Plum Village Mindfulness Practice Centres announced yesterday that Vietnamese Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh (affectionately known by his students as “Thay”), had suffered a severe brain hemmorrhage on November 11. Thay is currently under intensive care in Bordeaux, France. He is reportedly exhibiting signs that a full recovery may be possible.
Thich Nhat Hanh is a monk, poet, scholar, and peace activist who has had an enormous influence on Buddhism in the West. Like other Asian missionaries who came to the US and Europe in the ’60s and ’70s, he arrived with a dharma different from the one he left behind. Under the umbrella of dependent origination—a core Buddhist doctrine that had received little attention in the West outside the academy prior to his arrival—Thay fashioned an inclusive Western dharma, accepting all Buddhist traditions—and also the teachings of Jesus Christ, which had taken hold in Vietnam in the 19th century—as authentic. “It would not be an exaggeration,” Tricycle editor-in-chief James Shaheen wrote in a 2010 editorial, “to say that his inclusive vision laid the groundwork for the flourishing of Buddhist publications, including Tricycle, over the last twenty years.”
Thich Nhat Hanh has been a principal advocate of the teaching of mindfulness—what Plum Village describes as a way “we can learn to live happily in the present moment.”
In an official announcement, the Monastic Dharma Teacher Council of Plum Village requested the public to pray for Thay’s healing and recovery.
UPDATE (Nov. 16, 2014): Plum Village has posted an update on Thay’s health: He has shown progress, opening his eyes briefly on Saturday for the first time since the hemorrhage to look at his attendants. His condition, however, remains critical.
UPDATE (Nov. 23, 2014): Plum Village has posted another update. Thay’s blood pressure and pulse are stable, but he is sleeping more deeply and communicating less. His condition remains critical.
UPDATE (Nov. 30, 2014): Plum Village has posted another update on Thay’s condition.
UPDATE (Dec. 15, 2014): Plum Village has posted an update on Thay’s health: he continues to display “strong vital signs and steady, peaceful breathing” and is showing “small signs of progress.” However, he remains in a coma.
UPDATE (JAN. 5, 2015): Thich Nhat Hanh has emerged from his coma but remains unable to speak.
We will continue to update this page as more news comes in.
Sign up for Tricycle’s newsletters
Thank you for subscribing to Tricycle! As a nonprofit, we depend on readers like you to keep Buddhist teachings and practices widely available.