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Thích Nhất Hạnh
Thich Nhat Hanh in Paris in 2006
Thich Nhat Hanh in Paris in 2006
Religion Thiền Buddhist
School Lâm Tế Dhyana (Linji Chanzong)
Founder of the Order of Interbeing
Lineage 42nd generation (Lâm Tế)
8th generation (Liễu Quán)
Other name(s) Thầy (teacher)
Born Nguyễn Xuân Bảo
October 11, 1926 (1926-10-11) (age 83)
Tha Tien, Quang Ngai province, Vietnam
Senior posting
Based in Plum Village (Lang Mai)
Title Thiền Sư
(Zen master)
Religious career
Teacher Thích Chân Thật

Thích Nhất Hạnh pronounced [tʰǐk ɲə̌t hâːˀɲ]  ( listen); born October 11, 1926 in central Vietnam) is an expatriate Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk, teacher, author, poet and peace activist. He joined a Zen monastery at the age of 16, studied Buddhism as a novice, and was fully ordained as a monk in 1949. The title Thích is used by all Vietnamese monks and nuns, meaning that they are part of the Shakya (Shakyamuni Buddha) clan [1].

In the early 1960s, he founded the School of Youth for Social Services (SYSS) in Saigon. This grassroots relief organization rebuilt bombed villages, set up schools, established medical centers, and resettled families left homeless during the Vietnam War [2]. He traveled to the U.S. to study at Princeton University, and later to lecture at Cornell University and Columbia University. His main focus at the time however, was to urge the U.S. government to withdraw from Vietnam. He urged Martin Luther King, Jr. to publicly oppose the Vietnam War; King nominated Hanh for the Nobel Peace Prize in January 1967.

Thich Nhat Hanh has become an important influence in the development of Western Buddhism [3] [4]. His teachings and practices aim to appeal to people from various religious, spiritual, and political backgrounds, intending to offer mindfulness practices for more Western sensibilities. He created the Order of Interbeing in 1966, establishing monastic and practice centers around the world. As of 2007 his home is the Plum Village Monastery in the Dordogne region in the South of France [2] and he travels internationally giving retreats and talks. He coined the term Engaged Buddhism in his book Vietnam: Lotus in a Sea of Fire.[5].

A long-term exile from Vietnam, he was allowed to return for a trip in 2005[6] and again in 2007 [7]. He has published more than 100 books, including more than 40 in English. A journal for the Order of Interbeing, The Mindfulness Bell, is published quarterly which includes a Dharma talk by him. Nhat Hanh continues to be active in the peace movement, promoting non-violent solutions to conflict [8]. He conducted a peace walk in Los Angeles in 2005, and again in 2007 [9]. He was awarded the Courage of Conscience award on June 16, 1991 [10].



Thich Nhat Hanh in Vught, The Netherlands, 2006

Thich Nhat Hanh was born Nguyễn Xuân Bảo in Thừa Thiên (Central Vietnam) in 1926. At the age of 16 he entered the monastery at Từ Hiếu Temple near Huế, Vietnam, where his primary teacher was Dhyana (meditation Zen) Master Thanh Quý Chân Thật [1] [11] [12]. A graduate of Bao Quoc Buddhist Academy in Central Vietnam,[5] Thich Nhat Hanh received training in Zen (Vietnamese: Thiền) and the Mahayana school of Buddhism and was ordained as a monk in 1949.

In 1956, he was named editor-in-chief of Vietnamese Buddhism, the periodical of the Unified Vietnam Buddhist Association (Giáo Hội Phật Giáo Việt Nam Thống Nhất). In the following years he founded Lá Bối Press, the Van Hanh Buddhist University in Saigon, and the School of Youth for Social Service (SYSS), a neutral corps of Buddhist peaceworkers who went into rural areas to establish schools, build healthcare clinics, and help re-build villages [2].

Thich Nhat Hanh is now recognized as a Dharmacharya and as the spiritual head of the Từ Hiếu Temple and associated monasteries [13] [1]. On May 1, 1966 at Từ Hiếu Temple, Thich Nhat Hanh received the “lamp transmission”, making him a Dharmacharya or Dharma Teacher, from Master Chân Thật [1].


During the Vietnam War

Nhat Hanh taught Buddhist psychology and Prajnaparamita literature at the Van Hanh Buddhist University, a private institution that focused on Buddhist studies, Vietnamese culture, and languages. At a meeting in April 1965 Van Hanh Union students issued a Call for Peace statement. It declared: "It is time for North and South Vietnam to find a way to stop the war and help all Vietnamese people live peacefully and with mutual respect." Nhat Hanh left for the U.S. shortly afterwards, leaving Sister Chan Khong in charge of the SYSS. Van Hanh University was taken over by one of the Chancellors who wished to sever ties with Thich Nhat Hanh and the SYSS, accusing Chan Khong of being a communist. From that point the SYSS struggled to raise funds and faced attacks on its members. The SYSS persisted in their relief efforts without taking sides in the conflict [5].

In 1960, Thich Nhat Hanh came to the U.S. to study comparative religion at Princeton University, subsequently being appointed lecturer in Buddhism at Columbia University. By then he had gained fluency in French, Chinese, Sanskrit, Pali, Japanese, and English, in addition to his native Vietnamese. In 1963 he returned to Vietnam to aid his fellow monks in their non-violent peace efforts.

Thich Nhat Hanh returned to the US in 1966 to lead a symposium in Vietnamese Buddhism at Cornell University and to continue his work for peace. Thich Nhat Hanh had written a letter to Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1965 entitled: “Searching for the Enemy of Man” and it was during his 1966 stay in the U.S. that Thich Nhat Hanh met with Martin Luther King, Jr. and urged him to publicly denounce the Vietnam War [14].

In 1967, Dr. King gave a famous speech at the Riverside Church in New York City [15], his first to publicly question the U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Later that year Dr. King nominated Thich Nhat Hanh for the 1967 Nobel Peace Prize. In his nomination Dr. King said, "I do not personally know of anyone more worthy of [this prize] than this gentle monk from Vietnam. His ideas for peace, if applied, would build a monument to ecumenism, to world brotherhood, to humanity"[16]. The fact that King had revealed the candidate he had chosen to nominate and had made a "strong request" to the prize committee, was in sharp violation of the Nobel traditions and protocol.[citation needed]The committee did not make an award that year.

In 1969, Thich Nhat Hanh was the delegate for the Buddhist Peace Delegation at the Paris Peace talks. When the Paris Peace Accords were signed in 1973 the Vietnamese government denied Thich Nhat Hanh permission to return to Vietnam and he went into exile in France. From 1976-1977 he led efforts to help rescue Vietnamese boat people in the Gulf of Siam, eventually stopping under pressure from the governments of Thailand and Singapore [17]. In 1969 Thich Nhat Hanh established the Unified Buddhist Church (Église Bouddhique Unifiée) in France (not a part of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam).

Establishing the Order of Interbeing

In 1975 he formed the Sweet Potatoes Meditation Center. The center grew and in 1982 he and his colleague Sister Chân Không founded Plum Village Buddhist Center (Làng Mai), a monastery and Practice Center in the Dordogne in the south of France.[2] Since the mid '60s he has headed a monastic and lay group, the Order of Inter-Being, teaching the Five Mindfulness Trainings, Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings, and coined the term engaged Buddhism.[citation needed] The Unified Buddhist Church is the legally recognized governing body for Plum Village (Làng Mai) in France, for Blue Cliff Monastery in Pine Bush, New York, the Community of Mindful Living, Parallax Press, Deer Park Monastery in California, and the Magnolia Village in Mississippi.[18]

He established two monasteries in Vietnam, at the original Từ Hiếu Temple near Huế and at Prajna Temple in the central highlands. Thich Nhat Hanh and the Order of Interbeing have established monasteries and Dharma centers in the United States at Deer Park Monastery (Tu Viện Lộc Uyển) in Escondido, California, Maple Forest Monastery (Tu Viện Rừng Phong) and Green Mountain Dharma Center (Ðạo Tràng Thanh Sơn) in Vermont both of which closed in 2007 and moved to the Blue Cliff Monastery in Pine Bush, New York, and Magnolia Village Practice Center (Đạo Tràng Mộc Lan) in Mississippi. These monasteries are open to the public during much of the year and provide on-going retreats for lay people. The Order of Interbeing also holds retreats for groups of lay people, such as families, teenagers, veterans,[19] the entertainment industry, members of Congress,[20] law enforcement officers,[21] people of color[22] [23].

Notable students of Thich Nhat Hanh include: Skip Ewing founder of the Nashville Mindfulness Center, Natalie Goldberg author and teacher, Joan Halifax founder of the Upaya Institute, Stephanie Kaza environmentalist, Sister Chan Khong Dharma teacher, Sister Annibell Laity translator of many of Thich Nhat Hanh's books and director of North American Dharma centers, Noah Levine author, Albert Low Zen teacher and author, Joanna Macy environmentalist and author, Caitriona Reed Dharma teacher and co-founder of Manzanita Village Retreat Center, Leila Seth author and Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court, and Pritam Singh real estate developer and editor of several of Thich Nhat Hanh's books.

Return to Vietnam

Nhat Hanh during a ceremony in Da Nang on his 2007 trip to Vietnam

From January 12 until April 11, 2005, Thich Nhat Hanh returned to Vietnam. Following lengthy prior negotiations he was eventually allowed to teach there, publish certain of his books in Vietnamese, and travel the country with monastic and lay members of his Order, including a return to his root temple, Tu Hieu Temple in Hue [6][24].

Nhat Hanh at Huong Son temple on his 2007 trip to Vietnam

The trip was not without controversy. Thich Vien Dinh writing on behalf of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam (considered illegal by the Vietnamese government) called for Thich Nhat Hanh to make a statement against the Vietnam government’s poor record on religious freedom. Thich Vien Dinh feared that the trip would be used as propaganda by the Vietnamese government, suggesting to the world that religious freedom is improving there, while abuses continue [25][26][27].

Despite the controversy, Nhat Hanh again returned to Vietnam in 2007 while two senior officials of the banned Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam remained under house-arrest [7]. The Plum Village Website states that the three goals of his 2007 trip back to Vietnam were to support new monastics in his Order; to organize and conduct "Great Chanting Ceremonies" intended to help heal remaining wounds from the Vietnam war; and to lead retreats for monastics and lay people. The chanting ceremonies were originally called "Grand Requiem for Praying Equally for All to Untie the Knots of Unjust Suffering," but Vietnamese officials objected, saying it was improper to "equally" pray for soldiers in the South Vietnamese army or U.S. soldiers. Nhat Hanh agreed to change the name to "Grand Requiem For Praying"[7].


Thich Nhat Hanh's influential approach has been to combine a variety of traditional Zen teachings with methods from Theravada Buddhism, insights from Mahayana Buddhism, and ideas from Western psychology - to offer a modern light on meditation practice. Nhat Hanh has also been a leader in the Engaged Buddhism movement, promoting the individual's active role in creating change. He cites the thirteenth-century Vietnamese King Tran Nhan Tong with the origination of the concept. Tran Nhan Tong abdicated his throne to become a monk, and founded the Vietnamese Buddhist school in the Bamboo Forest tradition.

Names applied to him

The Vietnamese title Thích () is from "Thích Ca" or "Thích Già" (釋迦), means "of the Shakya (Shakyamuni Buddha) clan."[1] All Vietnamese (and Chinese) Buddhist monks and nuns adopt this title as their "family" name or surname implying that their first family is the Buddhist community. In many Buddhist traditions, there are a progression of names that a person can receive. The first, the lineage name, is given when a person takes refuge in the Three Jewels. Thich Nhat Hanh's lineage name is Trừng Quang. The next is a Dharma name, given when a person, lay or monastic, takes additional vows or when one is ordained as a monastic. Thich Nhat Hanh's Dharma name is Phung Xuan. Additionally, Dharma titles are sometimes given, and Thich Nhat Hanh's Dharma title is "Nhat Hanh".[1]

Neither Nhất () nor Hạnh () — which approximate the roles of middle or intercalary name and given name, respectively, when referring to him in English — was part of his name at birth. Nhất (一) means "one", implying "first-class," or "of best quality," in English; Hạnh (行) means "move", implying "right conduct" or "good nature." Thích Nhất Hạnh has translated his Dharma names as Nhất = One, and Hạnh = Action. Vietnamese names follow this naming convention, placing the family or surname first, then the middle or intercalary name which often refers to the person's position in the family or generation, followed by the given name.[28]

Thich Nhat Hanh is often referred to as "Thay" (Vietnamese: Thầy, "master; teacher") or Thay Nhat Hanh by his followers. On the Vietnamese version of the Plum Village website, he is also referred to as Thiền Sư Nhất Hạnh which can translated as "Zen Master", or "Dhyana Master".[29] Any Vietnamese monk or nun in the Mahayana tradition can be addressed as "Thầy" ("teacher"). Vietnamese Buddhist monks are addressed "Thầy tu" ("monk") and nuns are addressed "Sư Cô" ("Sister") or "Sư Bà" ("Elder Sister").

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f Phap Dung, Brother (2006), Plum Village website A Letter to Friends About Our Lineage accessed 2010-02-13
  2. ^ a b c d 04-04-2006, BBC article
  3. ^ "Thich Nhat Hanh". BBC. 2006-04-04. Retrieved 2008-05-25. "Thich Nhat Hanh is a world renowned Zen master, writer, poet, scholar, and peacemaker. With the exception of the Dalai Lama, he is today's best known Buddhist teacher" 
  4. ^ "Thich Nhat Hanh". Time. November 5, 2006.,9171,1555013,00.html. Retrieved 2008-05-25. "One of the most important religious thinkers and activists of our time, Nhat Hanh understood, from his own experience, why popular secular ideologies and movements?nationalism, fascism, communism and colonialism?unleashed the unprecedented violence of the 20th century.[...] Nhat Hanh, now 80 years old and living in a monastery in France, has played an important role in the transmission of an Asian spiritual tradition to the modern, largely secular West." 
  5. ^ a b c Nhu, Quan (2002) "Nhat Hanh's Peace Activities" in "Vietnamese Engaged Buddhism: The Struggle Movement of 1963-66", reprinted on the Giao Diem website [1]
  6. ^ a b Johnson, Kay (2005) "A Long Journey Home", Time Asia Magazine (online version) [2]
  7. ^ a b c Johnson, Kay (2007) "The Fighting Monks of Vietnam", Time Magazine (online version accessed 3/7/2007) [3]
  8. ^ Farah, Samar (April 04, 2002), "An advocate for peace starts with listening", The Christian Science Monitor, Religion and Ethics online journal.[4]
  9. ^ "Thich Nhat Hanh on Burma", Buddhist Channel, accessed 11/5/2007
  10. ^ The Peace Abbey Courage of Conscience Recipients List
  11. ^ Cordova, Nathaniel (2005) "The Tu Hieu Lineage of Thien (Zen) Buddhism", blog entry on the Woodmore Village website [5]
  12. ^ "Thich Nhat Hanh", published on the Community of Interbeing, UK website [6]
  13. ^ Mau, Thich Chi (1999) "Application for the publication of books and sutras", letter to the Vietnamese Governmental Committee of Religious Affairs, re-printed on the Plum Village website. He is the Elder of the Từ Hiếu branch of the 8th generation of the Liễu Quán lineage in the 42nd generation of the Lâm Tế Dhyana school (Lin Chi Chán in Chinese or Rinzai Zen in Japanese)
  14. ^ "Searching for the Enemy of Man", in Nhat Nanh, Ho Huu Tuong, Tam Ich, Bui Giang, Pham Cong Thien. Dialogue. Saigon: La Boi, 1965. P. 11-20., archived on the African-American Involvement in the Vietnam War website [7]
  15. ^ "Beyond Vietnam", April 4, 1967, speech made by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the Riverside Church, NYC, archived on the African-American Involvement in the Vietnam War website [8]
  16. ^ "Nomination of Thich Nhat Hanh for the Nobel Peace Prize" letter by Martin Luther King, Jr., 1967, archived on the Hartford Web Publishing website [9]
  17. ^ Author and date unknown, "Thich Nhat Hanh", article on the Integrative Spirituality website [10]
  18. ^ Information about Practice Centers from the official Community of Mindful Living site [11]
  19. ^ Deer Park Monastery site
  20. ^ "Thich Nhat Hahn Leads Retreat for Members of Congress" (2004) from the Faith and Politics newsletter, Rev. W. Douglas Tanner, Jr., president, linked on the Faith and Politics Institute website [12]
  21. ^ Bures, Frank (2003) "Zen and the Art of Law Enforcement", Christian Science Monitor [13]
  22. ^ Information about the "Colors of Compassion" retreat for people of color on the official Community of Mindful Living site [14]
  23. ^ Deer Park Monastery
  24. ^ Warth, Gary (2005) "Local Buddhist Monks Return to Vietnam as Part of Historic Trip", North County Times, re-published on the Buddhist Channel news website [15]
  25. ^ "Buddhist monk requests Thich Nhat Hanh "to see true situation in Vietnam", 2005, Letter from Thich Vien Dinh as reported by the Buddhist Channel news website [16]
  26. ^ "Vietnam: International Religious Freedom Report 2005", Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 2005, report published by the U.S. State Department [17]
  27. ^ "Vietnam: The Suppression of the Unified Buddhist Church", Vol.7, No.4, 1995, Human Rights Watch, Kenneth Roth, executive director [18]
  28. ^ "Vietnamese Names", Excerpted from "Culture Briefing: Vietnam", published by Geotravel Research Center, Kissimmee, Florida, 1995, on the Things Asian website [19]
  29. ^ Title attributed to TNH on the Vietnamese Plum Village site

Further reading

  • Vietnam: Lotus in a sea of fire. New York, Hill and Wang. 1967.
  • Being Peace, Parallax Press, 1987, ISBN 0-938077-00-7
  • The Sun My Heart, Parallax Press, 1988, ISBN 0-938077-12-0
  • The Miracle of Mindfulness, Rider Books, 1991, ISBN 9780712647878
  • Old Path White Clouds: Walking in the Footsteps of the Buddha, Parallax Press, 1991, ISBN 81-216-0675-6
  • Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life, Bantam reissue, 1992, ISBN 0-553-35139-7
  • The Diamond That Cuts Through Illusion, Commentaries on the Prajnaparamita Diamond Sutra, Parallax Press, 1992, ISBN 0-938077-51-1
  • Touching Peace: Practicing the Art of Mindful Living, Parallax Press, 1992, ISBN 0-938077-57-0
  • Hermitage Among the Clouds, Parallax Press, 1993, ISBN 0-938077-56-2
  • Zen Keys: A Guide to Zen Practice, Three Leaves, 1994, ISBN 0-385-47561-6
  • Cultivating The Mind Of Love, Full Circle, 1996, ISBN 81-216-0676-4
  • The Heart Of Understanding, Full Circle, 1997, ISBN 81-216-0703-5
  • Living Buddha, Living Christ, Riverhead Trade, 1997, ISBN 1-57322-568-1
  • True Love: A Practice for Awakening the Heart, Shambhala, 1997, ISBN 1-59030-404-7
  • Fragrant Palm Leaves: Journals, 1962-1966, Riverhead Trade, 1999, ISBN 1-57322-796-X
  • Going Home: Jesus and Buddha as Brothers, Riverhead Books, 1999, ISBN 1-57322-145-7
  • The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching, Broadway Books, 1999, ISBN 0-7679-0369-2
  • Interbeing: Fourteen Guidelines for Engaged Buddhism, Parallax Press 3rd edition, 1999, ISBN 1-888375-08-6
  • The Miracle of Mindfulness: A Manual on Meditation, Beacon Press, 1999, ISBN 0-8070-1239-4 (Vietnamese: Phép lạ c̉ua sư t̉inh thưc).
  • The Raft Is Not the Shore: Conversations Toward a Buddhist/Christian Awareness, Daniel Berrigan (Co-author), Orbis Books, 2000, ISBN 1-57075-344-X
  • Essential Writings, Robert Ellsberg (Editor), Orbis Books, 2001, ISBN 1-57075-370-9
  • Anger, Riverhead Trade, 2002, ISBN 1-57322-937-7
  • No Death, No Fear, Riverhead Trade reissue, 2003, ISBN 1-57322-333-6
  • Touching the Earth: Intimate Conversations with the Buddha, Parallax Press, 2004, ISBN 1-888375-41-8
  • Teachings on Love, Full Circle, 2005, ISBN 81-7621-167-2
  • Buddha Mind, Buddha Body: Walking Toward Enlightenment, Parallax Press, 2007, ISBN 1-888375-75-2
  • Understanding Our Mind, HarperCollins, 2006, ISBN 978-81-7223-796-7
  • The Art of Power, HarperOne, 2007, ISBN 0-061242-34-9
  • Works by or about Thich Nhat Hanh in libraries (WorldCat catalog)

External links

About Thich Nhat Hanh and the Order of Interbeing

Official websites for the Order of Interbeing



Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Nhat Hanh article)

From Wikiquote

The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green earth in the present moment, to appreciate the peace and beauty that are available now.

Thich Nhat Hanh (born 11 October 1926) is an expatriate Vietnamese Buddhist monk, peace activist, and prolific author in both Vietnamese and English. He is most commonly referred to as Thich Nhat Hanh, in which the Vietnamese title Thích (釋), derived from "Thích Ca" or "Thích Già" (釋迦) and applied to all Vietnamese Buddhist monks and nuns, means "of the Shakya (Shakyamuni Buddha) clan".



We have more possibilities available in each moment than we realize.
It's wonderful to be alive and to walk on earth.
You are a miracle, and everything you touch could be a miracle.
Your true home is in the here and the now. It is not limited by time, space, nationality, or race.
  • When you understand the roots of anger in yourself and in the other, your mind will enjoy true peace, joy and lightness
    • Teachings on Love (2005) Full Circle Publishing ISBN 81-7621-167-2
  • When you feel anger arising, remember to return to your breathing and follow it. The other person may see that you are practicing, and she may even apologize.
    • Teachings on Love (2005) Full Circle Publishing ISBN 81-7621-167-2
  • Your first love has no beginning or end. Your first love is not your first love, and it is not your last. It is just love. It is one with everything.
    • Cultivating the Mind of Love (2005) Full Circle Publishing ISBN 81-216-0676-4
  • The quality of our life
    depends on the quality
    of the seeds
    that lie deep in our consciousness.
    • Understanding Our Mind (2006) Parallax Press ISBN 978-81-7223-796-7
  • The present moment
    contains past and future.
    The secret of transformation,
    is in the way we handle this very moment.
    • Understanding Our Mind (2006) Parallax Press ISBN 978-81-7223-796-7
  • Seeds can produce seeds
    Seeds can produce formations.
    Formations can produce seeds.
    Formations can produce formations.
    • Understanding Our Mind (2006) Parallax Press ISBN 978-81-7223-796-7
  • One included all, and all were contained in one.
    • Old Path White Clouds : Walking in the Footsteps of the Buddha (1991) Parallax Press ISBN 81-216-0675-6
  • The leaf and his body were one. Neither possessed a separate permanent self. Neither could exist independently from the rest of the universe.
    • Old Path White Clouds : Walking in the Footsteps of the Buddha (1991)
  • Contemplating the bowl, it is possible to see the interdependent elements which give rise to the bowl.
    • Old Path White Clouds : Walking in the Footsteps of the Buddha (1991) Parallax Press ISBN 81-216-0675-6
  • Freedom from suffering is a great happiness.
    • Old Path White Clouds : Walking in the Footsteps of the Buddha (1991) Parallax Press ISBN 81-216-0675-6
  • The Buddha also counseled the monks and nuns to avoid wasting any precious time by engaging in idle conversation, oversleeping, pursuing fame and recognition, chasing after desires, spending time with people of poor character, and being satisfied with only a shallow understanding of the teaching.
    • Old Path White Clouds : Walking in the Footsteps of the Buddha (1991) Parallax Press ISBN 81-216-0675-6
  • The same clouds that Buddha had seen were in the sky. Each serene step brought to life the old path and white clouds of the Buddha. The path of Buddha was beneath his very feet.
    • Old Path White Clouds : Walking in the Footsteps of the Buddha (1991) Parallax Press ISBN 81-216-0675-6
  • Venerable Svasti and the young buffalo boys were rivers that flowed from that source. Wherever the rivers flowed, the Buddha would be there.
    • Old Path White Clouds : Walking in the Footsteps of the Buddha (1991) Parallax Press ISBN 81-216-0675-6
  • If in our daily life we can smile, if we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone will profit from it. If we really know how to live, what better way to start the day than with a smile? Our smile affirms our awareness and determination to live in peace and joy. The source of a true smile is an awakened mind.
    • Peace Is Every Step : The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life (1992) Bantam reissue ISBN 0553351397
  • The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green earth in the present moment, to appreciate the peace and beauty that are available now.
    • Touching Peace (1992), p. 1. Parallax Press ISBN 0-938077-57-0
  • In order to rally people, governments need enemies. They want us to be afraid, to hate, so we will rally behind them. And if they do not have a real enemy, they will invent one in order to mobilize us.
    • Quoted in Engaged Buddhist Reader: Ten Years of Engaged Buddhist Publishing (1996) by Arnold Kotler, p. 106
  • To think in terms of either pessimism or optimism oversimplifies the truth. The problem is to see reality as it is. A pessimistic attitude can never create the calm and serene smile which blossoms on the lips of Bodhisattvas and all those who obtain the way.
  • Reality is reality. It transcends every concept. There is no concept which can adequately describe it, not even the concept of interdependence.
    • The Miracle of Mindfulness (1999)
  • It's wonderful to be alive and to walk on earth.
    • Talk at Stonehill College (2002)
  • You are a miracle, and everything you touch could be a miracle.
    • Episode of the National Public Radio program Speaking of Faith : "Brother Thay: A Radio Pilgrimage with Thich Nhat Hanh" (2003)
  • If you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors. All of them are alive in this moment. Each is present in your body. You are the continuation of each of these people.
    • Quoted in A Lifetime of Peace : Essential Writings by and About Thich Nhat Hanh (2003) edited by Jennifer Schwamm Willis, p. 141
  • We have more possibilities available in each moment than we realize.
    • As quoted in Visions from Earth (2004) by James Miller
  • This capacity of waking up, of being aware of what is going on in your feelings, in your body, in your perceptions, in the world, is called Buddha nature, the capacity of understanding and loving. Smiling is very important. If we are not able to smile, then the world will not have peace. It is not by going out for a demonstration against nuclear missiles that we can bring about peace. It is with our capacity of smiling, breathing, and being peace that we can make peace.
    • Being Peace (2005) ‎
  • Your true home is in the here and the now. It is not limited by time, space, nationality, or race. Your true home is not an abstract idea. It is something you can touch and live in every moment. With mindfulness and concentration, the energies of the Buddha, you can find your true home in the full relaxation of your mind and body in the present moment. No one can take it away from you. Other people can occupy your country, they can even put you in prison, but they cannot take away your true home and your freedom.
  • Going vegetarian may be the most effective way to fight global warming. Buddhist practitioners have practiced vegeterianism over the last 2000 years. We are vegetarian with the intention to nourish our compassion towards the animals. Now we also know that we eat vegetarian in order to protect the earth...
  • Love is the capacity to take care, to protect, to nourish. If you are not capable of generating that kind of energy toward yourself – if you are not capable of taking care of yourself, of nourishing yourself, of protecting yourself – it is very difficult to take care of another person.
    • Quoted on/by his Website 30 December 2008 [1]

Quotes about Nhat Hanh

His ideas for peace, if applied, would build a monument to ecumenism, to world brotherhood, to humanity. ~ Martin Luther King Jr.
  • He has immense presence and both personal and Buddhist authority. If there is a candidate for "Living Buddha" on earth today, it is Thich Nhat Hanh.
    • Richard Baker
  • [Thich Nhat Hanh's practices] do not have any affinity with or any foundation in traditional Vietnamese Buddhist practices.
    • A. W. Barber and C. Nguyen, in "Vietnamese Buddhism in North America, Tradition and Acculturation" (1998), in The Faces of Buddhism in America (1998) by C. S. Prebish and K. K. Tanaka, p. 131, ISBN 0-520-21301-7
  • A great spiritual leader whose influence can help us find a living peace in everything we do. Thich Nhat Hanh's words connect inner peace with the need for peace in the world in a compelling way.
    • Natalie Goldberg, author of Wild Mind
  • [Thich Nhat Hanh] shows us the connection between personal inner peace and peace on earth.
  • Thich Nhat Hanh is a real poet.
    • Robert Lowell
  • Thich Nhat Hanh writes with the voice of the Buddha.
    • Sogyal Rimpoche, author of The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying

Nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize

Martin Luther King Jr.'s letter of nomination of Nhat Hanh for the Nobel Peace Prize (25 January 1967) at Hartford-HWP Archives
  • This would be a notably auspicious year for you to bestow your Prize on the Venerable Nhat Hanh. Here is an apostle of peace and non-violence, cruelly separated from his own people while they are oppressed by a vicious war which has grown to threaten the sanity and security of the entire world.
  • I know Thich Nhat Hanh, and am privileged to call him my friend...
  • Thich Nhat Hanh offers a way out of this nightmare, a solution acceptable to rational leaders. He has traveled the world, counseling statesmen, religious leaders, scholars and writers, and enlisting their support. His ideas for peace, if applied, would build a monument to ecumenism, to world brotherhood, to humanity.

External links

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Official websites for Thich Nhat Hanh and the Order of Interbeing


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