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Buddhadharma : Summer 2019
BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY 39 Thich Nhat Hanh, Home at Last Elise Anne DeVido LAST OCTOBER, Thich Nhat Hanh summoned his senior disciples to communicate his wish to return home to Vietnam. No longer able to speak following his stroke in 2014, he made his wishes known using nonverbal gestures. Two days later he flew from Thailand to Vietnam, where he communicated in a letter what it meant for him to finally come home. “Although I have lived many years abroad, every year when autumn comes, my heart always returns to the ancestral teachers of Tu Hieu Temple and I touch the earth before them...I wish to end my days in the home of my spiritual ancestors so that all the descendants of the Root Temple can have a refuge to return to.” Born Ngyuen Xuan Bao on October 11, 1926, Thich Nhat Hanh grew up in Hué, the old imperial capital of Vietnam. The son of a land reform official in the Imperial Administration under French colonial rule, he attended an informal home school with other local children, but he was largely selftaught, attaining a good grasp of both French and classical Chinese. At age sixteen, he entered the monkhood at Tu Hieu, a Mahayana temple near Hué. He later received bhikshu ordination at twentyfive, along with the dharma title Nhat Hanh (Nhat means “one” and Hanh means “action”). Nearly seventy years later, he is again living at Tu Hieu—now as its abbot. opposite | Thich Nhat Hanh at his Plum Village monastery in France ©PLUMVILLAGECOMMUNITYOFENGAGEDBUDDHISM,INC.