Resources for Teachers and Students
Prepare: Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Zen Master,
is a proponent of "engaged Buddhism," which combines
traditional meditative practices with non-violent action
to curb oppression and injustice. Although he has never
received the award, he was nominated for the Nobel Peace
Prize by none other than Martin Luther King, Jr. His biography
can be found on the website of the Community of Mindful
Thich Nhat Hanh's Architects
of Peace essay was excerpted from his journals, which
have been published as Fragrant Palm Leaves: Journals 1962-1966.
The essay deals with the nature of Great Compassion.
Explore: Thich Nhat Hanh currently runs a Buddhist
meditation center in the South of France called the
Plum Village. The center's website offers an
overview of his teachings, especially those concerning the
virtue of mindfulness.
Write: Thich Nhat Hanh, in his Architects of Peace
essay, teaches that when we can begin to see that black
mud and white snow are neither ugly nor beautiful, and when
we can see them without discrimination or duality, then
we begin to grasp the Great Compassion. He relates the ability
to grasp compassion directly to the ability to be at peace
and to achieve peace. But how does a person learn to see
without discrimination or duality? Write a three-to-five
page personal essay relating, anecdotally, whether you have
had to learn to see without discrimination or duality in
your own life. In your own life, how would you interpret
the relationship between peace and learning how to see in
such a way?
The cornerstone of Thich Nhat Hanh's teachings relate to
the concept of mindfulness. Those interested can view Hanh's,
first five mindfulness trainings, which deal with
suffering. Following this, one is prepared to consider the
mindfulness trainings, which deal with subjects
such as openness, anger management, and generosity.
Additional Resource: Most of the book-length writings
of Thich Nhat Hanh have been published by Parallax Press
and are still in print. A listing of these books, complete
with sample chapters, can be found on Parallax's
Biography of Thich