Saturday, October 11, 2008

Happy Birthday Thich Nhat Hanh!

Thank you Writer's Almanac for this information! I love this fellow who lives half way around the world and speaks so directly to my heart. What follows are the biographical info from Garrison Keillor's broadcast on NPR, a You Tube Video link, and a Thich Nhat Hanh poem. Enjoy! Happy Birthday to this Peaceful Man!

It's the birthday of Vietnamese monk, writer, and activist Thich Nhat Hanh, (books by this author) born in 1926 in Tha Tien, Vietnam. He became a Buddhist monk when he was 16 years old. During the Vietnam War, he decided that monks shouldn't just stay in monasteries and meditate all day long while a war was going on. So he founded an organization that helped rebuild bombed villages, set up schools and medical centers, and organize agricultural cooperatives. He traveled to the United States to urge the American government to withdraw its troops, and he persuaded Martin Luther King Jr. to publicly oppose the Vietnam War. But both the non-Communist and Communist governments banned him from Vietnam in 1966, and it was just a few years ago, in 2005, that he was finally allowed to return for a visit. Since he was banned from Vietnam, he set up a monastic community in southern France, called Plum Village.

Thich Nhat Hanh has published more than 100 books, books of poetry and Buddhist thought. About 40 of them are in English, and many of those have been best-sellers, including Peace Is Every Step (1991), Call Me by My True Names (1993), and Living Buddha, Living Christ (1995).

A You Tube Video Link on "Surrendering to the Now."



You are me, and I am you.
Isn't it obvious that we "inter-are"?
You cultivate the flower in yourself,
so that I will be beautiful.
I transform the garbage in myself,
so that you will not have to suffer.

I support you;
you support me.
I am in this world to offer you peace;
you are in this world to bring me joy.

1989. Written during a retreat for psychotherapists held in Colorado
in response to Fritz Perls' statement, "You are you, and I am me, and
if by chance we meet, that's wonderful. If not, it couldn't be helped."

~Thich Nhat Hanh

1 comment:

Read said...

I've also found books by Thich Nhat Hanh in large print at He's an amazing individual, and I was really happy to find his books in large print, because standard print size can be difficult to read at times.