Being Peace Project update
We offer you the latest news on creating a Plum Village practice centre in the UK.
Revisiting Plas Meini
Previously we reported on a visit to a property in north Wales that had been identified as a possible option for a UK centre. A team of volunteers revisited Plas Meini to undertake a planning walkthrough. With an architect, planning expert and ethical property expert, it became clear the wealth of skills and experience we have in our community.
While the local planning official was very receptive to the idea of a place for people to practice mindfulness, the realities of what would and would not be possible in terms of planning made it clear that the Plas Meini property would not be able to be used in the way we originally imagined. Through this process we have already learned a lot and are clearer about what we are looking for in a property.
A visit to Plum Village
We were invited to Plum Village to discuss the project with elder Dharma Teachers of each Hamlet in November.
We sat together with the senior brothers and sisters in the monastic Zendo in Upper Hamlet. It was a chance to share more about our aspirations for the project and to learn more about the situation of the monks and nuns in Plum Village.
The monastics were supportive and encouraging of the project, suggesting that senior monastics could advise us on the suitability of particular properties that would be appropriate for monks and nuns to live in. Although we don’t know what timings would work for the monastics to come we were reminded that Thay said we shouldn’t wait until the summer to see the sunflower. It was clear: we should continue our efforts, to search for and purchase a suitable property and make it our home, so we are ready to invite monastics when the timing ripens.
Building our organisational capacity
We realise that to undertake the level of fundraising needed for the UK centre to manifest, we need to build our organisational skills and capacity. So at the moment, for example, we are working hard to implement a database to keep track of all our members and supporters. This kind of work is somewhat technical, yet crucial for the project and the organisation as a whole to flourish.
Practising together as a Sangha
We were encouraged to strengthen our practice as we work together in our local Sanghas across the country and as a wider community to create the conditions needed for our practice centre to manifest. This year we have the opportunity to practice together as a wider community during the Being Peace family retreat at Stourbridge in May. This will be a chance for practitioners of all ages to come together to practice with the guidance of Sister Annabel, Brother Phap Lai and the monastics from Plum Village.
Contributions from our community
It is heartening already to see the love and support that has manifested from our community for this project. As well as people joining the Starter Circle, there have been large individual donations and donations from Sanghas. Many people have started to volunteer their time and energy to support the efforts and many more have expressed a willingness to give their time and energy. There are lots of great, creative ideas for ways we can fundraise.
Continuing with mindful steps
As the project continues with mindful steps forward, we are very pleased to be making this journey together with you, we know you are there and we are happy.