Sunday, August 28, 2011

Thich Nhat Hanh Returns Home

Dear Friends,
Below is an update on Thay and on the Tet celebration at the root temple in Hue. at
Take care,

2nd February 2019

Dear Beloved Community,
It is a great joy for our sangha to be approaching the Lunar New Year (Tết), with Thay’s presence at the root temple in Huế, Vietnam. This is the first Tết Thay is spending in his homeland since 2005, and his first in Huế since the 1960s.
Thay has been enjoying the festive preparations in and around the temple, and the light and peaceful atmosphere in the grounds, as the young brothers and sisters clean the altar and the halls, cook special dishes to offer to our spiritual ancestors, decorate the temple with an assortment of flowers and budding peach branches trimmed timely to bloom welcoming the New Year. A charming old peach tree, already showing its first delicate pink blossoms, has been planted in front of Thay’s window for him to enjoy as he sips his tea.
Thay viewing a book of paintings last Wednesday, 30 January 2019 (the peach tree in blossom is reflected in his window)
Despite the cool and rainy weather, Thay’s health has been remarkably stable over the past few weeks, and he is continuing to receive Eastern treatment and acupuncture. When there’s a break in the heavy rains, Thay comes outside to enjoy visiting the Root Temple’s ponds and stupas, in his wheelchair, joined by his disciples. Although his body is frail, Thay’s mind is still very lucid. Recently, on a clear and sunny day, we drove Thay around Hue for him to enjoy the New Year atmosphere, and the flower market stalls packed with bright chrysanthemums and traditional blossoming plum trees (with yellow mai flowers). Thay surprised the entourage by then directing the delegation to visit two temples where he has a connection, and paid his respects at the ancestral altars. This afternoon, the weather was so pleasant and bright, that Thay was able to go outside and enjoy visiting his favorite spots in Từ Hiếu.
Thay visiting the grounds of Tu Hieu on Saturday 2nd February 2019
Over the past few weeks, many lay and monastic practitioners from all over the world have been coming to visit the Từ Hiếu Root Temple and adjacent sisters’ community at Diệu Trạm. There is a beautiful, light atmosphere of serenity and peace, as the community enjoys practicing sitting meditation, walking meditation, and mindful eating together there, mindful of Thay’s quiet presence in his hut nearby.
Every Tết, Thay is always delighted to offer “parallel verses” to inspire the community’s practice and welcome the New Year. Practitioners from around the world can print out the calligraphies and post them in our home or at work, as a small reminder of our aspiration. The verses invite reflection and offer at least one small thing we can do to add wellbeing and happiness to the coming year.
This year, our community is offering the phrase:
Harmony in our homeJoy in the world
Is there something we can do, right now, to bring a little more harmony to our home? That home may be within our heart or body, or in our physical home and close relationships. One calming in-breath or out-breath may be enough. Or perhaps a word or gesture of loving kindness to those around us.
The calligraphy challenges us. Do we have faith that there can be joy in the world, in the heart of the present moment? Can we look deeply to see how joy begins with harmony within? In his later years of teaching, Thay would always remind us to come back to ourselves, our loved ones and the Earth. And from that solid ground of connection, we will know what to do and what not to do in order to help the situation.
If we would like harmony in our society, nation and world, then we also need harmony in our hearts and homes. There is joy in doing our best, to cultivate harmony and touch the wonders of life that are available to us, even in this very moment - our two eyes, the presence of our loved one, or even the little miraculous flower by the path. Collective peace and joy are possible in each little wakeful moment. As Thay would say, “It is not enough just to suffer!” in the midst of the challenges faced by humankind and our Earth; if we want to avoid burning out, we also have to nourish and nurture our peace and joy.
In each of our centers, our “spiritual home” in Europe, the US and Asia, as well as at Từ Hiếu Temple in Huế, there is a sense of harmony and peace this Lunar New Year, knowing that Thay is there in Vietnam, the source of our Plum Village family. It is like the calligraphic circle that our Teacher loves to make. He breathes in with the first half of the circle and out on the second half - completing the circle with all his love and care.
As part of the Tet celebrations, our community prepares traditional Vietnamese “earth cakes” to offer on the altar as an expression our love and commitment. The brothers and sisters enjoy a festive evening of songs, music, brotherhood and sisterhood while cooking these round earth cakes through the night in massive pots on open fires.  How fitting for our time and for Mother Earth that these offerings are called “earth cakes” in Vietnamese to represent our vow to live simply and help lessen the human impact on the environment.
Wrapping and cooking Earth Cakes, and offering them on the Ancestors' altar
In the past month, Thich Nhat Hanh’s disciples have led mindfulness training retreats for hundreds of Catholic teachers in Uganda, Africa - a continuation of Thay’s inter-faith work and his deep aspiration to bring mindfulness into schools around the world. Last week, an exciting new exhibition of Thich Nhat Hanh’s unique calligraphic art and books opened in Bangkok. The film “Walk With Me” continues to fill theaters in the cities of France and around the world, allowing people to experience mediation and peace, even for a brief hour from their busy lives. Later this spring, his global community will lead retreats across the US, as well as in Italy, Holland, Belgium, Ireland, the UK, Germany and Lithuania. Plum Village monastics in Asia will go out to teach in Japan, Korea, Indonesia and Taiwan.
We are looking forward to hosting retreats for families, businesspeople, and young people, at our centers in the US, Europe and Thailand this Summer. Registration will open soon, and we hope that many of you will have a chance to join us as we cultivate collective healing and awakening with our growing community and to continue our teacher and his teachings.
With love and trust,
The Monks and Nuns of Plum Village

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Thay and the community enjoying the dragon dance on the first day of the lunar new year (c. 2013) 

Dear Friends,

Here is a link to video of Thay returning to the Tu Hieu Temple:   .  Below this  is the announcement of Plum Village of Thay's return to Vietnam to live his remaining Days.
Take care,

David Flint 

Dear Friends,

Below is a posting from the Plum Village Website, about our Dear Teacher Thay.

Take care


Thich Nhat Hanh Returns Home


Friday 2nd November, 2018

Plum Village International Practice Center
Le Pey, Thénac 24240, France
The monks and nuns of the Plum Village International Community of Engaged Buddhists stand by our beloved teacher, the Zen master, global spiritual leader, peace activist and poet Thich Nhat Hanh, as he returns again to his homeland. Since celebrating his 92nd birthday last month, he has expressed a deep wish to go back to reside at his “root temple,” Tu Hieu Temple in Hue, Vietnam, to live his remaining days. Thich Nhat Hanh has turned formidable physical challenges arising from the major stroke he suffered four years ago into a powerful teaching by continuing to live each moment peacefully and joyfully, with great presence and meaning.
Tu Hieu Temple is where Thich Nhat Hanh first became a monk in 1942, aged sixteen. After nearly sixty years spreading the teachings abroad, Thich Nhat Hanh’s final homecoming is a source of peace and happiness for his students, Tu Hieu Temple and lineage. It is very precious for Thich Nhat Hanh’s large international following to maintain this deep and enduring connection to our spiritual roots in Vietnam. Thich Nhat Hanh, who coined the term “Engaged Buddhism” and who has dedicated his life to renewing Buddhism so it can help individuals and societies address the challenges of our times, has always seen the roots of his teachings in the engaged spiritual life of the distinguished Buddhist patriarchs during Vietnam’s ancient Ly and Tran dynasties.
Although since his stroke Thich Nhat Hanh has no longer been able to speak, he remains powerfully alert and present. After summoning his senior disciples to a meeting on 24th October in Plum Village Thailand, where he has been residing since December 2016, Thich Nhat Hanh clearly communicated his wish to return to Vietnam using gestures, nodding and shaking his head in response to questions. The necessary arrangements were made for his return and he landed at Da Nang Airport, Vietnam on the afternoon of 26th October. His arrival was celebrated by a receiving party of senior Buddhist venerables, monks, nuns and lay followers.
After resting for two days by the ocean to recover from the journey, Thich Nhat Hanh arrived at Tu Hieu on the afternoon of October 28th, where he was welcomed with a traditional formal procession and the sound of drums and bells. As he entered, he took a moment to reach out and touch the cool stone of the ancient gateway: a seal of arrival and return. Everyone present remained silent as he contemplated the half-moon pond, where he had spent many memorable moments as a young monk, and then made his way to the Buddha hall to pay his respects and offer incense at the ancestral altar.  
Since his arrival, Thich Nhat Hanh’s health has remained fragile but stable. He has joined his community in walking meditation at dawn, visiting every corner of this temple that was his home and where he was nurtured as he embarked on his spiritual path. On the evening of October 26th in Da Nang, as the current Abbot and Head of Tu Hieu lineage, Thich Nhat Hanh directed his disciples to draft a letter inviting all the monks and nuns of the Tu Hieu lineage (disciples and descendants of Zen Master Thanh Quy, his teacher), to a joyful family gathering and homecoming celebration at Tu Hieu Temple on Saturday November 3rd. As Thich Nhat Hanh said when he first returned to Vietnam in 2005, after four decades of exile, “There is no religion, no doctrine higher than brotherhood and sisterhood.”

Even at this moment, Thich Nhat Hanh remains steadfast and energetic in using every breath and every action to build and strengthen the “beloved community of compassion,” and to cultivate healing, reconciliation and transformation in his community, society and the world..

Future reports on our Teacher will be posted officially at, and