Second In Command In Plum Village

Sister Chan Khong in Plum Village 2000

Sister Chan Khong in Plum Village | Photo Jerome Freedman, Tet Celebration 2000

Sister Chan Khong has been the second in command in Plum Village since its founding in 1982 and been Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh‘s collaborator and best friend for more than 50 years. Now that Thay, as Thich Nhat Hanh is know by his followers, is in the hospital, we are all looking to Sister Chan Khong for guidance.

It is utterly fitting a proper that Shambhala Sun magazine should honor her with The Life and Teachings of Sister Chan Khong.

I was moved to tears the first time I read her story. Her life has been dedicated to service to the people she cares about, which includes everyone she encounters and even those she hasn’t met.

She is beloved by the monks, nuns, and lay people who practice in the tradition of Plum Village and just about everyone else who has encountered her through Thay’s books, dharma talks, videos, interviews, and retreats.

My interactions with her have been very pleasant, beginning with a week-long retreat at the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1997. We sat by the dorms and talked about cancer.

Nine years later, she arranged for me to have a visit with Thay during breakfast in his room in the New Hamlet of Plum Village. Again, we spoke about cancer and she said that she really liked my idea that “Healthy cells grow all by themselves.” I presented this in response to her question about how you talk to someone who is dealing with a diagnosis of cancer.

We are all praying that Thay recovers from his stroke last November. May we visualize him recovering all his faculties as he receives treatment at the stroke center in Bordeaux, France.

What blessings would you like to send to Thay and Sister Chan Khong?

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