Plum Village Tradition
Dwelling happily in the present moment.
Photography © Dzung Vo
Thích Nhât Hanh is a Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk, poet, and peacemaker. Ordained a monk at age 16 in Vietnam, Thich Nhat Hanh soon envisioned a kind of engaged Buddhism that could respond directly to the needs of society. He was a prominent teacher and social activist in his home country before finding himself exiled for calling for peace. He was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1967 by Martin Luther King, Jr. Following Thây’s exile, he continued to teach the message of peace and the practices of engaged Buddhism.
In the West he played a key role in introducing mindfulness and created mindful communities (sanghas) around the world. His teachings have impacted politicians, business leaders, activists, teachers and countless others.
Founded in 1982, Plum Village has grown from a small rural farmstead in the southwest of France to the West’s largest Buddhist monastery. Plum Village welcomes inclusively people the world over of all ages, backgrounds, and faiths at retreats to learn “the art of mindful living.” In 2018 at the age of 92, and after having had a severe stroke in 2014, Thây chose to return to his root temple in Hue, Vietnam to live out his days. His international community of monasteries, retreat centers, and sanghas vibrantly continue his life and legacy in Plum Village tradition.
The practice of mindfulness helps us develop our capacity to dwell happily in the present moment and to find peace within ourselves. This practice is meant to help us bring mindfulness to all of our life’s daily activities. Practice communities, or sanghas, in Plum Village tradition have individual histories and personalities reflecting their own surroundings, but the practices are universal. Sangha meetings are open to the public and warmly welcome newcomers. Each gathering typically includes the study and practice of meditation, deep listening and loving speech, in a safe atmosphere of peaceful camaraderie.
Activities at regularly scheduled practices may include:
Activities at retreats and Days of Mindfulness may additionally include:
“With compassion in our heart, every thought, word, and deed can bring about a miracle.”—Thích Nhât Hanh
Thích Nhât Hanh, or Thây, is a poet, Zen Master and was the Chairman of the Vietnamese Buddhist peace delegation during the Vietnam War. He was nominated by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for the Nobel Peace Prize.
He has authored best-selling works such as Living Buddha, Living Christ and The Miracle of Mindfulness. Thích Nhât Hanh offers meditation retreats world-wide. For many years, he lived in Plum Village, a community in Southern France. In 2018, Thây returned to Viet Nam and expressed a clear wish to live out his days at the Root Temple in Hue, Vietnam.