Union Theological Seminary to Honor Thich Nhat Hanh with Union Medal
The Union Theological Seminary (UTS) in New York City has announced that during its annual convocation ceremony on 6 September, Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh will be awarded the seminary’s highest award: the Union Medal. Previous medalists include Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former vice-president Al Gore.
Hanh, affectionately known to his followers as “Thay” (teacher), will receive the medal for his prolific writings and teachings that have bridged Eastern and Western spirituality. Sister Chan Duc, a representative from Plum Village, the monastic community founded by Thay near Bordeaux in France, will travel to New York to accept the medal on his behalf.
“Thay has touched deep chords among people of many different backgrounds, faiths, and experiences,” said Rev. Dr. Serene Jones, UTS president. “We are so proud to recognize his remarkable global endeavors.” (Union Theological Seminary)
“I am so pleased that Thay's work has been recognized and is honored in this way. Many Congratulations, Thay! Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful and wise teachings! You are a great inspiration!” commented a follower of Thich Nhat Hanh. (Thich Nhat Hanh gems Facebook)
Thay is a world-renowned Zen Buddhist monk, author, Dharma teacher, peace activist, and scholar, who coined the term engaged Buddhism and has many written numerous publications on mindfulness and peace. He is one of the pioneers of Buddhism in the West and has founded numerous monasteries and centers across the world.
Born in central Vietnam in 1926, Thay was ordained at the age of 16 at Tu Hieu Temple, in Hue City. In the early 1950s he was active in the movement to rejuvenate Vietnamese Buddhism. He traveled to the US and Europe to make the case for peace and to call for an end to war in Vietnam. Thay also has a master's degree in religion from UTS, graduating in 1963.
During his time in the US, Thay met Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and encouraged him to take a stand against the war. In 1967, King send a letter to the Norwegian Nobel Prize Committee, to nominate Thich Nhat Hanh for the Nobel Peace Prize. In his letter he wrote: “I do not personally know of anyone more worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize than this gentle Buddhist monk.” (Union Theological Seminary)
Union Theological Seminary is a Christian seminary founded in 1836. While education at UTS is based on an understanding of the breadth of Christian traditions, it has benefitted from the insights of other faiths. Starting from this fall semester, UTS will introduce two new non-Christian interfaith courses: Buddhism & Inter-Religious Engagement, and Islam & Inter-Religious Engagement. It will also launch the Thich Nhat Hanh Program for Engaged Buddhism, aimed at promoting academic and public education on issues concerning socially engaged Buddhist practitioners and scholars.
“We live in an increasingly complex world with diverse cultural and spiritual faith traditions,” said Greg Snyder, senior director of Buddhist Studies, an ordained Zen Buddhist priest and Dharma-transmitted teacher. “Union’s rich history of fostering inclusion and building compassion within a multi-religious, multi-ethnic, graduate institution that values diversity makes it uniquely suited to meet the educational needs of students from non-Western traditions as well as to amplify Thich Nhat Hanh’s teachings.” (Union Theological Seminary)
Thich Nhat Hanh ‘63—Zen Buddhist Monk, Teacher, Author and Peace Activist—Will Receive Union Medal on September 6th (Union Theological Seminary)
Thich Nhat Hanh to receive Union Medal on September 6th in livestreamed ceremony (Lion’s Roar)
Thich Nhat Hanh gems Facebook
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