May 17, 2022

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Vietnam mourns the death of influential Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh - 01/22/2022

Vietnam mourns the death of influential Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh – 01/22/2022

One of the world’s most influential Buddhist monks, Thich Nhat Hanh, and one of the most committed Buddhist figures of the Dalai Lama, died Saturday at the age of 95. In Vietnam, the news spread very quickly, especially on social media. Thich Nhat Hanh is known for promoting the concept of “vigilance”, including in the West.

One of the world’s most influential Buddhist monks, Thich Nhat Hanh, and one of the most committed Buddhist figures of the Dalai Lama, died Saturday at the age of 95. In Vietnam, the news spread very quickly, especially on social media. Thich Nhat Hanh is known for promoting the concept of “vigilance”, including in the West.

By Frederic Neuer, RFI correspondent in Ho Chi Minh City

His organization said on its Twitter account that Mr. “died in peace” at Tu Hue Temple in Hue City, the heart of Vietnamese Buddhism. “We invite our beloved spiritual family around the world to take a few moments in peace,” added the organization of the man who settled in his native Vietnam in 2018 after nearly 40 years of exile in France.

He used his years in exile to popularize the concept of “mindfulness” in the West, particularly with celebrities such as TV star Oprah Winfrey and actress Gwyneth Paltrow. Thich Nhat Hanh also influenced many entrepreneurs in the Silicon Valley industries, including the giant Google, where he was invited to deliver his teachings.

The Buddhist guru was exiled in the 1960s for calling for an end to the Vietnam War. A position that earned him the nomination of Martin Luther King for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1967. After the government allowed him to return to Vietnam, Thich Nhat Hanh remained under close police surveillance in the communist country.

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Since his return to Vietnam, his disciples have gathered to accompany the monk on his walk through his lush temple gardens. However, his messages were not always well received, as authorities in the Buddhist-majority country are suspicious of organized religions. In 2009, his followers were expelled from his temple in southern Lam Dong province by anti-Buddhist mobs.

Since suffering a stroke in 2014, Thich Nhat Hanh can no longer talk or walk.

Honoring and seven days of the funeral

In Vietnam, the news of the death of the famous monk was reported in the official newspapers and social media, by a crowd of fans who wanted to pay their last respects.

Among these is Ha, a 30-year-old Vietnamese who lives in Ho Chi Minh City: “This is really sad news. Not only for him, but for millions of people in Vietnam and around the world. Thich Nhat Hanh carried universal values ​​such as humility, generosity and compassion. On Although I have never met him, he has taught me many things, to appreciate every moment and every little moment in life, and above all, how to be happy.”

Another fan, Thuy, resides in Hanoi. She was able to meet a Buddhist teacher three times. “This morning when I woke up and learned of his death, I cried,” she said. “As a disciple who practices the philosophy of ‘vigilance’, I would like to thank him for all his teachings and for providing serenity to me. He no longer exists, but his ideas are immortal and will continue to be followed for many generations until I come and myself to practice what he taught me: Generosity, love of nature and inner peace. “

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The funeral of Buddhist master Thich Nhat Hanh will last seven days in the form of a silent retreat.

(With information from AFP)