Update: Our practice centers are opening up again, visit the retreats page for upcoming retreats.

Live Blog / Global outpouring of love and gratitude for Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh

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

THÉNACFrance, 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.”

A thousand people a day have been visiting Tu Hieu Temple to pay their respects. Hundreds of thousands, Buddhist and non-Buddhist, have participated in online memorial services hosted daily by the 11 monasteries he founded in the United States, Europe, and Asia and by more than 1,000 local groups of followers in countless cities and towns.

“The most venerable Thich Nhat Hanh was one of the most respected moral and spiritual figures of our times,” celebrated Buddhist monk and author Matthieu Ricard said. “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.”

A peace activist from a very early age, Thich Nhat Hanh renewed Buddhism, bringing it off the meditation cushion and into the challenging secular world, not only coining the term “engaged Buddhism,” but actually living it. For more than half a century, he tirelessly used his global platform to promote social justice and equality as the roots of peace. Antonio Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations, said, “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.”   

Thich Nhat Hanh did not shy away from global challenges. Author of more than 100 books, he was one of the pioneers of spiritual environmentalism, organizing international conferences and writing about ecology and climate change starting in the early 1970s. More than half a million people have trained in his mindfulness practices and committed themselves to follow his path of applied global ethics, The Five Mindfulness Trainings. His last book published only a few months ago, Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet blazes a path forward through individual mindfulness, collective awakening, and the global healing that is so urgently necessary.  

Christiana Figueres, former Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention on Climate Change and a student of Thich Nhat Hanh’s, credits his teachings for having made the Paris Agreement on climate change possible: “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.” His applied mindfulness practices will be a treasure-trove for generations of changemakers to come. Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore said: “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.”

As Thich Nhat Hanh’s monastic and lay students continue to share his teachings and carry his legacy forward internationally, it is also their deep wish to bring his practices of mindful breathing, walking, consuming, and compassionate communication to all areas of society in his native Vietnam: to families and schools, workplaces, businesses, and hospitals. Thich Nhat Hanh has demonstrated that mindfulness retreats and courses, born from the Vietnamese Buddhist tradition, have the power to bring healing, wellbeing, and prosperity to both individuals and society. Thich Nhat Hanh’s community has said, “We make the vow to realize Thay’s wish to bring back these practices, which have brought so many fruits of healing and peace to the West, as an offering to our spiritual and land ancestors in Vietnam.”

The funeral and cremation ceremony will be held in Hue, Vietnam and will be livestreamed according to time zone (link here):

  • at 6 p.m. Friday, January 28 (US EST/New York, USA)
  • at 12 a.m. (midnight) Saturday, January 29 (CET/Paris, France)
  • at 6 a.m. Saturday, January 29 (GMT+7/Vietnam) 

_______________________________________________________________

A few of the many tributes that have been received:

His Holiness the Dalai Lama: “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.”

Moon Jae-in, President of South Korea: “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.”

Ban Ki Moon, United Nations Secretary General 2007-2016: “Thich Nhat Hanh was and continues to be a visionary and a practitioner of a universal global ethic based on mutual respect and deep understanding of each other.”

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff: “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.’”   

Roshi Joan Halifax, Abbot of the Upaya Institute and Zen Center: “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.”

David Steindl-Rast, Catholic Benedictine monk, author, and lecturer: “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.” 

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: “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.” 

Alejandro González Iñárritu, Academy Award-winning director: “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.

Follow this live blog here


Keep Reading

Join the conversation

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

2 Sharings
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Hide Transcript

What is Mindfulness

Thich Nhat Hanh January 15, 2020

00:00 / 00:00
Show Hide Transcript Close