Zen Buddhist monk, poet and author of many books (more than 130, including Vietnam: a lotus in a sea of fire; There is neither death nor fear; The Fullness of the moment, living in full consciousness; Peace in itself, peace on the move.), Thich Nhat Hanh is a tireless peace activist who traveled the world and founded many religious and social institutions.
He is affectionately nicknamed Thay, which means “teacher” in Vietnamese.
Youth and ordination
Born in French Indochina (now Vietnam) in 1926, Thich Nhat Hanh has been a Zen Buddhist monk since 1942, when he was 16 years old.
In his youth, he befriended a French soldier who wondered about the usefulness of war. Thich Naht Han was against the Vietnam War and did not want to take sides.
Vietnam War and exile
In 1961, he went to study at Princeton University in the USA, in 1963 he returned to his country and founded a non-violent resistance movement to war.
Accused of communist propaganda, he was forced into exile from 1967. He obtained the right of asylum in France.
Also in 1967, he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Martin Luther King, but the prize was not awarded that year.
Plum village in France
In 1982, he settled in the southwest of France, and founded Plum village, the largest Buddhist monastery in the West.
In this Buddhist community, which has 200 resident members and welcomes 10,000 visitors a year, many practices are taught: the art of mindful living, meditation, inner smiling and conscious breathing.
End of life of Thich Nhat Hanh
In 2005 he returned to Vietnam, to the temple of Tu Hieu in Huê, where he had begun his career as a monk, and he died there in 2022 at the age of 95.
Some quotes from Thay, Thich Nhat Hanh
“The miracle is not walking on water, it is walking green Earth in the present moment and appreciating the beauty and peace that is available now.”
“It is very important to know how to listen with compassion. To listen with compassion is to listen with the will to relieve the other of his suffering, without judging him or seeking argument.
“Meditation is not escaping from society, but coming back to ourselves and seeing what is happening. Once you see, you have to act. With mindfulness, we know what to do and what not to do to help.”
“Christians are my brothers. I don’t want to make them new Buddhists. I want to help them deepen their own tradition. »
Sanskrit is the sacred language of ancient India, many terms of which are now frequently used in the world of yoga and wellness in general.
With our little Sanskrit lexicon, enter a mysterious world of infinite wisdom!
AHIMSA: This term, popularized by Gandhi, means “non-violence” and “benevolence towards all creatures”. This is the first principle of “yamas”, the codified rules guiding yogis on their path of life.
ASANA: Literally “yoga posture, or sitting”.
ASHRAM: spiritual community gathered around a sage.
AUM or OM: primordial vibration of the universe, link between interior and exterior. Represents the four degrees of reality: waking (A), dreaming (U), deep sleep (M) and turya or silence.
AYURVEDA: From “ayur”, “life” and “veda”, “knowledge”, Ayurveda is the traditional medicine of India which dates from the Vedic period. According to Ayurveda, Matter is composed of five elements (the tattvas): earth (prithivi), water (apas), fire (tejas), air (vayu) and ether (akasha). These elements come together in three combinations to form what are called “doshas”, which determine the different “types” of people.
BANDHAS: Energy locks in the physical body that yogis use to hold life energy. The three main bandhas are mulabandha (at the level of the root chakra); uddyanabandha (at the level of the diaphragm) and jalandharabandha, (at the level of the throat).
CHAKRAS: The chakras are the energy centers, located along the spine. They are often symbolized by lotuses (padma).
DHARMA: this term designates the natural law, the duty, the wheel of the journey of life.
GUNAS: the material world is made up of three qualities which are the “gunas”. These three qualities are present in living beings and food: “tamas” = laziness and resistance; “Rajas” = energy and movement; “Sattva” = balance and purity.
GURU: “Gu” means shadow and “ru” means light. The guru is a master, a teacher who guides us from shadow to light.
KARMA: means “action”, “movement of energy”. Karma is the law of cause and effect (or law of causation).
KOSHAS: The five envelopes of the human being: the physical, energetic, mental, intellectual and spiritual bodies.
LILA: the divine ballet or “game” of the physical world.
MALA: Hindu rosary. In general, the mala is made up of 108 pearls, a sacred number in yogic mythology. Often composed of natural stones and seeds, it is used to count breaths or mantras.
MANDALA: literally “center, circle, unity and totality”. Mandalas are geometric designs widely used as a medium for meditation.
MANTRA: It is a phrase, sequence of words or syllables, repeated while singing, and / or meditating. This practice is based on the power of repetition.
MAYA: It is the illusion of the physical world and the main cause of our suffering.
MOKSHA: Refers to the liberation of the soul, when it has completed its cycle of reincarnations.
MUDRA: Sacred gestures performed with the hands and fingers. The practice of mudras helps to raise vibrational energy.
NAMASTA: This is a greeting commonly used in India and in yoga classes as a sign of gratitude, benevolence and peace.
NIRVANA: Refers to the liberation of a being from the cycle of rebirth (samsara). The self is no longer separated from the rest of creation and with this state comes intense happiness. This is the goal of the Buddhist and Hindu spiritual journey.
PRANA: This Sanskrit word means indifferently “vital breath”, “energy of life”, “light”.
PRANAYAMA: “control” or “mastery” of “prana” ie the breathing techniques of yoga.
PUJA: Offering to the statues representing the Gods: chanting of mantras, garlands of flowers, fruits, sacred woods, milk, rice, water, incense…
SADHU: Holy man who gave up earthly pleasures to pursue a spiritual quest.
SATYA: Means “truth” in the sense of “sincerity”.
SHANTI: This Sanskrit word often sung by yogis literally means “peace”.
SUTRA: Short philosophical texts which expose a sacred knowledge.
SVASTIKA: Very ancient and powerful symbol of luck and protection. It was used by the Nazis who gave it an extremely negative connotation, but today it needs to be given back its true meaning.
VEDAS: Very ancient sacred texts from India.
YOGA: Indian ancestral art of self-knowledge. Yoga is a holistic practice aimed at training the body, the breath and the mind. It aims for the union of the self and the divine.
YOGI (male), YOGINI (female): practitioner of Yoga
Confucius or Kongfuzi (known as “Master Kong”) is a Chinese philosopher of the 6th century BC and the founder of Confucianism.
This legendary historical figure from ancient China lived under the declining dynasty of the Zhous, whose legitimacy would have come from the gods through the “heavenly mandate”.
Concerned about moral values as well as law and order in society, Confucius traveled throughout China and taught much of his life. After his death, his ideas were collected by his followers (also called “the 12 philosophers”), and profoundly influenced all Chinese civilization, but also Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia and Viet-Nam.
His reflections were compiled by his disciples in the Analects (“Conversations”) in the form of philosophical anecdotes forming a “manual of good leaders.”
Confucianism (or “scholarly school”) was established as a state doctrine by the Han Dynasty in the 2nd century BC and remained so until the founding of the Republic of China in 1911.
The key values of his doctrine are: respect for the old and the traditions, loyalty, benevolence, modesty and humility.
Majuli Island is located in the Bhramaputra River in the north of India. In the 1970s it was a large shoal threatened by winds and soil erosion with a population of 150,000 inhabitants.
Jadav Payeng is an incredible defender of nature. Since 1979, tree by tree, he planted, by himself an incredible forest, the Molai forest, with the aim of saving his island threatened by erosion.
Forest Man Jadav Payeng
Today, the Molai Forest makes up to more than 550 hectares. It has become dense and rich, and is home to many animal and plant, many of which are endangered: elephants, Bengal tigers, one-horned rhinoceros, vultures …
The Molai forest was planted by a single man, now dubbed “Forest Man”, he planted his forest without tools or without any help but simply with his two bare hands.
Jadav Payeng devoted his life to planting this forest, this man is a true nature lover, humble and passionate, who shows us that with will anything is possible.
His fight is far from over. As he himself says: “it will never be. The biggest threat I face is not from nature but from my people. Man has a vocation to destroy everything, when it should be the opposite. I will fight to the end to make it happen. ”
What if we took this as an example and each of us take action on their own scale? The whole world would be transformed.
Arasia offers you the opportunity to plant trees by participating in the operation 1 euro = 1 tree, in partnership with the Indian NGO Mass-Education.