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Plum Village Smiles

During the Summer Opening in the first years, I stayed in the room above the bookshop in Upper Hamlet. We had very few rooms then, and I had to share the room with four or five children. They stayed in the room with me and at night they sprawled out on the floor.

I thought that children needed to sing; that chanting alone was not enough. I intended to write the song, “I take refuge in the Buddha, the one who shows me the way in this life...” for the children. One afternoon we did sitting meditation in the Bamboo Hall. The walls are made of stone. Facing a big block of stone, the tune for the song came to me. “I take refuge in the Buddha, the one who shows me the way in this life, Namo Buddhaya.” I thought to myself, “I am here to do sitting meditation and not to make up songs. Let’s continue it after the sitting meditation.” However, after a few minutes, the music returned to me. I thought, “If it’s going to be like this, I might as well compose the song now.” So I continued writing that song and, after the meditation, I recorded in order not to forget it.

--Thich Nhat Hanh

Meditation Hall, Upper Hamlet, 1986
Sister Phuong (Sister Chan Khong), 1987
Thay in vineyard, 1987
Thay inaugurates the first bell tower in Lower Hamlet, 1992

In the past I taught several generations of monastic disciples, but I was never as happy as I am now, with teacher and disciple living together and practicing together. Every day I find ways to transmit all that I have realized for myself to my disciples, like the first banana leaf transmitting to the second and the third. The happiness that monks and nuns give me is very great. Monks and nuns in Plum Village all have beauty, sweetness, bright smiles, and twinkling eyes.

--Thich Nhat Hanh

We have been able to present the teachings in such a way that young people and Westerners can understand them, accept them, and apply them. That is a big success of Plum Village, but it is not the work of one person alone or just the work of a few years. It is the work of thirty-five years that includes twenty years of Plum Village and the work of the entire Sanhga.

--Thich Nhat Hanh

Thay and Sangha singing, 1996
Marjorie Markus, Jeanne Anselmo, and Roberta Wall, Upper Hamlet, 1994
Order of Interbeing members at a ceremony for Anne Dellenbaug, Upper Hamlet, 1996
PHOTOS COURTESY OF PLUM VILLAGE, JEANNE ANSELMO, LYN FINE, EILEEN KIERA, AND DAVID LAWRENCE. QUOTES REPRINTED FROM I HAVE ARRIVED, I AM HOME (2003) BY THICH NHAT HANH WITH PERMISSION OF PARALLAX PRESS, BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA, www.parallax.org
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What is Mindfulness

Thich Nhat Hanh January 15, 2020

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