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  • Rick Bonetti

The Art of Saving the Planet

Updated: Jul 29, 2023


"Thích Nhất Hạnh was a Vietnamese Thiền Buddhist monk, peace activist, prolific author, poet, and teacher who founded the Plum Village Tradition, He was exiled from South Vietnam in 1966 after expressing opposition to the war and refusing to take sides In 2018, he returned to Vietnam to his "root temple"... where he lived until his death in 2022, at the age of 95."


His book Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet was published in 2021. From May 21 to July 2, 2023, Plum Village will offer a 6-week online learning journey "to nurture insight, compassion, community, and action in service of the Earth" - "bringing to life teachings in this book". Learn more here.


Photo credit: Duc (pixiduc) from Paris, France., CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons


The course promises to "share Thich Nhat Hanh’s engaged Buddhism teachings and "feature new talks from monastics and lay teachers, specially-selected videos from the Thich Nhat Hanh Archive, and a range of powerful practices from our Zen tradition to help you:"

  • Nourish a profound relationship with the Earth

  • Breakthrough habitual ways of thinking, seeing, and acting

  • Master strong emotions and develop inner resilience

  • Cultivate a spiritual dimension to balance personal well-being and engaged action

  • Train in deep listening and compassionate communication

  • Respond to challenges with freedom, equanimity, and non-fear

  • Connect with like-minded change-makers

"The course will feature 4-6 hours per week of teachings and practices, with at least one live session each week, as well as tailored opportunities to cultivate community and share insights and experiences with other participants."


Plum Village, near Bordeaux in southwest France, is the largest international practice center in the Plum Village tradition, and the first monastic community founded by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh in the West. "Plum Village began in 1982 as a small, rustic farmstead, and has today grown into Europe’s largest Buddhist monastery, with over 200 resident monks and nuns, living and practicing in four different hamlets spread out across the French countryside. It is a continuation of the original “Sweet Potato Community” that Thay founded near Paris in the 1970s, soon after being exiled from Vietnam.

"We face a potent intersection of crises: ecological destruction, rising inequality, racial injustice, and the lasting impacts of a devastating pandemic. The situation is beyond urgent. To face these challenges, we need to find ways to strengthen our clarity, compassion, and courage to act."

"Beloved Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh is blazingly clear: there’s one thing we all have the power to change, which can make all the difference, and that is our mind. Our way of looking, seeing, and thinking determines every choice we make, the everyday actions we take or avoid, how we relate to those we love or oppose, and how we react in a crisis."

"When you wake up and you see that the Earth is not just the environment, the Earth is us, you touch the nature of interbeing. And at that moment you can have real communication with the Earth… We have to wake up together. And if we wake up together, then we have a chance. Our way of living our lives and planning our futures has led us into this situation. And now we need to look deeply to find a way out, not only as individuals but as a collective, a species."


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