ABSTRACT

Thich Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese Buddhist monk and Zen master and one of the founders of the socially and politically Engaged Buddhism movement. This chapter focuses on his efforts to build a nonviolent society and culture, the most salient feature of his vision of the Good Life for All. The chapter begins with his teachings for the individual to “be peace” and his transformation of Buddhist ethics into a more activist and socially engaged ethic. In order to sketch Nhat Hanh’s view of the Good Life for society, the chapter examines his thoughts on business and economics, society and education. He places emphasis on freedom of thought, communal harmony, conflict resolution, dialogue and deep listening, while allowing for minimal last-resort use of force by police and military forces for the sake of protecting others. Nhat Hanh’s Good Life also entails a nonviolent relationship with the natural world which not only environs us, it “is us.”