Thich Nhat Hanh (pronounced Tik N’yat Hawn) died today 22 January 2022. A wonderful teacher, he touched many lives, including my own.
Thich Nhat Hanh Pioneer Of Buddhism
Thich Nhat Hanh was born in Vietnam in 1926. He was ordained as a Buddhist monk and could speak seven languages. By the 1960s he was lecturing in the USA (Princeton and Colombia universities).
A peace activist who spoke against the US-Vietnam war, he spent some time with Martin Luther King in 1966, the latter nominating the monk for a Nobel Peace Prize. As a result of his activism, Thich Nhat Hanh was banned from returning to Vietnam and remained in exile for the next 39 years.
Thich Nhat Hanh founded the Engaged Buddhism movement and traveled widely. In 1969, he led the Buddhist delegation to the Paris Peace Talks.
Establishing Plum Village
He lectured at the Sorbonne in Paris and taught, lectured and wrote essays, poems and books on the art of mindfulness and living in peace. Having established a community in France in the early 1970s, he established the, now famous, Plum Village community. This grew to be one of the largest Buddhist communities in the West.
The Five Mindfulness Trainings
I am most familiar with this wonderful, peaceful teacher, through his work on The Five Mindfulness Trainings. You can read more about these in his book on the subject. These are based upon the Buddha’s five precepts that I was taught by my own Buddhist master. The trainings involve teaching and meditation around the following:
- Reverence for life
- True happiness
- True love
- Loving speech and deep listening
- Nourishment and healing.
The Final Years
Thich Nhat Hahn had a stroke in 2014 that unfortunately took away his ability to speak. But his voice carried on through the many recordings of his teachings. He was able to finally return to Vietnam and spent his last years in the temple in which his Buddhist journey started. And ended with his death today. But through his words he will live on.
The Great Bell Chant
I leave you with his narration on this beautiful video, with chanting by his brother. It is called The Great Bell Chant (The End Of Suffering). Do take time to watch it.
Before you go
My name is Dorothy Berry-Lound an artist and writer. You can find out more about my art and writing at https://dorothyberryloundart.com.
Thank you for reading!