Monk considered father of mindfulness dies in Vietnam – 01/22/2022 – World

Thich Nhat Hanh, a leading mindfulness practitioner and Zen Buddhist monk who rose to prominence as an anti-Vietnam War activist, died Saturday at age 95, surrounded by his followers at the temple where his spiritual journey began.

“Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh lived a truly meaningful life. I have no doubt that the best way to pay tribute to him is to continue his work to promote world peace,” the Dalai Lama, spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, said on Twitter.

His funeral is expected to last a week and will be held at the Plum Village temple in Vietnam, according to his followers.

Nhat Hanh lived more than five decades abroad, campaigning against the war and teaching the practice of mindfulness. The Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. had him as a friend and recommended him for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1967. Oprah Winfrey interviewed him and leaders of major technology companies embraced his teachings. President Barack Obama quoted him on his visit to Vietnam in 2016.

In a series of works and public appearances, Nhat Hanh spoke in a gentle and powerful tone of the need to “walk as if kissing the earth with your feet”.

Nhat Hanh suffered a stroke in 2014 that left him unable to speak, and he returned to Vietnam to live out the final period of his life in the central city of Hue, the former capital and birthplace, after spending much of his adult life in exile.

As a pioneer of Buddhism in the West, he created the Plum Village monastery in France and regularly spoke about the practice of mindfulness, mindfulness, which consists of identifying and distancing yourself from certain thoughts without judgment.

“You learn to suffer. If you know how to suffer, you suffer much, much less. And then you understand how to make good use of suffering to create joy and happiness,” he said in a 2013 lecture.

“The art of happiness and the art of suffering always go together”.

Born Nguyen Xuan Bao in 1926, Thich Nhat Hanh was appointed a monk when revolutionary Ho Chi Minh spearheaded efforts to free Vietnam from its French colonial rulers.

Nhat Hanh, who spoke seven languages, taught at Princeton and Columbia universities in the United States in the early 1960s. He returned to Vietnam in 1963 to join a growing Buddhist opposition to the Vietnam War, which was marred by protests. of self-immolation of several monks.

“I saw communists and anti-communists killing and destroying each other because each side believed it had a monopoly on the truth,” he wrote in 1975.

“My voice was drowned out by the bombs, mortars and screams.”

At the height of the Vietnam War in the 1960s, he met American civil rights leader Martin Luther King, whom he persuaded to speak out against the conflict.

King called Nhat Hanh an “apostle of peace and non-violence” and suggested his name for the Nobel Peace Prize.

“I know of no one more worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize than this gentle Buddhist monk from Vietnam,” King wrote in his nomination letter.

While in the United States to meet with King, the South Vietnamese government forbade him to return home.

The works of Thich Nhat Hanh and the promotion of the idea of ​​mindfulness and meditation have seen renewed interest during the coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than a million people and altered everyday life.

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