Hue: Tens of hundreds of Vietnamese on Saturday bade farewell to the late monk and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh — one of many world’s most influential spiritual leaders — forward of his cremation ceremony within the nation’s Buddhist heartland.
The Zen grasp, who was credited with bringing mindfulness to the West and whose attain in Buddhism was seen as second solely to the Dalai Lama, died aged 95 per week in the past on the Tu Hieu Pagoda within the central metropolis of Hue.
His stays had been dropped at an open cremation website on Saturday morning, adopted by a crowd of tens of hundreds together with Buddhist monks in yellow and brown robes and followers wearing gray.
The procession chanted Buddhist prayers.
“We should bid farewell to our grasp. He performs an vital position in my household’s life, serving to us by our most tough moments,” mentioned Do Quan, a follower who travelled from Hanoi together with his spouse and son.
Nam Anh, 22, mentioned the monk was a nationwide treasure.
“I’m actually very proud that Vietnam has such an excellent determine who had nice affect internationally.”
Extensively generally known as the daddy of mindfulness, Thich Nhat Hanh wrote greater than 100 books on the apply and hosted retreats worldwide.
Born in 1926, Thich Nhat Hanh was ordained aged 16 and went on to discovered a youth faculty which skilled volunteers to construct clinics and infrastructure in villages blighted by struggle.
– Man of peace –
Within the early Sixties he travelled to the USA, the place he taught at Columbia and Princeton universities, however after one journey in 1966 to fulfill US civil rights icon Martin Luther King — who joined his calls to finish the Vietnam Battle — he was barred from returning residence.
A yr later King nominated Thich Nhat Hanh for the Nobel Peace Prize, telling the committee in a letter: “this mild Buddhist monk from Vietnam is a scholar of immense mental capability”.
Vietnamese authorities permitted him to return to the communist nation in 2018, however plainclothes police saved watch exterior his pagoda compound, carefully monitoring his actions.
“I don’t perceive why even now, the Vietnamese state didn’t ship high leaders to pay tribute to this nice man,” mentioned a follower who recognized himself solely as Nam from Ho Chi Minh.
“He deserved a lot extra. However I believe he didn’t want authorities’ assist. He was among the many folks, that was the best factor of all.”
Followers exterior of Vietnam watched dwell on-line broadcasts of Saturday’s funeral, as a convoy of a whole bunch of automobiles and motorbikes — many decked out with flowers — escorted Thich Nhat Hanh’s coffin from the Tu Hieu pagoda to the cremation website.
The revered monk’s physique is anticipated to be cremated in two days.
Because the coffin was positioned within the cremation chamber a Buddhist monk advised the ceremony Thich Nhat Hanh was a dearly beloved and revered trainer and skim out a closing message from the Zen grasp.
“You might be my continuation and in a method or one other you’re carrying me into the long run,” the monk mentioned.
“We trainer and scholar will proceed to climb the hill of the century, providing our love and understanding, freedom and solidity to the world at this time and endlessly after.”
Thich Nhat Hanh requested his relics be divided up and partly housed on the Tu Hieu Pagoda, in addition to despatched to his Zen educating organisation Plum Village’s areas worldwide, together with to France.
Tributes to the monk have flowed in from across the globe, together with from the Dalai Lama, world leaders and Hollywood.
However alongside the traditional Hue streets, residents prayed for his or her native hero.
“The primary man amongst Hue folks,” mentioned native resident Vu Van Hiep.
“I’ve by no means in my life witnessed such an enormous funeral with so many individuals… I don’t assume there might be another particular person within the quick time period future who will warrant a lot consideration like this.”