Our community was founded in 1994 by several friends inspired to practice together after attending a retreat in Plum Village, the home and practice center of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. The focus of the community is to cultivate the energy of mindfulness, understanding, and compassion in ourselves, in our families, in our communities, and in the world. We use the teachings and practices offered by the Buddha and Thich Nhat Hanh as a guide in developing these energies. Faith in our community is the result of our own practice and experience; the focus is on practice and directly experiencing things as they are, for ourselves. All are welcome!
The Sangha’s core values are summarized by the Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings, which include:
- Aware of the suffering created by fanaticism and intolerance, we are determined not to be idolatrous about or bound to any doctrine, theory, or ideology, even Buddhist ones. We are committed to seeing the Buddhist teachings as a guiding means that help us learn to look deeply and develop understanding and compassion. They are not doctrines to fight, kill, or die for. We understand that fanaticism in its many forms is the result of perceiving things in a dualistic or discriminative manner. We will train ourselves to look at everything with openness and the insight of interbeing in order to transform dogmatism and violence in ourselves and the world.
- Aware of the suffering created by attachment to views and wrong perceptions, we are determined to avoid being narrow-minded and bound to present views. We are committed to learning and practicing non-attachment from views and being open to others’ insights and experiences in order to benefit from the collective wisdom. Insight is revealed through the practice of compassionate listening, deep looking, and letting go of notions rather than the accumulation of intellectual knowledge. We are aware that the knowledge we presently possess is not changeless, absolute truth. Truth is found in life, and we will observe life within and around us in every moment, ready to learn throughout our lives.
- Aware of the suffering brought about when we impose our view on others, we are determined not to force others, even our children, by any means whatsoever – such as authority, threat, money, propaganda, or indoctrination – to adopt our views. We are committed to respecting the rights of others to be different, to choose what to believe and how to decide. We will, however, learn to help others let go of and transform narrowness through loving speech and compassionate dialogue.
Plum Blossom Sangha is organized by a volunteer care-taking team, known as the sanghita, all of whom aspire to practice the Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings and are thus lay members of the Plum Village International Sangha, the Order of Interbeing Mindfulness Community. Please continue reading our website for more information about our teacher and the international community of mindfulness practitioners who follow his teachings.