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Plum Village Monastics’ UK Visit this August

We are so happy to be able to share with you these wonderful gifts offered by Thich Nhat Hanh’s monastic community this August and organized by The Community of Interbeing UK.

The Miracle of Mindfulness Retreat – 24-29th August 2015

Stourbridge, West Midlands (nr Birmingham)

As well as offering daily dharma talks, monks and nuns, students of Thich Nhat Hanh will be offering their wisdom, practice and peaceful presence in all aspects of the retreat, which, will include programmes for under-5s, children up to 13, teenagers and young adults (Wake Up) and is open to all, whether experienced in mindfulness meditation or a complete beginner.

Bursaries available to those who might otherwise be unable to attend.

More information

The Miracle of Mindfulness Public Talk – 22nd August 2015

Logan Hall, London

You are invited to join the monks and nuns of Plum Village, exploring the practice of mindfulness through listening deeply, meditation, chanting and singing.

This is a wonderful opportunity for people from all cultures, different faiths and none, to come together to experience the transformational practices of mindfulness and liberation.

More information

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News & EventsPlum VillageRetreatsWake Up International

Wake Up in Plum Village this Spring!

We’re happy to announce that there will be a retreat for young mindfulness practitioners from 17-24 April in Plum Village, France.

If you are aged 18-35(ish), are based in (or come from) the UK or Ireland, and would like to enjoy a week in Plum Village together experiencing the mindfulness practices of Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh, then please register here.

register

Once you register, you will need to make a payment to secure your place.

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In our week together in Plum Village, we have the precious opportunity to take a break and enjoy being in the beautiful nature of South-Western France, where several monks, nuns, young men and young women will together create a joyful, refreshing and peaceful retreat.

You will have the chance to learn and experience the art of sitting meditation, deep total relaxation and walking meditation on the legendary Plum Village paths through fields and forests. We will learn how to really be there for ourselves and for each other, and to really listen to our own hearts and to one another. We will live together simply, healthily and joyfully – with music, dance, games, maybe hikes and bonfires.

This is a wonderful opportunity to bring together all the Wake Up sanghas and young mindfulness practitioners in the UK & Ireland to nourish and deepen our connections, and enjoy being together in this special place as one rich and diverse community.

To find out more about your stay in Plum Village, please go to their website for more information.

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Retreat contribution

Plum Village monastery is a non-profit charitable organization run entirely by donations. The retreat contribution includes the cost of your accommodation and three meals a day. The contribution will depend on the type of accommodation you choose when registering:

Accommodation 
  • Camping (tent or van – please bring your own): £150
  • Dormitory: £225
  • 3 or 4-bed room: £320
  • 2-bed room: £370
Discount 
Plum Village are generously offering a discount of up to £75 for camping, or up to £100 on other options, for those who would otherwise be unable to afford this retreat. We invite you to select the option which is most appropriate to your needs and ability to pay during registration – the options are:
  • No discount requested
  • £25 discount
  • £50 discount
  • £75 discount
  • £100 discount (not available for camping)

register

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RisZvedx6VU
A slideshow of pictures from the International Wake Up retreat in Plum Village 2013

Wake Up UK Bursary Fund

We are grateful to Plum Village for offering significant discounts to make the retreat fee affordable to us. However, we do understand that there may be some of you who may still not be able to afford the fee due to various circumstances. It is our deep aspiration of Wake Up UK to make the practice of mindfulness as accessible to as many young people as possible, therefore we have created a Bursary Fund to enable this.

It is thanks to the generosity of The Community of Interbeing UK for their donation that we are able to offer bursaries.

The fund is made up of £1,500 and an individual can apply for any amount up to £200. To apply for this bursary, please email info@wkupuk.org and write the following:

1. Your aspiration to visit Plum Village
2. Your current financial circumstances and reasons for seeking assistance
3. What you are able to contribute towards the retreat fee
4. Amount you would like to apply for – please note that we cannot guarantee we will be able to meet your request.

Your application will be made anonymous and reviewed in confidence by a 5-person Wake Up UK bursaries group, with input from an impartial adviser from another Community of Interbeing sangha.

AudioDharma TalkPlum VillageWake Up London

Sister Jewel’s talk on nourishing and healing ourselves and the world

On Saturday 15th March at our weekly afternoon of mindfulness, we were delighted to have Sister Jewel, a monastic student of Thich Nhat Hanh and teacher, practice with us and offer a fun session of Interplay and a talk.

In this talk, Sister Jewel shares about the ecological crisis of our world – climate change through the perspective of the Buddha’s teachings on the Four Nutriments. One kind of nutriment is volition – what is it that is deeply motivating us in our lives? It is so important to investigate this, because if we don’t have a clear sense of where we are going, our volition can get easily hijacked by our society, a consumer driven society that sees humans as consumers. Consuming keeps our economic system functioning. We are being told that’s where our happiness is.

Sr. Jewel also mentions that she is working on setting up a global council of elders to address the issues facing our planet. If you are interested in supporting this idea, please get in touch and we will pass on your email address to Sr. Jewel.

You can listen or download the talk here.

Personal sharingsPlum Village

Letter to Adam Lanza from Brother Phap Luu

We are deeply moved by this heartfelt, empathetic and compassionate letter from Brother Phap Luu, a monastic at Plum Village, who grew up in Newtown, Connecticut. He wrote a letter to shooter Adam Lanza.

Saturday, 15th of December, 2012
Dharma Cloud Temple
Plum Village

Dear Adam,

Let me start by saying that I wish for you to find peace. It would be easy just to call you a monster and condemn you for evermore, but I don’t think that would help either of us. Given what you have done, I realize that peace may not be easy to find. In a fit of rage, delusion and fear—yes, above all else, I think, fear—you thought that killing was a way out. It was clearly a powerful emotion that drove you from your mother’s dead body to massacre children and staff of Sandy Hook School and to turn the gun in the end on yourself. You decided that the game was over.

But the game is not over, though you are dead. You didn’t find a way out of your anger and loneliness. You live on in other forms, in the torn families and their despair, in the violation of their trust, in the gaping wound in a community, and in the countless articles and news reports spilling across the country and the world—yes, you live on even in me. I was also a young boy who grew up in Newtown. Now I am a Zen Buddhist monk. I see you quite clearly in me now, continued in the legacy of your actions, and I see that in death you have not become free.

You know, I used to play soccer on the school field outside the room where you died, when I was the age of the children you killed. Our team was the Eagles, and we won our division that year. My mom still keeps the trophy stashed in a box. To be honest, I was and am not much of a soccer player. I’ve known winning, but I’ve also known losing, and being picked last for a spot on the team. I think you’ve known this too—the pain of rejection, isolation and loneliness. Loneliness too strong to bear.

You are not alone in feeling this. When loneliness comes up it is so easy to seek refuge in a virtual world of computers and films, but do these really help or only increase our isolation? In our drive to be more connected, have we lost our true connection?

I want to know what you did with your loneliness. Did you ever, like me, cope by walking in the forests that cover our town? I know well the slope that cuts from that school to the stream, shrouded by beech and white pine. It makes up the landscape of my mind. I remember well the thrill of heading out alone on a path winding its way—to Treadwell Park! At that time it felt like a magical path, one of many secrets I discovered throughout those forests, some still hidden. Did you ever lean your face on the rough furrows of an oak’s bark, feeling its solid heartwood and tranquil vibrancy? Did you ever play in the course of a stream, making pools with the stones as if of this stretch you were king? Did you ever experience the healing, connection and peace that comes with such moments, like I often did?

Or did your loneliness know only screens, with dancing figures of light at the bid of your will? How many false lives have you lived, how many shots fired, bombs exploded and lives lost in video games and movies?

By killing yourself at the age of 20, you never gave yourself the chance to grow up and experience a sense of how life’s wonders can bring happiness. I know at your age I hadn’t yet seen how to do this.

I am 37 now, about the age my teacher, the Buddha, realized there was a way out of suffering. I am not enlightened. This morning, when I heard the news, and read the words of my shocked classmates, within minutes a wave of sorrow arose, and I wept. Then I walked a bit further, into the woods skirting our monastery, and in the wet, winter cold of France, beside the laurel, I cried again. I cried for the children, for the teachers, for their families. But I also cried for you, Adam, because I think that I know you, though I know we have never met. I think that I know the landscape of your mind, because it is the landscape of my mind.

I don’t think you hated those children, or that you even hated your mother. I think you hated your loneliness.

I cried because I have failed you. I have failed to show you how to cry. I have failed to sit and listen to you without judging or reacting. Like many of my peers, I left Newtown at seventeen, brimming with confidence and purpose, with the congratulations of friends and the approbation of my elders. I was one of the many young people who left, and in leaving we left others, including you, just born, behind. In that sense I am a part of the culture that failed you. I didn’t know yet what a community was, or that I was a part of one, until I no longer had it, and so desperately needed it.

I have failed to be one of the ones who could have been there to sit and listen to you. I was not there to help you to breathe and become aware of your strong emotions, to help you to see that you are more than just an emotion.

But I am also certain that others in the community cared for you, loved you. Did you know it?

In eighth grade I lived in terror of a classmate and his anger. It was the first time I knew aggression. No computer screen or television gave a way out, but my imagination and books. I dreamt myself a great wizard, blasting fireballs down the school corridor, so he would fear and respect me. Did you dream like this too?

The way out of being a victim is not to become the destroyer. No matter how great your loneliness, how heavy your despair, you, like each one of us, still have the capacity to be awake, to be free, to be happy, without being the cause of anyone’s sorrow. You didn’t know that, or couldn’t see that, and so you chose to destroy. We were not skillful enough to help you see a way out.

With this terrible act you have let us know. Now I am listening, we are all listening, to you crying out from the hell of your misunderstanding. You are not alone, and you are not gone. And you may not be at peace until we can stop all our busyness, our quest for power, money or sex, our lives of fear and worry, and really listen to you, Adam, to be a friend, a brother, to you. With a good friend like that your loneliness might not have overwhelmed you.

But we needed your help too, Adam. You needed to let us know that you were suffering, and that is not easy to do. It means overcoming pride, and that takes courage and humility. Because you were unable to do this, you have left a heavy legacy for generations to come. If we cannot learn how to connect with you and understand the loneliness, rage and despair you felt—which also lie deep and sometimes hidden within each one of us—not by connecting through Facebook or Twitter or email or telephone, but by really sitting with you and opening our hearts to you, your rage will manifest again in yet unforeseen forms.

Now we know you are there. You are not random, or an aberration. Let your action move us to find a path out of the loneliness within each one of us. I have learned to use awareness of my breath to recognize and transform these overwhelming emotions, but I hope that every man, woman or child does not need to go halfway across the world to become a monk to learn how to do this. As a community we need to sit down and learn how to cherish life, not with gun-checks and security, but by being fully present for one another, by being truly there for one another. For me, this is the way to restore harmony to our communion.

Douglas Bachman (Br. Phap Luu)
who grew up at 22 Lake Rd. in Newtown, CT., is a Buddhist monk and student of the Vietnamese Zen Master and monk Thich Nhat Hanh. As part of an international community, he teaches Applied Ethics and the art of mindful living to students and school teachers. He lives in Plum Village Monastery, in Thenac, France.

Phap Luu

News & EventsPlum VillageRetreats

London Educators Retreat 2012

Non-residential mindfulness retreat for teachers, youth workers and all who work with young people.

From Saturday, 27 (8am) to Sunday, 28 October (5pm) 2012 (non-residential)
The American School in London, 1 Waverley Place, London NW8 0NP

The Educators Retreat is an opportunity to develop mindfulness both in ourselves and in our work with children and young people and to practice ways to cultivate mindfulness in educational contexts such as classrooms, college and universities, staffrooms and communities. We will explore the workings of our bodies and minds and learn how to use the power of silence, appreciation, self-care and compassion for others to increase clear and ethical thinking and action. During the retreat, we will share our lived experience of working with young people. We will also consider how we may use the techniques and practices of the retreat to help us form and sustain more mindful communities at school and at home.

This retreat is part of a wider long term initiative by Plum Village which is attempting to help school staff and students to develop mindfulness using Plum Village principles and practices. This initiative seeks to help teachers and other school staff to:

– develop a personal practice of mindfulness
– cultivate mindfulness in their students including the skilful use of classroom based activities materials based in the unique Plum Village – tradition
– build supportive schools and surrounding communities for teachers, parents and students.

For more information: http://educatorsretreatuk.co.uk/londonoctober2012/

Plum VillagePoetry

No Coming, No Going

On Saturday 28th, the Heart of London Sangha and Wake Up London Sangha collectively sent out energies to Brother Phap Kinh.

Contemplation on No Coming, No-Going

by Thich Nhat Hanh

This body is not me,

I am not limited by this body.

I am life without boundaries.

I have never been born,

and I have never died.

Look at the ocean and the sky filled with stars,

Manifestations from my wondrous true mind.

Since before time, I have been free.

Birth and death are only doors through which we pass,

sacred thresholds on our journey.

Birth and death are a game of hide-and-seek.

So laugh with me,

hold my hand,

let us say good-bye,

say good-bye, to meet again soon.

We meet today,

We will meet again tomorrow.

We will meet at the source every moment.

We meet each other in all forms of life.

Plum Village

Message from Sr Chan Khong regarding our brother’s death

Plum Village January 24th 2012

Dear Friends

It is with great sorrow that the Plum Village community announces the death on Monday, January 23, of our beloved novice brother, Phap Kinh. Please send your loving energy to support him and us at this time, especially this coming Saturday, January 28. If you want to send him a message of love please e mail to brother Phap Huu in Up Hamlet phaphuu@plumvillage.org

We will read for Phap Kinh and put in his coffin and will be cremate with him on Saturday 28th at 3 pm so he will hold you in his heart.

On Saturday at 1pm French time, we will gather around Phap Kinh’s body and close the coffin at the morgue; after that we will bring the coffin to the crematorium. When we have arrived at the crematorium, around 2pm, we will offer chanting, and at 3pm the cremation will begin.

Bowing to all the brothers and sisters of our fourfold Sangha in gratitude for your support,

Sister Chan Khong
(End of message)

You can read an article in Mindfulness Bell written by Brother Phap Kinh, or Brother Christopher here.

The Heart of London and Wake Up London Sanghas will be coming together on Saturday 28th at the Friends Meeting House to send our loving energies to Brother Phap Kinh, his family and friends, and all of the four fold Sangha.

(Email us at wkuplondon@gmail.com for any questions)

Heart of London SanghaNews & EventsPeace SitPlum VillageThich Nhat HanhWake Up London

Sit in Peace in Trafalgar Square with Thich Nhat Hanh

Imagine the energy of thousands of people gathered together meditating on the open grounds of Trafalgar Square with one of the most influential people of our time.

Zen Master, author, poet and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh will guide a sitting meditation on Saturday 31 March in Trafalgar Square from 2.30pm.

This is a free event and everyone is warmly invited to join in this celebration of peace within us and around us.

Sitting meditation is one of the ways to contemplate peace. We invite you to sit together in silence, generating the energy of peace, solidity, and freedom.

You may like to bring something to sit on (it may be a good idea for this to be waterproof). You are welcome to sit on the benches and steps in Trafalgar Square.

This event is open to everyone, all ages, from every path, experienced or not.

“If in our daily life we can smile, if we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone will profit from it. This is the most basic kind of peace work.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

RSVP to Facebook event invitation here.

RSVP to MeetUp event invitation here.

How to get to Trafalgar Square, see here

We are inviting everyone around the world to sit in peace with us. Check back later for the cities joining us on 31st March 2012. Email us if you would like to organise an event in your city!

Watch a clip of June 2011’s meditation flash mob in Trafalgar Square

Check out the rest of Thich Nhat Hanh’s 2012 tour in the UK here, including a public talk at Royal Festival Hall and a 5 day retreat at Nottingham University here.

Check out Thich Nhat Hanh’s Facebook page here.

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