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Thich Nhat Hanh

Spiritual Leader - Intermediate




T hich Nhat Hanh is a Zen Master and global spiritual leader who was born in Vietnam on October 11th, 1926.  He is known today for his work as an author and poet publishing over 100 titles. As of 2018 his followers practice in dozens of centers around the world as well as running monasteries in California, New York, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Paris, France, and Thailand. He is said to have over 600 active followers and hundreds of thousands more who have read and practice his teachings. He has been called several names in the media including, “the father of mindfulness”, “the Zen master who fills stadiums” and “the other Dalai Lama”.

Thich Nhat Hanh became a monk at the age of 16 years old in Hue, Vietnam. When war came to his country Thich Nhat Hanh actively opposed the conflict. This was a revolutionary position for him to take as monks traditionally do not get involved in politics or speak on social issues. He credited for starting the “Engaged Buddhism Movement” which asks monks to discuss social change.

During the early 1960’s Thich Nhat Hanh taught a Comparative Religion course at Princeton University, taught and did research about Buddhism at Columbia University and founded several institutes in Vietnam. In 1966 he traveled to Europe and the United States to convince political leaders to end the war in Vietnam. It was on one of these visits that he met Martin Luther King Junior who said Thich Nhat Hanh was an “apostle of peace and nonviolence”, In 1967 King nominated Thich Nhat Hanh for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Unfortunately, the result of these visits was not the end of the war. Instead, Thich Nhat Hanh’s home country of Vietnam decided Thich should not be allowed to return to home. In the 1970’s he began teaching Buddhism at Sorbonne University and founded the “Sweet Potato” community near Paris. In 1982 Thich Nhat Hanh and his followers moved to the southwest of France building an area called “Plum Village”. Today the village has 200 residents and 8000 visitors every year.

Thich Nhat Hanh is the leader and inspiration for the “Wake Up Movement”, a global community of young people dedicated to practicing mindfulness and peace in their lives. The spiritual leader is also known as an established calligraphy artist. On November 11th, 2014 Thich Nhat Hanh suffered a severe stroke which left him mostly paralyzed on the left side and unable to speak. As of 2018, he lives at the “Plum Village” in France.  

Source: https://plumvillage.org/about/thich-nhat-hanh/biography/

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