The Death of Thich Nhat Hanh: A Buddhist Leader Dies at 95

It is with a heavy heart that we announce the death of Thich Nhat Hanh, one of the most influential Buddhist leaders of our time. He passed away peacefully on January 22nd at the age of 95. 

Thich Nhat Hanh was known for his teachings on mindfulness, happiness, and peace, and his work to promote understanding between different religions. He leaves behind a legacy of wisdom and compassion that will continue to inspire people around the world for generations to come. We are grateful for everything he has taught us and we will miss him dearly.

Thich Nhat Hanh’s Early life

Thich Nhat Hanh was born in Vietnam in 1926. He became a monk at the age of 16 and went on to study at some of the most prestigious universities in the country. In the early 1960s, Thich Nhat Hanh was active in the peace movement in Vietnam and later founded the School of Youth for Social Service, a Buddhist organization that built schools, hospitals, and roads in rural areas of the country. He also established the Order of Interbeing, a community of monks and nuns dedicated to promoting world peace.

In 1966, Thich Nhat Hanh published his most famous book, “The Art of Living,” which has since been translated into more than 30 languages. In it, he lays out his vision for a “Buddhist socialism” that is based on mindfulness, compassion, and social justice.

In addition to “The Art of Living,” Thich Nhat Hanh wrote more than 100 books, including “The Miracle of Mindfulness,” “No Death, No Fear,” and “The Sun My Heart.” Thich Nhat Hanh’s teachings and writings have been influential in the West, particularly among the counterculture of the 1960s and ’70s. He was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1967 by Martin Luther King Jr.

Vietnam War and Life in France

Thich Nhat Hanh further passionately spoke out against the Vietnam War, and was eventually exiled from his home country. He lived in exile in France for many years before returning to Vietnam in 2005.

After 2005 Thich Nhat Hanh continued traveling the world, giving talks and leading retreats, until his health began to decline in recent years.

Death of Thich Nhat Hanh

On 22 January 2022, The International Plum Village Community of Engaged Buddhism was informed that our beloved teacher Thich Nhat Hanh passed away peacefully at Tu Hieu Temple in Hue, Vietnam. 

He was 95 years old and had been ill for some time before his passing due to complications from diabetes although he remained active up until the last moments with writing letters every day reminding himself while also working on new material which will soon be released following translation by one such follower who paid tribute saying “You always inspired me.” 

We take comfort knowing there are still many people around the world who Thich Nhat Hanh has inspired to be happier and better people. He has left a legacy of volumes of information about the spiritual path and the practice of peace and happiness, which will for generations inspire people around the world to be happier and better individuals. 

Thich Nhat Hanh’s death is a great loss, not only to the Buddhist community but to humanity as a whole. He will be remembered as a master teacher and a tireless advocate for peace.

12 Most Inspiring Quotes by Thich Nhat Hanh

  • “The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see that everywhere there is always something to enjoy.”
  • “Peace is every step.”
  • “When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you don’t blame the lettuce. You look for reasons it is not doing well. It may need fertilizer, or more water, or less sun. You never blame the lettuce. Yet if we have problems with our friends or family, we blame the other person. But if we know how to take care of them, they will grow well, like the lettuce.”
  • “Breathing in, I calm body and mind. Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment I know this is a wonderful moment.”
  • “The most important thing is that we allow ourselves to feel deeply without fear of being overwhelmed.”
  • “When you drink water, remember the spring.”
  • “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
  • “What we are looking for is not out there but inside us.”
  • “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.”
  • “Love is the capacity to take care of yourself and others.”
  • “Hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by love. This is the eternal truth.”
  • “People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.”

A Funeral Procession, Teaching, and Tributes

Thich Nhat Hanh’s funeral ceremony was held from 23 to 28 January in his home country Vietnam.

The funeral procession in Plum Village was a moving and beautiful tribute to Thich Nhat Hanh. The monks chanted, drums beat, and bells rang as Thich Nhat Hanh’s body was carried through the village. Flowers and parasols were held aloft, and the air was filled with love and compassion. It was a fitting send-off for a man who dedicated his life to peace and love.

Thich Nhat Hanh’s teachings will live on through the many people he inspired. His message of peace and compassion is more relevant than ever in today’s world. We can all learn from his example and strive to make our own lives more mindful.

Statement from the US Department of State

The US Department of released a statement following Thich Nhat Hanh’s death. “We are saddened by the passing of Thich Nhat Hanh, a beloved teacher and global spiritual leader who dedicated his life to promoting peace, reconciliation, and understanding between people of all faiths,” the statement read.

A message from His Holiness the Dalai Lama

His Holiness the Dalai Lama also paid tribute to Thich Nhat Hanh in a message posted on Twitter. “He was an apostle of peace & non-violence, a powerful influence for good in this violent world,” the Dalai Lama wrote. “I offer my prayers & condolences to the family, friends & disciples of Thich Nhat Hanh.”

Thich Nhat Hand, you will be missed

Thich Nhat Hanh’s teachings will continue to inspire people around the globe. His message of peace and compassion is more relevant than ever in today’s world. We can all learn from his example and strive to make our own lives more mindful. Thank you, Thich Nhat Hanh, for your dedication to peace and love. You will be missed.

Do you have a favorite Thich Nhat Hanh teaching or quote? Share it in the comments below.

Roman Russo

Roman Russo

Roman Russo is the founder, main author, and Chief Happiness Officer at Optimal Happiness. He is also the author of Optimal Happiness: The Fastest & Surest Way to Reach Your Happiest Potential, a revolutionary book about becoming the happiest version we can be. After studying this topic for over 8 years Roman believes that everyone can reach their happiest potential, challenging people to reach these highs. Are you ready to accept this challenge?

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