The latest news and stories on what is happening, edited by Thay’s monastic and lay disciples.
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The formal Ashes Ceremony to bring back Thay’s ashes from the Cremation Park to Từ Hiếu Temple took place early this morning on Sunday, January 30th. This broadcast has English commentary.
Thay’s funeral on Saturday, 29th January 2022, was one of the biggest Huế, Vietnam has seen for decades. Thousands came out to join the procession, in a deep expression of love and respect for a cherished spiritual leader, a humble monk, and an extraordinary human being. We feel grateful to bear solemn witness to such a powerful and elemental open-air cremation, just like in the time of the Buddha.
In Vietnamese language paper
Click here for article in Thanh Nien Online
Funeral held in Vietnam for influential monk Thich Nhat Hanh
??Samedi à Hue, au #Vietnam: des milliers de personnes ont assisté aux funérailles du moine bouddhiste zen, poète et militant pour la paix #ThichNhatHanh, une semaine après son décès à l’âge de 95 ans.
When I sat across from Thich Nhat Hanh in 2003 – the earliest years of this show – I had a very precise sense, never repeated in quite the same way, that this is what it would feel like to sit in the presence of God. On one level, that is a nonsense statement, as this man was not a theist in any sense I had grown up understanding. Thich Nhat Hanh came to the world’s attention in the 1960s when he forsook monastic isolation to be of service as his country was torn apart by war. He was a startling, paradoxical force to the end: tangibly powerful and exquisitely gentle, at once a mystic and a pragmatist…..
Today, we watched the funeral procession from Tu Hieu Temple to the Cremation Grounds and sat with the sangha in Vietnam while the fire was still burning, chanting sutras and singing Thay’s favourite songs and poems. This was followed by closing words from Plum Village, France to end the week of ceremonies for our international community.
The coffin of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh left Tu Hieu Pagoda Saturday for the cremation ceremony, with thousands joining the procession, praying in silence.
Thay’s cremation closing ceremony is live now. Click here to watch.
Today, the multifold sangha in Plum Village gathered together to share their gratitude to Thay through music, poetry, and sharing in an intimate setting.
Please see the schedule on plumvillage.org/memorial
If you would like to read the eulogies from this morning’s ceremonies:
28th January 2022
Dear Beloved Thay,
It is the greatest fortune of our life to have been able to become your students, to receive your guidance, and to belong to your Beloved Community.
You are our Teacher, and you have taught and nurtured us with boundless love, patience, and care. The dewdrops of your compassionate nectar have refreshed our thirst. You have been the torch guiding us through the forest of confusion; the hand reaching out to us when we fall; the ladder rescuing us from our darkest moments. You have given us a path to walk, so that we no longer have anything to fear.
You have offered us the most profound teachings, and so many practices to realize those teachings in our daily life. You have transmitted to us the precepts, renewed and reinvigorated. You have trained us in a new kind of Buddhism that can serve the world and help respond to the suffering and difficulties of our time. And you have built a healthy and happy community for us to take refuge in, and a vibrant monastic culture to nourish and support us on our way.
The Dharma talk about “Continuing Thay’s Aspiration” by Brother Phap Dung, a senior Plum Village Dharma Teacher, will begin at 11am PT/ 2pm ET/ 8pm CET on Friday, January 28. The talk will be streamed live from Deer Park Monastery in Escondido, California
28 and 29 January
Ceremony to Pay Respect and Invite Thay’s Energy to be Present
01:00 – Friday 28 (US ET / New York, USA)
07:00 – Friday 28 (CET / Paris, France)
13:00 – Friday 28 (GMT+7 / Vietnam)
04:00 – Friday 28 (US ET / New York, USA)
10:00 – Friday 28 (CET / Paris, France)
16:00 – Friday 28 (GMT+7 / Vietnam)
Paying Tribute to Thay
07:00 – Friday 28 (US ET / New York, USA)
13:00 – Friday 28 (CET / Paris, France)
19:00 – Friday 28 (GMT+7 / Vietnam)
Final Ceremony – Funeral and Cremation – Live from Huế, Vietnam
18:00 – Friday 28 (US ET / New York, USA)
00:00 – Saturday 29 (CET / Paris, France)
06:00 – Saturday 29 (GMT+7 / Vietnam)
Click here for details and links to live streaming
Today we had a Day of Mindfulness offering our collective energy of peace, love, and gratitude to our beloved teacher. This day included a Question and Answers session by Thich Nhat Hanh, a walking meditation and a mindful meal. In the afternoon, Plum Village also welcomed our neighbours, who came to pay respects to Thay.
Photos from Day 5 (Wednesday 26 January, 2022)
You can view more photos here.
(formerly known as Brain Pickings)
Jan 23, 2022
Photos from Day 4 (Tuesday 25 January, 2022)
You can view more photos in the photo album.
Plum Village Press Release
World leaders, citizens from all continents, and the Vietnamese government pay tribute ahead of the Zen master’s cremation this weekend
THÉNAC, France, January 27, 2022–Widely known as the father of mindfulness and beloved by millions of students and followers worldwide, Thich Nhat Hanh has received a global outpouring of love and appreciation for his teachings and mindfulness practices, since his passing on January 22, 2022, at Tu Hieu Temple in Hue, Vietnam. As his community prepares for his funeral and cremation this weekend, thousands continue to post moving testimonials of deep gratitude for the healing impact he has had on their lives, including words such as:
“He saved my life.”
“He cured my soul.”
“He showed me the path to joy.”
“His teachings saved my marriage.”
“He transformed my relationship with my mother.”
“I understand my own Roman Catholic faith better now, because of the wisdom of this remarkable Buddhist monk.”
The President and Prime Minister of Vietnam have offered their condolences. “The government hopes that the Plum Village community will continue the Zen master’s vision and aspiration for engaged Buddhism, and so contribute to the prosperity of society, and, together with the wider Buddhist community in Vietnam and abroad, promote peace in the world.”
Text: As many of you know, the peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh passed away at the age of 95 in Vietnam.
What many people may not know is Thich Nhat Hanh’s admiration of the United States Civil Rights Movement and his friendship with Martin Luther King Jr. In 1966, Thich Nhat Hanh and MLK met each other for the first time in Chicago. The two deeply admired each other’s activism and joined their efforts to end the Vietnam War. Dr. King even nominated Thich Nhat Hanh for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1967.
When MLK was assasinated in 1968, Thich Nhat Hanh was devastated. As told by his student Sister Peace, he vowed that even in exile, he would put all his energy into the practice of building the Beloved Community that he and Dr. King had talked about.
ID: A black and white photo of the late Martin Luther King Junior and Thich Nhat Hanh in 1966. Both of them are seated at a press conference table, and neither seem to acknowledge the camera. It is most likely a photo from their joint press conference at the Sheraton-Chicago Hotel in 1966.
On the passing of Thay @thichnhathanh ?, I want to recall his own words:
“I asked the leaf whether it was frightened because it was autumn and the other leaves were falling.
The leaf told me,
-No. During the whole spring and summer, I was completely alive. I worked hard to help nourish the tree, and now much of me is in the tree. I am not limited by this form. I am also the whole tree, and when I go back to the soil, I will continue to nourish the tree. So I don’t worry at all. As I leave this branch and float to the ground, I will wave to the tree and tell her, ‘I will see you again very soon.’-
That day, there was a wind blowing and, after a while, I saw the leaf leave the branch and float down to the soil, dancing joyfully. It was so happy.
I bowed my head, knowing that I have a lot to learn from the leaf.
So please look and you will see that you have always been here. Let us look together and penetrate into the life of a leaf, so we may be one with the leaf. Let us penetrate and be one with everything, to realize our own nature and be free from fear. If we look very deeply, we will transcend birth and death.
Tomorrow, I will continue to be. But you will have to be very attentive to see me. I will be a flower, or a leaf. I will be in these forms and I will say hello to you. If you are attentive enough, you will recognize me, and you may greet me. I will be very happy.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
Photos from Day 3 (Monday 24 of January, 2022)
You can view more photos in the photo album.
Jan 26, 2022
|Dear Friends, |
Since January 22, together with countless others across the planet, I have been moved by the outpouring of tributes, accolades, and gratitude for the humble yet monumental presence known as Thich Nhat Hanh, who passed away peacefully on that day at his root temple of Tu Hieu in Vietnam. With tremendous grace, inclusivity, and generosity, the monastics of the Plum Village Community of Engaged Buddhism have been supplying all of us with a flow of live-streamed ceremonies and teachings from Tu Hieu and the monasteries he founded around the world. At times the resonant power of their chanting has seemed to burst through our screens and make us feel as if we are right there, surrounded by the golden colors of chrysanthemums and sanghati robes. Most of us recognize that this is a truly extraordinary moment, an event that we will never again witness in our lifetimes: the transformation of a great bodhisattva of compassion.
Thich Nhat Hanh’s peace, clarity, and wisdom have touched the lives of millions. A Vietnamese monk with global influence, for almost eighty years he offered us a shining example of socially engaged Buddhism, offering public talks and meditations, retreats, and books on mindfulness and the path of freedom from suffering. Viewing his obituaries in The New York Times, The Guardian, and Le Monde, I am again and again struck by the intimacy of the comments from readers recounting how their lives were changed by one of his books. Such is the power of our teacher’s gentle words.
If you would like to connect with Thich Nhat Hanh through his inspiring writings, you may find many of his books listed on our website and at bookstores all around the world. We’ve loved seeing people on social media sharing images of their favorite books, as well as the beautiful displays bookstores have been creating to honor his life and his works. Our press has selected a short list of books to begin with here—may you find them a support during this time.
As we approach the last day of ceremonies on Friday, January 28, at Parallax Press we are following our breathing and breathing with you, our beloved community, remembering Thay with immeasurable gratitude.
—HISAE MATSUDA, PUBLISHER
and THE PARALLAX PRESS FAMILY
JANUARY 26, 2022
Most of the chants in the ceremonies can be found in the book Chanting from the Heart. We have made a $1 ebook PDF available online for everyone.
Let us say good-bye,
say good-bye, to meet again soon.
We meet today.
We will meet again tomorrow.
We will meet at the source every moment.
We meet each other in all forms of life.
THICH NHAT HANH
All times US Pacific Standard
Day of Mindfulness – Live from Plum Village France
Questions and Answers by Thich Nhat Hanh“What Happens When We Die?”
03:30 – Thursday 27 (US EDT / New York, USA)
09:30 – Thursday 27 (CET / Paris, France)
15:30 – Thursday 27 (GMT+7 / Vietnam)
Jan 23, 2022
Jan 25, 2022
Photos from Day 2 (Sunday 23 of January, 2022) – laying the body in the casket
You can view more photos in the photo album.
Memorial pins are often worn in Asian countries when someone in our family has passed away. It also allows others to recognize that we have lost someone dear to us.
Monastics in Tu Hieu Temple, Hue, are offering memorial pins to those who come to pay respects to our teacher, Thay.
“Den di thong dong” means “Coming and going in freedom”.
We are offering a graphic of the memorial pin for you to print out at home so that you can make your own pin. You may like to print it out on yellow coloured paper. You can wear it over your heart in remembrance of our teacher.
You can also download the image here.
Coming and Going in Freedom
The phrase “Den di thong dong” originates in a letter Thay wrote to his students in 2001. We invite you to come back to your breathing and to read the letter below with an open heart.
April 22, 2001
“Still I come and go freely
Unconcerned with being or non-being
With mindful steps you arrive in freedom
Neither waxing or waning is the moon.”
With mindful steps you arrive in freedom — this is your practice. The guiding principle for the practice lies entirely in the word “arrive.” To arrive means to no longer run, to no longer strive. To arrive means to have found a path for ourselves. To arrive means to come back to your true home. To arrive means to come home to our Ancestors, our country, our parents, our Teacher, to the Dharma, to the Sangha. Our true home means there is warmth, peace and happiness. To arrive also means to come home to our descendants. If we are not present for our descendants, how lost they must feel, and we ourselves also feel lost. Please read the chapter on King Trần Thái Tông in The History of Vietnamese Buddhism. (Việt Nam Phật Giáo Sử Luận, Book 1) The King had also described his practice as one of coming home.
“Arriving in freedom” means we don’t need to rush, because according to our practice, we can already arrive at each step. With only one step we arrive, we are home. And so, the word freedom here is very important.
For a long time, we have gone against the stream of our true nature,
floundering in the ocean of sorrows and the river of confusion,
unable to see a way out or a path to our true home.
These lines in the chant “Repentence and Taking Refuge for Life” also call us to come back to our true nature. With each step taken in freedom, you arrive at every moment, at every second. This practice can bring us happiness, peace and relaxation. These elements can nourish you, the sangha, Thay, your parents, your ancestors and descendants.
Thay’s practice is no different. “Still, I come and go freely.” So long as Thay is coming and going, moving around with freedom, Thay remains a refuge for you, for all of you. And as long as you still come back to your steps in freedom, you remain a place of refuge and continuation of Thay. And although in the outer appearance we may see a form waning and waxing, in essence, the moon is still the moon: It is not obscured by notions of round or crescent. “Neither waning or waxing is the moon.”
On Jan 26, 2022, we had a ceremony to honor our Teacher that began with a guided meditation, the incense offering, chanting, and readings in English, followed by the Chant of Great Compassion, invoking the name of Avalokiteshvara.
On Jan 25, 2022, we welcomed five new novices (four monks and one nun) to the monastic Plum Village family. They are precious continuations of our teacher, Thay.
03:30 – Wednesday 26 (US EST / New York, USA)
09:30 – Wednesday 26 (CEST / Paris, France)
15:30 – Wednesday 26 (GMT+7 / Vietnam)
Follow our memorial service hosted by Plum Village, France. This ceremony to honor our Teacher will start with a guided meditation and include incense offering, chanting, and readings in English, followed by the Chant of Great Compassion, invoking the name of Avalokiteshvara.
Visit our Memorial Schedule
All time Pacific Standard Time, please visit Deer Park’s YouTube Channel
From Roshi Joan Halifax
“Thay’s deepest teaching to me is that being a social activist is not separate from being a contemplative. Thanks to him, untold numbers of us opened our lives to the path of socially engaged Buddhism.”
Roshi Joan Halifax (True Continuation)
The war in Vietnam was raging and so were many of us young people in the mid-sixties. The Civil Rights Movement and the Anti-war Movement converged at a time when those of us in our twenties were meeting a frontier of consciousness that focused on freedom, the environment, justice, and nonviolence. And yet, for many of us, the sense of moral outrage toward our government was anything but nonviolent.
In the midst of this wild psycho-social tangle, arrived a young monk, traveling from France to the United States to urge our country to stop bombing his country, Vietnam. His name was Thich Nhat Hanh.
Hearing Thich Nhat Hanh speak, I realized that being a social activist was not necessarily separate from being a contemplative. My mind and heart changed and my life as well. Thich Nhat Hanh was for me and many others the model of a socially engaged Buddhist. Because of him, many of us opened our lives to the path of socially engaged Buddhism.
In the mid 1980’s, I was to become Thay’s student. His teachings on social engagement, direct and indirect, will continue with me the rest of my life. Going to Plum Village in these early years was an intimate and precious experience.
In 1990 or so, I went to Vietnam on Thay’s behalf, with a handwritten copy of one of his books sewn into the bottom of my suitcase. Carefully and gratefully, I gave it to his community in Hue, and while there I had the great joy of meeting members of his lay sangha who were part of the School for Social Service. Their humility and love of Thay moved me deeply. I was also so fortunate to spend time in his hermitage which was kept ready for him should he be able to return. And return he did; yes, he returned for all of us.
Now he is gone beyond, but his legacy will be carried forward by thousands upon thousands of people, I among them.
“Dear Mother Earth, You were born from the dust of distant supernovas, from the deaths of ancient stars. Your manifestation is but a continuation, and when you cease to exist in this current form you too will continue in another.”
The Vietnamese Buddhist monk and Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh died on January 22, 2022, in the Tu Hieu Temple in Hue, Vietnam—the place where he was ordained nearly eighty years ago as a teenager. He was ninety-five years old. Hanh was globally revered as a spiritual teacher, peace activist, and poet, and is widely credited with bringing the Buddhist practice of mindfulness to the West.
Thich Nhat Hanh was a pioneer in the field of spiritual ecology, applying ancient Buddhist texts and philosophy to his decades-long efforts to come to the aid of a planet in crisis. He coined the term “interbeing” in reference to his belief that we are a part of the Earth and She is a part of us, calling on us to awaken to this entwinement and fall in love again with the Earth.
In honor of his life and work we would like to share this powerful collection by Thich Nhat Hanh: Ten Love Letters to the Earth. In simple, elegant prose, these meditations are an invitation to engage in intimate conversation, a living dialogue, with our planet. As Hanh writes to the Earth, “I can awaken to the fact that I am never alone and can never die. You are always there within me and around me at every step, nourishing me, embracing me and carrying me far into the future.”
We invite you to take a moment to read these letters and honor the tremendous love for the Earth and all living things that Thich Nhat Hanh inspired in so many of us.
Ceremonies in Bodh Gaya, India
Please see https://deerparkmonastery.org/events/khoa-tu-tam-tang-heart-of-recollection-retreat/ for details and Deer Park’s YouTube Channel
Novice Ordination – Live from Plum Village
03:30 – Tuesday 25 (US EST / New York, USA)
09:30 – Tuesday 25 (CEST / Paris, France)
15:30 – Tuesday 25 (GMT+7 / Vietnam)
Please see https://plumvillage.org/memorial/ for details
On Thich Nhat Hanh 1926-2022
Published on 23 January 2022
The most venerable Thich Nhat Hanh has passed away. What a great loss to this world — a world entangled in both past and future; a world that has almost no interest in dwelling in the present; a world that has forgotten the value of a smile; a world that has forgotten how to really be there when it brushes its teeth. For those who care about the Buddha’s teachings, Thich Nhat Hanh’s passing is an especially heavy loss. In this modern world, an ancient wisdom like Buddhism finds it so difficult to reach out to people that were born into cultures that have no notion of aniccā, duḥkha, anattā and nirvana. How can people today be encouraged, at the very least, to move closer to an appreciation of these ideas, let alone generate the wish to live by them?
Buddhism is perhaps the oldest and most systematic, scientific study of mind and matter ever. Yet it is constantly, almost ruthlessly dismissed as a ‘religion’, a ‘doctrine’ or at best ‘ancient Asian thought’. Even so, Thich Nhat Hanh’s determination to open the door to the Buddha’s teachings never faltered. He consistently made an enormous effort to make the world curious about Buddhadharma. And he succeeded. Hundreds of thousands of people have now not only heard of mindfulness, but they try to practise it. This is an amazing achievement, one that generally takes centuries to accomplish. Thich Nhat Hanh managed it in one short, tumultuous lifetime. As buddhists, we owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude.
Looking ahead, those of us who admire Thich Nhat Hanh and those who actively follow him, must remember that while he is best known for his ability to reach a wide audience, especially in his many books — for example, Being Peace, Peace is Every Step, How to Love, The Miracle of Mindfulness — he should never be discounted as just another new age guru. The simple fact that he was a monk for his entire life demonstrates that there was far more to his approach than merely “Smile”. From the time he first saw an image of the Buddha at the age of 7 or 8, Thich Nhat Hahn harboured a strong desire to be like him. At 16 he was ordained in the Tu Hieu Temple in Hue city in Vietnam, and chose to return to die there some seven decades later. If this approach does not demonstrate that his Buddhadharma has both great depth and substance, then nothing will. He shall be remembered by us all as a great victory banner of Dharma.
— Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse
We have a photo album that will be updated daily, as the community gathers and practices during this week of ceremonies.
All times PST, US. Please visit: deerparkmonastery.org/events/khoa-tu-tam-tang-heart-of-recollection-retreat/
03:30 – Monday 24th (US EDT / New York, USA)
09:30 – Monday 24th (CET / Paris, France)
15:30 – Monday 24th(GMT+7 / Vietnam)
Beginning with a guided meditation, this ceremony to honor our Teacher will include incense offering, chanting, and readings. Most will be in English. The ceremony will last about 1.5 hours. See plumvillage.org/memorial for details and links to YouTube
Khóa Tu Tâm Tang / Heart of Recollection Retreat
Please see deerparkmonastery.org for their complete schedule. Events are live on their YouTube Channel. Please note vaccination requirements for visitation
All times are US Pacific Standard Time
We have a photo album that will be updated daily, as the community gathers and practices during this week of ceremonies.
Ceremony for laying Thay’s body in the casket – Live from Vietnam
–US Time Zones: Saturday January 22 at 5:00 PM Pacific, 8:00 PM Eastern
–Central European Time (France): Sunday January 23 at 2:00 AM
–Vietnam time: Sunday January 23 at 8:00 AM
Follow our ceremonies broadcast from Huế, Vietnam and from Plum Village, France. Visit the Plum Village YouTube Page
For more details visit https://plumvillage.org/memorial/
Deer Park ceremonies on Jan 22, 2022 (Laying our teacher’s body in the casket).
Live in 4 hours: Memorial Ceremony at Plum Village France
Beginning with a guided meditation, this ceremony to honor our teacher will include incense offering, chanting, and readings. It will begin at 9:30AM CEST, and will last about 1.5 hours.
The ceremony will be offered primarily in English. For translation into Japanese, Chinese, and Indonesian (and other languages to be announced) please connect via Zoom, Passcode: TNH2022
Live from Deer Park Monastery Friday, January 21, at 7PM PST: Ceremony for the Transition of Thich Nhat Hanh
CNN’s Kristie Lu Stout takes a look back at the life of monk and spiritual leader Thich Nhat Hanh. Source: CNN