Martin Luther King Jr. & Thích Nhất Hạnh tại Chicago 31-5-1966 by manhhai, CC BY 2.0

Photo: Duc (pixiduc) from Paris, France., CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Thích Nhất Hạnh (1926-2022) was a Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk, teacher, author, poet, and peace and human rights activist. Called Thây (“teacher”) by his students, he became one of the best known and respected Zen masters in the world today. Nhất Hạnh led a remarkable life. Born in Hue, central Vietnam, he joined the monkhood at the age of 16.

The Vietnam War confronted monasteries with a dilemma. Should they remain in the contemplative life, or help those suffering from the war’s devastation? Nhất Hạnh chose to do both. In 1966, he founded the Order of Interbeing, which promotes “engaged Buddhism.” Monastic and lay members practice “mindfulness, ethical behavior, and compassionate action in society.” That year, Nhất Hạnh came to the U.S. and persuaded Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to speak out against the war. In 1967, Dr. King nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize.

After Vietnam exiled him for opposing the war, Nhất Hạnh dedicated himself to the work of inner transformation to benefit individuals and society. He spent much of his life at Plum Village Monastery, the community he founded in southern France. In 2018, living in Thailand, he was allowed to return to Vietnam. He spent his remaining days at Tu Hieu Temple in Hue, the birthplace of his spiritual life. Nhất Hạnh passed from this life peacefully on January 22 at age 95.

Read more about Thích Nhất Hạnh.


“Mindfulness helps you go home to the present. And every time you go there and recognize a condition of happiness that you have, happiness comes.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh


“The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

Make Peace with the World

“Each moment is a chance for us to make peace with the world, to make peace possible for the world, to make happiness possible for the world.”  ~Thich Nhat Hanh


“Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh


“People deal too much with the negative, with what is wrong…Why not try and see positive things, to just touch those things and make them bloom?” ~Thich Nhat Hanh


““If we are peaceful, if we are happy, we can smile and blossom like a flower, and everyone in our family, our entire society, will benefit from our peace.”
~Thich Nhat Hanh


“If in our daily life we can smile, if we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone will profit from it. This is the most basic kind of peace work.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh


“If you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors. All of them are alive in this moment. Each is present in your body. You are the continuation of each of these people.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh


“We have more possibilities available in each moment than we realize.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh