I was so excited when I was notified that Oprah interviewed Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh in 2010 on Oprah.com. Since about 1985 or so, I have been doing meditation practices in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh. We lovingly call him Thay. My understanding is that this means something like “honorable teacher”.
The interview touched me deeply. I even posted a message to Oprah that she should visit Plum Village, France when her commitment to ABC was completed. I never got a response, but if you see my other post titled, “Oprah Thinks Transcendal Meditation Practices are Amazing“, you will note that she is very committed to understanding mindfulness practices including sitting meditation and chanting, if not directly participating in them.
Oprah Interviewed Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh
“He’s been a Buddhist monk for more than 60 years, as well as a teacher, writer, and vocal opponent of war—a stance that left him exiled from his native Vietnam for four decades. Now the man Martin Luther King Jr. called “an apostle of peace and nonviolence” reflects on the beauty of the present moment, being grateful for every breath, and the freedom and happiness to be found in a simple cup of tea.“The moment I meet Thich Nhat Hanh at the Four Seasons Hotel in Manhattan, I feel his sense of calm. A deeply tranquil presence seems to surround the Zen Buddhist master.
But beneath Nhat Hanh’s serene demeanor is a courageous warrior. The 83-year-old native of Vietnam, who joined the monastery when he was 16, valiantly opposed his own government during the Vietnam War. Even as he embraced the contemplative life of a monk, the war confronted him with a choice: Should he remain hidden away in the monastery tending to matters of the spirit, or go out and help the villagers who were suffering? Nhat Hanh’s decision to do both is what gave birth to “Engaged Buddhism”—a movement that involves peaceful activism for the purpose of social reform. It’s also what led Martin Luther King Jr. to nominate him for a Nobel Peace Prize in 1967.Read more here.
I’ve been to Plum Village in France twice – once in 2000 and once in 2006. I’ll have more to say about these visits and Thich Nhat Hanh in other posts, but I wanted to let you know that I have a deep connection with this Zen master and his monk, nuns, lay men and lay women. I think that since Oprah interviewed Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, she should go visit him in Plum Village!
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