It may seem a little unusual for Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh to be honored by a Catholic annual award, particularly as the past recipients are notably populated by great Bishops, priests, monks and sisters, but anyone familiar with “Thay’s” life would more likely react, What took so long?
The mission of the award makes the choice a natural one, even though he is a Buddhist teacher. The award mission is “to honor a person for the achievements in peace and justice, not only in their country but in the world.” One of the earliest recipients, in 1965, was Martin Luther King Jr. It’s worth noting, too, that Nobel Lauriet Martin Luther King Jr. himself nominated Thich Nhat Hanh for a Nobel Peace Prize in 1967. Martin Luther King called him, “An apostle of peace and nonviolence.” Notably, this year, the year Thay becomes a recipient, is the 50th anniversary of the presentation of the same award to Martin Luther King.
Like the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh is known for helping bring together various religions. His history of peace work stretches back through the decades. During the Vietnam war, in 1964, he famously organized seven boats filled with food, then personally delivered them at great personal risk, to people suffering in the war. He was forced to flee his own country after assassination attempts, brought on by his continuous call for peace in the war-torn country. His call for peace continued through the years. In 1969 he represented the Buddhist Peace Delegation for the Paris Peace talks. Although his work helped result in the signing of the 1973 Paris Peace Accords, it also resulted in ongoing formal exile from Vietnam. His worked for peace and to help refugees continued for decades. Even recently, in 2005 and 2007, he was outspoken and led peace walks to bring awareness to the racial tension in Los Angeles. He is also extremely outspoken in Climate Change issues.
He is well known as the founder of Socially Engaged Buddhism and is, perhaps, the inspiring force behind the popularity of mindfulness in the west. He authored over 45 books, many of them bestsellers. He is well known for his west-east bridging book “Living Buddha, Living Christ.” His writings and teachings on the difficult subject of “Emptiness” in Buddhism are among the easiest to understand in print.
About Thich Nhat Hanh
In November last year, many around the world worried for his health, after being treated for a brain hemorrhage. Millions of people around the world worried and prayed as he endured a seven week coma. Even now, due to a stroke, he is unable to travel to Davenport to recieve the prestigious award. In fact, Bishop Martin Amos will travel to Deer Park Buddhist Monetary to present the award.
Thich Nhat Hanh is among the best known of Buddhist teachers, and a moving force in Zen Buddhism around the world. He is respected by spiritual leaders of many spiritual paths and religions. In 2013, on the Plum Village website, Thay is quoted as saying: “On the altar at my hermitage in France are images of Buddha and Jesus, and every time I light incense, I touch both of them as my spiritual ancestors.”
Pacem in Terris Peace and Freedom Award
The Pacem in Terris Peace and Freedom Award is a peace award, given since 1964, first conceived of by the Davenport Catholic Interracial Council in 1963.
Thich Nhat Hanh’s Bibliography
- Being Peace, Parallax Press, 1987, ISBN 0-938077-00-7
- The Sun My Heart’, Parallax Press, 1988, ISBN 0-938077-12-0
- Our Appointment with Life: Sutra on Knowing the Better Way to Live Alone , Parallax Press, 1990, ISBN 1-935209-79-5
- The Miracle of Mindfulness, Rider Books, 1991, ISBN 978-0-7126-4787-8
- Old Path White Clouds: Walking in the Footsteps of the Buddha, Parallax Press, 1991, ISBN 81-216-0675-6
- Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life, Bantam reissue, 1992, ISBN 0-553-35139-7
- The Diamond That Cuts Through Illusion, Commentaries on the Prajnaparamita Diamond Sutra, Parallax Press, 1992, ISBN 0-938077-51-1
- ‘Hermitage Among the Clouds’, Parallax Press, 1993, ISBN 0-938077-56-2
- Zen Keys: A Guide to Zen Practice, Three Leaves, 1994, ISBN 0-385-47561-6
- Cultivating The Mind Of Love, Full Circle, 1996, ISBN 81-216-0676-4
- The Heart Of Understanding, Full Circle, 1997, ISBN 81-216-0703-5
- Transformation and Healing: Sutra on the Four Establishments of Mindfulness, Full Circle, 1997, ISBN 81-216-0696-9
- Living Buddha, Living Christ, Riverhead Trade, 1997, ISBN 1-57322-568-1
- True Love: A Practice for Awakening the Heart, Shambhala, 1997, ISBN 1-59030-404-7
- Fragrant Palm Leaves: Journals, 1962-1966, Riverhead Trade, 1999, ISBN 1-57322-796-X
- Going Home: Jesus and Buddha as Brothers, Riverhead Books, 1999, ISBN 1-57322-145-7
- The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching, Broadway Books, 1999, ISBN 0-7679-0369-2
- The Miracle of Mindfulness: A Manual on Meditation, Beacon Press, 1999, ISBN 0-8070-1239-4 (Vietnamese: Phép lạ c̉ua sư t̉inh thưc).
- The Raft Is Not the Shore: Conversations Toward a Buddhist/Christian Awareness, Daniel Berrigan (Co-author), Orbis Books, 2000, ISBN 1-57075-344-X
- The Path of Emancipation: Talks from a 21-Day Mindfulness Retreat, Unified Buddhist Church, 2000, ISBN 81-7621-189-3
- A Pebble in Your Pocket, Full Circle, 2001, ISBN 81-7621-188-5
- Essential Writings, Robert Ellsberg (Editor), Orbis Books, 2001, ISBN 1-57075-370-9
- Anger, Riverhead Trade, 2002, ISBN 1-57322-937-7
- Be Free Where You Are, Parallax Press, 2002, ISBN 1-888375-23-X
- No Death, No Fear, Riverhead Trade reissue, 2003, ISBN 1-57322-333-6
- Touching the Earth: Intimate Conversations with the Buddha, Parallax Press, 2004, ISBN 1-888375-41-8
- Teachings on Love, Full Circle, 2005, ISBN 81-7621-167-2
- Understanding Our Mind, HarperCollins, 2006, ISBN 978-81-7223-796-7
- Buddha Mind, Buddha Body: Walking Toward Enlightenment, Parallax Press, 2007, ISBN 1-888375-75-2
- The Art of Power, HarperOne, 2007, ISBN 0-06-124234-9
- Under the Banyan Tree, Full Circle, 2008, ISBN 81-7621-175-3
- Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life. HarperOne. 2010. ISBN 978-0-06-169769-2.
- Reconciliation: Healing the Inner Child, Parallax Press, 2010, ISBN 1-935209-64-7
- You Are Here: Discovering the Magic of the Present Moment, Shambhala, 2010, ISBN 978-1590308387
- The Novice: A Story of True Love, Unified Buddhist Church, 2011, ISBN 978-0-06-200583-0
- Works by or about Thích Nhất Hạnh in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- Your True Home: The Everyday Wisdom of Thich Nhat Hanh, Shambhala Publications, 2011, ISBN 978-1-59030-926-1
- Fear: Essential Wisdom for Getting Through the Storm, Rider, 2012, ISBN 978-1846043185
- The Pocket Thich Nhat Hanh, Shambhala Pocket Classics, 2012, ISBN 978-1-59030-936-0
- The Art of Communicating, HarperOne, 2013, ISBN 978-0-06-222467-5
- Blooming of a Lotus, Beacon, 2009, ISBN 9780807012383
- No Mud, No Lotus: The Art of Transforming Suffering, Parallax Press, 2014, ISBN 978-1937006853
- Is nothing something? Parallax Press 2014, ISBN 978-1-937006-65-5
- Mindful Movements Parallax Press 2014, ISBN 978-1-1-888375-79-4
Past Reciepients of the Pacem in Terris Peace and Freedom Award
- 1964 John Howard Griffin and John F. Kennedy (posthumously)
- 1965 Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
- 1966 R. Sargent Shriver
- 1967 A. Philip Randolph
- 1968 Father James Groppi
- 1969 Saul Alinsky
- 1972 Dorothy Day, S.D.
- 1974 Senator Harold Hughes
- 1975 Dom Hélder Câmara, S.D.
- 1976 Blessed Teresa of Calcutta
- 1979 Bishop Thomas Gumbleton
- 1980 Crystal Lee Sutton
- 1980 Bishop Ernest Leo Unterkoefler
- 1982 George F. Kennan
- 1983 Helen Caldicott
- 1985 Cardinal Joseph Bernardin
- 1986 Bishop Maurice John Dingman
- 1987 Archbishop Desmond Tutu
- 1989 Eileen Egan
- 1990 Mairead Corrigan Maguire
- 1991 María Julia Hernández
- 1992 Cesar Chavez
- 1993 Father Daniel Berrigan
- 1995 Jim Wallis
- 1996 Bishop Samuel Ruiz García
- 1996 Odebrecht Foundation and Archbishop Philip M. Hannan
- 1997 Jim Douglass and Shelley Douglass
- 1998 Sister Helen Prejean, CSJ
- 1999 Adolfo Pérez Esquivel
- 2000 Monsignor George G. Higgins
- 2001 Lech Wałęsa
- 2002 Sisters Gwen Hennessey and Dorothy Hennessey, OSF
- 2004 Rev. Arthur Simon
- 2005 Donald Mosley
- 2007 Bishop Salim Ghazal 
- 2008 Monsignor Marvin Mottet
- 2009 Hildegard Goss-Mayr
- 2010 Father John Dear
- 2011 Bishop Álvaro Leonel Ramazzini Imeri
- 2012 Kim Bobo
- 2013 Jean Vanier
- 2014 Sister Simone Campbell, S.S.S.
- 2015 Thich Nhat Hanh
 Pacem in Terris Award Recipients, Diocese of Davenport, June 2011
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Josephine Nolan is an editor and contributing feature writer for several online publications, including EDI Weekly and Buddha Weekly.