Thich Nhat Hanh Trying to Go Back to Vietnam

September 14, 1999

Source: The San Francisco Chronicle

On September 14, 1999, The San Francisco Chronicle published an article on the change of course that renowned Vietnamese Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh would like to take. In an interview at the Kim Son Monastery atop Mount Madonna in California, Thich Nhat Hanh stated: "Three years of quiet diplomacy has not worked...I have been away from my country for 34 years. Most of my friends have died. And the young people can't read my books or see me in person." Thich Nhat Hanh left his native Vietnam in 1966 during the Vietnam War to lead a Buddhist delegation to Paris for peace talks. Since then, he has been barred from returning, both by communist and noncommunist governments. Thich Nhat Hanh continued: "Vietnam is stuck - not only economically, but spiritually...No one believes in Marxism anymore, including the controlling Politburo. There is a big vacuum in the country. We need to renew Buddhism there among the young and the intellectuals, which is just what the government doesn't want." Thich Nhat Hanh is trying to return either through the auspices of his old temple in Vietnam or through an independent Buddhist association. Thich Nhat Hanh plans to continue his public activities with three events in the San Francisco Bay Area this week.