Winter Retreat 2016-17

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Date(s): Nov. 15, 2016 - Feb. 12, 2017
Language: Vietnamese / English (with French Translation)

Plum Village - all hamlets

Plum Village is delighted to announce that our fourfold community will be observing our annual 90-day Winter Retreat from 15th November 2016 to 12th February 2017.

14th November (p.m.): Counting Stick Ceremony (in each hamlet)
15th November (a.m.): Ceremony to Open the Winter Retreat (Face to Face)
18th Nov. – 10th February: Guests are welcome to join the retreat, arriving & departing on Fridays (last arrival day is 3rd February)
12th February 2017 (a.m.): Ceremony to Close the Winter Retreat (Pavarana Day)


The Winter Retreat also includes two festive weeks to celebrate joyfully in community:

Christmas Week: Wednesday 21st – Wednesday 28th December
New Year Week: Wednesday 28th – Wednesday 4th January

You are warmly invited to join us during this Winter Retreat, and we welcome applications to join us for the full three months. To support the stability of the retreat, we request guests to arrange to join us for at least two weeks (except during Christmas and New Year).

Observing an annual 90-day “Rains Retreat” is a traditional monastic practice dating back to the time of the Buddha. It is most suitable for those already familiar with Plum Village practice.

Plum Village Winter Retreat Belltower

Practicing deeply

The Winter Retreat is primarily a time for the monks and nuns to come together to study and deepen their practice, and during these 90 days the monastics do not leave the monastery to teach outside.

It is a time for everyone to deepen and strengthen our spiritual roots. The emphasis is on generating a powerful collective energy of mindfulness, as we live, practice and work together with a full schedule of Plum Village mindfulness practices six days a week.

Generating a Strong Collective Energy

In the Winter Retreat all the different hamlets will get together on Thursdays, Sundays and Tuesdays, for a Dharma Talk and full day of practice together. Many teachings will be in Vietnamese, for which there will be simultaneous English or French translation.

winter - earth cakes

As well as the Thursday and Sunday teachings, there will be a full day of collective practice for the lay community from all hamlets every Tuesday. These “Lay Days” offer an wonderful opportunity to practice and work together in joy and harmony, learning to create nourishing days of mindfulness as a community.

Everyone staying in Plum Village is requested to observe the “Winter Retreat Boundaries,” by not going online nor leaving the monastery to go to town and so on. This creates a very focussed and solid collective energy of practice.

Who is the Winter Retreat for?

winter cosy teaThe Winter Retreat is the only retreat in the year which is oriented primarily towards monastics and the residential community, in terms of teachings, classes and other sessions.

The monastic community is very grateful for the loving service work offered to the community by lay guests who come and support the retreat.

The Winter Retreat is most suitable for those who are already familiar with Plum Village practice.

Please note that due to the community’s focus on monastic training during the Winter Retreat, there is comparatively less support available for guests compared to the Spring, Summer and Autumn Retreats. We recommend the Spring Retreat for those who would like a lighter program and a quieter, more spacious experience.

Practical information:

  • Retreatants staying the full 90 days are invited to arrive early so we can prepare to start the retreat together. For men staying in Upper Hamlet, please organise your travel to arrive on Wednesday 8th November. For women staying in Lower Hamlet, please arrive on Friday 11th November. For women staying in New Hamlet, please contact their registration office. All 90-day retreatants are requested to make departure arrangements for Monday 13th February (the day after the Winter Retreat Closing Ceremony). Please note that Plum Village will be closed to guests from Tuesday 14th February onwards.
  • Arrival and departure days for short-term guests for the 2016-17 Winter Retreat will be on Fridays, starting Friday November 18th. The last arrival day will be Friday February 3rd. To maintain the stability of the retreat, please plan to join the retreat for at least 2 weeks. Each hamlet may have specific arrival and departure Fridays (please follow registration links below for more information).
  • To support everyone’s travel arrangements for Christmas and New Year, the arrival days for these weeks switch from Friday to Wednesday. So please do not make plans to arrive on Friday 23rd December or Friday 30th December. Arrival day for the Christmas Week is on Weds 21st Dec. (departing on Weds 28th), and for the New Year Week it is on Weds 28th Dec. (departing on Weds 4th Jan.)

We look forward to welcoming you to join the river of practice during this wonderful retreat.

Proceed to registration:

Single women and couples


Single women and couples


Single men and couples