I originally planned to write today’s post about the inspiring and thought provoking ‘Tuesdays with Morrie’, a book that I love and have blogged about before…but I then realised I had already included reference and a link to it in a previous A-Z blog (‘D’ is for Desire)…
So I got my thinking cap on, and the first ‘T’ that came to mind that ties in with my A-Z theme was Thich Nhat Hanh…as is the case with a few other posts in this challenge, he is someone I had heard of but didn’t know much about. Until now.
Thich Nhat Hanh was born in 1926 and is a Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk, teacher, author, poet and peace activist. He lives in a monastery in the Dordogne region in the south of France, travelling internationally to give retreats and talks. Of the many interesting facts I have read about him, there are a couple that stick out for me…the first being that he was nominated for the 1967 Nobel Peace Prize by Martin Luther King Jr. In his nomination, Dr King said, “I do not personally know of anyone more worthy of [this prize] than this gentle monk from Vietnam. His ideas for peace, if applied, would build a monument to ecumenism, to world brotherhood, to humanity”. The fact that King had revealed the candidate he had chosen to nominate, and had made a ‘strong request’ to the prize committee, was in sharp violation of the Nobel traditions and protocol. The committee did not make an award that year.
Another interesting fact – in 1969, Nhat Hanh was the delegate for the Buddhist Peace Delegation at the Paris Peace talks. When the Paris Peace Accords were signed in 1973, Thich Nhat Hanh was denied permission to return to Vietnam and he went into exile in France. It wasn’t until 2005, following lengthy negotiations, that he was given permission from the Vietnamese government to return for a visit. He was also allowed to teach there, publish four of his books in Vietnamese, and travel the country with monastic and lay members of his Order, including a return to his root temple. The trip was not without controversy – Thich Vien Dinh, writing on behalf of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam (considered illegal by the Vietnamese government), called for Nhat Hanh to make a statement against the Vietnam government’s poor record on religious freedom. Thich Vien Dinh feared that the trip would be used as propaganda by the Vietnamese government, suggesting to the world that religious freedom is improving there, while abuses continues.
I will end this post with a couple of resonating quotes from Thich Nhat Hanh:
— “People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.” —
— “It is possible to live happily in the here and now. So many conditions of happiness are available—more than enough for you to be happy right now. You don’t have to run into the future in order to get more.” —
Until tomorrow, love and Buddhist teachings, sm x