Keeping your body healthy is an expression of gratitude to the whole cosmos — the trees, the clouds, everything
Thích Nhất Hạnh
INNER VISIONS | MY MYSTICAL PORTRAITS
Thích Nhất Hạnh born on October 11, 1926 is a Vietnamese Buddhist monk and peace activist.
Thích Nhất Hạnh lives in the Plum Village meditation center in southwest France, travelling internationally to give retreats and talks. He coined the term “Engaged Buddhism” in his book Vietnam: Lotus in a Sea of Fire. After a long term of exile, he was given permission to make his first return trip to Vietnam in 2005.
Peace in every step
Nhất Hạnh has published more than 100 books, including more than 40 in English. He is active in the peace movement, promoting nonviolent solutions to conflict. He also refrains from animal product consumption (veganism ) as a means of nonviolence towards
Thích Nhất Hạnh’s approach has been to combine a variety of teachings of Early Buddhism, Mahayana Buddhist traditions of Yogācāra and Zen, and ideas from Western psychology to teach Mindfulness of Breathing and the Four Establishments of Mindfulness, offering a modern light on meditation practice. Hạnh’s presentation of the Prajnaparamita in terms of “interbeing” has doctrinal antecedents in the Huayan school of thought, which “is often said to provide a philosophical foundation” for Zen.
“When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you don’t blame the lettuce. You look for reasons it is not doing well. It may need fertilizer, or more water, or less sun. You never blame the lettuce. Yet if we have problems with our friends or family, we blame the other person. But if we know how to take care of them, they will grow well, like the lettuce. Blaming has no positive effect at all, nor does trying to persuade using reason and argument. That is my experience. No blame, no reasoning, no argument, just understanding. If you understand, and you show that you understand, you can love, and the situation will change”
Nhất Hạnh has also been a leader in the Engaged Buddhism movement (he is credited with coining the term, promoting the individual’s active role in creating change. He cites the 13th-century Vietnamese king Trần Nhân Tông with the origination of the concept. Trần Nhân Tông abdicated his throne to become a monk and founded the Vietnamese Buddhist school of the Bamboo Forest tradition.