Thich Nhat Hanh is a world-renowned writer, spiritual leader, scholar, poet, peace activist and Buddhist monk. He was born on this day in 1926.
There is a simple elegance to all of Thich Nhat Hanh's spiritual writings that gracefully conveys the beauty of essential Buddhist teachings. He is a master of the art of mindful living and staying in the present moment. His practice of engaged Buddhism has led to the transformation of many people's consciousness, and his discussions of anger and violence are very concrete, recommending specific practices to undertake in our families and communities. Some of his other core teachings have led many to new respect for their enemies and a firmer resolve to bring about reconciliation in our tattered world.
To Name This Day:
Explore our profile of Thich Nhat Hanh in the Living Spiritual Teachers Project. You will find reviews of many of his books, excerpts from his writing, interviews, articles, and a link to the websites of his sanghas.
Practice deep listening and right speech with someone from whom you are estranged. In 2009, asked what he would like for his 83rd birthday, Thich Nhat Hanh said that he would like people to reach out to a family member or other person and be peace in that relationship.
Sign up for our e-course Practicing Spirituality with Thich Nhat Hanh here. It's available on-demand so you choose your own start date and frequency.
Prayers & Mantras
Practice some of Thich Nhat Hanh's gathas (mindfulness verses) as you go about your daily activities. Here are a few from Stepping Into Freedom:
Waking up this morning, I smile.
Twenty-four brand new hours are before me.
I vow to live fully each moment
and to look at beings with the eye of compassion.
Washing Your Hands
Water flows over these hands.
May I use them skillfully
to preserve our precious planet.
Brushing Your Teeth
Brushing my teeth and rinsing my mouth,
I vow to speak purely and lovingly.
When my mouth is fragrant with right speech,
a flower blooms in the garden of my heart.
Driving the Car
Before starting the car
I know where I am going.
The car and I are one.
If the car goes fast, I go fast.
Watering the Plants
Don't think that you are cut off, dear plant.
This water comes to you from the Earth and sky
You and I have been together
since beginningless time.
Calligraphy by Thich Nhat Hanh