Thousands pay tribute to Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh - RTHK
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Thousands pay tribute to Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh

2022-01-23 HKT 11:45
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  • Thich Nhat Hanh spent nearly four decades in exile after he was banished from his homeland for calling for an end to the Vietnam War. File photo: AFP
    Thich Nhat Hanh spent nearly four decades in exile after he was banished from his homeland for calling for an end to the Vietnam War. File photo: AFP
Thousands of mourners packed a temple in Vietnam's Buddhist heartland early on Sunday to pay tribute to the late Vietnamese monk and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh, credited with bringing mindfulness to the West.

The Zen master died aged 95 on Saturday at the Tu Hieu Pagoda in the city of Hue.

Thich Nhat Hanh spent nearly four decades in exile after he was banished from his homeland for calling for an end to the Vietnam War.

Early on Sunday morning, chanting monks carried his body covered by a yellow sheet along with decorative umbrellas through the throng of mourners.

The smell of incense wafted in the air, as they put his body in a wooden coffin and placed it in a hall decorated with yellow daisies.

Buddhist monks in yellow and brown robes recited prayers and followers wearing grey stood in silent contemplation of his life.

Among the mourners was Tran Dinh Huong, 46, who hastily travelled from Hanoi to pay her respects.

"I read many of his books and his words helped me a lot when I was down or going through difficulties," she said.

"I think it will be a very long time until Vietnam and the world has such a great teacher again."

Nguyen Nhat from Ho Chi Minh City said it was deeply moving to see the body.

"I admire him for his simple and modest life," he said.

Thich Nhat Hanh's coffin is expected to remain in the hall for a week – as mourners take turns to pray in front of it – before a cremation ceremony next Saturday. (AFP)