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Spirit in Action

by SOM Magazine

» Plum Village: A Global Community of Mindfulness Centers 

Plum Village advances the work of mindfulness through retreats and online gatherings focused on the teachings of Engaged Buddhism and the art of mindful living. Founded by Thich Nhất Hạnh in 1980s as a small, rustic farmstead, Plum Village today is Europe’s largest Buddhist monastery. More than 200 resident monks and nuns live in four hamlets spread out across the French countryside.

This is where Thầy, as his followers call him, built his dream of a beloved community — a healthy, nourishing environment where living in harmony with each other is the ultimate goal. Plum Village weaves Thầy’s instructions in mindfulness into all daily activities, whether eating, walking, working or visiting. Each day includes periods of silence, sitting meditation, rest, mindful work and play.

Thousands of meditation practitioners from across the globe travel each year to the village to experience the art of mindful communal living. During the COVID-19 pandemic, in keeping with travel guidance from health experts, these gatherings take place online, expanding the virtual community of people from more than 40 nations.

Before returning to his native Vietnam, Thich Nhất Hạnh lived at Plum Village, where he wrote, taught, gardened and guided his global community. Many of the trails around the hills and fields are legendary paths of walking meditation for Thầy and his community.

Shortly after his exile from Vietnam in the 1970s, Thầy founded the Sweet Potato Community that since became Plum Village. He has since founded eight additional monastic practices centers in Europe, the United States and Asia.

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