Posted on: January 24, 2022 Posted by: admin Comments: 0


Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh is the one who introduced the concept of “engaged Buddhism” and his whole life has worked non-stop to call for peace and bring Vietnamese Buddhism to the world.

Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh was born in 1926 in Thua Thien – Hue with the birth name Nguyen Xuan Bao. According to the records of the Plum Village Sangha, when he was four years old, his father was sent to the northern mountainous area of ​​Thanh Hoa province to supervise the clearing of forests to make farmland for poor farmers. A year later, his whole family moved here to live with his father. He enrolled to study here. Being studious, outside of school hours, the boy Xuan Bao also studied the national language, French, and ancient Chinese.

From a young age, he was very interested in reading Buddhist books or newspapers that his brother brought home.

Later in many Dharma talks, the Zen master often recalled a very important moment, when he was nine years old. At that time, the boy happened to see the image of Buddha on the cover of a magazine. The image of Buddha sitting peacefully on the grass with a compassionate smile captured the boy’s mind and left a deep impression of peace and tranquility. That image contrasted with the suffering and injustice he saw around him, when the country was colonized by the French. The picture awakens a strong desire in the boy, to be like Buddha, to be quiet, peaceful, and at ease and to help those around him be like that.

Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh teaches children to read and write with a song about Bodhisattvas, 1964. Photo: Plum Village Community of Engaged Buddhism

When Zen master was 12 years old, his brother left home. At that time, it was difficult for his parents to accept this choice, knowing that life as a monastic could be very difficult. So, even though he wanted to leave home with him, the master waited until his parents allowed him. Finally, his parents agreed to this wish, and he followed his brother to study at Tu Hieu pagoda.

In 1949, he and two friends left Hue to go to Saigon to continue their studies, at the age of 23. Along the way, these young monastics affirmed their vow to become bodhisattvas of action by choosing to give my new name. All three agreed to take the name with the word “Hanh”, which means action. Zen master took the name Nhat Hanh (single action). From that day on, he was known under the legal name Thich Nhat Hanh.

In 1950, Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh and Master Tri Huu founded An Quang Pagoda, with thatched roofs and earthen walls. Later, the pagoda became the Nam Viet Buddhist School – a Buddhist institute with an innovative spirit. In the same year, he published his first book on Buddhist studies, called Oriental Logic. In October 1951, he was ordained a bhikkhu at the age of 25, at the Great Precepts at An Quang Pagoda, Saigon.

At the end of 1952, in Da Lat, he and his brother founded Tue Quang High School and Primary School, the first private Buddhist school in charge of monastics. In 1954, he was appointed to study at the Nam Viet Buddhist School and enrolled at the Saigon University of Literature.

The Zen master met Martin Luther King, an African-American civil rights activist, in 1966. Photo: Sweeping Zen

The Zen master met Martin Luther King, an African-American civil rights activist, in 1966. Photo: Sweeping Zen

Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh has combined his knowledge of many schools of meditation with methods from the Theravada Buddhist tradition, insights from the Mahayana Buddhist tradition, and a number of psychological discoveries. Western contemporary studies to form a new approach to meditation.

He was the one who introduced the concept of “engaged Buddhism” in the book “Vietnam: Lotus in the sea of ​​fire”. In an interview with journalist John Malkin nearly two decades ago, Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh explained about engaged Buddhism: “When a bomb hits sentient beings, you cannot sit in a monastery. Meditation is the awareness of what’s going on, not just inside but around your body and emotions.”

“Buddhism has to do with everyday life, with the pain of you and those around you. You have to learn how to help an injured child while maintaining mindful breathing. You have to keep yourself safe. lost in action. Action must be accompanied by meditation,” he told journalist John Malkin.

In 1956, Zen Master became the Editor-in-Chief of Vietnamese Buddhism. In the 1960s, he founded the School of Youth for Social Service (SYSS), a charity that helped build schools, clinics, and assist homeless families.

He is also one of the founders of Van Hanh University, a prestigious private school that focuses on many researchers on Buddhism, Vietnamese culture and language. In a meeting in April 1965, the student union of Van Hanh College made a “call for peace”, finding solutions to end the war in Vietnam.

Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh has traveled to the US many times to study and lecture at Princeton University and Cornell University. Later, he joined the faculty at Columbia University. The main purpose of his travels abroad was to “engage in” campaigning for peace.

In June 1965, Zen Master wrote a letter to the famous American activist Martin Luther King Jr. to call on him to openly oppose the Vietnam War. A year later, the two met for the first time in Chicago, discussing peace, freedom, and community. In the press conference that followed, King strongly opposed the Vietnam War. In 1967, King nominated Zen master for the Nobel Peace Prize but no one was awarded that year.

Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh said he “did not believe it” when he heard that King was assassinated in 1968. “I think the Americans created King but failed to protect him. I was a bit angry at the time. That point. I don’t eat, I don’t sleep. But the determination to work and build community continues.”

In 1966, he founded the monastic order of Tiep Hien and established many practice centers and monasteries around the world. He has been abroad since the Paris Agreement was signed in 1973, living mainly at Plum Village Monastery, Dordogne region, southern France.

As one of the great teachers of Buddhism in the West, Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh’s teachings and methods attract the attention of many people with different religious, spiritual and political views. He shows how the practice of mindfulness is often adapted to Western perception.

Mindfulness is knowing what is and is happening. “When holding a baby’s hand, let’s focus 100% on her hand. When holding a loved one in your arms, it’s the same. Be really present, really awake. This is the exact opposite of the way you live and do things. We used to have a habit of multitasking. Answering e-mails while talking on the phone. While in a meeting about this one project, we wrote down notes for a project. Instead of always doing many things at once, we must get into the habit of doing only one thing at a time,” Zen master wrote in his book “True Power”.

He believes that the practice of mindfulness helps to recognize pain and suffering and transform them.

By pioneering bringing Buddhism, especially mindfulness, to Western society, the Zen master has contributed to building a community of “engaged Buddhism” for the 21st century with nearly 1,250 ordained disciples, according to Plum Village Sangha. In addition, there are millions of lay disciples and readers all over the five continents.

He has written more than 120 books, of which more than 40 are in English, with some outstanding works such as The Old Road with White Clouds, The Miracle of Awakening, Happiness in Hand, Buddha in Me, God in Me. ..

Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh.

Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh.

The Zen master also organized meditation retreats for many Israelis and Palestinians, encouraging them to listen and learn from each other, giving lectures calling for an armistice and finding peaceful solutions to conflicts. . In 2005, he organized a march for peace in Los Angeles with the participation of thousands of people.

In May 2013, during a three-hour lecture at a stadium in South Korea, the Zen master discussed the relationship between North Korea and South Korea. “Nuclear weapons are an obstacle to good relations between the two Koreas. It reflects the fear, anger and suspicion of North Korea because otherwise, it would not have built nuclear weapons. For the sake of peace, the basic thing to do is not to get rid of nuclear weapons but to eliminate fear, anger and doubt in each person. Thereby, reconciliation will become easy.”

According to Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh, the key to reconciliation is “listening”. He also advised politicians to follow the path of Buddhism to help in negotiations and reconciliation.

After more than four decades away from his homeland, he returned to Vietnam for the first time in 2005 and in 2007 he traveled around the country, holding retreats, Dharma talks and meeting with Buddhist monks and nuns. At the beginning of 2007, he organized three large sacrificial ceremonies in three regions of Vietnam with the name “Great son of Chan sacrifice to clear injustice”, praying and releasing unjust sufferings for those who had suffered the consequences of war.

At the United Nations Day of Vesak in Hanoi, he was invited to Vietnam as the keynote speaker.

In October 2018, Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh returned from Thailand to Tu Hieu pagoda to recuperate and share his wish to live here until his death.

With non-stop activities throughout his life, he has become the second most influential Buddhist leader in the West, behind only the Dalai Lama, AP assessed in a 2009 article.

The Huffington Post at the end of 2012 called Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh “the calmest person in the world”.

Oprah Winfrey, an American TV host who interviewed him in 2009, praised his teachings as inspiring people.

Researcher Nguyen Dac Xuan, who has been in contact with Zen master many times, said that with his philosophy of engaged Buddhism, Zen master brought Vietnamese Buddhism to the world and had a great influence on the intelligentsia.

Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh passed away at Tu Hieu Communal House, Thuy Xuan ward, Hue city, at 0:00 on January 22, at the age of 96. The ceremony of entering the golden coffin took place at 8:00 a.m. on January 23; cremation ceremony (cremation ceremony) at 7 a.m. on…

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