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Lions Roar : January 2016
Sweet Potatoes started as a year-round residence for eleven people healing from the war, but by 1982 it was too small to accommodate all who wanted to practice there. The community bought the land in southern France that would become Plum Vil- lage, named for the sweet fruit that grows in the region despite the rocky soil. One of the first things they did was plant a plum orchard and use the prof- its to help children in develop- ing countries. For Thich Nhat Hanh, Plum Village was the rebirth of the spirit of Phuong Bio. Mindfulness was woven into all daily activities—eating, walking, working, or enjoying a cup of tea with others—and by 1983 there were 117 practitioners at Plum Village. It would become Nhat Hanh’s primary residence, the center of his worldwide community, and the largest and most active Buddhist monastery in the West. In 1987, Thich Nhat Hanh established Parallax Press in California to publish his writings in English, plus other books on Buddhist teachings and peace. In 2000, he established his first monastery in America—Deer Park Monastery in Southern California—and his commun- ity of American students grew rapidly. By the mid-2000s, Thich Nhat Hanh was firmly established as a major Bud- dhist teacher, bestselling author, and leading advocate of mindful living. As he had from the beginning, he worked to make Buddhism relevant and engaged. As he wrote in Being Peace, “You are not an observer, you are a participant.” Below: Forty years after arriving alone and homesick in Paris, Thich Nhat Hanh was one of the world’s leading Buddhist teachers, with best- selling books and thousands of students. Being Peace, Thich Nhat Hanh’s first book in English, introduced his teachings on Engaged Buddhism to American audiences. Teaching in Malibu, California, in 1991. PHOTOBYMORGANALEXANDERPHOTOBYDONFARBER