‘Mindfulness’ monk Thich Nhat Hanh dies aged 95

22 January 2022, 06:44

Thich Nhat Hanh, centre, arrives for a great chanting ceremony
Vietnam Thich Nhat Hanh Mindfulness Monk. Picture: PA

He lived much of his life in exile at Plum Village, a retreat centre he founded in southern France.

The revered Zen Buddhist monk who helped pioneer the concept of mindfulness in the West and socially engaged Buddhism in the East has died aged 95.

Thich Nhat Hanh’s death was confirmed by a monk at Tu Hieu Pagoda in Hue, Vietnam who said that the monk, known as Thay to his followers, died at midnight on Saturday. The monk declined to be named because he is not authorised to speak to media.

A post on Nhat Hanh’s verified Twitter page attributed to The International Plum Village Community of Engaged Buddhism also confirmed the news, saying: “We invite our beloved global spiritual family to take a few moments to be still, to come back to our mindful breathing, as we together hold Thay in our hearts.”

Born as Nguyen Xuan Bao in 1926 in Hue and ordained at age 16, Mr Nhat Hanh distilled Buddhist teachings on compassion and suffering into easily grasped guidance over a lifetime dedicated to working for peace.

In 1961 he went to the United States to study, teaching comparative religion for a time at Princeton and Columbia universities.

For most of the remainder of his life, he lived in exile at Plum Village, a retreat centre he founded in southern France.

There and in talks and retreats around the world, he introduced Zen Buddhism as peace through compassionate listening. Still and steadfast in his brown robes, he exuded an air of watchful, amused calm, sometimes sharing a stage with the somewhat livelier Tibetan Buddhist leader Dalai Lama.

Surviving a stroke in 2014 that left him unable to speak, he returned to Vietnam in October 2018, spending his final years at the Tu Hieu Pagoda, the monastery where he was ordained nearly 80 years earlier.

By Press Association

Latest World News

See more Latest World News

Pope Francis delivers a prayer from a window overlooking St Peter's Square

Pope names 21 new cardinals

Protesters clash with security forces in Khartoum

UN envoy decries Sudan violence after two killed in protests

Russia Ukraine War

Russian troops storm city amid eastern Ukraine bombardments

A mountain range near Pokhara, Nepal

Plane with 22 on board missing in Nepal’s mountains

Meghan Markle is thought to have reached out to her estranged father

Meghan Markle 'has reached out to father' days after he suffered stroke and lost speech

Young Jewish people wave Israeli flags near the Western Wall in Jerusalem

Visit to holy site by far-right Israeli politician sparks Jerusalem unrest

Shoppers in a reopened mall in Beijing

Beijing and Shanghai ease Covid restrictions as outbreaks fade

Presidential candidate Gustavo Petro

Colombians to vote for president amid widespread discontent

Rescuers look out of the windows of a helicopter

25 missing after cargo boat sinks in Indonesia

Nigeria Church Stampede

31 dead in church fair stampede in Nigeria

Russia Ukraine War

Russia takes small cities as it aims to widen battle in east Ukraine

Iran accused of piracy for seizing two Greek oil tankers

Fears oil price will rise again after Iran accused of piracy for seizing Greek oil tankers

Building Collapse-Florida

Judge in US gives initial OK to a billion-dollar deal in Florida condo collapse

Cardinal Angelo Sodano

Powerful Vatican prelate Cardinal Angelo Sodano dies aged 94

Donald Trump

Senior Republicans’ claims at NRA rally called into question

Iranian collapse

Iranian police disperse crowd gathered at collapsed building