Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh honored with global peace prize

By Minh Nga   June 23, 2019 | 05:31 am PT
Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh honored with global peace prize
Vietnamese Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh (C) with Buddhist monks and nuns at Tu Hieu Pagoda in Hue, central Vietnam, February 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Vo Thanh.
Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh has received the 2019 Outstanding Inner Peace award for inspiring millions around the world to seek inner peace.

The award, given under the auspices of the Luxembourg Peace Prize, was given on Friday at Luxembourg City in the eponymous European nation.

Thich Nhat Hanh, now recuperating in Hue in central Vietnam, could not make it in person due to his frail health condition, and two other monks received the prize on his behalf.

The Buddhist monk is a global spiritual leader, poet and peace activist who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Martin Luther King Jr in 1967.

His key teaching is that through mindfulness, people can learn to live happily in the present moment, which is the only way to truly develop peace, both within oneself and in the world outside.

Born in 1926, Thich Nhat Hanh became a monk at the age of 23 after studying Buddhism for seven years.

In the 1960s he spearheaded a movement by Buddhists in South Vietnam that called for a negotiated end to the Vietnam War.

He left the country in 1966 and lived in Plum Village in southern France for decades, traveling regularly throughout North America and Europe to give lectures on mindfulness and peace.

He has been a pioneer in bringing Buddhism to the West, founding six monasteries and dozens of practice centers in America and Europe as well as over 1,000 local mindfulness practice communities. He is the author of more than 100 books, including the bestselling "The Miracle of Mindfulness."

He visited Vietnam in 2005, 2007 and 2008, meeting with devout Buddhists and offering prayers for war victims. In 2014 he suffered a stroke and was hospitalized in France for four and a half months. He moved to Plum Village in Thailand in 2016.

The Zen Master has been staying at Hue's Tu Hieu Pagoda since he returned to Vietnam on October 26 last year, saying this time he would be staying for good. The pagoda is where he studied and practiced Zen Buddhism from 1942.

The Outstanding Inner Peace Award of the Luxembourg Peace Prize is granted for either an individual or an organization that makes contributions in terms of medicine or spirituality to build peace directly and/or promotes a culture of peace within the body and/or mind.

Each year, since 2012, the Schengen Peace Foundation and the World Peace Forum award the Luxembourg Peace Prize, an award that honors the outstanding in the field of peace in 12 different categories: peace education, peace activist, peace organization, public peace efforts, peace support, peace technology, youth peaceworker, peace process, peace journalism, environmental peace, art for peace and inner peace.

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