22nd January 2022
This letter comes to you with sad news.
Our much loved and respected teacher, Thích Nhất Hạnh, has passed away. Thầy was 95 years old. He passed away peacefully at his root temple near Hue, in central Vietnam, where he has lived for the past three years.
We are all connected by our love and respect for Thầy, and by a deep sense of gratitude for his example, his energy, his skilful actions and his teaching. At this time, when we may be feeling a rawness in our hearts, we invite you to create some space, and give gentle and attentive care to your thoughts and feelings. We can find comfort, strength and wisdom in the sangha, and in the many teachings available to us. We can find solidity and freedom in our breath and in our steps, both when we are alone and when we are with others.
Thay often spoke about life, death and continuation. Here is an excerpt from a talk given, at the end of the 21 day retreat, in June 2014
‘If you want to be with Thầy, if you want to see Thầy’s continuation, the surest place is in you – your way of breathing, your way of walking. If you breathe in and out, and you find peace and happiness and fulfilment, you know that Thầy is always with you. And when you walk from the parking lot to your office, and if you feel joy, fulfilment and happiness, Thay is always walking with you. And you should wish Thầy a happy continuation body. And you are that body.’
We can honour Thầy and continue his work in the world. A work of peace, inclusiveness, understanding, compassion and happiness. This work begins within ourselves and reaches out to our friends and neighbours, animals and plants, colleagues and family, Mother Earth, acquaintances and strangers. Together we can make such a difference, just one breath, one thought, one step, at a time.
A number of opportunities have been created for us, if we find it helpful, to come together online. We can be together, practise together, listen to each other, and share with each other. Please see the links below to morning meditations, and to afternoon and evening sit & share sessions. These are in addition to events that you may wish to continue with your local sangha. There are also links below to a number of ceremonies, in honour of Thầy, being live streamed from Hue and from Plum Village. All of this information is also available on the Plum Village UK website.
With love and much care,
The UK Dharma teachers
Jane Coatesworth, Lesley Collington, Murray Corke, Dene Donalds, Barbara Hickling, Vari McLuskie, Susanne Olbrich, Theresa Payne, Martin Pitt, Angie Searle, Teri West
For the audio version of the letter, please go to: https://youtu.be/gc7h5rx3XL0