Thich Nhat Hanh (1926–2022)
January 29, 2022
PEACE IN EVERY STEP
A Reflection from the Interpath Traditions
by Thomas P. Bonacci, C.P.
Thich Nhat Hanh passed away on January 22, 2022. Or, as Buddhists would say, he left his body. This lovely man of peace blessed countless people throughout the World. His passing from our sight causes our hearts to break. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. called Thich Nhat Hanh “an apostle of peace and nonviolence.” While Thich Nhat Hanh did not take sides in the Vietnam War, he and his fellow monks risked their lives to bring food and comfort to those terrorized by the war. He traveled to Rome to meet Pope Paul VI, seeking help in bringing the war to an end.
Forbidden to return to Vietnam, he found asylum in France, where he established Plum Village, the largest Buddhist Community outside of Asia. Plum Village is an international center of peace, love, and nonviolence. People from the World are welcome to walk in the ways of peace. In his book “The Miracle of Mindfulness,” he reminds us, “Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize; a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child, our own two eyes. All is a miracle.”
Thomas Merton called him his brother. Along with Merton, these two monks of peace blessed the World in extraordinary ways. Likewise, Thich Nhat Hanh called Jesus his brother. In fact, we are all siblings of one another. The interfaith significance of Thich Nhat Hanh’s life is enormous. He gave us the language of peace and reconciliation and the practical pathways for creating peace in the World, our relationships, and ourselves as individuals.
He composed a powerful perspective as to how we might embrace one another In his beautiful book, Going Home: Jesus and Buddha as Brothers: “We have blood ancestors but we also have spiritual ancestors. If you were born in the West there is a big chance you are a child of Jesus and that you have Jesus as your ancestor. Jesus is one of the many spiritual ancestors of Europeans. You may not consider yourself a Christian, but that does not prevent Jesus from being one of your spiritual ancestors because your great-grandfather might have been a good Christian. He has transmitted to you the seed, the energy, the love, and the insight of Jesus. If you do well, you will be able to help this energy to manifest within yourself.”
Blessed be you, Holy Community, as we remember this peacemaker, Thich Nhat Hanh, one of our beloved spiritual ancestors. May you find peace in every step and love in every breath.
As things begin to return to a new normal, we at The Interfaith Peace Project are here for you in any way that you need us. The Antioch Center is now open to fully vaccinated people on Wednesdays, from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm. We are vigilant and will adjust to any and all recommendations from the state and county. We will continue our work through Zoom as we add in person programs. If you would like to schedule an in person or Zoom program or would like a phone appointment with any of us, give us a call. You may call or email Tom at: