Wednesday , May 29 2024

Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh passes away

Thich Nhat Hanh, a monk of global influence, passed away at Tu Hieu Temple in his birthplace Hue at midnight Saturday, aged 96.

The death was announced by Plum Village, his organization of monasteries.

The Zen Master, considered the second most influential Buddhist leader in the world after the Dalai Lama, studied and practiced Zen Buddhism from 1942.

Born in 1926, Thich Nhat Hanh became a monk at the age of 23 after studying Buddhism for seven years.

He left the country in 1966 and has lived in Plum Village in southern France for decades, traveling regularly throughout North America and Europe to give lectures on mindfulness and peace.

His key teaching is that through mindfulness, people can learn to live happily in the present moment, which is the only way to truly develop peace, both within oneself and in the world outside.

For many decades Thich Nhat Hanh has been promoting Engaged Buddhism, which focuses on humans’ active role in facilitating change.

He visited Vietnam four times in 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2017, when he met with devout Buddhists and offered prayers for war victims.

In late 2014, he suffered a stroke and was hospitalized in France for four and a half months.

In October 2018, he returned to live out his last days at Tu Hieu, where he studied and practiced Zen Buddhism from 1942.

Thich Nhat Hanh dismissed the idea of death. “Birth and death are only notions,” he wrote in his book “No Death, No Fear.”

“The Buddha taught that there is no birth; there is no death; there is no coming; there is no going; there is no same; there is no different; there is no permanent self; there is no annihilation. We only think there is.”

Thich Nhat Hanh is also a poet and peace activist. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize by Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1967, and is the author of more than 100 books, including the bestselling “The Miracle of Mindfulness.”

In the 1960s he spearheaded a movement of Buddhists in South Vietnam that called for a negotiated end to the Vietnam War.

“I do not personally know of anyone more worthy of [this prize] than this gentle monk from Vietnam,” King Jr. had said of Thich Nhat Hanh in his nomination. “His ideas for peace, if applied, would build a monument to ecumenism, to world brotherhood, to humanity.”

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