On Thursday 21st July, Ros Dean will give a talk entitled 'Thich Nhat Hanh's Poetry Part 1: The Historical Dimension'. Ros says:
Thich Nhat Hanh's life has spanned the history of French colonialism, Japanese occupation, the Indochina War, and of course, the Vietmam War when the country became a theatre of conflict between the U.S.A. and the Communist Bloc.
Thay was born in 1926 and entered a Buddhist Monastery at the age of 16yrs. A large part of his training involved learning 'gathas,' or 'short meditations' which were to be recited silently as you went about your daily tasks in the temple.
As time went on, he began to write verse both as a vehicle for self-expression, but also as a tool for making known the horrors of the Vietnamese war to a worldwide audience. He became 'the voice for peace,' traveling extensively in the United States and Europe in an effort to convince world leaders that their ideologies were creating intolerable levels of human suffering in both opposing camps.
In 1966, both North and South Vietnam denied Thay the right to return to Vietnam; this decision was upheld at the end of the war, and since that time, he has lived in France.
In the collection of poems entitled 'Call Me by my True Names,' Thay divides his poems into two sections: 'The Historical Dimension' and 'The Ultimate Dimension.' In this talk, we will be looking at the first section, where we meet Thich Nhat Hanh, the man, rather than Thich Nhat Hanh, the world-renowned Buddhist teacher.
The 'Ultimate Dimension' contains poems that we can share on a subsequent occasion.