanh

Broadcast from Plum Village, France

Sunday September 12th
The Discourse on Youth & Happiness
Brother Pháp Hữu

Friday September 17th
Self-acceptance on a Path of Transformation
Sister Lăng Nghiêm

Sunday September 19th
Invoking the Bodhisattva Names
Sister Từ Nghiem

Friday September 24th
Healing is Every Step
Brother Pháp Linh

Sunday September 26th
The chant on “Repentance & Beginning Anew” (in Vietnamese, with translation) Brother Minh Hy

Friday October 1st
Sitting for People Who Find It Hard to Sit
Sister Sĩ Nghiêm

Sunday October 3rd
From the archives:
A Dharma Talk by Thich Nhat Hanh

Friday October 8th:
No Mud, No Lotus: the Interbeing of Happiness & Suffering
Brother Pháp Thệ

Sunday October 10th
The Discourse on Taking Refuge in Oneself
Sister Thuần Khánh

Friday October 15th
Healing Relationships that Are Hard to Heal
Sister Phượng Nghiêm & Sister Tại Nghiêm

Sunday October 17th
The Discourse on the Better Way to Live Alone
Sister Đào Nghiêm

Friday October 22nd
Smiling When It’s Hard To Smile
Brother Pháp Khả

Sunday October 24th
The Flower Garland Discourse: The Ten Great Vows of Samantabhadra
Sister Thuận Nghiêm

Friday October 29th Balancing the Inner Artist, Warrior & Meditator
Sister Trai Nghiêm

Sunday October 31st LIVE Q&A session

Friday November 5th Healthy Body, Healthy Mind: Finding the Middle Way
Brother Pháp Lý

Sunday November 7th
Discourse on the 5 Ways of Putting an End to Anger (in Vietnamese, with translation)
Brother Nguyên Tịnh

Friday November 12th
The Five Powers
Sister Lực Nghiêm

Sunday November 14th
Discourse on the Teachings to Be Given to the Sick
Sister Hội Nghiêm

Friday November 19th
Mindfulness is a Path, Not A Tool
Brother Trời Bảo Tạng

Sunday November 21st
The Discourse on the Four Kinds of Nutriments
Sister Tuệ Nghiêm

Friday November 26th
Panel sharing (Q&A)

Sunday November 28th
The Discourse on The Diamond That Cuts Through Illusion
Brother Pháp Lai

Friday December 3rd
The Plum Village Practice of Touching the Earth
Sr. Hiến Nghiêm (Sister True Dedication)  

Sunday December 5th
The Discourse on the Dharma Seal and the Three Doors of Liberation
Sister Chân Đức

Special Sessions

Dharma Sharings

We will have six Dharma Sharing sessions during the 90 days which offer an opportunity for mindful speaking and mindful listening. They will be a chance to share the retreat journey with a supportive group of others.

“Dinner Hangouts”

Hosted by a monastic, we’ll have a chance to eat a meal (or snack) mindfully together in silence, followed by a chance for informal discussion and questions with monastics.

Friday Evening Meditations

Streamed live from our meditation halls, these sessions will be an opportunity for all those participating in the retreat to join the monastics for the evening chant, guided sitting meditation, and another practice (e.g. slow walking, sutra reading or Touching the Earth).

Mindfulness Training Recitations and Transmission Ceremony

Take part in ceremonies to recite the 5 Mindfulness Trainings and the 14 Mindfulness Trainings along with the monastic community. There will also be a chance for those participating in the retreat to formally receive the Five Mindfulness Trainings.

Retreat Program

All times displayed in


Guided Sitting, Monastic Chanting and Dharma Talk (weekly)


5 Mindfulness Trainings Transmission Ceremony (Nov 28)


Online Dharma Sharing (Sept 12, 26; Oct 10, 24; Nov 7, 21)


Question and Answer Session (Oct 17, Nov 14)


Mindfulness Trainings Recitation Ceremony (Sept 28, Oct 26, Nov 16)


Closing Ceremony (Dec 7)


Dharma Talk (weekly)


Evening Chant and Guided Meditation (weekly)


Dinner Hangout (Sept 25, Oct 23, Nov 27)

Please note: the Opening Ceremony will take place on Thursday 9th September at 9.30am France time.

There will also be an English Dharma Sharing group for Asia-Pacific at 12:30 CET (Central European Time) and a Chinese Dharma Sharing group at 13:30 CET.

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

Artwork & Calligraphy Gift

There will be beautiful poems and calligraphies for you to print out to support your practice

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

The experience was amazing. The virtual experience was so connecting that I felt whole-heartedly being a part of the retreat as if I was present at Plum Village.

Lokesh Madan from India

I can honestly say that these were among the most beautiful days in my life. Despite my grief, I felt at peace and full of gratitude and compassion. I will be forever thankful for this transformative experience.

Recent participant

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

Recent participant

Experiences from previous Plum Village Online Retreats


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

Update: The spaces in the Dharma Sharing groups are now full. You can still register to join the Rains Retreat without Dharma Sharing and access everything else on the retreat program.

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?

Most sessions can be followed between Fridays and Sundays, with some Mindfulness Trainings Recitations early on Tuesday mornings. Please note that the live-streamed opening ceremony will take place on Thursday 9th September.

Ideally, it is best if you can reduce your other commitments on the weekends and the Tuesday mornings so you can fully participate and savor the peaceful energy of the Rains Retreat. On many Sundays, we’ll be offering a morning and afternoon program. We encourage you to transform it into a “day of mindfulness”, and organize your time so you can practice walking meditation, mindful eating, and deep relaxation in between the live-streamed sessions. We recommend you always arrive a few minutes early for each session to set up your computer connection. 

Please note that you can choose to opt-in or opt-out of the six “Dharma Sharing” sessions via the additional form at the end of registration. If you opt-in, we ask that you commit to join all six sessions and arrive 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 “The Secret to Enjoying Your Retreat” package on the retreat platform when available, and set up a peaceful corner of your home where you can have a stable 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 six Dharma Sharing sessions, you will need to follow the Dharma Talks on Friday and Sunday mornings in order to participate in the Dharma Sharing sessions. To support the collective shared experience, it is not possible to join the Dharma Sharing if you have not attended the Dharma Talks.

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

Yes, we try to live-stream all sessions to our retreat platform so you can follow both there and on Zoom. The recording of these live-streams will remain available afterwards for up to six months.

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 some space before the online retreat program starts on September 5th to prepare your retreat space and go through the pre-retreat resources that we offer on the retreat platform. 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. 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. The “Dinner Hangouts” scheduled on Saturdays could also be a space for questions, as well as the two Question and Answer sessions with a panel of monastic dharma teachers. You can also write a question in the comments below the video of a particular talk in the retreat platform.

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

The Dharma Sharing 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 six Dharma Sharing sessions. Our teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh, taught us that Dharma Sharing 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.

Additionally, we will host “Dinner Hangouts”, a chance to eat a meal (or snack) mindfully together in silence, followed by a chance for informal discussion and questions with monastics. There will also be three live Question & Answer sessions on Sundays, open to all of the retreat participants, where a panel of monastic dharma teachers can receive your questions.

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 three months. 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?

The retreat will be offered in English. 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.

I’m not in Europe. Can I join from a different time zone? Will I miss anything?

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?

There will be French translation for the live talks on Sundays through Zoom.

Questions about tech issues

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

The content of this retreat will mainly be delivered through a platform by Teachable and through the Zoom application for live events. The Teachable platform requires you to create an account with an email address and password. The retreat platform is best accessed through a web browser on a computer. If you need to access the retreat platform on your mobile device, we suggest that you log in through a web browser rather than the Teachable iOS app.

You will also need access to your email account before and during this retreat, as we will send email announcements. 

 When following the live events you can choose to join via Zoom (recommended) 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 (or update it if it’s already installed) 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 register, you will receive the link to access the retreat platform, which will contain telephone numbers to join us via Zoom for live sessions. For dialing in by phone, you will only be able to follow the live-stream sessions; it is not possible to join Dharma Sharing sessions from a phone without a camera.

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 (except for the Dharma Sharing sessions) 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?

Please email onlineretreats@plumvillage.org and we will try our best to help.

Questions about registration

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

You can choose to opt in to a Dharma Sharing group via the additional form at the end of your registration. We offer some special groups based on affinity and language that you can choose on the form, and we will do our best to accommodate your request. The groups will be assigned by the Organising Team 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.   

I am having trouble with paying the registration fee through the webpage. What can I do?

Firstly, please check directly with your bank if there may be an issue releasing the payment. The payment for the retreat should appear as coming from “PLUM VILLAGE ON” in one’s bank statement when successful. If after contacting your bank, the issue has not been resolved, please email onlineretreats@plumvillage.org to arrange for an alternative payment method.

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What is Mindfulness

Thich Nhat Hanh January 15, 2020

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