The Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University

Nhât Hanh, Thich

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Descriptive Summary

Record Group: Section A - Correspondence

Dates of materials: 1966, 1974

Volume: 7 item(s); 9 pg(s)

Scope and Content

This set of correspondence includes two carbon copies of letters from Merton to Nhât Hanh, which have been published in The Hidden Ground of Love. In addition, there is an original letter from Nhât Hanh to Merton, and it remains unpublished. Thich Nhât Hanh mentions other letters not contained in the Center's holding, "The letters you sent to Saigon still remain there" (Letter of 1966/09/03).


Thich Nhât Hanh was a Buddhist monk, originally from Vietnam. During the Vietnam war, he struggled to negotiate peace and end the conflict between the North and South in a non-partisan fashion. In so doing, he was condemned by both sides and had to flee the country. After leaving Vietnam, he lectured in the United States. In 1967, Martin Luther King, Jr. nominated Nhât Hanh for the Nobel Peace Prize. In later years, he lived in France at a monastic community called Plum Village. (Sources: The Thomas Merton Encyclopedia, pp. 325-326; the Plum Village Web site)

Usage Guidelines and Restrictions

Related Information and Links

See also published letters from Merton to Nhât Hanh published in The Hidden Ground of Love, pp. 381-382; and see also the "Nobel Institute" file for a copy of "Nhat Hanh Is My Brother" and to see Merton's nomination of Nhât Hanh for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Other Finding Aids

If the person in correspondence with Merton has full text records in the Merton Center Digital Collections, there will be a numeric link to them below.

Series List

This Record Sub-Group is not divided into Series and is arranged chronologically.

Container List

SeriesDateTypeTo/FromFirst LinesPubFull TextNotes
 1966/06/29 TL[c]from MertonI suppose you are probably back in Viet Nam by now. I thought of you today because I finished yourYes Hanh's book on Buddhism / John Heidbrink and translation of book / FOR people nominated Hanh for Nobel Peace Prize / problems with formalism and conservatism common between Catholicism and Buddhism
 1966/09/03 HLSto MertonI am happy to get your letter, handled by Al Hassler. The letters you sent to Saigon still remain  Suzuki's death / book on problem on Buddhism in VN [Vietnam?]
 1966/09/12 TL[c]from MertonThanks for your letter from Paris. It is good to have news from you. I am sure that in Europe youYes Vietnam / letters about Hanh to President and Pentagon / Kentucky and Buddhism / notes and article on Suzuki
 1966/09/14 TL[x]from Heidbrink, JohnI am writing perhaps too soon after receiving your letter, but I want to very much, therefore, will  includes news about Thomas Merton and Daniel Berrigan
 1966/09/24 HLS[x]from Heidbrink, JohnThank you for your letter. I just received a book of Thomas Merton translated in Vietnamese  Thomas Merton - translation of <i>Seeds of Contemplation</i>
 1968/04/24 HCSto MertonI hope you like these "white flowers". I am still in the country. My visa is good until June 15.  [verso of card: "White Flowers. From: Kaki Shase I Zu, Japanese Manuscript, late 18th century. Spencer Collection. The New York Public Library."]
 1974/08/02 TLS[x]to Center from Forest, JimA very quick note (as my secretary has gone on vacation and it is too bloody steamy here for long  Vietnamese MMM Buddhist Peace Delegation / Thich Nhat Hanh requested to see if there was correspondence between him and Merton at Center

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