Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh dies at 95

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

Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh at Plum Village in France in 2009. Photo by Plum Village

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

He became a monk at the age of 23 after studying Buddhism for seven years.

He left Vietnam in 1966 and lived in Plum Village in southern France for decades, traveling regularly across North America and Europe to lecture on mindfulness and peace.

His key teaching was 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 outer world.

For many decades, Thich Nhat Hanh has promoted “Engaged Buddhism”, which focuses on the active role of humans in facilitating change.

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

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

In October 2018, he returned to live his last days in Tu Hieu, where he first studied and practiced Zen Buddhism.

Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh (center) with monks and nuns at Tu Hieu Pagoda in Hue, 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Vo Thanh

Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh (center) with monks and nuns at Tu Hieu Pagoda in Hue in 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Vo Thanh

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 best-selling “The Miracle of Mindfulness.”

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

“I personally know no one more worthy of [this prize] than this nice monk from Vietnam,” King said upon his appointment.

“His ideas for peace, if implemented, would build a monument to ecumenism, to world brotherhood, to humanity.”

Thich Nhat Hanh rejected the idea of ​​death. “Birth and death are only notions”, he writes 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 departure; there is no such thing; there is no different; there is no permanent self; there is no annihilation. is.”

Back in Tu Hieu, he left instructions on what to do with his body after his death: “If one day I die, do not build me a tomb or a tower. It will cost money, it will cost people land. , and our people are still very poor. Incinerate me. Take my ashes to Plum Village monasteries around the world and scatter them along the routes of your walking meditation. So that each day I will still be with you in our meditative walk.

About Shirley A. Tamayo

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