The Venerable Thích Nhất Hạnh (Thầy)

Zen Master Thích Nhất Hạnh (he is affectionately known as Thầy – pronounced “tay” or “tie” by his students, which is Vietnamese for “teacher”) is a global spiritual leader, poet, and peace activist, renowned for his powerful teachings and bestselling writings on mindfulness and peace. A gentle, humble monk, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. called him “an Apostle of peace and nonviolence” when nominating him for the Nobel Peace Prize. Exiled from his native Vietnam for almost four decades, Thich Nhat Hanh has been a pioneer bringing Buddhism and mindfulness to the West and establishing an engaged Buddhist community for the 21st Century.

Please visit Plum Village’s website to read more about Thầy.

Thich Nhat Hanh

Plum Village Tradition

The Plum Village Tradition is a lineage of Zen Buddhism that was developed and taught by Thích Nhất Hạnh (1926-2022) and takes the name of the first monastic practice center he founded in the West – Plum Village in France. In this tradition, we practice cultivating a kind of mindfulness that can bring peace and joy right now, in the present moment. Plum Village mindfulness is also firmly grounded in ethical conduct and in “interbeing”—the understanding that there is a deep interconnection between all people, all species, and all things.

Seal of Plum Village - Smrti, Samadhi, Prajna
The Seal of Plum Village –
Mindfulness, Concentration and Insight

What makes a Sangha a Plum Village Sangha?

Our Practice is inspired by Thích Nhất Hạnh, whom we consider to be our primary teacher.
We strive to embody and implement the teachings of Thích Nhất Hạnh.
The Five Mindfulness Trainings are the basis of our practice and our ethical north stars.
Materials used and studied in our practice are those written and developed by Thích Nhất Hạnh, Plum Village monastics and Plum Village lay Dharma Teachers.
The Sangha emphasizes communal awakening and the Plum Village practice of “Go as a River. Go as Sangha”
We practice all of the core Plum Village practices as well as many of the extended practices.
Loving Speech and Deep Listening is the foundation of our interactions.

The Four Pillars of the Plum Village Tradition

Mindfulness Is a Way of Life

While mindfulness is widely considered to be a method of stress relief, Thich Nhat Hanh has long taught that mindfulness is not a tool, but a way of life. Mindfulness is applied to all aspects of life, including sitting, walking, eating, speaking, listening, emailing, and working. Even simple acts like brushing our teeth or doing the dishes can be done in mindfulness. The Plum Village tradition also uses the Five Mindfulness Trainings, a concrete expression of Buddhist teachings, to bring an ethical and spiritual dimension to decision making.

Engaged Buddhism

Amidst the devastation of the Vietnam War, Thich Nhat Hanh and his colleagues found a way, with mindfulness, to actively help those most in need without losing their own spiritual practice. “Engaged Buddhism” was born—a new kind of Buddhism that is engaged with the challenges of our time, and in which personal spiritual growth and service to society go hand in hand.

Community Building

We all need the support of a spiritual community (Sangha), to help us in our practice. In community, we can strengthen our practice and transform our suffering and difficulties more easily, and touch deep peace, joy and happiness. Our Sangha, Four Lakes, is one such Sangha in the Plum Village tradition where we can practice with others. It is also possible to build compassionate communities within our workplaces and schools, learning together to bring positive change to society.

Monastic Community

The Plum Village Community’s dynamic and engaged monastic order is the largest Buddhist monastic community in the West. In each Plum Village practice center, the monks and nuns create a peaceful, joyful, and healing environment where visitors can take refuge and immerse themselves in mindfulness practice. Our monastics continue the tradition from the time of the Buddha, devoting their lives to deep studying, training, and teaching to help the world generate peace and transform suffering. Their commitment to a life of simplicity, harmony, and spiritual training helps ensure that the Plum Village practice will be carried far into the future.

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