This episode of On Being is from 2009, but I had never heard it before, so it was a welcome discovery as I browsed through the archives of the show. Thich Nhat Hanh is a renowned Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk (Bamboo Forest Tradition), and founder of Engaged Buddhism (a term coined in his 1967 book, Vietnam: Lotus in a Sea of Fire) and the Order of Inter-Being.
Nhat Hanh's approach has been to combine a variety of traditional Zen teachings with insights from other Mahayana Buddhist traditions, methods from Theravada Buddhism, and ideas from Western psychology—to offer a modern light on meditation practice. Hanh's presentation of the Prajñāpāramitā in terms of "interbeing" has doctrinal antecedents in the Huayan school of thought, which "is often said to provide a philosophical foundation" for Zen.
Nhat Hanh has also been a leader in the Engaged Buddhism movement (he coined the term), promoting the individual's active role in creating change. He cites the 13th-century Vietnamese King Trần Nhân Tông with the origination of the concept. Trần Nhân Tông abdicated his throne to become a monk, and founded the Vietnamese Buddhist school in the Bamboo Forest tradition.Among his many popular books are Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life, Fear: Essential Wisdom for Getting Through the Storm, Reconciliation: Healing the Inner Child, True Love: A Practice for Awakening the Heart, and Be Free Where You Are.
June 4, 2009
Zen master and poet Thich Nhat Hanh was forcibly exiled from his native country of Vietnam more than 40 years ago. We visited the Buddhist monk at a Christian conference center in a lakeside setting of rural Wisconsin. Here, Thich Nhat Hanh offers stark, gentle wisdom for living in a world of anger and violence. He discusses the concepts of "engaged Buddhism," "being peace," and "mindfulness."
- Radio Show/Podcast (mp3, 53:09)
- » Thich Nhat Hanh Unedited Interview (mp3, 39:45)
- » Cheri Maples (mp3, 21:19)
- » Larry Ward (mp3, 19:06)
Voices on the Radio
Ward is co-director of the Lotus Institute in Encinitas, California and an ordained Baptist minister. He also owned a management consultant firm for Fortune 500 companies.
Maples is a licensed attorney and consultant on justice and community corrections. She was ordained as a dharma teacher by Thich Nhat Hanh in 2008.
Poems You Heard and Others You Didn't
Walking Meditation with Thich Nhat Hanh
by Tess Gallagher
by Thich Nhat Hanh
Mindfulness of Anger: Embracing the Child Within - A 2003 dharma talk by Thich Nhat Hanh during a morning meditation session at The Green Lake Conference Center in Wisconsin.
About the Image at the Top
Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese Zen monk, poet, and peacemaker. He co-founded the An Quang Buddhist Institute, the Van Hanh Buddhist University in Vietnam, and Plum Village, a Buddhist training monastery in France. He is the author of many books, including Being Peace, The Miracle of Mindfulness: A Manual on Meditation, and Fragrant Palm Leaves: Journals 1962–1966.