Storytelling for Social Change Winter 2022

Thich Nhat Hahn 1926 ~ 2022

Flowering Watering on The Buddhist Path, recorded and produced by Jane Heaven at the Berkeley Community Theater, 1993.

In this talk, Thich Nhat Hahn discusses aspects of the Buddhist approach to life, explaining that the seeds of consciousness are made of peace, joy, hate, and war. These aspects grow when touched by positives and negatives. The goal of growth is to become mindful of the positive to promote the growth of peace and joy.  The development of mindfulness is a useful tool and is a way to battle the never satisfied “hungry ghosts” which dominate the Western world. He illustrates how to use meditation to learn compassion.


From the book, Brothers in the Beloved Community: The Friendship of Thich Nhat Hanh and Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther King nominated Thich Nhat Hanh for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1967. He wrote: “Thich Nhat Hanh is a holy man, for he is humble and devout. He is a scholar of immense intellectual capacity. His ideas for peace, if applied, would build a monument to ecumenism, to world brotherhood, to humanity.”

The two men bonded over a vision of the Beloved Community, a concept each knew of because of their membership within the Fellowship of Reconciliation, an international peace organization, and that Martin Luther King Jr. had been popularizing through his work for some time. In 2014, forty-six years after King’s assassination on April 4, 1968, Nhat Hanh wrote: “I was in New York when I heard the news of his assassination; I was devastated. I could not eat; I could not sleep. I made a deep vow to continue building what he called ‘the beloved community,’ not only for myself but for him also. I have done what I promised to Martin Luther King Jr. And I think that I have always felt his support.”


Martin Luther King Jr. with Thich Nhat Hahn at a press conference on the Vietnam War in Chicago, May 31, 1966.


Having a spiritual dimension in our lives, does not mean escaping life and dwelling in a place of bliss outside this world, but discovering ways to handle life’s difficulties and generate peace, joy and happiness right were we are, on this beautiful planet.

~from Thich Nhat Hanh’s last book, The Art of Living, Peace and Freedom in the Here and Now.