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The Signless Nature of Plum Village
In 1983, standing on the hill, I could already envision the plum trees in flower, whitening the whole land. That was the sight in the ultimate dimension. Within four years, when the spring arrived, the plum trees really did blossom so beautifully.
Many are surprised when they come and see that Plum village is not what they imagined. For example, we had forewarned a delegation from the Buddhist Association of China before their arrival to Plum Village that we had only trees and cow barns converted into meditation halls and living quarters. We told them this many times, but when they arrived, they were still surprised. They had not expected Plum Village to be so poor, simple, and rustic. Each one of us has a different understanding of Plum Village.
Brother Phap Can grew up and studied in Germany and came to Plum Village to be ordained. Last year, he went back to Germany with a delegation from Plum Village, and he discovered a new Germany. When he had lived in Germany, he had never been in touch with the Plum Village Sangha there. But returning, he encountered a large number of Vietnamese and German people following the practices of Plum Village. There were Dharma talks that three thousand and seven thousand German people attended. There were walking meditation processions with hundreds of German people walking together. He discovered a completely new Germany. Plum Village exists in Germany, but he had never seen it during the seven or eight years he lived there. We have to find the truth with the eye of signlessness. Plum Village elements exist everywhere; they exist in our own hearts.
Coming to Plum Village with a camcorder does not necessarily mean that you can record Plum Village. Plum Village is not a Vietnamese temple set on European land. In Plum Village, we see the Indian culture, the Chinese culture, the Vietnamese culture, and the Western culture. When we look carefully, we see that non-Plum Village elements exist in Plum Village. Consequently, Plum Village is also an object of meditation. The deeper we look, the more clearly we see it. Otherwise, looking at Plum Village, we only have a superficial and vague notion about Plum Village. If we look deeply, we see that Plum Village is also unborn and undying.
A few years ago, we went to visit the Jeta Grove in India, one of the places where the Buddha lived. We saw that the Jeta Grove Monastery was no longer there. Japanese archeologists came to excavate the area, and discovered remnants of many large monasteries adjacent to one another, buried under the Earth. They could identify the places the monks slept, the Buddha hall, the teaching hall, and so on. Yet, we know that the Jeta Grove has never died, because when we go to other countries like Japan, China, Korea, and Tibet we see the Jeta Grove is still there in its new forms. Thus, the true nature of the Jeta Grove is that of no-birth and no-death. Plum Village is the same. For example, if tomorrow Plum Village is closed down, and people build large shopping malls in the Lower Hamlet and the Upper Hamlet, Plum Village will still exist, in its new manifestations everywhere, especially in our hearts. When we come to Plum Village, we must look deeply to see its nature of no-birth and no-death; we must see the reality of Plum Village beyond all forms.
Last Updated (Friday, 23 November 2012 14:54)