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As spring unfolds at Dartmouth, our campus once again welcomes a group of monastics from the respected Plum Village tradition of Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh. This marks the second consecutive year we've had the privilege to host visitors from Deer Park Monastery in California and Magnolia Grove Monastery in Mississippi. They bring with them a wealth of knowledge on mindfulness, engaging our community through classroom visits, meditation sessions, lectures, and sharing their personal stories.

Schedule of monastics visit

Our week is packed with activities ranging from weekend-long retreats to shorter sessions like candlelight vigils, mindful walks, and Qi Gong, offering numerous opportunities to cultivate mindful living. Each event deepens our engagement with mindfulness, transforming our daily interactions with calm and clarity. This continuous practice of mindfulness has become a part of my daily life, reshaping how I experience each day and turning every moment into an opportunity for growth and peace.

guided meditation by monastics

My Buddhism class this term had the incredible fortune to host these monastics for a one-hour discussion that began with a short meditation. They shared insights into their daily lives at the monastery, their motivations for becoming monks and nuns, and their personal journeys in mindfulness. This was particularly meaningful as both Deer Park and Magnolia Grove, where the visiting nuns reside, were founded by Thich Nhat Hanh and uphold the teachings of the Plum Village Tradition. Many of the nuns were taught directly by Thich Nhat Hanh and spent years at Plum Village in France. Meeting his direct disciples provided a tangible connection to the tradition of engaged Buddhism he pioneered—an invaluable experience for someone studying his work.

Following the classroom visit, I had the opportunity to engage in a personal conversation with one of the nuns, Sister True Practice. Her journey from Vietnam to the United States and her path to Buddhism was truly captivating. She discussed her life as a novice and her ordination as a nun, along with her experiences in global Zen monastic communities. The serene contentment she exuded—richer than mere happiness—as she spoke about how spirituality has helped her pursue happiness was profoundly moving.


As a religion student, I am immensely grateful for the chance to meet and learn from monastics who are direct students of a Zen master we study in class. These teachings have guided not only my academic path but also my personal life. Yet, I'm thankful not just as a student of religion but also as an individual. It is incredibly valuable that Dartmouth offers this opportunity for our entire community to engage in and cultivate mindfulness. This initiative not only enhances our academic environment but also contributes significantly to the emotional and spiritual well-being of our community, fostering a deeper sense of mindfulness and compassion among us all.

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