Our Community

The Community of practitioners in the Plum Village Tradition in the UK comes from all walks of life and backgrounds. Here is a small number of our members sharing their experience and inspirations. Please enjoy reading below profiles offering an insight what the practice and the Plum Village community mean for them.

Allison Fraser

Rose Apple Sangha, Coventry Sangha, Oxford Sangha, Daffodil Sangha

PVUK Community means I have a spiritual home in the UK and that I have somewhere to go for guidance, friendship, and support. The Community also offers events, teachings, retreats, celebrations and much more that help to keep my practice fresh.

What drew you to Plum Village Mindfulness practice? What inspired you to join the Sangha?

Like many people, I discovered Thay through his books, I came across “Peace is \every Step” in a little café/bookshop in Tower Hamlets and cherished every word. I persuaded my family to travel to Plum Village for the summer opening the next year and heard Thay tell the story of “The Hermit and the Well”. I knew then that this was my path. I had meditation for some years, mostly alone. The Plum Village experience opened my eyes to the powerful support that Sangha can offer.

How have you been developing your practice?

The focus of my practice varies. Lockdown gave time and space to both sit with and heal past hurts but also to be in nature and nurture joy in me each day.

What supports you in your practice?

In practical terms, sitting each day, attending Sangha, listening to Dharma talks, reading Thay’s books and discussing them with friends.

What are your three favourite books from Thay?

Peace is Every Step, The Heart of Understanding, The Art Of living

What is your favourite Thay’s quote?

“We need the vigour and strength to come out of the meditation hall into life because that is the only way we can hope to change the world.”

What does the PVUK community mean for you?

It means I have a spiritual home in the UK and that I have somewhere to go for guidance, friendship, and support. The Community also offers events, teachings, retreats, celebrations and much more that help to keep my practice fresh.

Which Sangha do you attend?

I usually attend the Rose Apple Sangha in Warwickshire and the Coventry Sangha. Since lockdown I have also joined the Oxford Sangha on Zoom each morning. As an Order Member I also enjoy the support of the Daffodil Sangha.

Brother Yonten Phuntsok

PVUK Volunteer, Plum Village Rainbow Sangha & Compassionate Ocean Sangha

Plum Village UK & Plum Village offer me a home for my practice outside of my heart, I am the Sangha & the Sangha is me. It also allows me a place to offer some small service.

What drew you to Plum Village Mindfulness practice? What inspired you to join the Sangha?

I was drawn to Plum Village by necessity initially. Because of disability I found it hard to find accessible teachings & practice sessions in my root tradition, but via You Tube I came across Thay & subsequently Plum Village Channel with its wealth of Dharma offerings. After that 1st Dharma talk by Thay I knew I had found my teacher & sangha.

How have you been developing your practice?

With the support & opportunities offered by Plum Village UK & Plum Village, through the wonderful online retreats, meditations, practice sessions & Dharma talks offered by the Sisters, Brothers & Lay Dharma teachers.

What supports you in your practice?

Sense of connection albeit mainly online. Daily meditation, chanting & practice sessions. Also I know you are there & that makes me incredibly happy! 

What are your three favourite books from Thay?

The Sun my Heart, Buddha Mind, Buddha Body & The Art of Living.

What is your favourite Thay’s quote? 

‘Does the rose have to do something? No, the purpose of a rose is to be a rose. Your purpose is to be yourself. You don’t have to run anywhere to become someone else. You are wonderful just as you are.’

What does the PVUK community mean for you?

Connection, support, compassion & a nurturing foundation that offers me the opportunity to flourish.

Which Sangha do you attend?

PVUK, Plum Village Rainbow Sangha & Compassionate Ocean Sangha (All online atm)

Gary Greenberg

The Heart of London Sangha

I find that the practice “off the cushion” is infinitely enhanced by spending sufficient time “on the cushion.”  After the sitting I dedicate the merit, which to me is dedicating the effort, to all of us, who after all are in it together! 

What drew you to Plum Village Mindfulness practice? What inspired you to join the Sangha?

Thay’s book The Path of Emancipation where he comments on the Anapanasatti Sutra introduced me to his approach. I liked the emphasis on healing the emotions. A visit to Plum Village then inspired me to adopt the PV tradition as my personal practice.

How have you been developing your practice?

I have been sitting regularly which these days is three hours a day, consisting of 1-2 hours in the morning, then at some point in the day the remainder of the allotted time for practice.  I find that the practice “off the cushion” is infinitely enhanced by spending sufficient time “on the cushion.”  After the sitting I dedicate the merit, which to me is dedicating the effort, to all of us, who after all are in it together!

While sitting I am mostly working on Shamatha, that is, making the mind serviceable so that when I turn to “looking deeply” or Vipassana I will have a tool that, as they say, is “fit for purpose”.  After 17 years of sitting, in this tradition and quite a bit more in another I have found that relatively short sessions on the cushion leave me with a very active mind, a pond that does not clearly reflect the moon in the night time sky. The ripples never stop.  Thus my ability to clearly apply the Four Foundations of Mindfulness has been weak:  I have been able to practice with the awareness of the body and the emotions, but with limited success going further, particularly when it comes to awareness of the mental formations in the mental formations, and awareness of the dharmas in the dharmas.  Although able to touch pure awareness once in a while, I just wasn’t able to rest in it.  Thus I was unable to do a good job truly investigating my Alaya, the substrate or store consciousness, wherein lay all my wholesome and unwholesome seeds.   I am finding this new practice regime very fulfilling.

The remainder of my practice consists of practicing kindness, to myself and those around me, and, when something other than kindness arises, committing to paying close attention to its causes and the conditions that foster its arousal.

What supports you in your practice?

I am giving rein to my aspiration to understand, as I have always had a spiritual hunger for the wisdom of the Dharma, so I listen for it in whatever form I can perceive it.

What are your three favourite books from Thay?

The Path of Emancipation, The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching, Touching the Earth: Intimate Conversatons with the Buddha

What is your favourite quote of Thay’s? 

Waking up I smile. 24 brand new hours are before me. I vow to live each one in mindfulness, and to look on all beings with the eyes of compassion.

What does the PVUK community mean for you?

A group of people doing their best to heal and be healed.

Which Sangha do you attend?

The Heart of London Sangha

 

Ian Sneath

Nottingham, Leicester, Charnwood & Order of Interbeing; Be Calm Be Happy Course Leader

Sangha! The incredible energy and support I receive through community, sharing joy and difficulties is almost indescribable.

What drew you to Plum Village Mindfulness practice? What inspired you to join the Sangha?

Suffering! I had been on a path to illbeing for most of my life & although I had become multimillionaire business owner with lots of things and doing lots of things; I wasn’t happy! From the outside looking in, I was successful from our society view. But I was like many entrepreneurs, I was running into the future, for me, running from my difficult childhood. Now I have simplified my life and have very little; I’m freer than I’ve ever felt.

How have you been developing your practice?

Over many years I’ve been healing my inner child and his anxieties and fears. There are too many beautiful practices to run through that help me create real happiness and joy inside myself; but if I had to pick one; its sitting meditation. Amazing really; as 15 years ago my mind wouldn’t let me sit, as it was so busy Peace in oneself; peace in the world.

What supports you in your practice?

Sangha! The incredible energy and support I receive through community, sharing joy and difficulties is almost indescribable.

What are your three favourite books from Thay?

How can you choose?!?

Reconciliation; Fear; The art of living

What is your favourite Thay’s quote?

“Are you sure?”

What does the PVUK community mean for you?

Everything; I couldn’t imagine my life without this valuable support network

Which Sangha do you attend?

Nottingham, Leicester, Charnwood & OI

Jan Cook

Oxford Sangha, Be Calm Be Happy Course Leader

Plum Village UK is a community of friends who are on the path, are accessible and always there to support, encourage and inspire

What drew you to Plum Village Mindfulness practice? What inspired you to join the Sangha?

About 10 years ago, I was practicing mindfulness and in need of a group to practice with; I stumbled across the Oxford Sangha, gave it a go, realised I had found my true practice home and have been happily practicing in the PV tradition since.

How have you been developing your practice?

I practice sitting meditation each morning with  other sangha members, followed by mindfully eating my breakfast. I have many gatas on the walls to remind me to be mindful in my daily activities eg brushing my teeth

Each afternoon I either practice deep relaxation, listen to a dharma talk or go for a mindful walk.  I study Thay’s books with a group of practitioners and recite the 5 mindfulness trainings at least once a month.  Sharing Thay’s teachings with others helps me to deepen my own practice.

What supports you in your practice?

The Sangha and all the PV resources – especially the app!  The Plum Village and the PVUK  communities

What are your three favourite books from Thay?

Ah – this changes all the time !- the current top faves are: Love Letter to the Earth, The Sun my heart, The Art of Living

What is your favourite Thay’s quote?

“The way out is in”

What does the PVUK community mean for you?

A community of  friends who are on the path, are accessible and always there to support, encourage and inspire.

Which Sangha do you attend?

Oxford

Joe Holtaway

Wake Up London

I believe in movements of people working for peace in different ways - the PV community has become one of my homes.

What drew you to Plum Village Mindfulness practice? What inspired you to join the Sangha?

I first read one of Thay’s books in my early 20s; I actually heard his name first through Eckhart Tolle, back then a few friends and I were attending some different meditation groups and I read True Love at one of their houses (in the bathroom!) I was touched immediately by the language, at once simple, kind and profound.

How have you been developing your practice?

Soon after that I found my way to the Wake Up London group and have been involved for 10 years now. I spent just under a year in Plum Village in France in my the 30s also. Though most importantly for me is just the continued wish to sit every morning and evening, to root my body and mind in silence – even if I’m tired, unsettled, uneasy … for me it’s essential.

What supports you in your practice?

The PV international community is a great source of inspiration and support. And closer friends who enjoy Thay’s teachings as much as I do – and the PV app – I love that app!

What are your three favourite books from Thay?

Fragrant Palm Leaves, Love Letters to the Earth and True Love

What is your favourite Thay’s quote?

” Silence is essential. We need silence, just as much as we need air, just as much as plants need light.”

What does the PVUK community mean for you?

Inspiration and friendship – I believe in movements of people working for peace in different ways – the PV community has become one of my homes.

Which Sangha do you attend?

Wake UP London

Lizhuo Zhang

Wake Up London, Heart of London

I have learned so much from my Sangha friends over the years. I really treasure our friendship, togetherness and most importantly the unconditional love and acceptance in our Sangha.

What drew you to Plum Village Mindfulness practice? What inspired you to join the Sangha? 

I first came across Thay’s teaching and Plum Village through a lady who I was on a yoga retreat with. In 2014 I went to Plum Village for the first time. As soon as I arrived there, in my heart I knew that Plum Village is my true home. A few months after the retreat I moved to London and joined Wake Up London Sangha.

How have you been developing your practice? 

I have been practicing with our local Sangha regularly and also participating Plum Village retreats every year. I practice meditation and mindfulness everyday. I can’t image my life without them.

What supports you in your practice?

Thay’s books and talks, Plum Village monastics, Dharma teachers and Sangha friends. They are all inspirations to me and support me to go through up and downs in life.

 

What are your three favourite books from Thay? 

Peace of Mind, Being Peace, The art of Living

What is your favourite Thay’s quote? 

Present moment wonderful moment

What does the PVUK community mean for you? 

Being part of Wake Up London Sangha means a lot to me. I have learned so much from my Sangha friends over the years. I really treasure our friendship, togetherness and most importantly the unconditional love and acceptance in our Sangha.

Which Sangha do you attend?  

Wake Up London and Heart of London Sangha.

Monica Max West

Earth Holder Sangha, Global Sangha, Wake Up London

Being part of the PVUK community means being with my chosen family: a group of people who share common values of kindness, peace, reverence and compassion.

What drew you to Plum Village Mindfulness practice? What inspired you to join the Sangha? 

I actually came to Sangha because someone close to me was attending regularly.  At that time (about 10 years ago), I was in a very happy place within myself so not particularly ‘in need’ of further support.  However, as I continued to attend the Heart of London Sanga, I found the practices more and more nourishing.  I loved the simplicity of silent sitting and walking together.  The group felt really loving and special.

How have you been developing your practice? 

I sit every morning for 20 minutes.  I also keep in regular contact with Sangha friends.  I love to sing Plum Village songs, and to watch Dharma talks.  I have found online Sanghas somewhat difficult because I spend 20 or more hours per week on Zoom due to my work!  The most important parts of my practice are stillness (slowing down), the metta practice and being in nature.

What supports you in your practice? 

Mother Earth supports me enormously in my practice, and as I have now relocated to beautiful Scotland from busy London, She is my daily teacher.  The birdsong here is incredible.  Plum Village songs also nourish me, as do the Five Contemplations (before eating) and the Five Mindfulness Trainings.  I am in regular contact with Sangha friends, and I also love to watch videos of Thay or monastics.  These beautiful beings radiate peace and love.

What are your three favourite books from Thay? 

My favourite book is ‘Love Letters to the Earth’.  I actually find embodied practice most inspiring so don’t rely so much on the written word.  I love to listen to Thay’s voice.

What is your favourite Thay quote? 

“This is it”.  This reminds me to touch the joy of life in every moment.

What does the PVUK community mean for you? 

When I read the Five Mindfulness Trainings, I felt that I was ‘home’.  These were principles by which I had been living (imperfectly, of course!) for years.  Being part of the PVUK community means being with my chosen family: a group of people who share common values of kindness, peace, reverence and compassion.

Which Sangha do you attend? 

Having moved to Scotland recently (under lockdown) and currently living on the road means that I do not yet have a home Sangha.  Recently, I have felt most at home with Wake Up London (although in chronological years, I’m far too old!) because these lovely people embrace play, music and political activism.  I am also part of the Earth Holder’s Sangha.  But ultimately, I feel part of a Global Sangha, having attended retreats in Plum Village and the EIAB, and also through my own recordings of Plum Village songs.

Paloma Gay y Blasco

Poppy Seeds Sangha, Scotland; Be Calm Be Happy Course Leader

My local Poppy Seed Sangha has been a wonderful source of support to develop my practice, and in my life more broadly. My friends at the sangha help me and inspire me with their stories and experiences, and I constantly learn from them.

What drew you to Plum Village Mindfulness practice? What inspired you to join the Sangha?

I had a period of counselling and my counsellor introduced me to mindfulness. I found it extremely helpful and wanted to learn more. I learnt that secular mindfulness had emerged out of Buddhism and this made me begin to try to find out more about Buddhist meditation. I then came across the Poppy Seed Sangha in a directory of Buddhist groups provided by the local council. The first night I attended we read the Five Mindfulness Trainings. I immediately fell in love with the outlook and the  practice.

How have you been developing your practice?

Over the years I have stopped worrying about getting it right. Instead I have learnt to relax and to experiment with my practice, and also to adapt it to the circumstances of my life. I have also learnt be a little bit kinder to myself and to others. I find that a little bit actually goes a long way and makes a huge difference to how I face difficulties or challenges!

What supports you in your practice?

My local Poppy Seed Sangha has been a wonderful source of support to develop my practice, and in my life more broadly. My friends at the sangha help me and inspire me with their stories and experiences, and I constantly learn from them. Attending retreats in person and online has helped me make connections with new friends in other areas, particularly in Scotland but ¨down South¨ too. Three years ago I decided to apply to become an aspirant to receive the Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings, and I have learnt a huge amount from the example and kindness of my two mentors.

What are your three favourite books from Thay?

No Mud, No Lotus; Anger: Buddhist Wisdom for Cooling the Flames; Teachings on Love

What is your favourite Thay’s quote?

I’m not sure! At the moment I keep turning again and again to his recommendation that we take care of our pain as if it were a child held in the arms of its mother.

What does the PVUK community mean for you?

They are my very dear friends, who accompany me in my difficulties and joys, and from whom I learn so much!

Which Sangha do you attend?

Poppy Seeds

Peter Bentley

North Herts Earth Touching Sangha

I am inspired by friends in our local sangha who show me that I am not the only person in the local area who is working for a happier, more peaceful world

What drew you to Plum Village Mindfulness practice? What inspired you to join the Sangha?

I had been practicing in a different Buddhist tradition and gradually began to learn about Thay’s teachings. I went to the Nottingham retreat led by Thay in 2012 and decided that the Plum Village tradition was a better fit to my outlook on life, so moved to the local Thay sangha.

How have you been developing your practice?

I attend retreats once or twice a year and every week I attend my local sangha where we watch a dharma talk by Thay or other Plum Village dharma teachers. I also read books by Thay and senior monastics. My favourite practice is to eat my evening meal in silence so that I can taste and enjoy the food.

What supports you in your practice?

I am guided by Thay’s wonderful Five Mindfulness Trainings. I am also inspired by friends in our local sangha who show me that I am not the only person in the local area who is working for a happier, more peaceful world. My main practice is in my daily actions, especially my work to help to end extreme poverty by volunteering in my local Oxfam shop and as an Oxfam public speaker.

What are your three favourite books from Thay?

‘Old Path White Clouds’, ‘The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching’ and ‘For a Future to be Possible’. I am also inspired by Brother Phap Hai’s book: “Nothing to it’.

What is your favourite Thay’s quote?

“If we are peaceful, if we are happy, we can smile and blossom like a flower, and everyone in our family, our entire society, will benefit from our peace.” From Being Peace, Chapter One.

What does the PVUK community mean for you?

It means that the local Sangha is not alone. It is part of a community of people across the UK who follow Thay’s teachings.

Which Sangha do you attend?

North Herts Earth Touching Sangha.

 

Peter Moore

York Sangha, Sunday Sangha

My wider spiritual family where we support each other in our practice and move in the same direction. Somewhere I can feel safe and aspire to be my true self, and support others to feel safe and benefit from the practice.

What drew you to Plum Village Mindfulness practice? What inspired you to join the Sangha?

I started out practicing from a background of Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy. I tried a few different groups to maintain my practice. I was not particularly looking for a Buddhist group but I was drawn to the Plum Village tradition as I found it the friendliest and the teachings were expressed in a way, I could understand them and link them to my daily life. I joined the Sangha because I enjoyed the practice and I wanted to help keep my daily practice going.

How have you been developing your practice?

Joining the Sangha really has changed my life. This has been a gentle unfolding over the past 7 years. I have learnt so much about myself through the practice and also by helping to build and nourish the Sangha as best I can. I am much more in touch with my own suffering and the suffering of others. I enjoy the Tuesday and Thursday Love meditations and the various retreats that have been offered.

What supports you in your practice?

Recognising that we are all connected, practicing together as cells in the Sangha body all around the world and holding each other. And practicing with my local Sangha, the Sunday Sangha and the wider Sangha at retreats. Being able to reflect on my own experience of the practice in a safe place.

What are your three favourite books from Thay?

The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching, Being peace, the Miracle of Mindfulness.

What is your favourite Thay’s quote?

‘the teaching no matter how lovely, if it cannot be applied to daily life, it has no value at all’

What does the PVUK community mean for you?

My wider spiritual family where we support each other in our practice and move in the same direction. Somewhere I can feel safe and aspire to be my true self, and support others to feel safe and benefit from the practice.

Which Sangha do you attend?

I attend the York Sangha weekly, the Sunday Sangha most weeks and occasionally visit others on Zoom.

Rehena Harilall

Heart of London, Dalesview Sangha, Colours of Compassion, Sweet Blossoming 

Sangha for me means support and nourishment to grow my practice and liberation. It also offers me opportunities to contribute in growing the community and making the teachings accessible to others

What drew you to Plum Village Mindfulness practice? What inspired you to join the Sangha? 

Thich Nhat Hanh and his writing drew me into Plum Village. Growing up in meditation and related practices, I chose PV because of Thay as the spiritual teacher who not only is a person of colour, but he like me came from a country of deep rooted conflict which took him off the mat into engaged action and he radiates the qualities of peace and compassion which transcend the painful experiences he faced in Vietnam

How have you been developing your practice? 

I practice my sitting and walking meditation daily, trying to do all my actions in mindfulness. I read, join retreats, attend sangha and offer my support in growing sangha. I focus on deepening specific practices over extended duration for example practising with anger or loving kindness over year or months before moving onto next.

What supports you in your practice? 

Practising with sangha, spiritual friends and getting the nourishing energy from the Earth are the main areas of support. Most importantly for me the practice, doing the practice supports me more than dharma shopping. I am inspired by books and writings too.

What are your three favourite books from Thay? 

Love Letters to the Earth, Together we are one, The Blooming of the Lotus 

What is your favourite Thay’s quote? 

“Our own life has to be our message”

What does the PVUK community mean for you? 

Support and nourishment to grow my practice and liberation. It also offers me opportunities to contribute in growing the community and making the teachings accessible to others

Which Sangha do you attend? 

Heart of London, Dalesview Sangha, Colours of Compassion, Sweet Blossoming

Robbie Campbell

Wake Up London, Heart of London

I'm moved without exception whenever there's a dharma sharing space. When others share their joys, sufferings, and aspirations I'm filled with gratitude, compassion and inspiration. I've never left a session without something blossoming in me.

What drew you to Plum Village Mindfulness practice? What inspired you to join the Sangha?

I was practising in another tradition but was so drawn to Thay’s books that I felt Plum Village might be a better home for me. It was a little confusing at the time to leave one tradition for another but I’m so glad I did. The feeling I had when I read Thay’s words was so full of peacefulness and kindness it was difficult to go anywhere else.

How have you been developing your practice?

I try to be involved with the sangha as much as possible (which has been tough this past year) and join practice sessions and retreats. I began facilitating with both Wake Up London and Heart of London and am now on the Wake Up care taking team. I try to read as much as possible and make use of the amazing resources on youtube and the Plum Village app. My journey is full of ups and downs as I move through different layers of myself. I often feel I’m back at the beginning, and at other times I’m aware of how much I’ve grown.

What supports you in your practice?

Longer periods of focused practice, such as retreats, really support me. I’m also moved without exception whenever there’s a dharma sharing space. When others share their joys, sufferings, and aspirations I’m filled with gratitude, compassion and inspiration. I’ve never left a session without something blossoming in me.

What are your three favourite books from Thay?

At Home in the World, Old Path White Clouds, The Sun My Heart

What is your favourite Thay’s quote?

An oak tree is an oak tree. That is all it has to do. If an oak tree is less than an oak tree, then we are all in trouble.

What does the PVUK community mean for you?

I love knowing that dharma teachers are here to support us, and that days of mindfulness, 5 mindfulness training transmissions, retreats, and other things are offered so generously. I’m also comforted to know there is a path to deepen the practice and receive support to become more involved.

Which Sangha do you attend?

Wake Up London (and Heart of London pre-covid)

Sylvia Clare

Smiling Heart Southampton Sangha; Heart of the Island Sangha, BCBH Course Leader

PVUK is a group which facilitates the teaching of mindfulness, at many varied stages of growth and understanding

What drew you to Plum Village Mindfulness practice? What inspired you to join the Sangha?

I was initially drawn to PV s a result of reading several TNH books which alongside the many other writers of mindfulness and buddhism, appealed to me, also there were affordable retreats which were accessible

How have you been developing your practice?
I had been practicing, and teaching mindfulness for about twenty years before I came to PV. Our previous home was a retreat centre. I didn’t really want to stick to one tradition but I had a breakdown from complex PTSD and found this tradition gave me more support than any other. It felt like home, though my PTSD still gets triggered from time to time so I have decided not to attend any more large retreats in any tradition apart from PV France itself.
What supports you in your practice?

My sangha supports me, as does my husband, another freelance buddhist with over forty years experience of daily meditation practice, we both embrace the buddhas’ teachings in its many forms and live according to them to our best -it is a very deep and extremely happy marriage

What are your three favourite books from Thay?

Silence, No death, no Fear, the Heart of the Buddhas teachings. All three of these encompassed everything I already understood of the buddhas teachings but gave it another view point which i enjoyed and found deep and meaningful

What is your favourite Thay’s quote?

Drink your tea – it is in my kitchen.

What does the PVUK community mean for you?
A group which facilitates the teaching of mindfulness, which I am so happy to contribute towards in this tradition, especially sharing my specialisms of working with ADHD and neurodiversity and PTSD and how Mindfulness can help to support this challenge through life. It is also a community of people, and like all groups of people, at many varied stages of growth and understanding, some of whom I can conenct with and some I am less able to as a result of my ADHD / PTSD etc.
Which Sangha do you attend?

I actually run two sanghas, one in Southampton and one on the Isle of Wight, but they have merged and gone online with Covid so the sangha now has people from all over Britain

Zofia Bentley

North Herts Earth Touching Sangha, Heart of London Sangha

Sangha for me means friends who walk on the same path, mutual support, deep connections and sharing both suffering and joy

What drew you to Plum Village Mindfulness practice? What inspired you to join the Sangha?

Many years ago, when I was already practising Zen Buddhism in a different tradition, I came across Thay’s book Miracle of Mindfulness and it felt like a breath of fresh air. Some time later I heard that Thay was giving the public talk in London. I went and got hooked. On this event I also found out a about what was then called the ‘St James Sangha’. This was the beginning of my over 20 years long practice with what is now the Heart of London Sangha. Sangha for me means friends who walk on the same path, mutual support, deep connections and sharing both suffering and joy.

How have you been developing your practice?

By practising with the sangha and at home, frequently participating in many retreats – in person in pre-Covid times, and online in present, receiving 5 Mindfulness Trainings, and later, after being an aspirant for 3 years, receiving 14 Mindfulness Trainings.

What supports you in your practice?

Regular practice with my both sanghas. Reciting 5 and 14 Mindfulness Trainings. Using Plum Village App. Listening to Dharma talks online. Also: contact with nature, classical music, and last but not least – my husband, also a practitioner.

What are your three favourite books from Thay?

Creating True Peace, Teachings on Love, Understanding Our Mind

What is your favourite Thay’s quote?

Are you sure?

What does the PVUK community mean for you?

On a practical level it means being a part of a bigger organisation that can provide support on the scale impossible for a single sangha, like arranging monastic visits, organising retreats, courses, ordinations and other ceremonies. It enables meeting practitioners from other areas, which I find very inspiring. Within years I’ve made many friends on retreats organised by CoI.

Which Sangha do you attend?

My root sangha is still the Heart of London Sangha. I also practise with the North Herts Earth Touching Sangha, which is my local sangha.

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