2019 Lunar New Year “Parallel Verses”

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The practice phrases are a traditional parallel verse (or “couplet”) for the Lunar New Year or Tết in Vietnamese, which we celebrate in Plum Village every year.

We are very happy to announce the new Plum Village practice phrases to celebrate the upcoming Lunar New Year of the Pig. The phrase is a poetic gift that we can print out and post on the walls as a reminder to practice mindfulness. 

The couplet can be combined with our breathing. For example, we can contemplate “Harmony in our Home” as we breathe in, and contemplate “Joy in the World” as we breathe out. These words are not a declaration, but a living aspiration we wish to nurture.

In Plum Village practice centers all around the world, we print out these calligraphies (keeping the diamond form), paste them onto coloured card, and pin them up around the dining halls, meditation halls and living quarters in preparation to celebrate the Lunar New Year. We hang them (with the help of a little cotton thread) from early-blossoming Japonica and Plum branches that we bring in to brighten our rooms.

Ancient tradition, creatively renewed
Poetic couplets for New Year are an ancient tradition in the East, especially in Vietnam and China. Often on red paper, they are pasted on door-frames, lintels, and even farm tools to bring good luck for the year to come. Calligraphies by spiritual masters are especially popular. The traditional couplet written in Chinese characters is a masterful art – a kind of profound and concise “written form of counterpoint”.

Thay has established a tradition, on the eve of the Lunar New Year, of offering the sangha a simple poetic couplet in calligraphy that can inspire and nurture our mindfulness practice. Thay’s innovation has been to offer the couplet in English, French and Vietnamese (rather than in Chinese characters). The Plum Village Community is very happy to continue this beautiful tradition.

Sr Can Nghiem and friends preparing parallel verses for the community

Join us in this practiceYou can print out and post the couplets on your fridge, doors or near light switches as an auspicious reminder to be mindful of their message, and renew ourselves by applying them in our daily lives. You can get creative with how and where to post and practice the phrases. You could post them on the doorframe as you step out to face your day, or even on the bathroom mirror.

In Plum Village, we always post the two complementary diamonds as a pair, near each other (above, below, beside – it doesn’t matter which) – typically on doors, windows or walls.

We hope this brand new couplet will bring you and your loved ones inspiration and nourishment in the New Year to come. This year the calligraphy is by Thay Phap Huu.

Download PDF for various sizes of the verses:

English French Vietnamese

Where's Thay? a holiday message from Plum village

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Dear Beloved Community,

Our dear Teacher has been at Từ Hiếu Root Temple now for two months, with many of our elders, including Sister Chan Khong, Brother Phap An and a team of monastic attendants. Thay is doing well, his eyes as bright and lucid as ever. Even in the heavy rains, Thay visits the tomb of his teacher everyday, sometimes three times in the day. He has been coming out to enjoy the grounds of the Root Temple, visiting the Half Moon Pond, along all the paths past the bamboo groves, and the well where he would wash his feet as a young novice after attending the buffaloes. It has been lovely to see so many people visiting Hue to be near Thay, to enjoy the Root Temple and to pay tribute to our spiritual ancestors………….more


Holidays at the Monastery

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We will host an open day of mindfulness on Monday, December 24th, 2018. There will be no day of mindfulness the day before, on Sunday, December 23. Those wishing to stay at the monastery over Christmas time are welcome to register for a Personal Retreat during this time to enjoy a joyful, mindful holiday time.

We invite our guests to bring desserts and non-alcoholic beverages to share for our Holiday meal.

Schedule Monday, December 24th

3 pm —-Walking Meditation
4 pm —-Dharma Talk
5:30 pm —- Celebratory Dinner
7:30 pm —- Be-In (songs, stories and more)

Tuesday, December 25th

Brunch, dinner and gift exchange for residents

Thanksgiving Day Celebration

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Join us for a Day of Gratitude and Mindfulness.

9:30 am Dharma Talk
11:30 am Memorial service for Thay’s grandfather-teacher.

12:30 pm Thanksgiving lunch followed by brief sharing.

Visitors are welcome to bring potluck dishes, desserts and drinks to share with others if they wish.

No registration is required to come for the day. Donations are appreciated to help cover our costs. You will find donation boxes in the back of the big meditation hall and in the dining halls.

Those wishing to stay at the monastery over Thanksgiving are welcome to register for a Personal Retreat.