“The first spiritual practise for me is to listen – to really listen. To listen to ourselves, listen to our pain – not ignore it. To listen to each other, each others pain, joy, fear – to listen to the earth. The moment that we open ourselves up to that it’s clear that the earth is in pain and she is calling for us to listen. The cries of agony are getting louder every day.” ~ Phap Linh



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About this interview:

How can we be truly present to ourselves, to each other and to earth in these times?

In this episode Amisha meets Phap Linh a Zen Buddhist monk from Plum Village, a meditation practice centre founded in France by the Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hahn after he was exiled from his homeland.

Phap Linh shares the story of his journey to becoming a monk; from the corridors of Cambridge University – where, grief-stricken after the death of his mother, he fell through the gaps and almost disappeared, via an idyllic artist’s retreat in his ancestral French village to resigning his worldly possessions and attachments as an ordained monk and full-time member of the Plum Village community.

He speaks about the immense and life-changing choices that he and his partner took in the name of love, and what that love has come to mean today. He speaks about life in monastic community, the nature of commitment, finding joy in service and joining the Extinction Rebellion.

Together, Amisha and Phap Linh speak about the reality of our interconnection with all beings, and how we can bring this experience of interconnection into the humble rituals and activities of our daily lives. Phap Linh reveals to us how we can learn to see the sun in a carrot, and how much cloud is in a glass of water.

“The commitment to the path of love is to never stop in that process of transformation and healing. We learned to be gardeners of each other. To see that we each have our compost, our mud, and yet we can also produce beautiful flowers. Not to be afraid of the darkness, suffering, pain and wounds. Not to require the beloved to be perfect.” ~ Phap Linh

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Brother Phap Linh, also known as Brother Spirit, is a musician and seeker. Ordained as a monk in Plum Village in February 2008, as a disciple of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, he has composed many of the community’s most beloved chants.

As a layperson, he studied mathematics at Cambridge, then worked as a composer, chef and maths tutor in London. Now, helping to create a place of refuge for people to learn about mindfulness and community life are his principal sources of joy. He is also pioneering Plum Village’s “yogi and scientist” retreats, exploring how the wisdom of mindfulness and neuroscience can lead to paths of healing.

In this conversation we were accompanied by Brother Pham Hanh – as this tradition is in many ways about the interconnection of us – and the monastics have a strong belief in their Interbeing and the ways in which they support each other – which is quite a contrast for our individualist society.

To find out more about Phap Linh, visit plumvillage.org

To connect or work with Amisha, visit amisha.co.uk  

Links from this episode:

Art / Earth / Tech Gathering

Siddhartha by Herman Hesse

Kundun – Film

Love Letter to the Earth by Thich Nhat Hanh

Extinction Rebellion


Mario’s guide to organising social tree planting events

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