In 2001, I was ordained as a Buddhist monk in the zen tradition by my master, the Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh, and was given the name Chân Pháp Khí (“True Dharma Energy”, also “True Dharma Instrument”). After practising for ten years at the Plum Village Monastery in the Dordogne, I received the transmission of the lamp in 2009 and became a Dharma teacher.
Not long after, I felt compelled to withdraw from community life for a while and moved to Les Cevennes, where I found welcome in a place of natural beauty. Here, I was able to taste life in semi-retreat, dwelling in contemplation and silence. Around this time, and as a result of the encouragement of friends and Sanghas in different parts of France, I developed a programme of meditation courses and teachings, which is available here.
Then, in the autumn of 2016, I felt drawn to move on from Les Cevennes and get back in touch with community life. I decided to return to Plum Village for a while and, for the foreseeable future, spend my winters there for the three-month Monastic Retreat. The rest of the year, I will continue to lead retreats, wherever I am called upon to do so.
In line with long-established buddhist tradition, a monk must abandon the pursuit of personal satisfaction through material goods and worldly pleasures and adopt an itinerant life with no fixed abode, living from begging and relying on the generosity of the lay community. This is my life.
So today, once again, I am looking for a new abode. I hope to find an environment that will allow me to continue to dwell in contemplation and silence (without actually living in someone else’s home), whilst maintaining my commitment to serving others. In the medium term, I feel drawn towards life in a small community, built around a respect for nature, attentive to each other’s needs through careful listening and a shared presence. If you feel that you can help me in any way realize this, I would be most grateful.