Thich Nhat Hanh, Vietnamese Buddhist monk, teacher, and spiritual leader to millions of Buddhists worldwide, will make a rare Cambridge appearance at the Memorial Church on Friday, March 8, at 7 p.m., in addition to a retreat on Saturday, March 9, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The events are free and open to the public, with free parking at the Broadway Garage on Felton Street.
The author of 85 books of poetry, prose, and prayers, Nhat Hanh is best known for his work during the Vietnam War when he challenged Buddhist monks to move away from their lives of prayer and contemplation to help the suffering people of Vietnam in a movement he called “engaged Buddhism.” Exiled from Vietnam for his activism, he persuaded Martin Luther King Jr. to publicly oppose the war. In 1967, King nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize, saying, “I do not personally know of anyone more worthy of the Prize than this gentle Buddhist monk.” After the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh is perhaps the best-known Buddhist leader in the West.
Nhat Hanh’s teaching of the practice of “mindfulness,” based on Buddhist principles of nonviolence and compassionate action, has found a broad audience in the West, speaking to people of all faiths. Currently he lives in Plum Village, France, the meditation community he founded, where he works with refugees, political prisoners, and families throughout the Third World.