Review of the Year

Monastic Retreat

Nearly 160 monastics from around Europe gathered in the Dharma Cloud Temple for a monastic retreat from February 13-26 with the theme “Now We Have a Path, There is Nothing to Fear.”

It was a profound and delightful 10 days as we learned from our elders, shared experiences among our peers, envisioned the future together and practiced side by side as one spiritual family.

Thay’s Ashes

In early March, Thay’s senior disciples from around the world invited Thay’s ashes home to each Plum Village center.

In Plum Village France, the multifold sangha gathered at Dharma Cloud Temple on March 5 to receive Thay’s ashes with a solemn ceremony, accompanied by the sound of the Great Temple Bell and the Prajna drums.

On 13 March, we held a 3-day online retreat with over 500 practitioners to honor the 49th day of Thay’s passing. We returned part of Thay’s ashes to the earth while over 15,000 sangha friends joined online. Holding Thay’s ashes reverently in our palms, we each connected deeply with Thay in our heart.

Then in June and July—together with Thay’s most senior monastic and lay disciples, who came to honor Thay and celebrate 40 Years of Plum Village—we spread Thay’s ashes in Lower Hamlet and New Hamlet.

Spring Retreats

From early March to May—after two years of closure—it was a great joy to reopen and receive over 500 retreatants, including a special retreat for scientists, as spring dazzled us with her ephemeral wonders.

A Cloud Never Dies

In response to the growing humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, the Plum Village community released A Cloud Never Dies, a documentary about the life of Thay, on April 2.

The film traces Thay’s footsteps from his early days in Vietnam, through his peace efforts during the war, to building an international community of practice, and his return to Vietnam. The film was viewed over 50,000 times within 5 hours of its release.

On the same day, the Sangha wrote an open letter calling for peace in 14 languages to offer hope through Thay’s teaching of “Peace in oneself, peace in the world.”

Monastics on Tour

Our monastic siblings joined hands with lay sanghas to share the practice everywhere, from the rainforests of Latin America to the Franciscan chapels of Italy and hikes in the French Alps.

In every country, we had the opportunity to connect with up to a thousand friends. Many people came to heal the grief of losing loved ones in recent times. The retreats also sprouted new sanghas such as the Wake Up sangha in Bogota. While not all of our monastics spoke the local language, they were able to connect through songs, games, and being present, especially for the children.

The sisters and brothers on tour were beautifully living and touring together, practising the Six Harmonies, bringing their harmony and diverse methods of teaching with them. In turn, the happiness they saw among the lay friends was their greatest nourishment.

40 Years of Plum Village

The Plum Village Tradition formally turned 40 in June! To mark this legendary moment, we held a special 14-Day retreat.

Thay’s senior lay and monastic disciples from around the world came to honor Thay’s legacy, share sangha-building experiences, and transmit their insights to the younger generations.

Alongside the classic practice schedule, specially curated sessions were offered, including a Music and Poetry evening, “Tales from the Old Timers,” an exhibition of Thay’s calligraphy, as well as a ceremony to transmit the Dharma Lamp.

Wake Up and Summer retreats

In July, we welcomed over 350 young friends to a one-week Wake Up Humanity Retreat (July 1 - 8), and over 1,500 practitioners, mainly families with children and teens for a vibrant Summer Opening (July 15 - 29).

Rains Retreat

We were blessed by the presence of our elders during this 3-months Autumn Rains Retreat that started on September 14 with 255 monastic and lay practitioners.

During this retreat, which focused on Engaged Buddhism, friends at home practiced with us through the weekly teachings posted online, with questions for reflection and home practices.

Novice Ordination

During the year, 25 new novices were born into the Plum Village family, coming home to centers in Thailand, Vietnam, US, and France.

This new generation of “youngsters” are the first of the Plum Village monastics to carry our teacher’s name - “Nhat” for the brothers and “Hanh” for the sisters.

Stone Pine family (on June 12 in Plum Village Thailand): Brs. Chân Nhất Nguyện, Chân Nhất Niệm, and Chân Nhất Lưu.

Manzanita family (on September 25 in Deer Park): Brs. Chân Nhất Hướng and Chân Nhất Ấn.

Red Cedar family (on December 18 in Plum Village Thailand) Brs. Chân Nhất Thể, Chân Nhất Đạo, Chân Nhất Đăng, Chân Nhất Chiếu, Chân Nhất Thừa, and Srs: Chân Lạc Hạnh, Chân Pháp Hạnh, Chân Bi Hạnh, Chân Phước Hạnh, Chân Giới Hạnh, Chân Tuệ Hạnh, Chân Nhân Hạnh, Chân Xuân Hạnh, Chân Quang Hạnh, Chân Khiêm Hạnh, Chân Bảo Hạnh, Chân Bối Hạnh, Chân Dung Hạnh, Chân Phổ Hạnh, Chân Tường Hạnh.

Lamp transmission

In June, September and November, Br. Phap Ung, Sr. Chan Khong and Sr. Chan Duc represented the sangha to transmit the Dharma Lamp to 31 new Dharma teachers, both lay and monastic students of Thay.

Here are the transmission gathas of 2022:

Br. Thích Chân Trời Đại Giác (Andreas Lukas Ambühl;
Great Determination of the Heart)

The spiritual sky is radiant with brush strokes
Sun Vow mountain blooms with flowers of great awakening
A decade, diligently tending to the garden of wisdom
Gratitude cultivates the six harmonies

Br. Thích Chân Trời Phạm Hạnh (Bart Johan Christiaan Bannink;
Deep Understanding of the Heart)

The sacred holy life of both east and west
Illuminates the well trodden ancestral paths
Revealing their true treasures
As action and non-action go perfectly together.

Sr. Thích Nữ Chân Tựu Nghiêm (Hồ Thị Bích Minh; Tâm Thánh Quang)

Bước chân hơi thở là nhà
Thành tựu chỉ quán không xa Phật đài
Vạn pháp là một không hai
Nghiêm thân hộ ý ngày mai giúp đời.

Sr. Thích Nữ Chân Nhất Nghiêm (Lê Thị Thanh Nhàn; Tâm Phước Thiện)

Nhất tâm hướng Bụt
Hộ trì nghiêm thân
Báo ân phụ mẫu
Tạ nghĩa bốn chúng
Ngày ngày không quên.

Sr. Thích Nữ Chân Trăng Lộc Uyển (Phạm Thị Thu Hằng; Tâm Trung Kiên)

Đông tây nam bắc một ánh trăng
Lộc Uyển chuyển luân diệu pháp âm
Đất Mẹ thanh lương bừng hơi thở
Ngước mắt cười vang bặt cầu tầm.

Sr. Thích Nữ Chân Trăng Xóm Mới (Nguyễn Thị Thu Hà; Tâm Nguyên Hải)

Trăng tròn sáng giữa một trời sao
Lối cũ xóm xưa rõ nẻo đường
Cây khô xuân sang mọc lá mới
Khắp nơi gieo rắc hạt yêu thương.

Sr. Thích Nữ Chân Trăng Thủy Tiên (Trần Dạ Thụy Vy; Tâm Hạnh Khương)

Tâm sáng tỏ tựa trăng rằm
Thủy triều vang tiếng pháp âm Bi Từ
Tiên đang cứu giúp muôn người
Sá chi mệt mỏi đường đời quanh co.

Sr. Thích Nữ Chân Trăng Tam Muội (Susan Rooke;
Transformation of the Heart)

The samādhi moon shines in the eastern sky
For many years our ancestors have sought it
Carefully disciplined, we find our way home
Ancestors greet us and descendants rejoice.

Sr. Thích Nữ Chân Trăng Tin Yêu (Bong Suryati;
Deep Communication of the Heart)

The moon over my country shines brightly.
My aspiration is still very alive.
My trust has not lost its lustre
And brings true love to all places.

Sr. Thích Nữ Chân Trăng Tịnh Thường (Hồ Vũ Anh Đài; Tâm Quảng Bảo)

Trăng không tròn không khuyết
Khắp chốn là quê hương
Kiện hành trời phương ngoại
Đẹp nếp sống tịnh thường.

Sr. Thích Nữ Chân Trăng Thường Trú (Nguyễn Thị Bích Vân; Tâm Quảng Huy)

Trăng treo đỉnh Thứu ngàn năm sáng
Thần khí trượng phu giữa núi sông
Tùy duyên thường trú nuôi hơi thở
Mỗi bước chân về rạng tổ phong.

Chân Đại Hòa - True Great Harmony (Shelley Anderson)

The great work of no birth and no death
Can be realized at any moment
The true harmony of heart and mind
Takes us to the shore of peace and joy.

Chân Quang Độ - True Land of Light (Martha Caroline Soule)

Mindfulness is the light that shines near and far
Taking care of the land of the five skandhas
The sangha is the home where voices are heard
And people can sit together in freedom.

Chân Biểu Tôn - True Manifestation of Reverence (Marisela Gomez)

Reverence for the Buddha manifests
In our speech, actions and relationships
Right diligence completes the work begun
And our vow is already realized.

Chân Lạc An - True Happy Peace (Denise Sanematsu Kato)

True happiness is peace and freedom
Caring for others and for oneself
The way home is in every moment
Adorned with flowers of the Dharma.

Chân Thái Hòa - True Great Harmony (Dorit Alon Shippin)

The bird flies over the great hot forest
Putting out the flames with drops of water
Body, speech and mind held in harmony
Invite the bell that settles the tension.

Chân Liễu Nghĩa - True Deep Meaning (Uli Pfeifer Schaupp)

The deep still waters of the lake
Reflect perfectly the true meaning
Insight gives rises to compassion
Bringing relief to all places.

Chân Hỷ Định (Martine Robier)

Phụng sự ở trong bản môn
Niềm vui có được lắng yên nhẹ nhàng
Tâm Hỷ theo gió thênh thang
Còn lại thân định mênh mang lòng từ.

Chân Thoại Khởi - True Auspicious Arising (Jorieke Rijsenbilt)

The arising of a lotus of compassion
Marks an auspicious moment of change before us
It brings people together in peace and joy
And heals the wounds for future generations.

Chân Hòa Gia - True Harmonious Family (Marleen van der Bosch)

True harmony lies within oneself
The sangha becomes a family
Listening deeply reconciles us
The refreshing Dharma rain brings joy.

Chân Lạc An - True Joyful Peace (Margriet Messelink)

The joy of meditation is food
That nourishes right view and right action
Seeds of peace have already been sown
Their flowers and fruit adorn the world.

Chân Hỷ Vân - Vrai Joyeux Nuage (Jacqueline Thouvenot)

Le Joyeux Nuage lentement dans le ciel
Rafraîchit le généreux soleil du midi
Toucher la guérison avec le sourire de l’inter-être
Goûter la douceur et la paix de l’ultime: tout est déjà parfait!

Vraie Terre de Paix (Marie-Ange Amiel)

Dans la Terre de Paix se trouve la source joyeuse de l’instant
Où le souffle tranquille de la compassion guide l’action
Dans l’océan de sagesse, les bruits de l’injustice s’effacent
Le vivant dans toute sa beauté resplendit dans le silence.

Chân Thâm Nghĩa - Vraie Loyauté Profonde (Dominique Prodel)

La Loyauté Profonde de la terre donne aux arbres l’éclat joyeux de la Vie
Sur les pas des ancêtres spirituels chaque respiration devient libération
La présence lumineuse du cœur se suffit à elle-même
Comme le cyprès au milieu de la cour.

Chân Lạc Ân - Vrai Sceau du Bonheur (Christian Michel)

Dans chaque pas s’inscrit le Sceau du Bonheur
La profondeur du silence intérieur réveille la douceur de la joie
L’esprit du débutant s’amuse avec l’impermanence
Comme la feuille joue avec les saisons.

Chân Hòa Lâm - True Harmonious Forest (Claude Acker)

The forest has its ways of harmony
Each tree standing straight in its position.
The sangha body grows like a forest
Where all the roots and branches interare.

Chân Bích Trì - True Blue Lake (Annie Lake Mahon)

The jade waters of the deep lake
Refresh Mother Earth’s heat and pain.
We shall never give up our task
Watering the flowers of peace.

Chân Quang Trang (Bar Zecharya)

Understanding is the clear light
That dispels all hatred and fear
It adorns the untended garden
Where all beings can enjoy the fruit.

Chân Hạnh Toàn (Hélène Prost)

Tấm lòng hiếu hạnh vẹn toàn
Nguyện theo gương sáng theo dòng Tổ tiên
Không bùn không đóa hoa sen
Trời xanh mây trắng thênh thang đường về.

True Source of Listening (Maya Brandl)

By listening to the cries of the world
Drops of compassion well up at the source
By transforming mud into lotuses
Faith in the three precious jewels deepens.

Chân An Đạo (Hélène Nardot)

An ban thủ ý phá tâm nghi
Lắng nghe, nhìn thấu đạo thâm sâu
Một tâm bước vững vào rừng tía
Vượt sóng ba đào như dạo chơi.

Sister Chan Khong receives an
Honorary Doctorate

On December 10, Sr. Chan Khong received an honorary Doctorate in social work from Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University in Thailand, in recognition of her work for peace and social justice over many decades, including her humanitarian relief work, and promotion of the status of women within Vietnam.

Thay’s Memorial

10 January 2023 marked one year since Thay’s transition according to the lunar calendar.

Nearly 1,000 monastic and lay practitioners of various traditions gathered at Tu Hieu Temple (Hue, Central Vietnam) to honor our teacher. It was here that Thay ordained as a novice monk in 1942.

On the evening of January 9, Plum Village brothers and sisters from around the world sat together with guest monks and nuns to share loving memories of Thay.

January 10 began with a silent walking meditation on the grounds of Tu Hieu Temple amidst the cool rain. This was followed by a memorial ceremony led by several venerable monks and nuns who were students of Thay in the 1960s.

The sangha also chanted sutras, practiced Touching the earth and recited the Five Mindfulness Trainings to cultivate the energy of peace, love, and reverence.