Tributes to Thich Nhat Hanh

We have been receiving an outpouring of love from the global community, offering tributes to our teacher. We offer a selection of tributes from notable figures below.

In his peaceful opposition to the Vietnam war, his support for Martin Luther King and most of all his dedication to sharing with others not only how mindfulness and compassion contribute to inner peace, but also how individuals cultivating peace of mind contributes to genuine world peace, the Venerable lived a truly meaningful life.

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama

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.

President Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh of Vietnam
US Embassy in Vietnam pays Tribute to Thich Nhat Hanh

Thich Nhat Hanh is respected by many as the most influential spiritual leader. He showed his love for humankind through his actions. His teachings on happiness touched many hearts. His footsteps and words will continue to live on through the practices of the people.

Moon Jae-in, President of South Korea

Thich Nhat Hanh’s legacy is one of insight, compassion, and respect for our planet and for one another. His memory and teachings will continue to inspire the next generation of environmental and social activists in the enduring struggle to protect the Earth and its people

Al Gore, Former Vice President of the United States

Thich Nhat Hanh influenced me and so many others by blending his unique approach to mindfulness with a fierce commitment to social justice. When I invited him to visit the World Bank, he touched the lives of hundreds of staff members and even led them on a walking meditation through the busy streets of downtown Washington, DC.  He will be deeply missed but his legacy will live on through his many disciples in all corners of the world.

Jim Yong Kim, Former President of the World Bank

Thich Nhat Hanh was a lifelong peace advocate who taught that polarization can be overcome as we nurture tolerance, inclusiveness, and the understanding of our deep interconnection with all human beings.

Antonio Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations

Thay taught me 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, Abbot of the Upaya Institute and Zen Center

Having Thay as a brother and friend, was one of the greatest gifts in my life. At this time of grieving, I’d like to stretch out my hand to countless others who feel empty-handed at his passing and say: Let’s honor his legacy of Interbeing by joining hands worldwide, ready to carry on with renewed dedication to Thay’s work of peacemaking.

David Steindl-Rast, Catholic Benedictine monk, author, and lecturer

Thich Nhat Hanh… exemplified simplicity and humility.

He was one of the first people who helped me grapple with what mindfulness really meant. Many teachers try to focus on letting go of the mind. That’s such a daunting concept. But he emphasized mind-full-ness. These teachings had so many simple yet profound implications. They weren’t highly philosophical or abstract — rather grounded in reality. 

Father Richard Rohr – Franciscan friar, teacher, author and founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation

From Thay (“teacher,” in Vietnamese) I learned much but perhaps the most important was the skill of deep listening as an avenue to conflict resolution, helping to melt away countless political barriers in the negotiations. His insights and practices helped to open a new fertile space of collaboration through which governments were able to come to the historic agreement.

Christiana Figueres, former Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention on Climate Change and a student of Thich Nhat Hanh

The most venerable Thich Nhat Hanh was one of the most respected moral and spiritual figures of our times. Not only was he one of the most articulate and inspiring proponents of Buddhist teachings and practice, but he was also a beacon of truth in his nonviolent campaigning for human rights.

Matthieu Ricard, Buddhist monk and author

Thich Nhat Hanh had a dramatic influence on me. He once asked me, ‘What is more important, being successful or being happy?’ I thought ‘both!’ But he said, ‘You have to choose—you can be a victim of your success but you can never be a victim of your happiness.’

Marc Benioff, Salesforce CEO

Thich Nhat Hanh’s teachings and practices transformed my life. Millions of people have been touched by his wisdom. Mindfulness is more powerful than nuclear energy.

Alejandro González Iñárritu, Academy Award-winning director

Thich Nhat Hanh was the most influential Buddhist teacher of the past fifty years. In addition to promoting mindfulness, his ability to present Buddhist insights and practices in clear, accessible, and heartfelt language greatly increased the number of people exposed to Buddhism. Thich Nhat Hanh’s legacy will continue to shape Buddhism’s present and future.

Jeff Wilson, Professor of Religious Studies and East Asian Studies, Renison University College, and author of Mindful America: The Mutual Transformation of Buddhist Meditation and American Culture

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What is Mindfulness

Thich Nhat Hanh January 15, 2020

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