Thich Nhat Hanh

Written by Patricia Skinner
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Thich Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese Buddhist monk living in exile in France, where he has been since he was banished by both the North and South Vietnamese governments for his work to reconcile North and South Vietnam, and his organization of civil disobedience in protest at all the violence. In 1967 he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in recognition of his work towards peace worldwide.

In his capacity as a Zen Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh now runs a meditation community in the South of France where ordinary folk can go to learn to meditate or perfect their meditation technique. He considers this the culmination of his life's work and considers it the embodiment of his own personal movement towards peace as well as his tool for teaching.

The Perseverance of Thich Nhat Hanh

Gardening is another passion of Thich Nhat Hanh's and although he is nearly seventy, he also personally tends over a thousand plum trees. The proceeds from the plums goes towards sending medicines back to his native Vietnam for the people. The community is open for only a month each summer for anyone who wants to go and learn from this Zen Master.

The emphasis of Thich Nhat Hanh's teaching is integrating everyday life into the practice of Buddhism, and particularly into the practice of meditation. Plum Village, as the retreat is called, includes a winding meditation path. Beside the path is a plaque which reads "The mind can go in a thousand directions, but on this beautiful path, I walk in peace. With each step, the wind blows. With each step, a flower blooms."

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