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Nhat Hanh

Thich Nhat Hanh (Press Release Photo)
Thich Nhat Hanh (Press Release Photo)

Thích Nhất Hạnh (IPA: [tʰik35 ɲɜt35 hɐʲŋ3ʔ1] ; chu nom: 釋一幸 Chinese Pinyin: Shih Yi Heng), born 1926, is an expatriate Vietnamese Buddhist monk, peace activist, and prolific author in English. (The title Thích applies to all Vietnamese Buddhist monks. Further nuances are discussed


Thích Nhất Hạnh was born in Vietnam and left home as a teenager to become a Zen monk. He founded the Van Hanh Buddhist University in Vietnam.

For his pacifist activism during the Vietnam War, Thích Nhất Hạnh was nominated by Martin Luther King, Jr. for the 1967 Nobel Peace Prize. (Despite King's high praise, the committee decided not to make an award that year. King's revelation of his nomination was a violation of tradition and the explicit "strong request" of the prize committee.)

In 1982 he founded Plum Village Buddhist Center, a meditation community in the Dordogne in the south of France. As of 2005 he heads a monastic community and the lay group, the Order of Inter-Being, teaching the Five and Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings and "Engaged Buddhism". Thích Nhất Hạnh and the Order of Interbeing have also established monasteries and Dharma centers in the United States at Deer Park Monastery in Escondido, California, Maple Forest Monastery and Green Mountain Dharma Center, both in Vermont. Additionally, there are numerous local sanghas of the Community of Mindful Living around the world where laypersons meet for meditation, Dharma talks and Days of Mindfulness.

Names applied to him

The Vietnamese title Thích means, roughly, "of the Shakya (Shakyamuni Buddha) clan". All Vietnamese (and Chinese) Buddhist monks and nuns adopt this title as their "family name", implying that their first family is the Buddhist community.

Neither Nhất nor Hạnh — which approximate the roles of surname and given name, respectively, when referring to him in English — was part of his name at birth. Nhất approximates "first-class", or "of best quality", in English; Hạnh approximates "right conduct" or "good nature". Thích Nhất Hạnh has translated his Dharma Names in the following manner: Nhất = One, and Hạnh = Action. Taken collectively, his Dharma Names are best translated as "One Action"

Thich Nhất Hanh is often referred to as "Thầy" ("honored teacher") by his followers.

Selected works

  • Anger, Riverhead Trade, 2002, ISBN 1573229377
  • Being Peace, Parallax Press, 1987, ISBN 0938077007
  • Essential Writings, Robert Ellsberg (Editor), Orbis Books, 2001, ISBN 1570753709
  • Fragrant Palm Leaves: Journals, 1962-1966, Riverhead Trade, 1999, ISBN 157322796X
  • Going Home: Jesus and Buddha as Brothers, Riverhead Books, 1999, ISBN 1-57322-145-7
  • The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching, Broadway Books, 1999, ISBN 0767903692
  • Interbeing: Fourteen Guidelines for Engaged Buddhism, Parallax Press 3rd edition, 1999, ISBN 1888375086
  • Living Buddha, Living Christ, Riverhead Trade, 1997, ISBN 1573225681
  • The Miracle of Mindfulness: A Manual on Meditation, Beacon Press, 1999, ISBN 0807012394 (Vietnamese: Phép lạ c̉ua sư t̉inh thưc).
  • No Death, No Fear, Riverhead Trade reissue, 2003, ISBN 1573223336
  • Old Path White Clouds: Walking in the Footsteps of the Buddha, Parallax Press, 1991
  • Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life, Bantam reissue, 1992, ISBN 0553351397
  • The Raft Is Not the Shore: Conversations Toward a Buddhist/Christian Awareness, Daniel Berrigan (Co-author), Orbis Books, 2000, ISBN 157075344X
  • Touching the Earth: Intimate Conversations with the Buddha, Parallax Press, 2004, ISBN 1888375418
  • Touching Peace: Practicing the Art of Mindful Living, Parallax Press, 1992, ISBN 0-938077-57-0
  • Vietnam: Lotus in a sea of fire. New York, Hill and Wang. 1967.
  • Zen Keys: A Guide to Zen Practice, Three Leaves, 1994, ISBN 0385475616