Thich Nhat Hanh, an influential Vietnamese Buddhist monk, has died at the age of 95. His Zen teaching organisation, Plum Village, said the monk “passed away peacefully” at the Tu Hieu Temple in Hue, Vietnam on Saturday.
The news that was shared on his Twitter account, on Saturday morning, read: “The International Plum Village Community of Engaged Buddhism announces that our beloved teacher Thich Nhat Hanh passed away peacefully at Từ Hiếu Temple in Huế, Vietnam, at 00:00hrs on 22nd January 2022, at the age of 95.” The community also posted a link to the live streaming of the transition ceremony held by Deer Park Monastery, which is a mindfulness practice and monastic training centre founded by Hanh in California, USA.
Born as Nguyen Xuan Bao in 1926 and ordained at age 16, Nhat Hanh distilled Buddhist teachings on compassion and suffering. A prolific author and peace activist, he is often referred to as the Father of Mindfulness. He was exiled from Vietnam in the 1960s after opposing the war. During the height of the Vietnam War, he met with Martin Luther King, persuading the civil rights leader to speak out against the conflict. King later nominated Thich Nhat Hanh for a Nobel Peace Prize, describing him as “an apostle of peace and non-violence”.
The monk spent decades in France after being exiled and went on to establish monasteries and meditation centres around the world, known as the Plum Village Tradition. During his lifetime, he wrote more than 100 books that were translated into more than 40 languages. His last book was published in October 2021.
He travelled on regular speaking tours of Europe and the US, talking about the practice of mindfulness. However, his movement was hindered by Vietnam’s communist government in 2009, when his Zen centre in Lam Dong was forced to close. In 2018, he returned to Vietnam and was permitted by authorities to spend his final days at the Tu Hieu temple.