Joyful Garden Sangha is a lay community of practice in Singapore following Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh and the Plum Village tradition.
It was formed in 2008 by a group of friends who were inspired by the practice of mindfulness, taught by our dear teacher. In September 2010, we were fortunate to receive Thay and the Plum Village Sangha in Singapore, listen to his dharma talks and be in a retreat under his guidance. It was then that more fresh breezes were brought to the Sangha. Two months after Thay’s retreat, even though our Sangha was new and inexperienced, we have been able to organize Days of Mindfulness together.
Joyful Garden Sangha continues to blossom with the following manifestations:
- 2 July 2014: Our Sangha has its first monastic sister ordained at Plum Village. She is part of the Oriental Cypress ordination family.
- 30 Dec 2014: Six core Sangha members were ordained into the Order of Interbeing at Thai Plum Village International Practice Centre. They are part of the Forest ordination family.
- 16-19 Jul 2015: The first Singapore mindfulness retreat fully organized by the Sangha was held at Camp Challenge.
- 30 Dec 2015: Three more members were ordained into the Order of Interbeing.
- 19 Aug 2015: Our Sangha is formally registered as Joyful Garden Community of Mindful Living (UEN: T15SS0130J).
We are grateful for the many wonderful conditions that support us, including the efforts of our predecessors in the Sangha, our spiritual teachers who watered the seeds of awakening, our blood ancestors who were the pioneers of this land, and the various beings and elements who support our practice.
/ˈsʌŋɡə/ Sanskrit for inseparable
In the Plum Village tradition, a Sangha is a community of mindfulness practitioners. A sangha can include both monastics and lay practitioners. Sanghas offer a deep well of support and wisdom. Our teacher has said: "Without a sangha you lose your practice very soon."
Mindfulness is the energy of being aware and awake to the present moment.
The Art of Mindful Living is the continuous practice of cultivating mindfulness, the energy of being aware and awake to the present moment, in order to touch life deeply in every moment of our daily lives. To be mindful is to be truly alive, present and at one with those around you and with what you are doing.
Living in a fast-paced society like ours, we tend to forget many wonders of life that are available in the here and now. Thay teaches us to listen to the sound of the bell, come back to the present moment and get in touch with its many wonders: A leisure walk, a playful song of the birds, or a cup of tea with our friends can be great source of joy and happiness that we can cultivate in our daily lives.
In practising together as a Sangha, as a community, our practice of mindfulness becomes more joyful, relaxed and steady.
Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh
Our spiritual teacher, the Most Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh (or Thay, as we affectionately call him) is a Vietnamese Buddhist Zen master, poet, and scholar. In 1967, he was nominated the Nobel Peace Prize by Martin Luther King, Jr. for his lifelong efforts to advocate for peace and reconciliation. His teachings on mindfulness, love and understanding have touched deeply the lives of people all over the world.
An author of more than one hundred books, including the best-selling Present Moment, Wonderful Moment; Being Peace; Anger; and Teachings on Love, he gives teachings in Plum Village, a meditation practice centre in Southern France, and travels worldwide to lead retreats on the Art of Mindful Living.
"You don’t need to talk in order to teach."
Monthly Days of Mindfulness
The Day of Mindfulness (DOM) is a regular activity organized by and for mindfulness practitioners in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh (Thay) and Plum Village. We try to hold it monthly; please check the homepage on this website or our invitation emails for exact dates of the next DOM. Many participants have found the DOM to be very enjoyable and refreshing for their practice of mindful living. The DOM is a day for us to leave behind our work and worries, and enjoy each other’s presence. We can experience the happiness of the present moment simply by enjoying a series of mindfulness practice activities. By being mindful, we become truly alive. So let’s come together to sit, walk, sing, and learn in mindfulness. In practicing together, our practice of mindfulness becomes more joyful and steady.
"If we are peaceful, if we are happy, we can smile, and everyone in our family, our entire society, will benefit from our peace."