Body, Mind, Spirit Magazine

Passing of a Great One: Thich Nhat Hanh

By Luphil

Friends sent me this morning the information that today a great one has passed over: Thích Nhất Hạnh. The Buddhist monk left his body at the age of 95 (1926 – 2022) in Vietnam. In the 60s, he had been a leading voice in the opposition to the Vietnam war. and later had impacted the lives of millions of people. Here you can read about his life story.

I heard about Thich already many years ago, and consciously in the 90s through Buddhists among the Vietnamese refugees for whom I worked for 11 years. They had fled from Vietnam during the second wave exodus, and Switzerland had taken particularly vulnerable people from East Asian refugee camps. I met a lot of Vietnamese refugees, first in the integration centre for recognised refugees where I was teaching German language and first integration, and later as a head of “An Lac”, in the 90s a psycho-social meeting and counselling centre for South-East Asian refugees. Some of them deeply venerated Thich and spoke to me about his importance and a bit about their Buddhist life.

I never felt drawn to Buddhism but I was deeply impressed about the life and message of Thich, which largely is of a universal nature. He has taught mindfulness and right attitude towards life in a profound way. There are centres around the world, a central one, Plum Village in France.

My friend Robert from Spain sent me the following beautiful lines of Thich:


The moment I die
I will try to come back to you
as quickly as possible.
I promise it will not take long.
Isn’t it true I am already with you,
as I die each moment?
I come back to you in every moment.
Just look, feel my presence.
If you want to cry, please cry.
And know that I will cry with you.
The tears you shed will heal us both.
Your tears are mine.

Passing of a Great One: Thich Nhat Hanh
Thich Nath Hanh (copyright unknown)

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