One of the important things that differentiates Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) from other Cognitive Behavioral Therapies is the emphasis on mindfulness and reality acceptance skills. Many of these concepts and some of the exact skills taught in DBT (half-smile, willing hands) come directly from Thich Nhat Hanh.

Thich Nhat Hanh, known as Thay (teacher) to his students, passed away on 1/21/2022 at the age of 95. He was a Vietnamese Buddhist Monk known for his teachings on mindfulness, love, and peace. In 1967, he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for his work related to the war in Vietnam where he was exiled by the North Vietnamese government.

In his nomination of Thich Nhat Hanh, Dr. King wrote, “I do not personally know of anyone more worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize than this gentle Buddhist monk from Vietnam. Here is an apostle of peace and non-violence, cruelly separated from his own people while they are oppressed by a vicious war which has grown to threaten the sanity and security of the entire world. Because no honor is more respected than the Nobel Peace Prize, conferring the Prize on Nhat Hanh would itself be a most generous act of peace. It would remind all nations that men of good will stand ready to lead warring elements out of an abyss of hatred and destruction. It would re-awaken men to the teaching of beauty and love found in peace. It would help to revive hopes for a new order of justice and harmony.”

In a society that is so divided and filled with so much anger, the words of Dr. King in 1967 and Thich Nhat Hanh’s mission of peace and gratitude for the gifts that we have in this moment are just as relevant if not more today. 

“Life is filled with suffering, but it is also filled with many wonders, like the blue sky, the sunshine, the eyes of a baby. To suffer is not enough. We must also be in touch with the wonders of life. They are within us and all around us, everywhere, any time.”

There is a new star in the heavens now. May we all take a moment to look up and appreciate the beauty and gifts that Thich Nhat Hanh has provided. We offer deep bows of gratitude to one of our greatest teachers, Thich Nhat Hanh.

“Breathing in, I calm body and mind. Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment I know this is the only moment.” — Thich Nhat Hanh