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Monk who introduced mindfulness to West dies in Vietnam

HANOI: Vietnamese monk-turned-peace-activist Thich Nhat Hanh, a vastly influential Buddhist credited with bringing mindfulness to the West, has died elderly 95. The Zen grasp, whose achieve inside Buddhism is noticed as 2d most effective to the Dalai Lama, spent just about 4 a long time in exile after being banished from his hometown for calling for an finish to the Vietnam-American Battle.

Thich Nhat Hanh “passed on to the great beyond peacefully” on the Tu Hieu Temple within the town of Hue, Vietnam’s Buddhist heartland, his Zen educating organisation, the Plum Village Group of Engaged Buddhism, mentioned. “We invite our cherished international religious circle of relatives to take a couple of moments to be nonetheless, to return again to our conscious respiring, as we in combination dangle Thay in our hearts,” the organisation mentioned on Nhat Hanh’s Twitter account, the usage of the Vietnamese phrase for trainer.

Sooner than his go back to Vietnam in 2018, he arrange retreats world wide and wrote over 100 books together with on mindfulness and meditation-a cornerstone of a $4.2 trillion international wellness trade espoused via Oprah Winfrey, Arianna Huffington and tech billionaire Marc Benioff.

Non secular freedom, peace

Born in 1926, Thich Nhat Hanh was once ordained elderly 16 and went directly to discovered a early life college which skilled volunteers to construct clinics and infrastructure in villages blighted via struggle. Within the early Nineteen Sixties he travelled to the US, the place he taught at Columbia and Princeton universities, however after one go back and forth in 1966 to fulfill US civil rights icon Martin Luther King-who joined his calls to finish the Vietnam-American Battle-he was once barred from returning house.

Believing that struggle was once essentially improper, the monk refused to take facets within the warfare and was once because of this persecuted via the governments of each North and South Vietnam. Thich Nhat Hanh spent the following 39 years in France, however persisted to recommend for spiritual freedom world wide.

In 1967, King nominated Thich Nhat Hanh for the Nobel Peace Prize, telling the committee in a letter: “this delicate Buddhist monk from Vietnam is a pupil of immense highbrow capability”. “His concepts for peace, if carried out, would construct a monument to ecumenism, to international brotherhood, to humanity.”

He additionally persisted to lend a hand his fellow Vietnamese. Because the struggle got here to an finish, many fled the rustic via boat, going through perilous stipulations at the ocean as they tried to succeed in sanctuary out of the country. Thich Nhat Hanh was once ready to save lots of greater than 800 other folks after he employed two massive boats.

Such motion was once a part of his trust in “engaged Buddhism”, a time period which he coined, in line with John Powers, a professor of non secular research at Australia’s Deakin College. “Probably the most issues traditionally with Buddhism is that Buddhists had been in point of fact excellent about speaking about compassion… however (they) have now not been that groovy at placing it into observe,” Powers mentioned.

However Thich Nhat Nanh believed “it’s now not sufficient to take a seat on a cushion and meditate… and that’s develop into an actual cornerstone of numerous fashionable Buddhism”.

Below shut watch

He was once approved via government to peer out his ultimate days on the Tu Hieu temple, however was once intently monitored via plainclothes police who stored vigil outdoor his gated compound. Since his go back to Vietnam, loads flocked to his pagoda to sign up for the monk on his outings across the temple’s lush gardens.

Maximum of his fans are dedicated to his religious messages, now not his politics. “He taught us to like other folks, to like ourselves, to like nature,” mentioned Tran Thi My Thanh, who made the pilgrimage to Hue with buddies from Ho Chi Minh Town. His messages have now not at all times been welcomed as government in Buddhist majority one-party Vietnam are cautious of organised faith: In 2009 his fans had been pushed from their temple in southern Lam Dong province via employed mobs.

However Thich Nhat Hanh’s disciples say they arrive in peace. “We all know that Vietnam has problem, and we all know the sector additionally tries to lend a hand Vietnam open up, to have extra freedom, extra democracy… we attempt to lend a hand additionally, however we do it in a Buddhist approach,” mentioned Thich Chan Phap An, one in all Thich Nhat Hanh’s closest disciples. “It’s now not smart to have war of words, but it surely’s excellent to have verbal exchange,” he informed AFP in 2018. – AFP

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