Thich Nhat Hanh
The FCM community practices in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh, a living Vietnamese Zen master, Buddhist scholar, peace and human rights activist, and poet. One of the most tireless and beloved Buddhist teachers in the world, Thich Nhat Hanh's teachings and practices appeal to people from wide-ranging religious, spiritual, and cultural backgrounds. Known for the power and clarity of his teachings, and beloved for his personal serenity and his quiet, compelling presence, Thich Nhat Hanh teaches a practice of mindfulness and “engaged Buddhism” that helps us to become fully aware and alive within the present moment.
Born in 1926, Thich Nhat Hanh became a Buddhist monk at the age of 16. During the Vietnam War, he founded the School of Youth for Social Services, a grassroots organization based on Buddhist principles of nonviolence and compassionate action. The organization rebuilt bombed villages, set up schools and medical centers, resettled displaced families, and organized agricultural cooperatives.
Exiled from Vietnam for his activism, Thich Nhat Hanh traveled to Europe and the United States, where he continued his work for peace. He was nominated for the 1967 Nobel Peace Prize by Martin Luther King Jr., whom he had persuaded to publicly support ending the Vietnam War. Having seen the anger and inner turmoil within many U.S. antiwar activists, he turned his work toward teaching Buddhism to Westerners in cultural terms they could understand.
In 1966, Thich Nhat Hanh founded the Order of Interbeing, a community of monastics and laypeople committed to living for the benefit of others in accord with Buddhist ethical precepts. “Interbeing” is a word he coined to represent the Buddhist principles of impermanence and the interconnectedness of all things.
Thich Nhat Hanh has established monastic and practice centers around the world, including Deer Park in California, Blue Cliff in New York and Magnolia Grove in Mississippi. After almost 40 years of exile, he was allowed to return to Vietnam in 2005 and again in 2007. During these visits, he gave teachings at retreats attended by tens of thousands of Vietnamese. His most recent tour of North America was in 2013, when he and his monks, nuns, and members of the Order of Interbeing led retreats and gave public talks in Ontario, New York, Massachusetts, Mississippi and California.
Until he suffered a stroke, Thich Nhat Hanh lived at Plum Village in southwest France, a monastery and retreat center visited by thousands of people annually. He since has recovered sufficiently to reside at his root monastery, Tu Hieu, in Vietnam's Hue Province. Thich Nhat Hanh has written more than 100 books, many of which are published in English by Parallax Press. His life and teachings have deeply influenced and inspired many millions of people around the world.