(Reuters) – Thich Nhat Hanh, the Zen Buddhist monk, poet and (*95*) activist who within the Sixties got here to prominence as an opponent of the Vietnam War, died on Saturday aged 95 surrounded by his followers within the temple the place his non secular journey started.
“The International Plum Village Community of Engaged Buddhism proclaims that our beloved instructor Thich Nhat Hanh handed away peacefully at Tu Hieu Temple in Hue, Vietnam, at 00:00hrs on twenty second January, 2022, at the age of 95,” mentioned his official Twitter account.
In an impressive physique of works and public appearances spanning many years, Thich Nhat Hanh spoke in mild but highly effective tones of the necessity to “stroll as in case you are kissing the earth along with your toes”.
He suffered a stroke in 2014 which left him unable to talk and returned to Vietnam to stay out his remaining days within the central metropolis of Hue, the traditional capital and his place of delivery, after spending a lot of his grownup life in exile.
As a pioneer of Buddhism within the West, he shaped the “Plum Village” monastery in France and spoke often on the apply of mindfulness – figuring out and distancing oneself from sure ideas with out judgement – to the company world and his worldwide followers.
“You learn to endure. If you know the way to endure, you endure a lot, a lot much less. And then you know the way to make good use of struggling to create pleasure and happiness,” he mentioned in a 2013 lecture.
“The artwork of happiness and the artwork of struggling at all times go collectively”.
Born Nguyen Xuan Bao in 1926, Thich Nhat Hanh was ordained as a monk as fashionable Vietnam’s founding revolutionary Ho Chi Minh led efforts to liberate the Southeast Asian nation from its French colonial rulers.
Thich Nhat Hanh, who spoke seven languages, lectured at Princeton and Columbia universities within the United States within the early Sixties. He returned to Vietnam in 1963 to hitch a rising Buddhist opposition to the U.S.-Vietnam War, demonstrated by self-immolation protests by a number of monks.
“I noticed communists and anti-communists killing and destroying one another as a result of either side believed they’d a monopoly on the reality,” he wrote in 1975.
“My voice was drowned out by the bombs, mortars and shouting”.
‘LIKE A PINE TREE’
Towards the peak of the Vietnam War within the Sixties he met civil rights chief Martin Luther King, whom he persuaded to talk out in opposition to the battle.
King referred to as Thich Nhat Hanh “an apostle of (*95*) and non-violence” and nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize.
“I don’t personally know of anybody extra worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize than this mild Buddhist monk from Vietnam,” King wrote in his nomination letter.
While within the United States to satisfy King a yr earlier, the South Vietnamese authorities banned Thich Nhat Hanh from returning dwelling.
Fellow monk Haenim Sunim, who as soon as acted as Thich Nhat Hanh’s translator throughout a visit to South Korea, mentioned the Zen master was calm, attentive and loving.
“He was like a big pine tree, permitting many individuals to relaxation beneath his branches along with his great educating of mindfulness and compassion,” Haemin Sunim instructed Reuters.
“He was one of essentially the most superb individuals I’ve ever met”.
Thich Nhat Hanh’s works and promotion of the thought of mindfulness and meditation have loved a renewed recognition because the world reels from the consequences of a coronavirus pandemic that has killed over one million individuals and upended every day life.
“Hope is essential, as a result of it may make the current second easier to bear,” Thich Nhat Hanh wrote. “If we imagine that tomorrow might be higher, we will bear a hardship immediately.
“If you’ll be able to chorus from hoping, you’ll be able to convey your self completely into the current second and uncover the enjoyment that’s already right here.”
(Reporting by James Pearson; Additional reporting by Tom Heneghan in Paris; Editing by Nick Macfie and Rosalba O’Brien)