In Loving Memory of Animal & Peace Activist Thich Nhat Hanh
Beloved Buddhist monk and animal activist Thich Nhat Hanh died peacefully on January 22 at a Buddhist temple in Hue, Vietnam. Known for bringing Buddhism and mindfulness to the West, he spoke openly on compassion for animals, the sentience of all living beings, and the importance of a vegan diet.
Thich Khat Hanh lived a long and celebrated life of 95 years as a Zen Master, global spiritual leader, poet, author, and peace activist who spent decades in exile from his native Vietnam for advocating against the Vietnam War. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. nominated Hanh for a Nobel Peace Prize for being an “Apostle of peace and nonviolence.”
He coined the term “interbeing” to reflect the deep connection between humans and the environment and urged his followers to awaken to the dangers now facing the Earth and all living species. He guided tens of thousands of people to shift to a vegan diet.
“In every country in the world, killing humans is condemned. The Buddhist precept of non killing extends even further, to include all living beings…We must look deeply. When we buy something or consume something, we may be participating in an act of killing. This precept reflects our determination not to kill, either directly or indirectly, and also to prevent others from killing.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
He practiced sustainable activism and encouraged fellow activists to have “a spiritual practice in order to help them to suffer less, to nourish happiness and to handle suffering, so they will be effective in helping the world.”
Watch the memorial ceremonies for Thich Nhat Hanh to offer peace, love, and gratitude in his name with guided meditation, chanting, and readings on the Plum Village memorial webpage.
For helpful resources on Buddhism and animal sentience, please see our Buddhist Vegan Advocacy Kit developed by our Interfaith Vegan Coalition.