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Buddhadharma : Summer 2019
44 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER'S QUARTERLY Although Thich Nhat Hanh and the Buddhist establishment may have had their differences, he was also recognized by his peers for his familiarity with the Western world and his talents as a translator between cultures. Buddhist leadership in South Vietnam sent him abroad in 1966 to communicate Vietnam’s suffering in the war and advise in peace negotiations; this work gained him wide recognition, including a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize the following year by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. But it also led to his exile from Vietnam, launching a new career as a Buddhist teacher on the world stage. Starting with a small community of practitioners in France, which grew into what is now Plum Village, and expanding into centers large and small in North America and elsewhere, Thich Nhat Hanh launched a revolution in how people practice and understand the dharma. The Buddhism he presented—laid out in more than one hundred books in English, and many more in other languages—con tains strong elements of the tradition in which he was trained, while also imparting his own blend of teachings from early Buddhism, Zen, and Yogacara, as well as Western psychology. He also brought with him the social action of Engaged Buddhism, though over time and with distance from Vietnam, that aspect of his teaching became less pointed. With his new community, he further developed and honed the practice of mindfulness, which today, in large part due to Thich Nhat Hanh’s influence, is central not only to many practitioners’ understanding of meditation but also of Buddhism itself. Thich Nhat Hanh traces his teachings on mindfulness to Thanh Quy Chan That (1884–1968), under whom Thich Nhat Hanh trained at Tu Hieu Temple from the age of sixteen. As Thich Nhat Hanh relates, it was Master Thanh Quy Chan That who taught him the practice of bringing compassion to every action. In At Home in the World: Stories and Essential Teachings from a Monk’s Life, Thich Nhat Hanh recalls a moment as a novice when, after slam ming a door, he was gently reprimanded by his teacher: “So I bowed to my teacher and walked to the door with all of my being, every