The Vietnamese religious icon was globally recognized for helping to spread the practice of mindfulness in the West and socially engaged Buddhism in the East.
On Saturday, a funeral was held for Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh, a week after the renowned Zen master died at the age of 95 in Hue in central Vietnam.
Thousands of monks and disciples followed a procession of pallet bearers carrying Nhat Hanh's coffin from the Tu Hieu Pagoda, where he spent his last days, to the cremation site.
Others knelt and clasped their hands in prayer at the roadside, bending to the ground as the coffin passed by.
Nhat Hanh was globally recognized for helping to spread the practice of mindfulness in the West and socially engaged Buddhism in the East.
Born as Nguyen Dinh Lang in 1926 in Hue and ordained at the age of 16, Nhat Hanh distilled Buddhist teachings on compassion and suffering into easy-to-understand guidance over a lifetime dedicated to working for peace.
He founded the Plum Village Tradition, a practice of the art of living with attention, and gained a significant number of followers worldwide.
During the seven-day wake, Nhat Hanh was laid to rest in the Tu Hieu Pagoda's full moon reception hall, where his disciples came to show respect in silence and practice meditation as a tribute to his teachings.
"I am happy and at peace that I could come to Hue to say goodbye and meditate with 'Su Ong' for the last time," said Do Minh Hieu, a supporter of Nhat Hanh's who traveled from Ho Chi Minh City with his family for the funeral. "Su Ong" is a loving Vietnamese term meaning "grandfather monk".
According to his wishes, Nhat Hanh will be cremated and his ashes will be scattered in Plum Village centers and monasteries around the world.
As a pioneer in Buddhism in the West, Nhat Hanh formed the monastery "Plum Village" in France.
He suffered a stroke in 2014, which made him unable to speak, and returned to Vietnam to live his last days in the central city of Hue, the ancient capital and his birthplace, after spending much of his adult life. life in exile.
Nhat Hanh, who spoke seven languages, founded Engaged Buddhism, a movement to apply Buddhist thinking to practical problems. It led him to oppose the US-backed war and launch an emergency aid group to run schools and clinics, rebuild bombed villages and resettle war refugees.