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Buddhadharma : Summer 2007
buddhadharma| 65 |summer 2007 Hozan alan Senauke iS a Soto zen prieSt and Head of prac- tice at Berkeley zen center. He iS alSo a Senior adviSor to tHe BuddHiSt peace fellowSHip. feature reviews thich Nhat Hanh wears simple brown robes and serves the world as a monk, Zen teacher, activist, scholar, poet, a bridge among the world’s faiths, and a kind of revolutionary. Like Walt Whitman, he could say in good faith, “I contain multitudes.” But then he would no doubt assert that we all contain multi- tudes. For thirty years, Thich Nhat Hanh (or Thay, as students respectfully and familiarly call him) has been cultivating the ground of Buddhism in the West. I like Richard Baker’s description of him, quoted in Being Peace: he is “a cross between a cloud, a snail, and piece of heavy machin- ery – a true religious presence.” In the 1980s Thich Nhat Hanh’s audi- ence was a relatively small circle of peace activists and Zen students who were just acquainting themselves with the notion of “engaged Buddhism,” forged in the 1950s and ’60s by Thay and others in Vietnam’s sea of fire. Twenty-two years and several wars later, he is among the best-known and most influential Buddhist teachers in the world. His practice and retreat cen- ters in France, California, and Vermont are popular and busy. Hundreds of local sanghas flourish under the umbrella of the Community of Mindful Living, which supports his teachings. Thousands con- sider him their teacher, and millions have read his books – more than one hundred titles in English alone. At the age of eighty, he continues to translate, interpret, and Buddha Mind, Buddha Body By Thich nhat hanh Parallax Press, 2007 150 pages; $14.95 (paperback) the Multitudes of thich Nhat haNh Reviewed by hozan alan Senauke RichaRdfRiday