World Mourns Death Of Thich Nhat Hanh, Buddhist Monk Whom MLK Nominated For Nobel Prize

World Mourns Death Of Thich Nhat Hanh, Buddhist Monk Whom MLK Nominated For Nobel Prize

Influential Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh, known in the Western world as the ‘father of mindfulness’ passed away on Friday. The Vietnamese monk was 95 years old during the time of his passing. His death was confirmed by another monk from the Tu Hieu Temple in Hue, Vietnam. Additionally, his Zen Buddhist teaching centre The Plum Village Tradition of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh confirmed his passing. 

“With a deep mindful breath, we announce our beloved teacher Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh has passed away peacefully on 22nd January, 2022,” the organisation said in their homepage. 

Thich Nhat Hanh, whose name is pronounced as Tik N’yat Hawn, was born in central Vietnam in 1926. He was ordained at the age of 16 in the Tu Hieu Temple. The Plum Village website mentions that he was among the first bhikkhus to study a secular subject at university in Saigon and was among the first six monks to ride a bicycle.

Thich, during the Vietnam War, chose to help the victims of the war while continuing his pursuit of mindfulness and practising peace. He taught Comparative Religion at Princeton University in 1961 and also taught Buddhism at Columbia University.

Meeting With Martin Luther King Jr.

American civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. and Thich Nhat Hanh met in 1966 where he asked the former to raise his voice against the American atrocities in Vietnam. King also nominated Thich Nhat Hanh for the Nobel Peace Prize. In his letter to the Committee, King reflected on Thich Nhat Hanh’s exile – the monk was not permitted to visit north and south Vietnam at the height of the Vietnam war – and said that the Buddhist monk’s ideas would provide momentum to the process of world brotherhood.

“His ideas for peace, if applied, would build a monument to ecumenism, to world brotherhood, to humanity,” King wrote to the Nobel Committee. Earlier on Saturday, Bernice King tweeted a picture of Thich Nhat Hanh along with her father.

“My father with his friend and ally, ThichNhatHanh, who died this week. I celebrate and honor Thich Nhat Hanh’s life and global influence for peace,” Bernice wrote using the Twitter handle for Martin Luther King Jr. Centre for Nonviolent Social Change.

The Plum Village website also shared letters written to world leaders, followers and even death row convicts.

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