Thich Nhat Hanh’s determination and strength of will has been both amazing and important as he has worked to regain his strength, posture and balance.

Last year, Thich Nhat Hanh, lovingly known as Thay, suffered a stroke and was hospitalized as a result. In early April, he had recovered enough to be moved to Plum Village Hermitage. The monks and nuns have provided regular updates in regards to his health, the most recent of which was posted on June 28. In summary, the posting declared his health stable and detailed the ways he has healed thus far.

He has been surrounded by a team of attendants who provide care and assistance to ensure that his needs are met and that he is cared for around the clock. They say that he has made “remarkable progress” in his path to health. In addition to his team, he has been given daily acupuncture, physiotherapy and massages to keep him feeling good. Thay has enjoyed relaxing in his hammock, taking in nature from the singing birds to the growing lotuses. He has been fantastic about healing at his own pace. He even took out his feeding tube on his own after he had decided to switch to solid foods. When he eats, he does it mindfully, savoring the meals that he has been given. In addition, he has begun developing his ability to vocalize by taking part in chants with the sisters. The first time he was able to accurate speak, one of the sisters was chanting Nam Mo Bo Tat Quan The Am and he was able to say ‘Am’.

He has been able to raise his arms as a way to express the meaning behind the chants, and has been noticeably surprised and joyful when he has been able to speak. According to Thay’s therapists, his determination and strength of will has been both amazing and important as he has worked to regain his strength, posture and balance. He enjoys walking meditation throughout the garden several times each day, and all 150 monks and nuns have joined him on the occasion. To them, his determination has been an affirmation “that he would never desert the Path,” something he had said 9 years ago when he turned 80.

The month-long Summer Retreat held at Plum Village Heritage will offer Dharma talks to the 800 or so people that will be visiting. The talks will be handled by Thay’s senior Dharma teachers. 

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