Thich Nhat Hanh Returns to Vietnam for the First Time in a Decade
The renowned Zen Buddhist monk and teacher Thich Nhat Hanh (known affectionately to his followers as Thay) arrived at Da Nang airport in Vietnam on Tuesday afternoon, his first visit to his home country in a decade. Flying in from Thailand, where he has been residing since December last year, Thay is expected to remain in Da Nang for several days before visiting his hometown in nearby Hue. He has previously visited Vietnam in 2005, 2007, and 2008.
“In recent weeks, Thay has expressed a strong wish to visit his home country once more, and the sangha is delighted to have been able to realise his wish,” Thay’s monastic community, Plum Village, said in a statement. “Thay’s trip will include a visit to Plum Village’s Root Temple, Chua Tu Hieu, in Hue, where Thay began his monastic training in 1942.” (Plum Village)
Thay was hospitalized in France in November 2014 following a severe brain hemorrhage. After months of rehabilitation, he was released from the stroke clinic at Bordeaux University Hospital in April 2015 and returned to Plum Village, where attendants from the monastery and visiting medical professionals continued to aid his recovery. In July of the same year, Thay was flown to San Francisco to undergo a more intensive rehabilitation program at the UCSF Medical Center. In September 2015, Thay spoke his first words since his stroke and in January last year was allowed to return to Plum Village, where he remained under the care of the members of his community.
In December last year, two months after his 90th birthday, Thay communicated a clear and determined wish to travel from France to Thailand in order to be closer to his homeland.* In Thailand, he has been residing at Thai Plum Village, on the edge of the Khao Yai National Park, the largest practice center in Asia in Thich Nhat Hanh’s tradition, with more than 150 monastics disciples.
“We would like to express our deep gratitude to our global community for your continued generous support for our dear Teacher, both materially and spiritually. Your support has given Thay immense strength for his recovery, and has helped make this trip to his homeland possible,” the Plum Village statement said, noting that are no plans for any retreats or public events during Thay’s visit. “We know how precious it is to still have our dear teacher with us, radiating great courage, strength, and presence. And we know that Thay draws his energy from the daily practice of every one of his students across the world. He is present with us, every time we take a mindful step or mindful breath, and bring peace and joy to ourselves and the world around us.” (Plum Village)
Born Nguyen Xuan Bao on 11 October 1926, Thay is an influential Zen teacher, poet, and the author of more than 100 books. As an active advocate for peace, he was influential in the anti-war movement, encouraging non-violent protests during the Vietnam War. Thay founded the Order of Interbeing and the Unified Buddhist Church, and in 1982 established the Plum Village Buddhist Center in France with his colleague Sister Chan Khong. He has been a central figure in the transmission of Buddhism to the West and in marrying an authentic Zen tradition and lineage with a progressive approach to issues such as social activism, science versus faith, and religion versus spirituality.
Walk With Me, a new documentary film about Thich Nhat Hanh and his Plum Village monastic community made its world premier at the prestigious South by Southwest festival (SXSW) in Austin, Texas in March this year.** Narrated by actor Benedict Cumberbatch, the flm has begun opening in cinemas across the world, with special showings planned in Hong Kong on 21–24 September.***
* Thich Nhat Hanh Travels to Thailand to “Be Closer to his Homeland” (Buddhistdoor Global)
** Walk With Me Documentary About Thich Nhat Hanh’s Plum Village Community Premieres at SXSW (Buddhistdoor Global)
Thay arrives in Vietnam (Plum Village)
Famed Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh returns to Vietnam (VN Express)
Thiền sư Thích Nhất Hạnh về Việt Nam (Giac Ngo Online)
Walk With Me
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