Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk and one of the world’s most prominent Zen teachers, died on Saturday at the Tu Hieu Temple in Hue, Vietnam. 95.
Plum Village, his monastic community, introduced the loss of life. He experienced a severe brain hemorrhage in 2014, leaving him unable to speak, but able to gesture.
He was banished from Vietnam in the 1960s after opposing the Vietnam War and becoming a leading voice in a movement he called “engaged Buddhism,” the application of Buddhist concepts to political and social reform.
Thich Nhat Hanh (pronounced tik nyaht hahn) had a major influence on Western Buddhism, promoting the acceptance of mindfulness, which he defines as “the energy of being attentive and awake to the present second.”
Peace is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life.
His followers swelled as he built hundreds of monasteries and shrines across the world. The largest of his monasteries, Plum Village, near Bordeaux in southwest France, attracts thousands of visitors each year.
In 2018, he went to Hue, central Vietnam, to spend his final days as a novice at the Tu Hieu Temple.
Thich Nhat Hanh denied the idea of death. In his e-book, he wrote, “No loss of life, no concern.” “They don’t appear real.”
“The Buddha taught that there is no beginning, no end, no coming, no departing, no similarity, no difference, no everlasting self, no annihilation,” he continued. We can only assume.
This awareness, he argued, might help people “enjoy life and perceive it in new ways.”
In the early 1960s, he studied at Princeton College and later lectured at Cornell and Columbia. He impacted the American peace movement by opposing the Vietnam War.
Dr. King nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1967, but it went unawarded.
“I don’t know anyone more worthy than this Vietnamese light monk,” Dr. King wrote to the Nobel Institute in Norway. His peace ideas would build a monument to ecumenism, international fraternity, and humanity.
Nguyen Xuan Bao was born in Hue on October 11, 1926. At 16, he became a novice at a Zen monastery. In 1949, he was ordained as Thich Nhat Hanh. Vietnamese monks and nuns use the honorific Thich. His disciples nicknamed him Thay, or teacher.
In the early 1960s, he founded Youth for Social Companies, a grassroots anti-war organization in South Vietnam. It restored communities, set up colleges and hospitals, and reunited families displaced by the war.
Thich Nhat Hanh began writing and speaking out against the struggle in 1964, publishing “Condemnation” in a Buddhist weekly. It says:
Be my witness, I cannot accept this conflict.
I can’t and won’t.
I have to repeat this a thousand times before I die.
“Beware!” cries the chick that dies for its mate, oozing blood from its wounded beak. Now face your real opponents-aspiration, hate, and greed.
His poem earned him the moniker “antiwar poet” and pro-Communist propagandist.
After the Paris Peace Accords were signed in 1973, Thich Nhat Hanh moved to France after the South Vietnamese government refused him entry.
He couldn’t return to Vietnam until 2005, when the communists let him display, follow, and travel the country. In a 2008 interview in Hanoi, he argued that the Iraq war sprang from fear and misunderstanding, which led to violence.
“We all know that aircraft, missiles, and bombs cannot remove false perceptions,” he said. Only loving words and sympathetic listening can help people correct false views. But our politicians lack such expertise, so they rely primarily on the military to combat terrorism. ”
In 2013, he lectured at Google’s headquarters in Silicon Valley, bringing his message of peaceful contemplation to the forefront of the high-energy digital world.
“We feel swamped by data,” he told the gathered colleagues. “We don’t need that data.”
“Don’t try to find the solution with your thoughts,” he said. Success requires nonthinking. And so the time we’re not working may be incredibly useful if we all know how to focus on the second. ”