Zen Master, poet, peace and human rights activist,
Thich Nhat Hanh was born in central Vietnam in 1926
and joined the monkhood at the age of 16. In Saigon
in the early 1960's, he founded the School of Youth
for Social Services (SYSS), a grass roots relief organization
that rebuilt bombed villages, set up schools and medical
centers, resettled homeless families, and organized
agricultural cooperatives. Rallying some 10,000 student
volunteers, the SYSS based its work on the Buddhist
principles of non-violence and compassionate action.
Despite government denunciation of his activity, Nhat
Hanh also founded a Buddhist University, a publishing
house, and an influential peace activist magazine in
Vietnam. Exiled from Vietnam, he traveled to the U.S.
where he made the case for peace to federal and Pentagon
officials including Robert McNamara. He may have changed
the course of U.S. history when he persuaded Martin
Luther King, Jr. to oppose the Vietnam War publicly,
and so helped galvanize the peace movement. The following
year, King nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Subsequently Nhat Hanh led the Buddhist delegation to
the Paris Peace Talks.
Often referred to as the most beloved Buddhist teacher
in the West, Thich Nhat Hanh's teachings and practices
appeal to people from various religious, spiritual,
and political backgrounds. Nhat Hanh offers a practice
of "mindfulness" that is beneficial for people
of all faiths, by helping us resist and transform the
speed and violence of our modern society. His life and
teachings have deeply influenced millions of people,
including scores of luminaries in different fields:
politician Jerry Brown, civil rights champion Martin
Luther King, Jr., eco-activist Joanna Macy, and Catholic
mystic Thomas Merton - to name a few.
He has published more than 100 titles, including more
than 40 in English: Peace is Every Step, Being Peace,
Touching Peace and many more. His books are published
by Parallax Press.