This English retreat, with the theme The Miracle of Mindfulness, will be led by Thich Nhat Hanh’s community of monks and nuns. The retreat is open to all, including beginners, those who have previously attended retreats, and families with children. We welcome the participation of people from all backgrounds, regardless of ethnic origin, race, cultural background, socio-economic class, age, gender, sexual orientation, or physical ability.
Retreat fees include all retreat programs, housing, meals and transportation for those housed off-site. Join us for a day of mindfulness on 80 peaceful acres of woodland in the southern Catskill region. September 10, 2015 Where Spirit Meets Action: Continuing the Legacy of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh and Dr. As with all our retreats and events, we encourage participants to share rides wherever possible in order to reduce the environmental aspect of traveling. The event provides an opportunity to learn the art of mindfulness, to deepen your mindfulness training, and to taste the joy and peace of practicing as a community. The nuns, monks and staff members will lead a mindfulness practice program for teens (ages 13-17) and children (6 to 12 years old). With the theme Together, We Are One, we invite you to come experience the miracle of mindfulness for yourself.
Please use the commenting system below to make connections with other participants to offer rides and insights on reducing the impact. Everyone pitches in, young and old, and contributions come in the form of labor, building supplies, food and attendance to share the camaraderie of the project. It is a heartening affair infused with duty, friendship and connected purpose in their common venture. Well, perhaps not farmers per se, but a barn-like structure that needed ‘raising’ in their Buddhist community.

Come and meet the monks and nuns of Magnolia Grove Monastery, and their new beautiful Meditation Hall. Magnolia Grove is one of Thich Nhat Hanh’s smaller and more obscure sangha communities located in rural Mississippi (USA). It is a calm and bucolic location with the familiar sight of the simple brown robes of Plum Village sangha members welcoming guests upon arrival.
Over the years, Vietnamese immigrants came to Mississippi and nearby Tennessee to begin new lives in America. They brought some of their cultural and religious heritage with them to dwell in a peaceful manner, influenced by the teachings of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. Monks and nuns live simply, going about their own practice, and also hosting visitors who come to learn about meditation and mindfulness.
The architecture is certainly impressive, and the communal effort involved to build this grand space is reminiscent of farming kinship. What struck me was the curious energy in the air: a fusion between ‘calm’, and diligent construction efforts around the property. Bits of hammering here and there, a delivery truck lumbered in, that high-pitched whine of a stone cutting saw along the steps – all parallel to the graceful movements of the otherwise normal routines. Tradespeople, householders and monastics alike were all pitching in to prepare for the imminent arrival of Thich Nhat Hanh in September. It is where every breath we take reminds us of the wonders of life. A place to sit and relax. A place to walk and kiss the earth beneath our feet. A place to rest under a willow tree on an island in a lotus pond. A place to eat together and savor every bite. A place to listen deeply to the sounds of life and the sound of our hearts. A place to work together to build a community of love and understanding.    I arrived at dusk to the sound of crickets, the smell of red earth clay and the crunching of gravel under the rental car tires.

It was a long day’s travel by air and road, gladly leaving behind the fast urban pace of New York. Mississippi is a farming state from my childhood memories, and even in the dim light of a new location, the scented air was intimately familiar. A quiet nun greeted me to enter the guesthouse and I bunked in for the night with a recent university graduate, and a novice nun from Vietnam. Silently we filed into the hall for meditation before breakfast, the quietude a blanket of comfort.
All the while in respectful practice with the deep resonating Plum Village bell for punctuation. In afternoons, all four pillars of the sangha shared a harmonious hum of preparations around the grounds. Rick was a visiting volunteer, friendly and retired, with construction expertise to build the hall.
One monk wore a tool belt atop the ladder, nuns in straw hats tended gardens, and retreat visitors pitched in where they wished to help.
Soft voices in dharma exchange and meditation intervals provided respite from the withering summer heat.
It has been a mindful project on a grand scale with loving attention from local community and visitors alike.
May it serve as inspiration for all to share in the blessed teachings of the Plum Village tradition. If you come by around here, try out this delightful meditation practice center that offers special Vietnamese, Buddhist and southern style hospitality for those in need of some spiritual nourishment.    Magnolia Grove is a place where we can stop running, and discover peace with every step we take.

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