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About Us.

Welcome to the White Clouds Sangha, Bristol - we are very happy that you have found this page.


We are a group of local people who have been inspired by the teachings of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, founder of Plum Village - see below.  In the 1990s we decided to form a local community or sangha here in Bristol to offer meditation and other mindfulness practices in the Plum Village tradition.

Our mindfulness evenings generally include

A guided and walking meditation

Some silent sitting meditation

A short reading

An opportunity to share reflections and listen deeply to others within a confidential environment

The content of our evenings varies according to the choices of the facilitator. We aim to create a welcoming, calm, open and supportive environment where everyone is welcome.

Mindfulness can be described as “being aware of what is happening inside and around you in the present moment.” The key Plum Village teaching is that, through mindfulness, we can learn to live happily in the present moment—as a way to truly develop peace, both in one’s self and in the world.


You are welcome to turn up to our mindful evenings with no prior booking.  Alternatively, if you fill in the contact form, someone will get back to you with more information and you will have the opportunity to ask questions via email should you need to.

We also offer the following:

Recitation of the Five Mindfulness Trainings on zoom on the last Sunday of the month from 10.00 - 10.30 am.

Reminders and joining details are sent out via the mailing list


Days of Mindfulness in and near Bristol - usually two or three a year

Sangha walks in the countryside around Bristol - usually two a year

The running costs of the sangha are covered by donations from those who attend (suggestion £5 if possible. Cash or card accepted at in-person meetings or click here for bank details if you would prefer to make a transfer). 

We look forward to sharing time and a quiet, restorative space with you. 

Our Facilitators

In-person and on-line sangha evenings are led by members of the sangha.  New facilitators are welcome.  We can offer guidance and support to anyone who would like to facilitate the sangha evenings.
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Declan Cooney


I’ve been practicing mindfulness in the Plum Village Tradition since around 2015 when I started coming to the White Clouds Sangha Wednesday evenings in Bristol.  I’ve found Thây's teachings on compassion, and the sense of community with friends in the practice, a real gift, including on retreats at Plum Village France where I’ve been with my kids to the summer opening and teenage programme.

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Johnny Wood


I first came across Thây and the Plum Village practice when my sister invited me to a retreat in Nottingham in 2010 led by Thây.  I found the experience moving and peaceful, and I joined the White Clouds Sangha soon after, but I only established a regular personal practice from 2020 onwards.  Now I find this practice hugely helpful as a path and guide for living life well.  I am particularly happy about the deep environmental values which run though this practice.

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Liz Beth


Liz has been practicing in the PV tradition since 1998, and took the 5 Mindfulness Trainings in 2010.  She is currently an aspirant for ordination, and also a Trustee of the Community of Interbeing UK (Plum Village UK).  Liz lives in Easton, Bristol and particularly values the Plum Village emphasis on caring for the planet.


Gideon Thomas


Gideon has been practicing in the Plum Village tradition since 2023, having been inspired by Thây’s teachings which motivated him to seek out the White Clouds Sangha in Bristol. He finds a great deal of solace and inspiration in the practice and the sangha, both in Bristol and on Plum Village retreats. He enjoys writing, researching and editing, and communicating the sangha's news to the wider community.  Gideon took the Five Mindfulness Trainings during the UK Monastic led retreat in March 2024.


Jonathan Edwards


Jonathan has practised with the White Clouds Sangha since 2012. He became Treasurer and was appointed as a Trustee of the Community of Interbeing UK in 2014, and was also a founder Trustee of Bristol Insight Meditation when it became a Charity in 2015. He continues to be inspired and nourished by both the Plum Village and Insight Meditation traditions and is a committed regular attender at Clevedon Quaker Meeting.

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Polly Wood


I first encountered the Plum Village tradition in 2003 when I went on a retreat led by Thây in the UK. Thây’s teachings made a deep impact then, but during the pandemic I sensed that this practice could help me to become more solid and stable in challenging times and I committed to it in a new way. After the pandemic I rejoined the White Cloud Sangha. I value the joy and support of practicing with others in this community, both in the UK and in Plum Village France.


Hilary Templer


Hilary has been practicing mindfulness meditation in the Plum Village tradition since 2007 after spending a week in Plum Village with her 2 children.   This inspired her to develop an engaged practice which included taking the 5 Mindfulness Trainings in 2010.  Finding and becoming part of the Bristol White Clouds Sangha has been an important part of that journey.  Hilary says: "Welcoming others to the sangha and practicing together is a great joy."


Lidia Szczytowicz


Lidia has been practicing mindfulness and meditation since 2020.

When she encountered Thây's teachings a year later, she knew this was her path. Shortly afterwards she joined the Polish online sangha and then the White Clouds sangha in Bristol. In 2022 Lidia received the 5 Mindfulness Trainings. Practicing in Plum Village tradition with the sangha has been life changing for her.

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Richard Lawrence


Richard has been practising in the PV tradition since going on his first retreat with Thây in 1999. In 2001 he made his first visit to Plum Village and soon after started to attend the White Clouds Sangha in Bristol. In 2005 he took the 5 mindfulness trainings and in 2019 he was ordained and became a member of the Order of Interbeing.

The sangha practice has been a life changing journey for me.  Within this community of like minded individuals,  I found a place of genuine connection and acceptance.

Sangha Member

The Sangha has been a refuge for me during a turbulent time in my life.  It has been a source of energy, mindfulness and inspiration.  The transformative power of the practice, supported by the Sangha, has to be experienced to be believed.

Sangha Member

The sangha practice is a transformative force that has shaped my spiritual path and encouraged my desire to create positive change in the world.  I am grateful for the profound impact it has had on my life.

Sangha Member

About Thich Nhat Hanh

One of the best known and most respected Zen Masters in the world today, poet, and peace and human rights activist, Thich Nhat Hanh (called Thây by his students) has led an extraordinary life. 

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Born in central Vietnam in 1926 he joined the monkshood at the age of sixteen. The Vietnam War confronted the monasteries with the question of whether to adhere to the contemplative life and remain meditating in the monasteries, or to help the villagers suffering under bombings and other devastation of the war. Thich Nhat Hanh was one of those who chose to do both, helping to found the "engaged Buddhism" movement. His life has since been dedicated to the work of inner transformation for the benefit of individuals and society.

Plum Village

Plum Village is where Thay has realised his dream of building a Beloved Community: creating a healthy, nourishing environment where people can learn the art of living in harmony with one another and with the Earth.

Plum Village began in 1982 as a small, rustic farmstead, and has today grown into Europe’s largest Buddhist monastery, with over 200 resident monks and nuns, living and practising in four different hamlets spread out across the French countryside. It is a continuation of the original “Sweet Potato Community” that Thay first founded near Paris in the 1970s, soon after he was exiled from Vietnam.

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