Plum Blossom Society
At this challenging time for our community, monthly giving is particularly important. It also has many benefits for you, the donor, as well.
You may have heard about the difficulties our monastics are facing as a result of the pandemic. Our monasteries (in the US and overseas) used to have two main sources of income: retreat fees and donations. With the monasteries being closed, they’ve lost the income from retreat fees. Now they are entirely dependent on our generosity for even their basic needs.
In March, the Foundation staff met with the monastic elders to discuss the situation. They asked the Foundation to coordinate a global fundraising campaign to raise unrestricted funds to create a “central pot” for the Foundation to distribute around the world.
On average globally, $750 a month ($25/day) provides the food, housing, utilities, and taxes for one monk or nun. We currently have ~600 monastics living at 10 monasteries around the world. If the monasteries must stay closed through December – which is our operating assumption -- that brings the total need to $4.2 million (approximately $1M in the US alone).
While one-time gifts are always welcome, monthly unrestricted donations help ensure that our monastics have stable support to cover their basic needs.
Monthly gifts have benefits for you, too. Monthly gifts reduce costs, meaning that a greater portion of your gift goes directly to making the biggest difference. It is also the most convenient way to give: your donation is automatically transferred from your credit card or bank account and can be changed or cancelled at any time. And, many people find that they can give more by giving monthly.
We are aware that unprecedented numbers of people find themselves in financial difficulty and are suffering deeply. But if you do have the ability to help, we hope you will consider giving to support our dear brothers and sisters and shared places of refuge. Your gift, at any level, is deeply appreciated. No matter your decision, please know that we hold you in our hearts.
We are working hard to bring the Dharma to you and the many practitioners globally that would typically visit the monasteries. We hope you will visit the 2020 Resources section on our website. It is filled with resources to help us find equanimity through the storm of the pandemic and human rights struggles.
In these times of uncertainty, Plum Blossom society members are ensuring that our monastic brothers and sisters have food on the table and a roof over their heads. Through them, your support reverberates out bringing the teachings of compassion and wise action into the world.
The Plum Blossom Society is a continuation rooted in compassion and service, which started in Vietnam and now continues through you. We hope you will consider joining this special group of people.
Thank you for your practice and for being part of our global Sangha. Let us come together and be vigilant in living and spreading the love, trust, and fearlessness that Thay has transmitted to all of us.
Why the Plum Blossom Society?
Plums are a poignant symbol in our community. As you know, Thay and his early followers planted plum trees throughout the property in southwestern France now known as Plum Village Monastery. One of our elder monastic sisters tells this story:
Many of the Vietnamese children who came for the summer retreat bought plum trees to donate as a way of showing their gratitude. By 1984, we had planted 1,250 plum trees. The brothers and sisters took good care of the trees. Every March, the flowers came into bloom; in September we harvested the fruit and made jam and pies. Thay very much liked to celebrate the beauty of the flowers, and we enjoyed walking meditation under the trees. We have so many good memories about the plum trees. Thay used to say that the 1,250 plum trees are like 1,250 Buddha’s disciples!
We, too, are the Buddha’s disciples. From Zen Masters Lieu Quan to Thich Nhat Hanh, we are a continuation of a long line of practitioners committed to transforming ourselves, our communities, and the world.