Plum Village is made up of 4 hamlets, the upper hamlet, which houses the monks and male visitors, the middle hamlet, which houses young people during the summer, the lower hamlet, which houses the nuns and the female visitors and a new hamlet which has a lot of accomodation available for people who are staying for some time in order to attend a retreat.
To get to Plum Village from Paris, you book an SNCF "fast train" from Gare Montparnase to Libourne. This is a 3 hour trip through beautiful countryside. Once arriving in Libourne, you get on a local train that heads east to St. Foy La Grande, which is about another hour trip. From there, you get a taxi to Plum Village. Our taxi driver has obviously taken a lot of visitors to Plum Village as he knew exactly what I was trying to get at as I stumbled with my limited French! It is possible to make arrangements for someone from the hamlet to pick you up, provided you are staying for a minimum one-week stay.
At any rate, I put the following photos together to give you a little "virtual tour" of Plum Village in case you have never visited yourself and are interested in getting an idea of what it is really like...
Please feel free to copy them if you like!
|This is the bell located at the lower hamlet. We didn't hear it rung while we were there and I am not sure on what occasions it is used. It is however, quite magnificent as you can see...|
|This is a Buddha image located at the side of the main meditation hall on the lower hamlet. It is in a very secluded and peaceful spot...|
|The new hamlet had just been acquired when we arrived and the building, though old, could house many visitors.|
Sitting on the ground is Sister Chan Khong talking to Patrick Lacoste.
|These beautiful flowers were growing beside one of the buildings located on the lower hamlet.|
|This is part of the upper hamlet, where I "bunked" during our visit. The building in the foreground is the meditation hall where all male participants met at 6:30am. Behind is the building where I slept.|
|This is a view over the adjacent countryside. I took this photo from one of the "walking meditation" trails that runs around the upper hamlet. As you can see, it is very beautiful...|
|The upper hamlet has a lot of paths that go to other buildings where some of the monks live. A small bell hanging from the tree on the left was rung every morning to wake us for morning meditation...|
|I took this picture just as we were getting ready to leave. I call it "two friends". These happy fellows are monks at Plum Village.|
|Actually, this was not taken at Plum Village, but at a retreat I attended in 1993 at Camp Swig in Sacramento, California.|
Walking meditation with Thay...
To read my account of meeting Thich Nhat Hanh, click here.
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