“One Buddha Is Not Enough!”

My teacher, Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh (called Thay by his followers), has often stated, “One Buddha is not enough!”

One Buddha Is Not Enough!

One Buddha Is Not Enough!

What does he mean by this statement?

In Mahayana Buddhism, there is a rumor or legend that a new being with the enlightenment of the Buddha is to be born in the future. The name of this person is Maitreya Buddha.

Maitreya is equivalent to the belief Judaism in the coming of the messiah or in Christianity to the second coming of Christ.

Thay’s statement is simply that we must all awaken. That indeed, one Buddha is not enough! He thinks that the next Buddha may, in fact be a group, a community, a sangha.

The situation at the 2008 Estes Park Retreat brings light on this subject. Thay was supposed to be leading the retreat, but was sick in bed in a hospital in Boston. He had been diagnosed with a sever lung infection.

“One Buddha is Not Enough!”

Here is what monks and nuns in Plum Village had to say about Thay’s illness:

A miracle took place recently at the One Buddha Is Not Enough retreat in Colorado.  Each person at the retreat experienced that he/she was surrounded by Thays, and that he/she was indeed also Thay.  In fact, there were over one thousand Thays practicing deeply and joyfully together.  The retreat also came to be affectionately known as “One Thay Is Not Enough!”.

Read this and other articles here.

Maitreya Buddha – Theravada Tradition

The Maitreya Buddha is also known in the Theravada tradition of Buddhism. There is an online

Standing Maitreya Buddha

Standing Maitreya Buddha | Photo courtesy of Bhikkhu Samahita

publication named, The Coming Buddha, Ariya Metteyya by Sayagyi U Chit Tin that presents a lot information about Ariya Metteyya (the Pali word for Maitreya).

We have gathered here all the information we could find in the Theravada tradition concerning the coming Buddha.[1] In Burma and Sri Lanka, the coming Buddha is generally spoken of as Ariya Metteyya, the Noble Metteyya.[2] The term Ariya was already added to the name in some post-canonical Pali texts, and it shows the deep respect felt for the Bodhisatta who will attain Awakening in the best of conditions. Indeed, all aspects of his career as a Buddha rank among the highest achievements of Buddhas of the past as recorded in the Buddhavamsa (The Chronicle of Buddhas).

The Debate Lives On!

What do you think? Will the Maitreya Buddha be a person or a group? Is this something we should be worried about?

Personally, I like Thay’s statement that “One Buddha is not enough!” This ring true for me as I have been practicing in the Tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh for more that 25 years.

My visits to Plum Village were both very inspiring. The monks and nuns there are so welcoming that I felt instantly at home. Even in the winter, it was possible to enjoy walking meditation around the monastery for from hamlet to hamlet.

I’m not saying the Thay’s monks and nuns are the Maitreya Buddha. What I am saying is that many communities like Plum Village are now all over the world and many practitioners are awakening.

What a great time to be alive!

How You Can Help

Awakening is the goal of mindfulness meditation practices. You can join in by learning to meditate from postings under Lessons. You can find a sangha (meditation group) near you and learn from there. You can also buy One Buddha Is Not Enough and see what Thich Nhat Hanh has to say about mindfulness meditation practices and the Maitreya Buddha.

Let me know what you think by commenting below and sharing.


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