18 August 2017
In France we are blessed to have some truly wonderful places to go on a retreat. It is not necessary to fly across the world to find a place where you are taught real tools on how to survive life.
I am very blessed to have have Plum village only an hour and 20min away from where i live. It is such a special place where you feel so welcome and cared for. It is run by Buddhist brothers and sisters from all over the world, but i think mostly from Vietnam. They all have such a pleasant air about them and so willing to stop and take the time to talk to you about whatever you need to talk about. It was created by a very special monk and zen master named Thich nhat hanh. He is a global spiritual leader, poet and peace activist, revered throughout the world for his powerful teachings and bestselling writings on mindfulness and peace.
I thought that is would be a religious place where you would be need to be very quiet and serious all the time, but not at all! You are free to be who ever you want to be, and take the practice as far as you need it to go. There is no pressure or any forcing of rules, there are just somethings to respect while being there, a vegan diet and no abuse of substances such as alcohol, cigarettes, etc. After all it is a monastery. The teachings are simple to understand and easy to follow. I think everything has been beautifully adapted to a western of thinking and doing. You can stay there for a week or longer. I only went to visit twice and only for the day. I hope to stay for a full week next time with my family. During the summer they run family retreats, open to everyone. There are lots of dharma talks and mindful activities for the adults to learn and discover and there are lovely programs for the children too. I think teaching mindfulness to children at a young age will help them greatly to cope with with life. My children loved being there, they loved playing and talking to the brothers and sisters and there were so many new children to have fun with.
The place is just so beautiful and tranquil, there are these huge lotus ponds to sit next to and just be. Oh, and the beautiful sunflower fields all over are not to be missed!
What a wonderful place to be, Buddhism with JOY!!
If you would like to know more about Thich Nhat Hanh and Plum Village click on this link