Thich Nhat Hanh

Thich Nhat Hanh; Sitting Still Hut, Upper Hamlet , Plum Village France
Thich Nhat Hanh; Sitting Still Hut,
Upper Hamlet , Plum Village France

Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, poet, peace activist, and diligent human rights advocate, is one of the most renowned teachers of our time. His many books have been translated into twenty-two languages worldwide. His students lovingly call him ‘Thầy’ (which is Vietnamese for teacher).

He was born in Vietnam in 1926 and became a novice monk at the age of 16. During the Vietnam War he helped to articulate “Engaged Buddhism” and in 1964 he founded the School of Youth for Social Service in Saigon. The organization worked to rebuild bombed villages, create schools and medical centers, and organize agricultural cooperatives.

After visiting the U.S. and Europe in 1966 on a peace mission, Thich Nhat Hanh was banned from returning to Vietnam. On several trips throughout Europe and North America he continued advocating peace for his homeland. In 1967 Martin Luther King Jr. nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize. Thomas Merton, the well-known Catholic monk, wrote an essay titled “Nhat Hanh is my brother” in which he wholeheartedly supported Thich Nhat Hanh’s efforts for peace.

In 1982 Thich Nhat Hanh founded Plum Village, a Buddhist community where he lives to this day. From there he worked to help Vietnamese refugees, political prisoners, and hungry children in Vietnam. Since then Plum Village has become an international retreat center, with approximately 200 monks and nuns living and practicing there. In addition to the full schedule of year-round retreats in Plum Village, Thich Nhat Hanh offers several annual retreats in Europe, a biennial teaching tour in the United States and regular teachings throughout Asia.

In 2005, Thich Nhat Hanh was able to return to Vietnam for the first time after 39 years in exile for a three-month visit.

In September 2008 Thich Nhat Hanh founded the EIAB in Waldbröl which is approximately one hour from Cologne and Bonn.