Thich Nhat Hanh is the living embodiment of mindfulness. His mindfulness teachings and practices have very wide appeal to people from various religious, spiritual, and political backgrounds. He is is one of the best known and most respected Zen masters in the world today, prolific author, poet, and peace and human rights activist.
Thich Nhat Hanh is totally inclusive in his outlook and his teachings and practises transcend religious traditions.
I never saw a man walk so slowly and yet be such a man of action! I have to declare a vested interest here, as Thay (as he is affectionately known in his community) is the founder and overall Zen-master/teacher of the mindfulness practise group to which I belong.
As I have written in my introductory article on Eckhart Tolle I first read Thich Nhat Hanh's book "The Miracle Of Mindfulness" some years prior to discovering Eckhart Tolle and it made a big impression on me at the time.
Having spent time with several meditation groups in different buddhist traditions I realised that I needed to practise with a group who practised mindfulnes and it was then that I discovered the
Plum Village UK who are a collective of about 50 different practise groups in the UK who practise the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh. I practised with these groups for a number of years until I moved to South East Asia.
Over the years the practise of mindfulness has become the foundation of my whole approach to life and has helped me to navigate my way through some very stressful situations of imposed change.
Thich Nhat Hanh - Surrender Yourself to the NOW
Thich Nhat Hanh - A life well lived
Born in central Vietnam in 1926 he became a monk at the age of sixteen.
During the Vietnam War the monasteries had to face the question of whether to stay meditating in the monasteries, or to go out and help the suffering villagers who were experiencing the devastation of the war.
Thich Nhat Hanh chose to do both, and helped to found the "engaged Buddhism" movement.
He has dedicated his life to the work of inner transformation for the benefit of individuals and society.
In 1982 he founded Plum Village, a Buddhist community in exile in France, where he continues his work to alleviate suffering of refugees, boat people, political prisoners, and hungry families in Vietnam and throughout the Third World.
He has also received recognition for his work with Vietnam veterans, meditation retreats, and his prolific writings on meditation, mindfulness, and peace.
In September 2001, just a few days after the suicide terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, he addressed the issues of non-violence and forgiveness in a memorable speech at Riverside Church in New York City.
In September of 2003 he addressed members of the US Congress, leading them through a two-day retreat.
Following a major stroke in November 2014 Thich Nhat Hanh surprised his community in October 2018 by informing them that he would like to return home to Vietnam to pass his final days at the Tu Hieu root temple in Hue, where he became a monk in 1942 at age 16.
In this moving article Eliza Barclay shares Thich Nhat Hanh’s final mindfulness lesson: how to die peacefully.
Thich Nhat Hanh - Mindfulness Practise For Transforming Anger
"The past is gone, the future is not yet here, and if we do not go back to ourselves in the present moment, we cannot be in touch with life."
"The ocean of suffering is immense, but if you turn around, you can see the land."
"We have to walk in a way that we only print peace and serenity on the Earth. Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet."
"Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves — slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future."
"We really have to understand the person we want to love. If our love is only a will to possess, it is not love. If we only think of ourselves, if we know only our own needs and ignore the needs of the other person, we cannot love."
"The mind can go in a thousand directions, but on this beautiful path, I walk in peace. With each step, the wind blows. With each step, a flower blooms."