Rains Retreat + Karma Class from Sugarplum

This double invitation is from Sugarplum Sangha.

90 Day Online Rains Retreat

Sept 16 – Dec 18 Sugarplum joins the Mahasangha in this year’s 90 day rains retreat. For our second retreat of this kind, we’ve added evening practice sessions, a weekly day of mindfulness, and a study and practice series on Right Action: Karma and the Five Mindfulness Trainings to our regular schedule of morning practice session, dharma talk, and 5MT recitation. These 90 days will be an experience of being immersed in sangha to deepen your practice of mindfulness, concentration, and insight, a way of practice that has been integral to buddhist tradition since its beginning. Enter this stream with us and start your journey to the other shore.

More Info

Right Action: Karma and the Five Mindfulness Trainings

Sept 27 – Dec 18

A twelve week live and on-line course exploring and integrating early Buddhist teachings with Plum Village practices. Bundle with the 90 Day Retreat or take it separately.

The Buddha’s teachings on kamma and rebirth have received a mostly mystical treatment among practitioners and commentators resulting in much misconception and confusion about how to apply them in daily life. This course will explore the role of samma kammanto, or Right Action, on the path of liberation and will combine the Buddha’s teachings with evolutionary psychology to provide a rationale for an objective morality and ethic. Rather than being resigned to “your karma”, a close reading of the early discourses show how you can shape your life in the present and future with skillful actions.

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Happiness Is the Way Road-Retreat Sept. 18-19

The Brothers of Deer Park Monastery would like to visit and reconnect with Sanghas in the West this summer!

Brother Freedom, Brother Gem, and Brother Earth are planning a Road-Retreat in a rolling temple (aka a rented motorhome) that they have nicknamed “Dharma Wheelzzz”. Their tour will take them through 10 states including Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Idaho, Montana, Washington, Oregon and California from August 10th until September 19th 2021, driving nearly 4,500 miles in six weeks to practice together with you!

This non-residential retreat is coming to the San Francisco Bay Area!

Bay Area retreat days and times:

Saturday, Sep 18th – Sunday, Sep 19th 2021
Day 1: 9AM-7PM
Day 2: 9AM-3PM

REGISTRATION IS NOW CLOSED. We’ve been amazed at the response — so many people have signed up that we are worried we’ll exceed the capacity of our location!

If we are able to accommodate more, we will re-open the registration link.


COVID guidelines: In order to protect the sangha (including our monastic friends), we are asking all attendees to confirm that they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. 

In addition, we will require attendees to wear masks and to remain 6’ apart from other attendees. This is an outdoor location, which reduces risk further. And we will also be taking temperatures as people arrive. 

Suggested donation: We are asking for a suggested donation of $70 per person, most of which will go towards Deer Park. Donors have already covered the cost of renting the park. No one will be turned away for donating less, and it is also possible to give no money at all — your presence is enough. You’ll receive instructions on how to make a donation with your registration confirmation.

Refreshments: The organizers can probably provide some drinks and snacks (as well as extra masks, hand sanitizer, and basic first aid), but we you will probably need to bring your own lunches and dinners, or we may organize a potluck. More info to come on this!

Is it okay to attend just part of the retreat? Yes, you are welcome to attend only part of the retreat. Please be mindful when coming and going that you do not disturb other attendees. See below for the tentative agenda.

Tentative agenda

Saturday September 18th:

  • 09:00am Walking Meditation
  • 10:30am Dharma Talk incl. 30 min. of Sitting Meditation
  • 12:30pm Mindful Lunch (Packed Lunch)
  • 02:00pm Deep Relaxation/ Stick Exercise/ Mindful Movements
  • 03:30pm Dharma Sharing
  • 05:00pm Workshops 
  • 06:30pm Mindful Dinner (Packed Dinner)
  • 07:00pm Social Time and End of Day

Sunday September 19th:

  • 09:00am Walking Meditation/ 5 MT Transmission
  • 10:30am Q&A incl. 30 min. of Sitting Meditation
  • 12:30pm Mindful Lunch (Packed Lunch)
  • 01:30pm Dharma Sharing
  • 02:30pm Closing Circle
  • 03:00pm End of Retreat

About the Monastics

Brothers on tour (from left to right): Br. Freedom, Br. Earth, Br. Gem

Thay Ngo Khong (Brother Freedom), Dharma Teacher and acting abbot in Deer Park, was “born” in Plum Village France, practiced in Blue Cliff, NY and Deer Park. His heart’s desire is to apply the practice in order to connect with ourselves and others, and to create sacred spaces, be it physical or musical.

Brother Minh Dia (Brother Earth) is our youngest brother on the tour. Brother Earth is of Vietnamese origin, grew up in the US and is bilingual. He is a warm and super kind practitioner, loves to build siblinghood, listen to people’s life stories, enjoys nature, and riding his bicycle!

Thay Phap Con (Brother Gem), Dharma Teacher, practiced in Tu Duc Temple, Vietnam and Plum Village France, has joined the Deer Park Brothers in June 2020. Thay Phap Con speaks English and Vietnamese, has a deep understanding of Thay’s teachings and loves to play guitar.

Tour Locations

For more information about other stops on the tour, see the Deer Park website.

New Year’s Retreat: Becoming Thousands of Lamps

December 30, 2020 – January 3, 2021
online with Sugarplum Sangha
suggested donation: $50 – $200

Looking back on the past year, gratitude overflows for the people, communities, and teachings that have been there through the challenges and hardships faced by the whole world. Thanks to the right mix of tradition and Beginner’s Mind, supported by the presence of teachers and friends on the path, this year has offered us an opportunity for spiritual growth unlike any other in recent memory.

Plum Village has preserved the ancient tradition of lamp transmission, a ceremonial expression of the light of wisdom being passed from one generation to the next. As we look ahead to next year and beyond, we know that we can be faced with even greater challenges that call us to stand together with dedication and grace. In those moments, it will be the light we shine today that future generations look to for hope and guidance.

In this retreat, we’ll enjoy:

  • Formal Transmission of the Five Mindfulness Trainings
  • Writing Insight Gathas
  • Teachings on the lineage of Plum Village lamp transmissions
  • Sitting Meditation
  • Dharma Sharing
  • Chanting

Click below for the retreat schedule and registration
More Info

Rains Retreat for Lay Friends

From Sugarplum Sangha:

Traditionally during the rainy season, since the time of the Buddha, the monastics dwell together in one place physically with limited outside trips with the intention of strengthening the practice, reflecting on what habit energy each person would like to focus and transform, and encouraging each other’s growth on the spiritual path. This inspiring talk from Brother Phap Dung opens our hearts to the spirit and possibilities of a rain retreat. It’s a nourishing time to be with ourselves and among friends.

Plum Village has a suggested guidelines for lay friends to follow along including 6 sitting meditation, 6 mindful meals, 1 day of mindfulness,1 lazy day a week, watching a dharma talk and studying a sutra text together. This year we have a special treat that Deer Park monastery will be offering a weekly online Day of Mindfulness on Sunday and our sangha would like to support you with these periods of practice (schedule is attached).
Weekly rain retreat schedule:

Rain Retreat Schedule.jpg
  • Wednesday night sutra discussion will focus on the Discourse on the Four Establishments of Mindfulness and Full Awareness of Breathing, which are the foundations of Plum Village practices. 
  • Saturday morning biweekly: interpreted dharma talk from Vietnamese
  • Sunday Day of Mindfulness: morning part with Deer Park monastery, afternoon with our sangha for deep relaxation, mindful movements, sitting meditation, walking meditation, and dharma sharing

We invite you to join us this upcoming Sunday Nov 15, 4-6pm to set forth our intention of what we want to grow more in ourselves and what habit energy we want to focus on transforming for the next 3 months together. We look forward to letting the refreshing dharma rain that we can create together nourish our community.

For Zoom details, contact Jonathan at sugarplumsangha@gmail.com.

The Hidden Reservoir

Inner Resources for Cooling the Flames
an online retreat with Sugarplum Sangha
Oct 16 – 19

You are invited to create space for deep stillness and renewal in these fiery times. To take time for meditation, dharma offerings, and community sharings within the safe container of the Sugarplum Sangha. To celebrate the water and flow within us, lovingly gifted by Mother Earth. In meditation, movement, and song, come home to the cooling and refreshing elements in you and around you.

Sugarplum Sangha does not charge registration fees for our programs. Instead we offer everyone the opportunity to practice generosity and encourage retreatants and members to financially support events by contributing their most generous amount given their individual circumstances.

For more information and to register:


Homeward Bound: Virtual Retreat May 22-25

an online Retreat with Sugarplum Sangha

May 22 – 25
online and at home
suggested donation: $25 -$100

Co-creating a retreat at home over Memorial Weekend and connecting with friends on the path in new and creative ways. In this online retreat, we’ll enjoy:

  • Core Plum Village practices including: sitting, walking, working and eating meditation.
  • Live dharma talks on bringing meditation to life at home and cultivating resilience to adversity
  • Dharma Sharing to learn from and support each other
  • Chanting and songs to enjoy voices in unison and touch deep aspiration
  • Interplay and art to share our insight creatively and spontaneously
  • Beginning Anew Bingo – a fun game to nourish relationships
  • Five Mindfulness Trainings Adventure to explore and embody the Bodhisattva path

The retreat will be a combination of practicing together online and going forth right away into our homes to apply what we learn to living with kindness and freedom during this time of social distancing. The practices are facilitated by Plum Village Dharma Teachers, Order of Interbeing members, and experienced Sugarplum Sangha practitioners.

For more information, see https://www.sugarplumsangha.org/homeward-info