Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Nanh, who introduced mindfulness in the West, dies

The Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Nanh introduced the practice of mindfulness to the West. He was also one of the most influential people in the world and a great peace activist. He passed away on January 22, 2022 at the age of 95 in Vietnam.

buddhist monk Thich Nhat Nanh
Wikimedia Commons
Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Nanh spread mindfulness in the West

He was a Zen master and lived almost 40 years in exile in France for opposing the Vietnam War. This opposition caused him to be considered an enemy by both North Vietnam and his South Vietnamese rival. In 1967, Martin Luther King nominated him as a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize.

It was this Buddhist monk who introduced the practice of mindfulness into Western culture. This meditation therapy is practiced for a total awareness of the present, but without judging it.

The monk brought this type of therapy through meditative sessions in Hollywood and Silicon Valley. In Hollywood with the celebrities of the moment and in Silicon Valley through companies for corporate practice. After exile in France for almost 4 decades, he returned to Vietnam in 2018.

The story of Thich Nhat Nanh

He was born in Hue, Vietnam in 1926 and was ordained as a monk at the age of 16. He founded a school for teaching young people to train volunteers to build clinics. These clinics were built in villages that were affected by the war.

Wikimedia CommonsThich Nhat Nanh

When he traveled to the United States, he met Luther King. This caused him to be banned from entering Vietnam. The two sides in the conflict considered him an enemy. The North Vietnamese, communist, and the South, supported by the United States, persecuted him. However, the monk never took a position on either side. When the war came to an end, he could not return because of his defense of freedom of worship. The communist regime won the war and controlled everything.

Throughout his life he organized spiritual retreats in many parts of the world. He wrote more than 100 books on the practice of mindfulness and meditation. Although he was a pacifist, the police checked on him all the time.

He was allowed to spend his last days of life in the Tu Hien temple, where he died. This temple was a place of pilgrimage for many of his followers. “The master passed away peacefully,” says the statement of the Community of Engaged Buddhism of Plum Village. This community was created by the monk and was his teaching point.

According to Thich Nhat Hanh, birth and death are but portals we pass through on our journey to infinity. Through his books, he taught many to serenely face the path to the inevitable.

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