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Thich Nhat Hanh

By Isabella

Smiling is very important. If we are not able to smile, then the world will not have peace. It is not by going out for a demonstration against nuclear missiles that we can bring about peace. It is with our capacity of smiling, breathing, and being peace that we can make peace. --- Thich Nhat Hanh Thich Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese Buddhist monk who is spending his life working for peace. Thich Nhat Hanh was born on October 11, 1926 in Thura Thien, which is located in central Vietnam. Later, at age sixteen he entered a Zen monastery where his primary teacher was Dhayana Master Thanh Quy Chan That. Thich Nhat Hanh was a graduate of Bao Quoc Buddhist Academy where he received training in Zen. He was fully ordained as a monk in 1949. Then, in 1960, Thich Nhat Hanh came to the United States to study comparative religion at Princeton. Thich Nhat Hanh now lives in southern France in the Plum Village Monastery which he founded.

Over the course of his life, Thich Nhat Hanh traveled all over the world working towards peace. First of all, in the early 1960s he founded the School of Youth for Social Services (SYSS) in Saigon, a city located in Vietnam that has been renamed Ho Chi Minh City. The SYSS is a neutral corps of Buddhist peace workers who went to rural areas to rebuild villages, set up schools, and establish health clinics. His main focus at that time, however, was to get the United States` to withdraw from Vietnam. In addition to that, Thich Nhat Hanh has also written thirty-ve books. In 1967 Martin Luther King, Jr. gave a famous speech in New York City, his rst to publicly question the U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Later that year he nominated Thich Nhat Hanh for the 1967 Nobel Peace Prize. In his nomination he said, I do not personally know of anyone more worthy of this prize than this gentle monk from Vietnam. His ideas for peace, if applied, would build a monument to ecumenism, to world brotherhood, to humanity. Sadly however, Thich Nhat Hanh did not win. Then, on September 5, 2007, Thich Nhat Hanh received the Doshi Family Bridgebuilder Award. That award is given annually to an individual or organization dedicated to fostering understanding between cultures and people. Those are a few things Thich Nhat Hanh did to try to bring about peace. Thich Nhat Hanh is interesting to me because I like who he is and what he has done to help the world. To begin with, I think it is interesting to study a Buddhist Monk because I dont know so much about them. Secondly, Thich Nhat Hanh seems like a very good person, he is very dedicated to bringing peace to the world and I like his spirituality. Also, I think he has a great way of thinking, and is very optimistic. He really thinks that even the things that seem so simple to us will help the world. Like in his peace quote, he says that it is not just going to a demonstration against nuclear missiles and other weapons that we can have peace, just smiling, and breathing can help a little in this world. In conclusion, I think Thich Nhat Hanh is a great man!